PHOTOS: Grandin Properties Completes $1.6M Renovation of 135-Year-Old Hummel Building

Ninety years after the founding of the City of Cincinnati, in a day when Over-the-Rhine was home to over 40 breweries and Barney Kroger was still writing his business plan; three men sat in a saloon along Vine Street finalizing the design for Music Hall and a property adjacent: 1401 Elm Street.

The triage of architect Samuel Hannaford, Cincinnati political boss George Cox, and construction contractor George Hummel built 1401 as mixed-use development. In addition to multi-family homes, the property included the Hummel Family Market and the ever-popular Hummel Saloon.

Erected in 1878, the structure has withstood the test of time allowing for modern-day developers, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), Hudepohl Construction, and Grandin Properties to rehabilitate it 135 years later.

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The $1.6 million project was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Chad Munitz, Executive Vice President of 3CDC, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls (C), Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney, Councilmember Laure Quinlivan (D), and Peg Wyant of Grandin Properties.

The Hummel Building, which is now home to a 1,900 square-foot restaurant space and four condominiums priced from $270,000 to $375,000, is also the first Over-the-Rhine project for Grandin Properties.

A company best known for their work in upscale suburban neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Grandin invested in 1401 Elm for both its historic significance and recent resurgence of the urban lifestyle.

“Cincinnati is reinventing itself as a hub of influence and innovation,” stated Grandin CEO, Peg Wyant at the ribbon cutting ceremony last week. “Grandin Properties is very pleased to be a part of it.”

Just around the corner from the Hummel Building, crews continued roadwork in preparation for the Cincinnati Streetcar.

“It is exciting to see this property link up with the streetcar,” noted City Manager Milton Dohoney. “Great things happen as we continue to invest in the city with the help of 3CDC.”

The Hummel Building is the second of seven projects to be completed during the fifth phase of 3DCDC’s redevelopment work in Over-the-Rhine. Other properties include Republic Street Lofts, Tea Company Townhomes, Westfalen II, B-Side Lofts, Mercer Commons, and Nicolay, as well as the Bakery Lofts which opened earlier this year. Hummel’s first floor restaurant is slated for a public debut on November 26, 2013.

The City of Cincinnati and 3CDC have financed more than $315 million in redeveloping Over-the-Rhine since 2009. The 110-square block neighborhood is home to the largest concentration of historic structures in the United States: 943 buildings. To date, 103 of those buildings have been restored or stabilized through the work of 3CDC.

  • Eric

    Something that should be covered more by the media: how a middle class family would enter the rehabbed OTR market. It’s either near-$300K condos separated only at midblock by vacant buildings, yuppie apartments of limited supply, or affordable housing. How do you convince a middle class couple/family to purchase in OTR especially on top of giving up their sf home and yard for multifamily? That’s asking a lot and may be the judge of how long it takes OTR to fully redevelop. Until then, this group will continue chose other more sf neighborhoods or the suburbs.

    • That’s a very good point, Eric. It’s an interesting trend that occurs with most all urban neighborhoods as they are restored from years of neglect. What often happens is that the price points just skip over a large percentage of the population.

      I’m not sure why this is exactly, but consider this…this project cost $1.6M to complete.That would mean the four condos would have to sell for $400,000 each just for the developers to break even, then the commercial component would be their revenue. In this case, the housing units are selling for less than $400,000 each, which is why so many developments require financial assistance in the form of tax credits or grants.

    • Eric

      I think where I get lost is how closely the building type is tied to the market. Chicago lost most of its Italianate and other low rise buildings downtown for high rise condos/office (see pic- Dearborn and Madison ca. 1869). The upper class greystones along the lakeshore have stayed upper class for the most part where they remain and the middle class “cottage”, bungalow and sf neighborhoods have stayed affordable where they haven’t totally decayed. So there’s a sense of residency to each neighborhood there (as there is in thriving neighborhoods here). Here, we’re asking people to go back to historic working class tenement-style housing in a manner that would only be appropriate for Brooklyn. So with that approach, how many years would it take to rehab the area south of Liberty?

    • I’ve seen some lower-priced condos, especially closer to Pendleton. But what you touch on regarding the single-family living is an important point. Even within my own circle of friends/acquaintances, I know a lot of renters in OTR, but I’m seeing more 20-somethings BUYING in Northside, Oakley, or Mt. Washington than OTR. I think the trick you will the city try to pull (and you’re already seeing Qualls “focus” on it with Focus 52) is how to balance this great inner-city growth with successful neighborhood development that balances the “suburban” single-family living with the urban amenities.

    • Eric

      Attached is an interesting page from the 2002 OTR Comp Plan. A middle class couple would fit in the middle of the 61%-81% AMI range. So it seems there’s a 2:1 desire for preserving and growing affordable housing to growing middle class and up housing- which isn’t what we’re seeing.

  • Ann Senefeld

    This George Hummel was not related to the Hummel family in the construction business.

    • Paige E. Malott

      This information was recorded during the press conference and can be verified on the Hummel Building’s website:

    • Ann Senefeld

      Paige – Thanks for letting me know. Misinformation is one of my pet peeves as a researcher. I will contact Grandin and hopefully the story will get straightened out.