Project Officials To Move Forward With Phase III of The Banks Ahead of Schedule

Business leaders and public officials from the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will gather tomorrow morning to celebrate the groundbreaking of the next phase of work at The Banks.

As has been done in the past at the massive central riverfront development, the first work to be done will be the construction of a public parking garage that will lift the project out of the Ohio River’s flood plain. From there, the existing public streets surrounding the project site will be extended to frame the block.

While the event is being touted as a groundbreaking ceremony, workers from Prus Construction and Beaty Construction began mobilizing on the site to perform preparation work. The news is a bit of a departure from previous announcements that said construction work would hold off until the close of the Bengals season in order to preserve parking for tailgaters at Paul Brown Stadium.

In this particular phase of work, project officials say that 690 parking spaces will be built on two levels that will be connected with the rest of the underground parking deck at The Banks, which has been casually described as one of the largest underground parking structures in North America.

This $29.3 million effort is being jointly funded by the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and the State of Ohio’s Jobs Ohio program. Representatives from the various public agencies funding the project say that it will create an estimated 200 jobs, with at least 30% of the contract totals spent with Small Business Enterprises.

Such a claim for small business inclusion is on-target for what the project has been delivering thus far. As of June 2015, the latest reporting date, The Banks has had an average of 36% small business participation and approximately 17.5% minority and female workforce participation.

Nearby work continues on the private sector vertical construction of Radius, a 291-unit apartment midrise with 19,000 square feet of street-level retail, and the 340,000-square-foot General Electric Global Operations Center.

Once these two phases of work are complete, it will allow for the next phase of Smale Riverfront Park to move forward, and will set the stage for private real estate development south of Freedom Way and in between Race and Vine Streets.

So far, Carter USA and the Dawson Company have yet to reveal what will ultimately be built on top of this latest garage extension, but most suspect it will be some combination of apartments and condominiums.

While The Banks has received much positive praise as of late, it has not come without its struggles. The retail in the first phase of the project continues to find its footing, and the area continues to struggle with a brand identity and architectural designs that people feel are worthy for the prominent piece real estate that this development occupies.

  • matimal

    Does this mean the local elite isn’t afraid of Mike Brown anymore?

    • Good question. I have submitted an inquiry about this change in schedule. I suspect it has something to do with construction contracts and being able to complete the phase within the required budget and schedule. Once I find out I’ll let you know.

  • Matt Jacob

    It would be interesting to see the totality of the parking subsidies that the public has given out in our region over the past 10 or so years. $29.3M for 690 spaces here in this phase, phase 1 & 2, dunnhumby, casino, Kenwood Collection, University Station, Oakley Station, and the list goes on and on. I bet when you add it all up that it would be eye opening.

    • Well to be fair, this $29.3M is paying for more than 690 parking spaces. This structure also serves as the foundation for the structures that will get built atop it. These funds will also pay for public utility and roadway extensions. That has been the case for each phase of The Banks.

    • Matt Jacob

      I’m not trying to say they don’t have a place. This is a very good use of a garage at the Banks and in general they’re needed to make many of the developments work without seas of asphalt.

      I’m more curious about how many resources we’ve devoted to auto-dependent developments and if the trend is growing or reducing as the economy recovers. And obviously my assumption would be that in totality it’s much greater than what we’re spending on the streetcar. It would help paint a better picture of our region’s current transportation priorities.

    • JacobEPeters

      I was wondering the same thing after reading the article about the new project at Sycamore & 8th. When you add it all up, it would be interesting to compare how much municipal funding has gone towards the construction of parking garages compared to other public building types (Schools, Courthouses, etc.) in the past 20 years.

  • Brad McLaughlin

    Not a construction or building engineer of any sort, will the plans for the parking structure kind of dictate the size of what to expect above (other than Mike Brown)? mid-rise vs high rise? Not really pulling for either one necessarily, just curious. I would like to see something cutting edge architecturally that will stand up to the test of time, more that a 3D glass rectangle. I person can hope.

    • Yes, how this parking structure is constructed will absolutely determine the height of the buildings that can go on top. That’s because the way this entire development is engineered is that the parking garages essentially act as the foundations for the structures above them.

      With that said, development at The Banks is governed Planned Development District overlay which was developed over the course of the original planning efforts for the district. This is what ultimately controls the height, with some variations being possible. What you have seen in conceptual renderings is essentially the height build out you can expect. But as was discussed with the GE building, there can be some exceptions, and the foundations should be able to accommodate those modest changes without any issue.

  • Does this “ahead of schedule” announcement remind anybody else of the start of streetcar construction at the end of Mark Mallory’s term (which we liked)? I’m glad you are requesting more details, Randy. Everything about development is political.