PHOTOS: Thousands of New Residential Units to Transform Downtown

Downtown Cincinnati is experiencing a new wave of development, with new office space at the Dunnhumby Centre, two new hotels in the historic Enquirer Building, the new Mabley Place in the former Tower Place Mall, and several other projects. But at UrbanCincy, we are most excited about the large number of new residences.

With more residents, the urban core will be able to support more essential neighborhood businesses—such as grocery stores, dry cleaners, and affordable restaurants—that are necessary for the long-term stability of the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods.

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Editor’s Note: Check out our updated photos of these construction projects, taken in July 2014.

If all of the announced projects go according to plan, around 1,500 new units of housing will be added over the next two to three years, and each individual project will offer something unique. There will be a mix of apartments and condos; one-bedroom and two-bedroom units; affordable and luxury price points; historic renovations and new construction.

Most recently, the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) announced a new development at 15th and Race that will include 57 new residential units and retail space; the exact mix of condos and apartments has not yet been announced. 3CDC is also proceeding with the three-phase Mercer Commons development, which will include a grand total of 126 apartments and 28 condos.

Other projects moving forward include:

  • The new tower at Fourth and Race will contain 300 luxury apartments and a 15,000 square foot grocery store. Developer Flaherty & Collins will begin demolition of the site’s existing parking garage, often called Pogue’s Garage, in the first half of 2014.
  • Phase two of The Banks is expected to finally break ground in 2013 2014, adding 305 new apartments and 21,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Developers of the Fountain Place retail building want to add 180 to 225 residential units above the existing Macy’s department store.
  • AT580, formerly known as the 580 Building, is being converted from office space into 179 apartments. The existing retail spaces on the first and second floors will remain.
  • A new tower above the Seventh and Broadway Garage will feature 110 high-end apartments. The target demographic for these units will be empty-nesters and older professionals looking for downtown living, according to Rick Kimbler, partner at the NorthPointe Group.
  • Three buildings on Seventh Street, which have been purchased by Peak Property Group, will be converted into 75 apartments and 15,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Broadway Square, a $26 million development in Pendleton, will feature 39 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space in first phase. Developer Model Group will add at least another 39 apartments in the second phase of the project.
  • The Ingalls Building will be redeveloped into 40 to 50 condos and ground-floor retail space by the Claremont Group.
  • The Schwartz Building, formerly vacant office space, will be converted into 20 apartments. Developer Levine Properties cited the building’s location along the Cincinnati Streetcar route as a driving factor for the renovation.

All photographs by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

  • matimal

    I think you’d better hold off on any predictions on the Banks. There are obviously some unseen interests that don’t want it to expand, at least not now. It will happen. It’s just too valuable, but they might delay it for several years.

  • jasomm

    I think the most important and tenuous aspect of all the developments are the affordable units. Keeping a full spectrum of household incomes in a rapidly redeveloping area is something that has proved nearly impossible for major cities to pull off. I will be very impressed if Cincy/OTR staves off urges of full-on gentrification over the next 10-15 years.
    Are there many policies in place (with teeth) to keep this from happening?

    • Eric Douglas

      I’m not sure that’s as great of a concern when you’re talking about renovating former office buildings or developing air space. Who’s being displaced?

    • matimal

      Gentrification is Cincinnati’s only hope. “preserving” mixed income neighborhoods is something for big coastal cities to worry about. Cincinnati has the cheapest housing of any metro over 2 million in the U.S. This is less of a problem in Cincinnati than almost anywhere in America. Staving off redevelopment is truly the least of Cincinnati’s worries.

    • Steven Fields

      Only hope for what?

    • matimal

      It’s the only hope for higher property values, higher tax income, and more tax paying residents. Without these, Cincinnati will not grow.

    • jasomm

      All I mean is it is a slippery slope when you look at the long view (20-50 years). If gentrification continues unbalanced by affordable housing requirements, than areas city of a city can be completely priced out of even middle incomes, and that is just bad planning. Every level of income earners should be able to walk (or take public transit) in 10-15 minutes from downtown businesses to housing that fits their income.

      Its an easy and thing to make policy right now as redevelopment is still in early stages, but just look at what happened to San Fransisco affordability over the last 20-30 years. Now they are in crisis mode.

    • matimal

      The majority of us will be dead in 50 years. The U.S. might not exist anymore. America just doesn’t operate on time scales like that. True ‘gentrification’, that is displacement of lower income people by higher income people, barely exists in Cincinnati. Even 3cdc has done very little actual displacement. Most of the buildings they’ve done were already empty. Many of the old regulars of the streets of OTR didn’t live there. They ‘commuted’ from Westwood, Avondale, and other neighborhoods to spend the day somewhere more interesting. They weren’t displaced. If Cincinnati ever prices out middle income people, I will be shocked….thrilled, but shocked. That is like a a homeless person worrying about paying too much for a house when they have two dollars to their name. Gentrification could not be less important as a consideration for those seeking to improve the economic and financial position of Cincinnati. You do not have to worry about poor people losing out to gentrification. Many would be thrilled to have a car and and a starter home in Forest Park or Kennedy Heights. If you want to help them, help them to get that, don’t indulge some romantic fantasy about the solidarity of the poor that doesn’t exist.

    • There are two separate issues that people are talking about when they talk about “gentrification”.

      The first issue is the direct displacement of the poor. I am not aware of this currently happening in OTR, and I can’t really see it happening for the foreseeable future. There are too many vacant buildings that can be renovated into new living space before greedy landlords start kicking out their tenants and converting apartments into condos.

      The second aspect is the overall rising of property values. Over time, rent will go up and some people will be forced to move somewhere cheaper. Of course, anyone who currently owns a home in OTR will benefit from this, not suffer from it.

      What’s also interesting to me is that rising property values are only considered a problem in urban areas. When a suburban neighborhood does something to improve property values, it’s generally seen as good for the neighborhood. But when the same things happen in an urban area, people scream, “gentrification!”

    • matimal

      Exactly, Travis. This ISN’T a problem. Its the solution to Cincinnati’s financial problems. There are people on the political left, as well as the right, that find the prospect of an increasingly valuable urban center to be threatening to their interests and their view of the world. Their attitudes are the problem, not increasing property values in Cincinnati.

    • jasomm

      nice slide show

  • xclone25x

    Great development, but very lopsided for rentals; I’m sure there are driving market forces and reasons, but I wish there were more condos / ownership options in the works

    • Guest

      Need more of this

    • Wade Howell

      I wish there were more rentals for industry workers, students and artists. Impossible rental pricing is a hot topic for us millennials downtown.

    • Eric Douglas

      Agree. “Housing for the millennial middle class as an OTR repopulation strategy”-

    • Matt Jacob

      Wow Eric. I missed that letter back in October, and just read it (thanks for the link). Really impressed and couldn’t agree more about needing to give the option of ownership to the new residents of OTR if we want the repopulation to be sustainable as Millenials age. I see some apartments changing over to condos eventually and areas like the Mulberry hillside/Prospect Hill eventually becoming fruitful ground for new families as well as into Mt. Auburn and Walnut Hills. Close enough to still be close to the action, but safely away enough to raise kids. If schools like Rothenberg and SPCA are good viable options in 5-10 years, you’ll see enough staying instead of moving to Hyde Park or Oakley.

  • It will be interesting to watch how many residents are added to the core as these projects come online. I would guess that 2,000 new residents is a realistic estimate if occupancy levels stay as high as they are now.

  • I want an apartment in the Schwartz building! (it was harder to spell with an S than I thought it would be)

  • CollegeHill_45224

    I’m excited. I love all of the new developments.