Mt. Auburn CDC Hosting Public Meeting to Kick-Off Auburn Avenue Development Plan

The Mt. Auburn Community Development Corporation is one of Cincinnati’s newest CDC, and they are actively working on a number of efforts to position the neighborhood for success as investment continues to spread outward from both downtown and uptown.

In order to get to that point, community leaders say that they need a better understanding of where the community stands, what it wants, and how to get there.

“The future of Mt. Auburn is to have successful development that responds to the needs of the neighborhood,” Carol Gibbs, director of the MACDC, explained to UrbanCincy. “It needs to be inclusive.”

Understanding these needs, Gossman Group, DDA and MKSK submitted a strategic development plan proposal to the MACDC in early March. The proposal includes a multi-phase approach to assessing current conditions, identifying potential improvements, conducting a market study, and determining future land uses, massings and the type of development and redevelopment that would be appropriate for the Auburn Avenue Corridor.

“This plan lays out a process that helps it be inclusive,” Gibbs continued. “It has a history to lay out the foundation and it will include all of the stakeholders – those who live, work and play in Mt. Auburn, developers who are here or have plans to be here, and the City departments that have stepped forward to help make it a smooth process.”

News of Uptown Properties bold plans to move their investments into Mt. Auburn, particularly along the Auburn Avenue corridor, sent shock waves through the uptown community last year when the plans became public. The real estate development company, which got its start by redeveloping properties and marketing them to students at the University of Cincinnati, has, in recent years, transformed swaths of Corryville with new apartment complexes that have often replaced smaller and more historic structures.

Dan Schimberg, President and CEO of Uptown Properties, told UrbanCincy that their plans are to, at first, focus on rehabs along Auburn Avenue, along with a new medical office building at the southwest corner of Auburn and McMillan. From there, he says they intend to look elsewhere throughout the neighborhood at redevelopment opportunities.

It is not yet certain how these plans will factor into the strategic development plan that will get started soon, but so far there has been little talk about retail along Auburn Avenue. That may change, however, through this planning process as some neighborhood leaders are interested in establishing a neighborhood business district in Mt. Auburn.

“The CDC hopes that this plan will help us approach businesses and other investors to point out the potential profitable successes in our neighborhood,” said Gibbs. “Our hope is that this will lead to a neighborhood business district in Mt. Auburn.”

Neighborhood leaders will be kicking off the process of thinking about the future of the neighborhood, and the Auburn Avenue corridor in particular, at a public kick-off meeting tonight at 7pm at Taft Elementary School at 270 Southern Avenue. Organizers say the meeting will be structured as an informational session, and will be followed-up by future public meetings for more people looking to get engaged.

  • Jules Michael Rosen

    Yeah, “rehabs.” That’s exactly what Schimberg did with the Hannaford & Sons building on Wellington Pl.

  • Erich Griessmann

    The neighborhood business district needs to be on Dorchester Ave from Josephine to the curve at Sycamore Hill and slightly past the point building on Dorchester and up Auburn about a block or so on toward Christ and get rid of all those abandoned buildings.

    • Jesse

      I rarely go through Mt. Auburn so I have never noticed that park on Dorchester. It looks really nice! Do people go down there from the hospital. It seems like a good place to have lunch on a nice day.

      Too bad the only the only business that appears operational is that convience store with the ridiculously large parking lot accross from the park. With all that empty land around the park it certainly looks like a cool little business district could grow In the area.

    • Erich Griessmann

      I have never seen a soul in that park, but if new developments were built around it, and you maybe shoved a small fountain in it it could be great and successful like the little one in Mt. Adams. I wouldn’t tear any of the beautiful old homes down or anything like that, but on those vacant lots and run down non-descript buildings it could be great. It’s such a shame that Prospect Hill is so blocked off from the rest of Mt. Auburn. It’s too bad there isn’t a through street other than Highland or Sycamore. Like maybe if steps with cascading fountains were built into the hillside from the end of Auburn down to Boal and the park between Boal and Milton. But that might be getting crazy expensive……

    • charles ross

      Speaking of crazy spensive, check the new houses perched on Pueblo by the Young street steps. Just below the Filson swimming pool.

      They will block some of the nice view, but rich folks always doin that.

    • Jesse

      It’s a shame the park is underutilized. Hopefully that will change. You are absolutely right that the surrounding area is ripe for redevelopment.
      To be honest, I can’t believe how little there is around there now. You would think a major employer like Christ Hospital would attract at least a few restaurants or something. I’m sure their cafeteria is first rate but still…

    • charles ross

      Jackson Hill park – I walk my dog there – it has incredible views. 10 years ago it was a drug mart. I guess 5 years ago too.

      This is the site of the Main Street Incline house and also a street car yard. Back before WW1, the Incline houses – Mt Adams, Price Hill, Mt Auburn, Clifton Heights – were the neighborhood Kings Islands of their day.

    • charles ross

      Oh wait – you meant Hopkins Park at Dorchester and Auburn. See, so many parks – 2 of ’em a block apart touch Dorchester. Yes – the Hopkins Park intersection is ideal for a business corner.

    • Jesse

      Yeah, Hopkins park. Sorry about that. There really are a lot of parks around there. I wish my neighborhood had so many!

      Wouldn’t it be cool if the city could use them to attract visitors to the neighborhood? Maybe each park could have some kind of unique feature to encourage exploration. One gets a play fountain for kids, one gets a rose garden, and so on. I’m sure the parks already have their own personalities so build on that! Park hopping could be a fun thing to do for people with young kids.

  • David Bird

    Would the zoning allow business on Dorchester?

    • Erich Griessmann

      I don’t know. But it could be changed. There is so much vacant land available on Josephine its crazy. Just grassy lots forever, and that old run down place on the corner that used to be a gas station and those boarded up buildings at the corner of Auburn and Dorchester. Plus the point building that empty and empty land past it on dorchester and going downhill. Nothing to tear down and plenty to build up!

    • Kevin LeMaster

      I think God’s Bible School and College owns a lot of those properties over there, including the lots you referred to on Josephine. There used to be houses over there, but they were “blighted”, so they were torn down.

    • charles ross

      The Mt Auburn community council has already been looking at encouraging businesses.

  • David Bird

    What about all the vacant land near where Christ just did there expansion above Dorchester near the park? What are the plans for that?

  • charles ross

    As a “used to be Historic” Mt Auburn resident, I must say that Christ Hosp and Uptown Rentals have removed about half of the “historic” from MA over the last 5 years. Yet many horrible noncontributing nonhistoric buildings remain, and several Historic District buildings are in trouble, such as the Governor Noyes house at Hopkins Park.

    The corner of Sycamore/Dorchester/Auburn gets my vote for the CDC focus this summer. Last I checked, the owner of that nasty convenience store (remnant of the Hidy Gas dynasty) was in Indian Hill. This neighborhood has major pluses – look at the crazy amount of parks we have. We have Filson park, where Mr. Filson reputedly scanned the valley for the original Losantiville land-grab, Hopkins Park, possibly the first public park in Cincy, Jackson Hill park at the top of Main street steps, where the ill-fated incline used to climb, and Inwood Park, just below the summit of Vine Street. Plus Eden Park is right across I-71 from here.

  • Jack Klette

    Would love to see a some form of a retirement community on the edge of the hill. I wonder if Christmas Hospital is thinking about that. I think they own the land.