$52 Million Residential Tower Appears Poised to Move Forward at Eighth and Sycamore

Following committee approval yesterday, City Council appears poised to approve a $7.3 million financial package that should bring a 130-unit North American Properties project to reality.

Designed by John Senhauser Architects, the $52 million, 15-story residential tower will accelerate the transformation of the northeastern corner of the central business district, where business leaders have been trying to rebrand it as the Eighth Street Design District for its cluster of design agencies.

As City Hall has done in the past, 3CDC will be used to build and operate a 500-space public parking garage, along with 10,000 square feet of commercial space, which is estimated to account for $16.5 million of the total project cost.

The project was first announced two years ago, and will take the place of the former two-story Red Cross building at the southeast corner of Eighth and Sycamore Street.

While the parking garage seems oversized at face value, it is part of a larger development efforts taking place nearby, including a 115-room Holiday Inn that includes no parking at all. As part of that deal, the City of Cincinnati agreed to build a parking garage that would provide 120 spaces. Originally planned to include 610 parking spaces, the new parking garage will support both developments and replaces an aging public garage that once occupied the site.

The relatively quick procession of this project stands in contrast to the 111-unit residential tower North American Properties recently completed called Seven at Broadway. Unlike this yet-to-be-named project, Seven at Broadway took more than a decade to complete, with an above-ground parking garage occupying the site since 2003.

The apartments at Seven at Broadway are some of the priciest in the city, and were pre-leased at a pace that surprised developers and investors. Price points have not yet been identified for this new project.

The completion of the Holiday Inn and this new residential tower will significantly alter this corner of downtown, but many still view the two large surface lots across Sycamore Street as the final major pieces of the puzzle.

The southern of the two lots is controlled by St. Xavier Church, and the northern lot is owned by Columbia Oldsmobile Company.

When General Electric was searching for a site for their new Global Operations Center, which ultimately located at The Banks, a rendering surfaced that showed an office building for GE on the northern of the two lots. Rumors have once again begun circulating online that the mockups might be or could be related to potential corporate offices for General Electric should they take action on their relocation threats to the State of Connecticut.

The full City Council will vote on this financial package on Wednesday

  • akaPatience

    The rendering of a GE headquarters shown on WLWT that’s pictured above appears to displace the historic Dennison Hotel, and possibly other buildings on that block of the Main Street Historic District between 7th and 8th Streets, like the Ohio Bookstore as well as Cool Lofts and The Aurora. Overall, the headquarters looks massively out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood.

    • EDG

      I wouldn’t bet on anything happening to the buildings north of the Dennison Hotel

    • I believe the Dennison Hotel is actually behind this building and not affected by it, but I could be wrong. It’s a bit difficult to tell from the angle shown. The current surface lot is quite large – certainly large enough to accommodate a building of this nature without needing to tear down the historic buildings fronting onto Main Street.

    • akaPatience

      Randy, the Dennison Hotel is a goner in this rendering and the Joseph family, which owns it as well as the parking lot, didn’t buy the hotel nearly 2 years ago to develop it but rather to demolish it, like they have all of the other buildings they’ve bought on the block. They probably haven’t given up hope yet that they’ll succeed in tearing down the Dennison.

      It’s my understanding that they’ve held out for a building of the prospective GE headquarter’s size or larger (just like the [former] Chiquita Building which was built on land they own) for this parking lot site. It’s their land, but I will confess to a bias towards a bit more of a human-scale development in this location. There are few if any hi-rise office buildings, in Cincinnati at least, that hold out much interest for passersby. Tell me of a tall building in the CBD besides the Carew Tower (!) or the Westin Hotel that offers much vitality or interest to pedestrians. Now, it could be argued that that’s the case because more-recent tall buildings have been relegated to lonesome parts of the CBD. But then again, wouldn’t that help prove that they add little vitality and interest, at least on the street level?

    • EDG

      Dennison is now owned by the dealership group that owns the surrounding surface parking for that entire block. Land banking for something.

  • matimal

    So Cincinnati should never be larger than it is at this moment. No increase in space should happen?

    • akaPatience

      matimal, if your comment is in response to mine, I would say this: anything built on an empty parking lot would result in an “increase in space”. But should it ignore the context and scale of its surroundings to the extent that the prospective GE headquarters does? The residential tower (it’s my understanding it’ll be 10 stories, not 15, but I may be wrong) mentioned earlier in the article is narrow-enough to not totally overwhelm its neighbors, unlike the massive GE building. The rendering shows the south elevation of The Renaissance apartments to be sunny, but IRL it would be cast in shadows most of the time.

      Bottom line: Architect John Sennhauser showed more respect for the surroundings in his design for the residential tower than the GE building, which thumbs its nose at many of its neighbors while also causing the demolition of at least one historic structure.

    • EDG

      Ignore Mr. Hyperbole

    • matimal

      We can’t afford to be this picky about how we develop.

    • In any case, the GE building shown here is highly conceptual. It’s just interesting to see that the site is being shopped around for a development of this scale.

    • EDG

      There are 50,000 parking spaces in the CBD…how many people are there, Mr. Hyperbole?

  • EDG

    To show you how much City Hall values parking as an economic development tool, City Planning’s report on the Holiday Inn project actually recommended denial (*knowing that it would get approved) so that they could create a reason to overbuild the Sycamore garage.

    • John Schneider

      I’m on the City Planning Commission, and no such thing happened.

    • EDG

      The report I read recommended denial

    • John Schneider

      ^ Nope

    • EDG

      IDC > Planning

  • Interestingly I was told last summer by someone with connections I trust that the 6.5 million the mayor screwed Flaherty & Collins out of at 4th & Race would end up in his buddies North American Properties pockets. The mayor even threw in some extra cash.

    • EDG

      Typical machine politician… and don’t fret about a grocery store in downtown or clifton

      CityBeat: “To give some perspective, the $7 million involved in the deal is about twice the amount of money the city has committed to human services funding for next fiscal year. But the development will create four full time and 24 part-time jobs worth about $2.2 million in income taxes, so there’s that.”

    • EDG

      Small price to pay to your machine politician, helps to be on 3CDC board- http://www.naproperties.com/leadership-team/tom-williams/

    • matimal

      Good. Direct your indignation at cranely and his paymasters, not me.

    • EDG

      CityBeat: “To give some perspective, the $7 million involved in the deal is about twice the amount of money the city has committed to human services funding for next fiscal year. But the development will create four full time and 24 part-time jobs worth about $2.2 million in income taxes, so there’s that.”