Christmas Came Early for Southwest Ohio Developers, Historic Preservationists

The Ohio Development Services Agency provided developers and historic preservationists around the state with an early Christmas present when they announced 18 projects that would receive Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

In total, the tax credits are worth $22.8 million and are expected to spur $225.6 million in private investment.

“A community’s historic buildings make it unique,” said David Goodman, director of the ODSA. “Giving a building new life honors the history of the building, while creating construction jobs in the short-term and opportunity for economic activity in the future.”

In recent years southwest Ohio had fared extremely well in the competitive bid process for the funds, and this round proved to be much of the same. This group of winning applicants includes five from Cincinnati, one from Hamilton, and two from the Dayton area.

One of the Dayton projects was the winner of one of the state’s two prestigious $5 million awards. That money will go toward the $46 million United Brethren Building project in downtown Dayton, which will transform the long-vacant, 112-year-old building into 164 apartments.

While the Cincinnati-region had the most number of awarded projects, most of the tax credits were small in size. Four projects, three located in Over-the-Rhine and one in Hamilton, received amounts ranging from $150,000 to $250,000. While small in scope, the projects will save numerous historic structures from demolition, while also creating dozens of residential units and commercial space.

The long-debated Freeport Row project, located at Liberty and Elm Streets, received a sizable $1,358,772 tax credit to help restore five historic structures as part of the overall $25 million development. Once complete, the project is expected to yield 110 apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail, and a total of 100,000 square feet of new construction on the vacant lots surrounding the historic structures.

Just blocks north of Freeport Row, along the Cincinnati Bell Connector, is another project that took home the largest tax credit in Cincinnati. Market Square III was awarded with $1,690,000 in tax credits and push forward the latest phase of Model Group’s massive redevelopment efforts surrounding Findlay Market.

Market Square III will renovate eight historic structures, most of which are currently vacant, to include street-level commercial space with 38 apartments in the upper floors.

Grandin Properties To Celebrate Ribbon Cutting For $2M Hogan Building Restoration

Roughly two years ago UrbanCincy reported that Grandin Properties had been awarded nearly $400,000 in historic tax credits from the Ohio Development Services Agency. The past 24 months have proved fruitful, and neighborhood leaders now intend to celebrate a ribbon cutting for the $2 million project on Tuesday.

The developers say that the Hogan Building is already 50% leased, and that the 12 residences range from $995 per month for one-bedroom units, up to $2,395 per month for two-story, two-bedroom units with decks.

The restoration work brings two historic structures back to life that are now 138-years-old.

The project is named after Ohio Attorney General Timothy Hogan for his courageous role in defending German immigrants during the anti-German hysteria during World War I. Interestingly enough, Hogan is also the grandfather of Peg Wyant – the Founder and CEO of Grandin Properties.

“Few in any age have the courage to stand up to such hysteria,” Wyant said. “On behalf of two high school teachers of German, he filed suit against Ohio demanding preservation of the right to speak and use and teach the language of ones choosing.”

Wyant went on to say that Hogan won that case, which has since become known as the German School case in the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Hogan Building, of course, also represents a win for the State of Ohio’s bold historic tax credit program which is seen as saving hundreds of buildings and spurring millions of private investment throughout the state.

“This is public-private money coming together,” explained David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “Saving historic buildings strengthens Ohio’s communities which attracts businesses and visitors to the state.”

The conclusion of work at the Hogan Building also comes just after Grandin Properties announced an intention to raise $5 million to $10 million in private equity to spur even more redevelopment work in Over-the-Rhine. To date, Grandin Properties has completed seven projects tallying nearly $10 million in private investments.

Denis Back served as the project architect, while Hudepohl Construction worked as the general contractor. The property was sold to Grandin Properties by 3CDC. It was financed through PNC, with financial support from the City of Cincinnati and Ohio Development Services Agency.

Those interested in touring the remaining available units can do so by contacting leasing@grandinproperties.com or (513) 871-7110. Those looking to participate in the ribbon cutting festivities are encouraged to arrive at the project site, located at 1317 and 1319 Republic Street, by 10:30am on Tuesday, January 12.

Over-the-Rhine Wins Big in Latest Round of Ohio Historic Tax Credits

The Ohio Development Services Agency divvied up its thirteenth round of historic tax credits yesterday. As has been the case in the past, Over-the-Rhine, one of the nation’s largest historic districts, was a big winner.

In addition to the mega tax credit awarded to Music Hall, five other projects in the neighborhood received tax credits through the program.

Urban Sites received two tax credits totaling $500,000 that will enable the Over-the-Rhine-based developer to restore three historic structures on Main Street and Clay Street; and create 23 apartments along with street-level retail.

Another project at 51 E. Clifton Avenue received a $147,000 tax credit that will go to help cover the costs of the $750,000 project, and ultimately create seven market-rate apartments in the 124-year-old structure.

Another big winner, in addition to Music Hall and Urban Sites, was Grandin Properties – a company that has taken an increasing interest in the neighborhood and even relocated their office to the Washington Park district in recent months.

Through the historic tax credit program, Grandin Properties will receive nearly $400,000 for their planned $1.5 million renovation of two 136-year-old buildings on Republic Street in between Thirteenth and Fourteenth. Once complete, developers say that the buildings will have 12 residential apartments.

“These projects transform vacant and underutilized properties into viable places for business and living,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, in a prepared release. “This program has been a valuable tool for community revitalization.”

State officials say that the application deadline for the next round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program is March 31, 2015, and that approved applicants will be announced at the end of June 2015.

$7.8M Renovation of Historic Pabst Bedding Warehouse to Start This March

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) plans to begin a $7.8 million renovation project at the northwest corner of Twelfth and Walnut Streets this March.

The project received a critical boost in late December when the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) awarded a $778,000 Historic Preservation Tax Credit to 3CDC.

Officials with ODSA say that the project received the tax credits because it was financed, showed a good return on investment, represents a building of significance to the neighborhood, and is ready to move forward immediately.

“The project was funded because it scored well within our criteria,” explained Stephanie Gostomski, Public Information Officer with ODSA. “Also, this is one of the newer structures that contributes to the significance of the Over-the-Rhine Historic District and will retain its warehouse and industrial character upon conclusion of the project.”

Due to the building’s relatively good condition, 3CDC officials say that they expect construction work to take several months and hope to move into what will become the development corporation’s new headquarters this summer. Once complete, 3CDC will occupy 12,000 square feet of the building’s office space, while another tenant will use the remaining 6,000 square feet of office space.

As 3CDC’s success in Over-the-Rhine has mounted, its staff has grown along with it – now with 50 full-time employees and 43 seasonal workers. But 3CDC officials say they are not the only ones placing a premium on office space in the city’s largest historic district.

“There is a lot of demand for larger floor plates with more square footage, and there are plenty of smaller office users,” explained Anastasia Mileham, Vice President of Communications at 3CDC. To that end, Mileham says that the final product will include open floor plans and will reopen the large windows on the building’s north façade.

As part of the move 3CDC will be vacating their existing office space on Race Street near Washington Park. Due to the strong demand for office space, Mileham did not express concern over filling that space and informed UrbanCincy that they are currently finalizing a lease for a new tenant.

In addition to the 18,000 square feet of office space, the prominent warehouse building will also include 9,000 square feet of street-level retail space

The building is one of the largest single structures in Over-the-Rhine south of Liberty Street and was originally a warehouse for Pabst Bedding. The structure then had been used by Society National Bank and later Fifth Third Bank before it was abandoned in the early 2000s.

According to Hamilton County property records, the Art Academy of Cincinnati then purchased the building in 2007 for $450,000 when it relocated its school to Over-the-Rhine, but never utilized the space. The 84-year-old structure was finally sold to 3CDC in September 2013 for $550,000.

The renovation of the Pabst Bedding Warehouse building joins an increasing amount of historic building renovation work along Walnut Street including a frenzy of work for Mercer Commons just to the north, and the renovation of a storefront diagonally across the street to make way for a new beer café called HalfCut.

“The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit strengthens local communities by restoring a piece of its history,” David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, stated in a prepared release. “These projects help enrich cities across Ohio, preserving the character and charm of buildings that may have otherwise been demolished.”

Photographs by Randy Simes for UrbanCincy.