PHOTOS: Mercer Commons Beginning to Reshape Central Over-the-Rhine

Mercer Commons has long been considered a critically important site in Over-the-Rhine due to its size and central location.

In 2005, Cincinnati Public Schools purchased the land and existing buildings on the 2.2-acre site with the plan to rebuild the shuttered Washington Park Elementary School there.

As plans changed over the years, the school district decided to abandon the school plans for the site and instead sell it to the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) to pursue a $63 million mixed-use development.

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Consisting of a new 340-space parking garage, 28 condos and 96 market-rate apartments, 17,600 square feet of commercial space, and 30 affordable apartments, Mercer Commons is not only adding new structures along Vine Street and Fourteenth Street, but is also renovating 19 historic structures as part of the overall development.

With work on phase one nearing completion, and ground recently being broken on phase two, Mercer Commons is now transforming a large central portion of Cincinnati’s largest historic district.

UrbanCincy staff writer and photographer Jake Mecklenborg visited the site last week to document its progress. What he found is that the finished development will have the appearance of having been renovated and constructed at various times, instead of all at once as it actually is.

“They are building modern-looking row homes on Mercer right next to all the renovations, and I noticed that it looks like they’ve paid some attention to the back alleys, since this is how residents will reach the parking garage,” Mecklenborg explained.

He went on to say that the development team appears to be reusing bricks in the alley serving the site, and that this will end up being the primary access point for residents living at Mercer Commons.

  • jasomm

    Its crazy to see so many historic structures getting rehabbed so quickly. When I volunteered with ReStock back in the 90s it would take several years for a group to make one run-down, Italianate, row-home habitable. And it would only have minor cosmetic clean up on the exteriors. Now its looking like the entirety of OTR could eventually be massive Elfreth’s Alley type neighborhood and tourist attraction. Im hoping to see more OTR pictures on travel sites and pinterest boards in the future.

  • Eric

    For fun, ran the development numbers as if this were a development in the City of London where transit use is encouraged and parking discouraged more so than in American cities. No parking would be required, but if they proposed parking, they’d be restricted to the following: 77 offstreet car parking and 154 secured, internal bike storage spaces for the residential, and 2 offstreet car parking spaces, 3 motorcycle spaces and 7 bike spaces for the commercial.