Pogue’s Garage to Make Way for 30-Story Residential Tower, Grocery Store

Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney briefed City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee of the specifics of a plan to modernize and lease some of the city’s parking assets. Part of the immediate $92 million infusion, as part of the plan, would be used to spark the redevelopment of Tower Place Mall and Pogue’s Garage.

Dohoney stated that the vacant Tower Place Mall would be converted into a 500-space parking garage, with 20,000 square feet of street-level commercial spaces fronting onto Race and Fourth Streets.

“Residential is a huge factor in the ability to attract and retain retail, but what retail really wants is customers,” explained David Ginsburg, President/CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated (DCI), with regards to the state of the center city’s retail scene.

285333_10151760214824698_747240426_n Pogue's Tower
The City of Cincinnati has struck a deal that would tear down the crumbling Pogue’s Garage and replace it with a mixed-use residential high-rise. Renderings provided.

To that end, the adjacent Pogue’s Garage, as part of the project, would be torn down and the site rebuilt with a 30-story mixed-use tower with 300 luxury apartments, 1,000 parking spaces, and a 15,000-square-foot grocery store.

The reconstruction of Tower Place Mall, city officials say, would be overseen by JDL Warm, and would begin as early as fall 2013. The redevelopment of the Pogue’s Garage site would be overseen by Flaherty & Collins, which would be funded with $82 million in private investment and $12 million from the City through its new parking lease.

Project officials say that all of the financing is in place, and a new-to-market grocery store has been secured for the new mixed-use tower.

The new tower’s contemporary architecture would contrast the historic high-rises flanking it along Fourth Street, and would dramatically change the street’s landscape.

One other component of the project requires the developer to also build the planned 725-space parking garage on Sycamore Street, which is adjacent to the proposed 200-room Holiday Inn & Suites.

A timetable has not yet been set for the $94 million project, but work would seemingly be able to begin as soon as the proposed parking lease is approved by City Council. The City of Cincinnati and DCI are currently working with Paragon Salon regarding its space in the Pogue’s Garage. No details have been shared, but Paragon’s lease runs through 2017.

“We need to make sure that everything is working all the time on all cylinders,” Ginsburg told UrbanCincy with respect to the hierarchy of needs for downtown investment. “If I were to get a bumper sticker for my bicycle or my car it would just be one word – more. Downtown needs more residents, it needs more businesses, it needs more workers, it needs more diversity.”

  • Great news. Judging by the renders, with the amount of parking on the podium of the building, I’d guess this thing will be around 350′ – 375′ tall, give or take. It could be taller if they use larger floor heights for the residential portion. Just a guess though.

  • zschmiez

    I hope the @DunnHumby guys were in the “know” because they publicly stated they would select a facade that wouldnt clash wish the rest of downtown. Yet this is much more modern (which isnt bad).

    I hope they don’t screw Paragon. A locally owned successful business with multiple locations, including downtown, when being DT wasn’t in vogue.

    Only 1 question: yet more retail space on 4th. When no one has moved into 4th in years (unless you count Paula’s). I understand that 300 apartments and 800 workers from DH will draw in more “amenities”, but the city is not lacking ground level retail space.

    • There are several businesses that have opened on West 4th Street over the past several years, but I hear what you’re saying. I think it will help that all the Tower Place Mall square footage will go away. Plus you have 100 or so new apartments at The Reserve in addition to these 300 apartments and the 800-1,000 new dunnhumbyUSA employees.

      Keep in mind that the street-level spaces at Tower Place actually did alright, so developers should be able to fill the spaces with those type of tenants.

    • Just on my end on 4th in the past three months we’ve had new businesses open, Left Coast Modern, Everything D’Vine, Nightshade tattoo, a design business, The Skillet and the Cobleria. Thats seven new places right off the top of my head, and there is another space on 4th between Plum and Central getting a makeover. Things are changing, and changing fast.

    • Anchor stores, like a grocery, can and do create spinoff development. If you put in a grocery store, being close to that is seen as a commodity and people will invest. To not put in retail space along 4th Street would be a missed opportunity, no matter what is going on elsewhere downtown.

    • I agree about the grocery store attracting other retailers, but I think he was talking about the street-level retail spaces that will be built as part of the renovation of Tower Place Mall.

      I’m happy with the overall reduction in retail square footage, just as I am happy when outdated office space comes off the market. These things are being replaced by new uses, primarily residential, that not only make the existing market healthier by getting rid of bad product, but also by bringing in additional customers and foot traffic. It’s a solid step towards a sustainable center city.

    • Maybe Kroger could step up and make their OTR store a little more attractive. It’s not that cumbersome to walk and will be closer once the streetcar’s running.

  • Mark Christol

    I can see the logic in this altho I am not wild about the government doing it – it puts them in competition with the private sector.
    IIRC, proceeds from parking meters (not the lease) were supposed to help fund streetcar operations – has that changed?

    • This is a private development, with $82M in private investment. The City of Cincinnati is just contributing $12M to the deal, which isn’t unusual with any development anywhere nowadays.

  • Adam Curry

    Not totally happy with the city giving up parking meters for short term cash flow. This will take away one of the only free parking spaces downtown (after 6pm). Business stores benefit from this. I think parking garages should be leased, but not meters. Though, thankfully, the casino will fill a little of this void. And maybe free parking at the casino will encourage people to use the streetcar to get around. Though, the line doesn’t exactly go to the casino.

    • Sure, but the parking garages carry significant capital costs with them when they need to be repaired. The City will successfully dodge that bullet by off-loading these assets, and in order to make it worth the quasi-private investment, they needed to sweeten the pot with something that provides revenue without massive costs associated with it…and that is what the on-street metered spaces are.

    • Adam Curry

      I’m for the garages being off-loaded. Maybe I just need to read more and put pen to paper regarding income and costs of these assets.

    • And also, isn’t a number of the new garage spaces going to be public? If so, that makes reasons for the City to invest all the more logical.

    • Yes, I think something like 576 of the 1,000 parking spaces built with the new residential tower will be open to the public.

    • chilismaug

      Chicago and New York sold out their meters, and I think there are regrets. I sure hope the deal they are cooking up is good for citizens, better than the football stadium.


    • Cincinnati isn’t proposing to sell its meters. It’s not even leasing them. It’s simpy proposing to lease its parking income to investors. Ownership of all garages and meters will remain with Cincinnati.

    • The football stadium was done by Hamilton County. Cincinnati had NOTHING to do with the football stadium deal. NOTHING.

    • It’s not all upfront (see link below for the real details so far released) And they’re only moving the timing of the free parking at meters back until 9pm it looks like. Personally I was against the parking plan privatization as reported in the paper (surprise right?), but after seeing the details it looks like they’ve tried to learn from other cities’ past mistakes and have come up with a much better proposed deal. In the past I suggested that the private entity be forced to contribute XX amount towards upgrades and modernization (like I’ve seen in the Panama Canal contract) and it even looks like they’ve managed to include it in there too.

      I’m actually kind of impressed with this parking deal and fully behind it now that I’ve seen some detail.


    • We’ll be publishing an in-depth story just on the details surrounding the parking modernization and lease deal in the coming days. Lots of interesting details in there, and I too would say I’m personally impressed with the deal the City brokered.

    • After revisiting the details of the deal after thinking about them, one point that I think needs addressed still is that in the second 15 years of the deal the rate escalates more quickly (due to a 3% annual increase and the increment being $0.25) In the last 15 years of this deal I could foresee people getting frustrated at the rates increasing every other year.

    • Although presumably a quarter won’t be worth as much at that time (per inflation). It’ll still be harder for people to digest.

    • Adam Curry

      Thanks. I think pushing the time from 6pm to 9pm is a big move. With everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully it plays out as a good thing.

  • Looks like the bland modernist high rise on the south side of 6th St between Walnut and Main, hope it does better on its ground floor than that building that has experienced its fair share of turnover.
    And why build a streetcar when you’re subsidizing hundreds of new parking spaces?

    • Why build the streetcar? Parking and streetcars are just two parts of many, needed to develop a comprehensive transportation plan for any modern, and livable city. Neither is a single bullet answer to the transportation needs of a diverse population with different needs to serve a growing and sustainable economy.

    • I’m being sarcastic. I see a parking garage as more of a detriment to a balanced transportation system since there’s this inbred feeling now that anyone visiting downtown should easily be able to by car and that undermines the streetcar and is the exact opposite of transit oriented development.

    • Zachary Schunn

      Just as you can’t let cars be 100% of the transportation solution, you can’t ever get public transit to be 100% of the solution. Look at cities like New York and Chicago… still filled with garages, no matter how terrific the transit is.

      Further, I don’t think it’s parking availability that induces people to drive… I think it’s parking availability that induces people to drive to certain areas. Big difference. If the city is trying to attract all those shoppers, workers, etc. from Mason and West Chester, forcing them to use public transit isn’t going to help.

    • Not true. The construction of new off-street parking is controlled like liquor licenses in Manhattan, when it isn’t banned entirely. The recently finished BoA tower on Bryant Park has ZERO parking spaces: http://newsroom.bankofamerica.com/press-release/environment/bank-america-tower-one-bryant-park-first-commercial-skyscraper-us-achieve-

    • Zachary Schunn

      Thanks for the info, Jake.

      Regardless, I don’t think parking is going to hurt streetcar use, or vice versa. It’s all part of the same system. And I don’t think driving from downtown to OTR will be any faster, and it certainly won’t be any cheaper with parking rates where they are. (Parking downtown isn’t “cheap” by any means.)

      FYI: The city is exploring parking maximums via form-based code.

    • Zurich has and Nashville is exploring a maximum total number of parking spaces in their downtowns. Why is someone going to take the streetcar from their 500-space apartment parking garage downtown to the 359-space Mercer Commons parking garage or Kroger parking garage in OTR if it takes 20 minutes instead of a 5 minute drive? You can’t make parking plentiful and cheap and still expect them to use transit.

    • zschmiez

      They will need some logistical wizardry. I would venture to say that the corner of 5th and Race is arguably the busiest intersection in downtown. Especially in the afternoon, including Saturdays.

      Dropping a grocery store in there isnt going to make it better, thats for sure.

    • According to the pedestrian counts done by DCI, I think the busiest intersection in the CBD is 4th/Walnut.

    • zschmiez

      Thanks for the tidbit. I was thinking in terms of car traffic. Closing the lanes for the DH construction has only made things worse.

  • Natecov

    Any thoughts on what grocer this will be? Since it is new to market, Giant Eagle immediately comes to mind. Their urban store in Columbus is fantastic. I love it that a company has the juevos to open a brand new to market store in Kroger’s backyard.

    • Most likely Marsh. They have smaller format stores (12,000 sq ft is a tiny grocery store – the Vine St Kroger looks to be about 14,000 sq ft) and I believe the developer is from Indianapolis where Marsh is based.

    • zschmiez

      I dont think anyone really cares who it is at this point, just that it gets done. The “unforuntate” part (for lack of better term) is that when (not if) a store is successful, THEN Kroger/WholeFoods/etc. will move in and build a store to compete.

      Any chance the new store will want to work with Findlay folks at all? Blue Oven Bakery? Dojo? Kroger Fam meats?

      Would like, no, love to see a store with salad/ hot bar/etc. similar to whole foods concept.

  • BathtubGin

    At some point, the parking garage building binge needs to stop. Hopefully it’s not too hard to retroactively turn these garages to other uses, like how dunnhumby plans to expand down into their new garage eventually. The garages at the Banks and Washington Park are great, but flooding the market with parking everywhere is not how you make a transit-friendly urban core.