PHOTOS: Construction Progressing on Thousands of New Downtown Residences

Six months ago, we reported on 11 residential developments moving forward in the Central Business District, Over-the-Rhine, and Pendleton. At the time, these were expected to add about 1,500 new units of housing to the urban core. Although one of these projects has been downsized and another postponed, one new residential project was announced as well.

Most notably, the proposed tower at Fourth and Race was downsized from 300 to 200 units, and the grocery store that would have been located on the ground floor of the building has been dropped from the plan.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) is also shelving its plans for a new mixed-use project at 15th and Race, which would have added 57 residential units. However, 3CDC is also shelving its plan to build 53,000 square feet of office space as part of the third phase of Mercer Commons, and is considering building more residential at that location. The first two phases of Mercer Commons contain 126 apartments and 28 condos in addition to retail space.

Finally, the proposal to bring an AC Hotel to the former School for the Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA) in Pendleton has been scrapped. Developers are now moving forward with an alternate plan, which will convert the building into 155 market-rate apartments.

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The other projects still moving forward include:

  • Phase two of The Banks broke ground in April 2014. It will contain 305 new apartments and 21,000 square feet of retail space, in addition to a new office tower for General Electric.
  • 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.
  • The Seven at Broadway project will feature 110 high-end apartments, built above an existing parking garage. 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.
  • Broadway Square, a $26 million development, is now under construction in Pendleton. Its first phase will feature 39 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space, and developer Model Group will add at least another 39 apartments in the second phase of the project.
  • The Schwartz Building, formerly vacant office space, is being converted into 20 apartments. Developer Levine Properties cited the building’s location along the Cincinnati Streetcar route as a driving factor for the renovation.
  • The Ingalls Building will be redeveloped into 40 to 50 condos and ground-floor retail space by the Claremont Group.
  • Peak Property Group plans to purchase and renovate three buildings on Seventh Street into 75 apartments and 15,000 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.

EDITORIAL NOTE: All 12 photos were taken by Travis Estell for UrbanCincy between July 3 and July 8, 2014.

  • matimal

    Just getting overhead lines off the main streets makes such a difference. How could we get that to happen in more prominent places in Cincinnati?

    • All of us at UrbanCincy agree that burying utilities makes a huge difference in improving the appearance of neighborhoods. Jake once suggested that utility burial would have been a great stimulus project back in ’09, as it would’ve put a lot of people to work and improved the stability of our infrastructure in addition to making our neighborhoods look better.

      Fortunately, the city seems to be funding utility burial little by little, including most of the blocks where the streetscape has been redone in OTR and Pendleton. Some of the utilities were buried along the streetcar route (except for Duke, which opted not to do so) and near the new Uptown Transit District stops (such as at Calhoun and Vine). Finally, I am told that utilities are not completely being buried on Short Vine, but will be consolidated to one side of the street.

    • matimal

      Just getting poles and wires in back alley’s, non-street rights of way, etc. would help. I lived in Kansas City for a while and many neighborhoods had wires along poles directly through the back yards of houses and across parking lots behind buildings. They are rarely located along main roads. I rarely see that in Cincinnati.

    • I don’t know why the City of Cincinnati is so cheap when it comes to this stuff. They have also been incredibly slow at implementing the elements set forth in the MUTCD issued several years ago, like crosswalk markings and pedestrian signals.

    • Scott Nazzarine

      Since you seem to be fairly knowledgeable on this subject I have a question that maybe you can answer or point me in the right direction: Can, for example, a group of private residents on a particular street in this city get their utility lines buried and/or get “gas lights” installed instead of those hideous ’70s-style streetlights (assuming the residents somehow agreed to pay for it); and if so, does anyone know who to contact (at Duke? at the city?) or a rough estimate of how much it would cost? I live in Columbia Tusculum, and have been thinking about proposing this to my neighbors/community council to see if they’d be interested, but don’t know who to contact to see how much it may cost or if its even possible.

  • Why limit the units at Fourth and Race? It’s so incredibly stupid. If anything they should be adding more units to the project.

    • matimal

      cranely has to show non-Cincinnatians, and bizarrely even some Cincinnatians I’ve unfortunately met, that he’s not working too hard for Cincinnati. It’s a sad example of the extent of hostility to Cincinnati that its own mayor wants to be seen as not too good at developing the city he was elected to administer. He has to plant stories in the papers and on local tv where he’s seen working against Cincinnati’s growth. There are suburban constituencies that are threatened by Cincinnati’s success. They don’t see any stake in it for themselves and they can’t compete with it’s density of offerings and infrastructure. Think suburban real estate interests behind the Styrofoam ‘life-style centers’ trying to get financing, public subsidies, and tenants. They’ll support cranely for future state or federal office, if he shows them he opposed Cincinnati’s development.

  • 14thatBremen

    Who owns the vast parking lots along Eggeston? All that parking seems like a waste. Does anyone know why it just sits underutilized? While being tucked between the highways isn’t ideal, it’s still walkable to downtown, the riverfront parks, the casino and Mt. Adams.

    • P&G owns a lot of those. I guess they’ve sat there like that since the warehouse district and rail yard was torn down in that location, and I-71 constructed in its place. With the collection of elevated ramps and highway, the area hasn’t been all that desire able for development, especially when there are much better locations nearby. With that said, I personally think it would be a great location to build a collection of residential high rises (20-25 floors).

  • subocincy

    Out of sheer curiosity, what’s the estimated population of Cincinnati’s CBD/OTR/Pendleton–alias, its “downtown”? (And how does this estimate compare to both Cleveland and Columbus?)

    • Nicole Richter

      Since every city has different definitions of what comprises their “downtown” I think the best way to get a true apple to apple comparison is to use a 1 mile radius surrounding each downtown. According to the 2010 census, Cincinnati has 17,681, Cleveland 9,471 and Columbus 7,416 people living in a mile radius surrounding downtown. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Cleveland and possibly Columbus appear to be moving more quickly to add units to their CBDs.

    • zschmiez

      Gets difficult with columbus, as you start to include areas that house a number of students. Of course you could note that UC has this opportunity, but they dont seem interested in working with the city all that much. Cant say i blame them.

      Yes Cbus is adding units, but as many of us know that it the old penitentiary grounds, so it was basically a giant gravel parking lot from 1999 – 2002 (or so). Blank slate, no rules (or care) as to whats built.

      Meanwhile Cincy has focused, and rightfully so, on rehabbing/keeping the historic feel.

      But theres really no sense in pitting all 3 against eachother. I’ve lived in 2 and each have their own nuances.

    • Nicole Richter

      Cincinnati is competing with Cleveland and Columbus for residents across Ohio and the Midwest so comparisons must be made though. My feeling is that Columbus is adding more residential across the city but not necessarily more downtown. I’m not certain on Cleveland but they do seem to be adding more residents downtown currently.

      Indianapolis also appears to be adding more units to their CBD at the moment, but much of what they are building looks very cheap to me and I doubt it will age well at all. The Cincinnati streetcar should increase the quality of development around Cincinnati’s downtown, and the quality of what is already being built is better than Indy’s overall IMO.

      I agree that the ongoing preservation efforts in Over the Rhine and Pendleton are fantastic but Cincinnati is going to have to pick up the pace if it wants to keep up with other mid-sized cities across the country. Residential infill on the empty lots downtown needs to pick up.

  • Since publishing this story, I have received two bits of feedback from various sources. Firstly, although Peak Property Group is still considering the residential project on Seventh Street, they have not yet purchased the buildings. I have updated the article to make this clear. Secondly, the Claremont Group may scrap the residential conversion of the Ingalls Building and keep is as office space. Even if that happens, the running total is still about 1450-1500 new downtown residences between all of these projects.