New Workshops Hope to Assist Homebuyers Looking to Rehab in Over-the-Rhine

Aside from buying the latest condominiums available through 3CDC, owning a home in historic Over-the-Rhine can be a challenge. Many buildings that are not already occupied are typically abandoned and some are in dire condition of falling apart.

There have been plenty of people who have taken on the task to rehab abandoned buildings only to find that they may have taken on too much. The Over-the-Rhine Foundation is hoping that a new workshop will help those interested in rehabbing historic buildings make the connections, get the information and understand the potential challenges involved with such a process.

Beginning in April, the Over-the-Rhine Foundation is launching a series of three workshops geared towards addressing these challenges. Organizers say that boosting home ownership rates is one of the major goals of the foundation.

“We as a foundation are committed to revitalizing the diverse OTR neighborhood, and a key objective is building community by encouraging and promoting owner-occupied development,” Kevin Pape, President of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation, said in a prepared statement.

Pape says that the three-part series will begin with an overview of the scope of rehabbing property in the 19th century neighborhood. That first session will end with an optional walking tour of rehabbed properties, while the second and third sessions will provide a more in-depth look at the process of rehab and financing.

“These workshops will help individuals gain access to the resources, expertise, and development tools needed to ensure the success of their community investments,” Pape continued.

Registration for all three workshops is $35 until April 4, when the registration fee will then increase to $50. The sessions will take place at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (map) and will occur on Saturday, April 12, May 10 and June 14. Those interested can currently register on the Over-the-Rhine Foundation’s website.

All photographs by Travis Estell for UrbanCincy.

  • Matt Jacob

    This is such a needed program. I’m so glad that the OTR Foundation is taking the lead on giving everyday people the knowledge to renovate and restore the amazing historic buildings in OTR. They are deteriorating so fast and without an army of small developers we’ll needlessly lose many great buildings.

    Bigger developers like 3CDC, Urban Sites, and Model have played a critical role so far in OTR’s redevelopment. They’ve redefined the neighborhood in many ways and gotten the city as a whole to take a second look at the architectural treasures that have been sitting right under many people’s noses. And although they continue to rebuild large swaths of the neighborhood, there is still so much more to do and there are still so many great opportunities left for small developers to take advantage of.

    Much of the opportunity lies North of Liberty now, but most small developers take one look at a cheap vacant shell or a gutted building and see more work than they can handle and something too costly to be a worthwhile project. If you have the determination to see the project through and some patience, it can be done and profitable. Bridging the knowledge gap that exists is crucial not only for new developers to answer their questions of how to make it all work, but also for existing small developers starting out on their first project. Broadening the skillset of the development community as a whole on these type of historic buildings is really needed, and I for one am really excited for these workshops.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    I agree Matt. The problem with OTR has always been that unlike Northside or Mt. Adams the buildings are way too big and complex for any one person to finance or build out. These buildings devour cash and the returns are very slow. If you have $300,000 sitting around, you can get a virtual guarantee in the stock market or rentals near UC or you could roll the dice in OTR renovating a shell.

    • Thomas Hadley

      Jake and Matt,

      Your comments are much appreciated. There are challenges to rehabbing buildings in OTR, the Brewery District and Pendleton. However with the increasing interest and redevelopment activities in the urban core, commercial lenders and savings and loans are offering mortgages. Why? Because we have comps! It still take some creative financing to make these projects work. But the Over the Rhine Foundation believes owner occupied development must an essential piece of the revitalization of the urban neighborhoods.