Construction Work Progressing on Hamilton’s $11.8M Artspace Lofts Project

From the construction of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, to aggressively marketing Pyramid Hill, to proclaiming itself The City of Sculpture, Hamilton has been actively reinventing itself as an arts-friendly and arts-centered community since the early 1990s. One of the most recent efforts, however, has been the development of the Artspace Hamilton Lofts, a partnership between Neighborhood Housing Services of Hamilton and Minneapolis-based Artspace Projects.

When finished next summer, the $11.8 million mixed-use development will include 42 market-rate rental units including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom options. It will also include commercial and studio space on the first floor for burgeoning local artists.

Since its inception in the late 1970s, Artspace has transformed itself from simply being an advocate for the needs of artists into one of the premier non-profit developers of art-centric residential and commercial space in the United States. From artist cooperatives, to family lots, to non-residential projects, the Artspace Hamilton Lofts will continue their mission of creating unique, historic spaces for artists and arts organizations.

The Artspace project is also indicative of Hamilton’s efforts to reinvigorate its downtown by embracing its architectural past. Beginning in the 1960s and 70s, in an effort to appear more modern and match the neighboring structures that were being constructed, many of Hamilton’s downtown buildings had superficial metal facades installed on them that masked the original architectural details.

Fortunately, two of these surviving buildings, the Mehrum Building and Lindley Block, are in the process of having those metal facades removed as part of the Artspace project. The two properties were selected for the project after an extensive search, for the best location in Hamilton, over the past several years.

According to the Hamilton Lofts project lead, Sarah White, these facades have, in an ironic twist, protected the buildings from the elements over the years. While the structurally important aspects of the two century-old buildings will be left intact, the soft interiors are being completely gutted and rebuilt so that they will function as one.

The project was funded through a combination of public and private sources, including state historic tax credits and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Project officials say that leasing will begin in the spring, and that those who are interested in applying for one of the residential or commercial art spaces can do so by attending their next informational session on Tuesday, November 18 at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

EDITORIAL NOTE: As part of our efforts to continue to keep you connected with what is happening in the urban areas of our region, we have added a new writer dedicated to covering Butler County’s historic urban cities of Hamilton and Middletown.

David A. Emery, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s School of Planning and former Hamilton resident, will be covering these cities in an effort to provide coverage of two other urban centers in our metropolitan region that boast significant populations and were 19th century boomtowns along the Great Miami River and Miami-Erie Canal.

Over many generations, both cities have been pulled into Cincinnati’s cultural and economic influence, and now essentially serve as satellite cities to the Queen City. The both, however, also are interesting places that are dealing with issues of urban redevelopment, diverse populations and changing economies.

Join Us for a Special URBANexchange with Ed Glaeser Thursday at 5:30pm

Triumph of the CityThis month our URBANexchange event will highlight an influential urban thinker and writer who is in town to speak at the University of Cincinnati.

Noted author, urbanist and economics guru Dr. Edward Glaeser will be at the Lindner College of Business this Thursday to speak on behalf of the TAFT Research Center. In 2010, Glaeser, an economics professor at Harvard University, wrote the book Triumph of the City which received a great deal of praise from the urban planning community.

Glaeser’s ideas on cities, skyscrapers and the future economy are much debated yet very carefully considered. As a result, his discussion at this event is expected to be very interesting and thought provoking.

The event will be held in Room 112 in the Lindner College of Business. The event is free and will begin at 5:30pm. The event is a short walk from the #19, #24, #78 and Metro*Plus bus routes, and is located near the Jefferson and University Avenue Cincy Red Bike station.

After the lecture, UrbanCincy will trek over to Taste of Belgium on Short Vine for an informal gathering to further discuss the lecture and current events. Dr. Glaeser, if you’re reading this, you are more than welcome to attend.

Stunning timelapse views of New York and Chicago

Aside from public policy in general, if there are two topics that define UrbanCincy they are transportation and urban design. So often these two elements are beautifully captured in photographs, and, in special occasions, through wonderful videography as well. Such is the case with Geoff Tompkinson‘s timelapse video of New York City.

The European-based photographer has been known for his global travel and breathtaking imagery. One of his more recent videos is New York Noir, which is an alternative to his originally produced Moving Through New York.

The roughly three-minute video takes viewers through some of New York’s most impressive transportation structures, while also taking a general tour of some of the city’s most well-known urban spaces.

Tompkinson’s video of New York is just one in a series of timelapse videos he has put together in a series that has also included Istanbul, Hermitage, Venice, St. Petersburg and Chicago, which is also embedded below for your viewing enjoyment.

Final SSOM Event of the Year to Celebrate the Coming of Fall

The temperatures are cooling down and the summer festival season is drawing to a close. That means that this weekend’s Second Sunday on Main street festival will be that last of the year.

As is always the case, there is a theme for the festivities at this month’s event. In a nod to the changing seasons, SSOM will celebrate in ‘Fall Carnival’ fashion with a pumpkin market, costume parade, live music, food trucks, an outdoor biergarten and trick-or-treating.

There will also be the standard collection of dozens of local vendors and specials at Main Street businesses.

In addition to the costume parade, which will take place at 3pm at the MOTR Stage, organizers say that there will also be a costume swap where people can bring any clean, still wearable costumes with them and take home something else of their choosing for free.

Crosswalk painting will continue this month, as it has in the past, and represent the fourth crosswalk along the several block-long stretch of Main Street. Festival organizers say that the crosswalk to be painted this Sunday is at Fourteenth Street and Main Street, and will get started at 12pm with artist Pam Kravetz.

Another interesting component of this month’s SSOM will be the celebrity chef demo at Mr. Pitiful’s with Chef de Cuisine Mapi De Veyra and area bartender Tyler Delmatto who is known for his work at Quan Hapa and Asian Food Fest. This demonstration is also free and will take place at 2:30pm.

Second Sunday on Main is a free event open to the public and is one of the city’s oldest open streets festivals. Festivities on Sunday will run from 12pm to 5pm, with Main Street being closed to vehicular traffic from Thirteenth Street to Liberty Street.

EDITORIAL NOTE: UrbanCincy is an official media partner of Second Sunday on Main; and is proud to support the city’s oldest open streets festival.

Fifth Annual Asian Food Fest Moves to Washington Park This Sunday

The fifth annual Asian Food Fest (AFF) is coming to Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine on Sunday, October 5.

Festival organizers say that the event aims to promote diversity through Asian food and culture, and features items from countries all over Asia including Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and the Indian subcontinent.

This year the AAF has formed a food council to work with each of their vendors to put together a collective menu that organizers believe will provide a unique experience for festival attendees. With a variety of small plates priced from $2 to $6, they hope those who attend can take a thorough food tour of Asia in a single day.

An exciting change for AAF this year is its move from The Banks to Washington Park. Lam Dang, marketing director for AFF, says that Washington Park, with the help of 3CDC, will provide a lively backdrop and a more comfortable place to hose a festival of this nature.

“At The Banks there wasn’t any natural area to sit down and eat, or to hangout on the street,” Dang told UrbanCincy. “We brought in our own tent and tables there but still the overall feel was very rigid, though The Banks did have a nice view of the city.”

Dang also said the lack of mature street trees or buildings to naturally shade the festival also made it a bit uncomfortable at times. To that end, he expects the softer landscape at Washington Park to make for a great venue for the festival.

Dang says that the benches, chairs and tables in grass area and the fountain steps in Washington Park will make it very easy to find a place to eat food and enjoy the performances offered at AAF. And with Washington Park’s playground, interactive fountains and dog park, it creates a family and dog friendly atmosphere that was simply not possible on Freedom Way.

Along with food, this year’s festival will also feature a human foosball arena where people will be able to hop into an inflatable, life size foosball arena. As it to be expected, there will also be Asian beer, cultural dances, vocalists, and Asian inspired arts and crafts.

Admission to the festival is free, but donations are encouraged. Proceeds from Asian Food Fest are used to support the Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati, and to host future Asian cultural events throughout the region.

The festival will take place this Sunday from 11am to 9pm at Washington Park, which is well-served by Metro bus service. There are also dozens of free off-street bicycle parking spaces available, and there are multiple Cincy Red Bike stations within a short walk.