Construction Set to Begin on Cooperative Clifton Market Later This Month

After a hard-fought fundraising campaign, Clifton Market is expected to begin construction at the end of this month to convert the former 22,000-square-foot Keller’s IGA into a cooperative grocery store.

Incorporated in January 2014, the group behind Clifton Market successfully purchased the former IGA in April 2015, after a year of negotiations and challenges. Since that time, the group has raised money by selling ownership shares, acquiring two loans totaling $3 million to cover the costs for the building’s renovation and purchase of equipment, and securing a 12-year tax abatement from the City of Cincinnati that is valued at $1,063,000.

When the IGA closed in 2011, Clifton and other nearby neighborhoods were added to Cincinnati’s collection of food deserts – places where people are unable to easily access a full-service grocery store.

Following the store’s closure, Clifton residents met and decided to find a way to bring a grocery store back to the neighborhood. According to Marilyn Hyland, a Clifton Market board member, the group of citizens decided that a co-op model would be the most effective, allowing the group to pool their money in order to accomplish their common goal.

Hyland explained to UrbanCincy that the IGA closed, in part, due to problems stemming from the Great Recession, but that the grocery store was still doing around $200,000 in sales a week in its final days.

Clifton Market’s grocery market analyst, Keith Wicks, says that he predicts the new store will draw approximately 15,000 people a week, while also creating 35 new full-time jobs.

While there are a number of other grocery store projects either underway or in planning stages in Corryville, Northside and Avondale, Clifton’s store is expected to be bolstered by its proximity to high population density, along with the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, and Hebrew Union College.

Other neighborhood leaders, meanwhile, are excited for the additional foot traffic the store will bring to the historic business district, along with the reintroduction of local and organic produce to Ludlow Avenue.

“The amount of activity that will flow through the market will aid other Ludlow Avenue businesses in attracting customers, from the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond, into our business district,” said Brad Hawse, a member of the Ludlow 21 working group.

Hawse says that the group is looking forward to increased development in the area as young Americans continue to choose walkable, urban neighborhoods as their preferred locations to live, work, and play.

“This will also provide our neighborhood residents a convenient way to get healthy food without needing to drive or take the bus to a neighborhood across town,” Hawse explained. “This will not only decrease the amount of time they need to spend on grocery shopping, but also reduce the number of automobile trips our community needs to make.”

The development team says that they are currently waiting on their building permit to be approved, and hope to begin renovation work by the end of February. If all goes according to plan, Clifton Market is expected to open near the end of summer.

  • You know taxes are high when an ABATEMENT on 22,000 sf is valued over $1mm. Wow.

    Certainly worth it though. Looking forward to seeing this open!

  • ED

    Ludlow Ave needs new construction housing investment more than anything. It has fallen behind all of the other trending neighborhoods as far as private and public investment, dining, and housing. Despite all the resident support, many, including me, wanted this site to go mixed-use new construction.

    • Some new residential would be nice, but I am very happy to see the district’s grocery store return. Having this gives the NBD the full compliment of offerings that one needs, thus making it the best NBD in the region.

  • KeepReal

    What this area could really use is a nice coffee house, something other than those grubby ones on the strip. Cincinnati, in general , could use some nice coffee houses that are not named Starbucks. Other towns, let alone cities, have some really nice indies. Cincinnati’s indy coffee houses are generally pretty under-capitalized disheveled hippy-chic hangouts: miss-matched furniture, poorly organized and spotty service, over-loud hipster music, unfocused menus, stained mugs, hodge-podge “art”work, etc. They give off a very downmarket feeling and are not nice places to be.

    • I like Cincy’s independent coffee shops. But generally speaking, I totally agree with you. The best of the bunch might be Collective Espresso at the CAC. The area could do much better and have many more, particularly on the west side where there are almost no coffee shops aside from the occassional Starbucks inside a big box store.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Cincinnati’s coffee houses are on whole actually nicer than Chicagos – I prefer grubby cafes that are comfortable to really cool modern looking ones that are not. I don’t like how in most of Chicago its pretty much get your fancy coffee and get out but we’ll serve it to you in this hip ultra modern environment 😛

      More places in Cincy could learn about french press and pour over methods of brewing but as far as having comfortable places that are great for socializing and don’t close too early Cincy’s cafes are pretty darn good.

      The CAC Collective Espresso is a pretty good mix of the two IMO.

  • Elizabeth L

    Will this supermarket offer a delivery service? That would be a boon to Cincinnati residents still living in food deserts. Some stores in other metro areas offer this through their websites, but we might need an offline option too for the very poor or disadvantaged. Didn’t Krogers deliver orders based on paper shopping lists a hundred years ago? Bring that back!