Episode #56: Stadiums and Cities

St. Louis NFL stadium proposalOn the 56th episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, we are joined by Alex Ihnen of nextSTL to discuss stadiums and their impacts on cities.

We talk about the new NFL stadium proposed for St. Louis’ north riverfront and whether it could actually help redevelop that struggling part of the city. We also discuss whether this proposal is an example of sports team owners ripping off cities, or whether it could be positive financially for the St. Louis.

Finally we compare the proposal with the experience of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in building the new Reds and Bengals stadiums, as well as the desire to replace or upgrade US Bank Arena.

Cincinnati’s booming center city should be obvious choice for CDK Global’s new operations center

It was announced earlier today that CDK Global, an integrated information technology and digital marketing provider for the retail and automotive retail industries, is looking at Southwest Ohio for a new facility that would house around 1,000 employees.

CDK Global LLC expects to create $45,000,000 in new annual payroll as the result of a 75 percent, 15-year job creation tax credit estimated to be worth $15,652,715 that was approved by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday. The tax credit will require CDK to maintain operations at its new site for the next 18 years and would retain $3,421,465 in existing payroll along with 80 jobs. CDK is expected to make $9,750,000 in capital investment as a result of the tax credit.

The move makes sense given the region’s strong marketing and retail presence, and its rapidly growing tech scene. According to the report from our content partners at the Business Courier, a specific site has not yet been selected. We would like to take this opportunity to point CDK Global to the center city where many of the region’s fastest-growing, most innovative and successful companies are locating. Plus, there are several great sites located directly on the first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar that would only add to the experience and quality of life for CDK’s employees.

Relax at Smale Riverfront Park Between Beers at Oktoberfest This Weekend

Construction activities at Smale Riverfront Park will remain at a minimum for the foreseeable future as additional funding is lined up for the remaining phases of the 45-acre park along the central riverfront.

The $120 million project has, along with private real estate development at The Banks, completely transformed the look and feel of the northern banks of the Ohio River. Of course, this has come at a time when the city overall has undergone a dramatic transformation many would not have considered possible a decade ago.

For the hundreds of thousands of people expected to visit the center city this weekend for Oktoberfest and the home opener for the Bengals, now would be a good time to check out Smale Riverfront Park and its surroundings. In fact, the Überdrome at Moerlein Lager House is actually situated within the park and gives you a great overview of the rest of its features.

The following video offers a good overview of what all is there and what you should see and do while at the park. Prost!

Bengals Partnering With Miller Lite to Offer Free Bus Rides For Home Opener

Free Metro Rides for BengalsThe Bengals will have their season home opener this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. While a sellout crowd is not expected, tens of thousands of football fans are still expected to make the trip to the central riverfront in order to attend the game or participate in nearby festivities.

As is to be expected, many of those people will be drinking alcohol. This presents a business opportunity for nearby restaurants and bars, but it also presents a challenge for law enforcement as the likelihood of people driving while under the influence increases.

In order to help combat that, Miller Lite is partnering with the Bengals to provide free rides on all Metro bus routes on Sunday.

This is the 28th year for the program, and this season Miller Lite is partnering with six NFL cities. In total the program has come to 20 cities and provided approximately 4.8 million free rides.

“We’re excited to work together with local public transit companies, our distributor partners and our NFL alliance partners to remind fans that the best moments of the game are those enjoyed responsibly,” a Miller Lite representative told UrbanCincy. “We’re happy to begin a new partnership with Metro and hope to grow our relationship in the future.”

While the free rides will only be available for this Sunday’s home opener, Metro officials are hoping it makes people aware of the transit alternatives available for getting to and from all Bengals games.

Those who wish to take advantage of the free rides need only to get on the bus during regular service hours. No game ticket or verification will be necessary.

The Bengals won their first game of the season in Oakland against the Raiders, and will host the San Diego Chargers this Sunday at 1pm. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online or at the Paul Brown Stadium ticket office.

Garfield Suites Hotel To Be Converted Into 153-Unit Apartment Tower

Garfield Suites HotelLate on Friday afternoon the owner of Garfield Suites Hotel announced that the 34-year-old building would be converted back into apartments over the next year.

The news is tremendously positive for the center city’s residential and hospitality markets, both of which are experiencing their own transformations.

The 153-room hotel is one of the more dated in the marketplace, and it is facing increasing competition from new hotel operators at all price points. Such movements are forcing the hands of existing hotel owners to either make big investments to upgrade their facilities, close down or change uses. Removing these rooms from the inventory will make the market stronger for those other operators.

At the same time, there is virtually no apartment availability in the 45202 zip code, which covers Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Pendleton. The location of this 16-floor tower is ideally situated for new residents looking to be in the heart of both thriving districts, and will almost certainly lease up in a matter of months.

Aside from the purely business aspects, this is also good for the vibrancy of the central business district. While there have been many new residential developments in Over-the-Rhine and at The Banks, it has been more difficult to inject large numbers of new apartments or condos into areas like this due to its existing buildout.

This particular location is one that is rich with jobs, but still struggling to reach a critical mass of residents that will support full-time service retail functions. Adding a couple hundred residents to the mix will go a long way to supporting that goal.

The interesting item about this project is that it is the building’s location that motivated its owners to convert it from apartments into a hotel 25 years ago.

At that time, the proximity to Over-the-Rhine was seen as a detriment and Downtown was not the place we know today. Those dramatic changes that have taken place in both neighborhoods over the past decade are now what is motivating the current owner to switch operations again.

This is a great example of urban resiliency.

The total cost of the renovation has not yet been determined, but owners intend to begin work in early 2016. They say that the plan will be to gradually make renovations so that the hotel can continue to operate as the units are gradually converted.

The owners also told Tom Demeropolis, who broke the story for the Business Courier, that they are also hoping to lease the 10,000 square feet of existing street-level retail space that sit vacant along Vine Street.