PHOTOS: $80M Mixed-Use Development Nears Completion in Clifton Heights

Since 2000, the University of Cincinnati’s surroundings have changed dramatically – many homes and a few landmark buildings were demolished for construction of Stetson Square, McMillan Manor, University Park Apartments, and 65 West. U Square at the Loop, a 161-unit, $80 million midrise situated between McMillan and Calhoun Streets, has been under construction for more than a year and is scheduled for occupancy on August 1.

The development includes over a dozen street-level commercial spaces, an office building that has been rented by the University of Cincinnati, and a site fronting McMillan Street where a hotel is planned. Apartment prices range between $695 for studios to $2,350 for penthouses with balconies.

U Square at The Loop

Reserved parking spaces in the development’s two garages will cost $95/month. Unlike other new apartment complexes in the area, units at U Square at the Loop can be rented by non-students.

In the early 2000s the site where U Square at the Loop is being built was partially cleared for a very different development – a 360-unit condo midrise dubbed McMillan Park that had been in planning since 1999. The two phases of the development were planned above two underground parking garages totaling 900 spaces, and planned units ranged from $160,000 for a one bedroom to $800,000 for a penthouse.

That project was to be financed by the University of Cincinnati, the site assembled by the City of Cincinnati through eminent domain, and the project managed by the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC). Demolition of properties began in 2003, but litigation involving the owners of Acropolis Chili, Inn the Wood, and two fast food restaurants was not resolved until 2007, a year after the university withdrew its funding.

In 2008 Towne Properties became the project’s developer, and the long-vacant Hardee’s and Arby’s that had been the subject of eminent domain litigation were demolished that summer.

Renderings depicting a development similar to what is nearing completion in 2013 were published that fall, and the project was dubbed Uptown Commons in 2009. The project’s name changed again to U Square at the Loop in 2010 and construction began in 2012.

  • Andrew

    There are NO trees being planted along Calhoun or McMillan!

    • The developers have shown street trees, in the renderings for this project, along both Calhoun and McMillan Streets. Sometimes they wait to plant them until the construction work is done so that the heavy construction equipment doesn’t tear them up.

      I don’t know if that’s what they’re planning for here, but it would seem logical to include street trees since the recent streetscaping work on both Calhoun and McMillan Streets have included them.

    • Joshua Michaels

      If you look at the sidewalk, you can see where they plan to remove sections of concrete when the time is right to plant the trees. They’re about as often as the trees across the street. It’ll look much better once these have been planted and have had time to mature.

  • Mark Christol

    Went by the other day. From the sidewalk parts kinda look like a bunch of upended shipping containers moshed together.

  • Doesn’t it violate federal housing law for a landlord to refuse to rent an apartment to someone because of her or his educational status?

    • I don’t believe the developers are blocking students from renting there. I think the point that Jake was making is that the developer has built the development to accommodate more than just students. Many of the recent residential construction nearby has been targeted specifically for students, so this development represents a diversion from that.

    • “Unlike other new apartment complexes in the area, units at U Square at the Loop can be rented by non-students.” This implies that other apartment complexes are ONLY renting to students. Is Jake just admitting what everyone knows, or is this an ‘official’ policy of other landlords in the area? And if so, isn’t this illegal?

  • The office portion of the development will be occupied within the next week or so. I just finished getting all the network equipment configured and ready for install.

  • McMillan a copycat of the banks buildings and the Calhoun St building’s frontage is too long for my taste. Thin, boring building with undifferentiated tenant space. Could be better given the amount of starchitects within the UC campus.

  • David Thomas

    Those prices seem pretty high for students. I guess they’re not aimed for students?

    • Yes and no. This apartment building is not limited to students. Meanwhile, today’s college students are rich.

    • $695 for a studio? Across the street they’re paying $800 a bed in 4 person suites. I bet these get snatched up quick.

    • David Thomas

      Seems silly to pay that much. You can get nice 2 bedroom apartments in gaslight for $800. But I guess you’re paying for being on campus and in a new building.

  • KeepReal

    The middle portions of the development are pretty bland and undistinguished, but do not offend too much. On the other hand, the parking garages, anchoring the ends, are truly monstrous. Those dinky red mesh screens they’ve tacked on don’t do a thing to mitigate the glaring lights and general vulgarity of those structures. If I were the would-be developer of the Lenhardt’s site I would sue. Who would, after all, want to rent an apartment across the street from that monstrosity?