Business Development News

Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity to construct first ‘green’ home in College Hill

Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity (CHFH) began construction on two homes in College Hill over the weekend. The home located at 1141 Homeside Avenue (map) is Cincinnati Habitat’s first ‘green’ home. The house was designed by The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE).

The design, for the home, won an architecture competition held last year with Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity, AIA COTE, and other Ohio Habitat affiliates. Entries were judged on cost, ability to build, and neighborhood context, in addition to integration of environmental strategies including impact on the site, water efficiency, energy use, material use and indoor environmental quality. The first place winners of each category are being built throughout the 2010 build season in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Newark, Ohio, and the designs will be made available to all 70 Habitat affiliates throughout the state.

An anonymous donor will sponsor this Cincinnati Habitat build, but most importantly, this new green Habitat home illustrates that entry-level home builders of any income can explore and implement green techniques without breaking the bank.

The home site in College Hill is characteristic of dense pre-war suburbs that are typically found in older American cities. These neighborhoods are often served more efficiently by public transportation, thus reducing auto dependency and factoring into the National Association of Homebuilders Green and LEED scoring. The design of the new home is by architect and LEED AP, Allison Beer and project designer Jessica Farmer, both of whom are donating their services while also being supported by their firm SHP Leading Design.

The four bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home has many green features, including high performance windows, a ground source heat pump, low VOC carpeting, and an Ecogrid driveway/sidewalk that allows stormwater infiltration. Organization leaders say that the model will serve as a prototype for changes CHFH hopes to incorporate into future builds.

Once the four-month build is complete the home will belong to Felita Jordan and her two daughters who are excited to move into the new home.

“My children and I are a loving family and we have been waiting all of our lives for an opportunity like this to build and buy our own home,” said Jordan. “Our current apartment is very crowded and we need more space. My family is so excited to have our own home. It is something we have always wanted.”

You can support Cincinnati Habitat by attending a young professionals happy hour event at Neon’s Unplugged on Friday, July 19 from 6pm to 9pm and will include live music.  You can also follow Cincinnati Habitat on Twitter @CincyHabitat and @CincyHabitatYP.

Business Development News

Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity opens ReStore in Bond Hill

Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity celebrated the opening of its much needed and anticipated ReStore over the weekend, an addition that will provide social, environmental and economic benefits to the community. The home improvement discount store will offer Cincinnati households a way to save money on home products, while also helping Cincinnati Habitat build affordable homes for deserving families throughout the city.

Customers visiting the ReStore can expect to find discounts on a variety of appliances, cabinets, flooring, doors, hardware, lumber, tools, windows and more. All materials sold at the ReStore are donated by local retailers, contractors and individuals within the community.

“The opening of the ReStore represents a new chapter for Cincinnati Habitat’s future,” said Paul Knue, Vice President of Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors. “The income the ReStore provides will help us change the lives of more families than ever before by creating a sustainable revenue source for our housing ministry. In addition, the ReStore provides us all with the opportunity to be better stewards of the environment, by recycling and keeping materials out of our landfills.”

The donated goods are sold to the public at a fraction of the retail price, while the donors are eligible to receive tax deductions for their contributions. The ReStore is located at 4910 Para Drive in Bond Hill (map) as part of a 35,000 square-foot building that also includes warehouse space, training space and office space for Cincinnati Habitat. The ReStore will be open from 9am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

“If you support the ReStore, you support Habitat’s efforts to eliminate sub-standard housing in our neighborhoods, preserving our environment and helping families, help themselves” said Marissa Woodly, Development Director for Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity.

For more information become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @CincyHabitat.

Business News

Downtown Cincinnati experiences strong progress during recession

If Cincinnati is our home, then downtown is akin to our city’s kitchen. Downtown is where we, as a community, watch television (Fountain Square), downtown is where we eat, and downtown is where we complete our financial transactions. This is the analogy Mayor Mark Mallory used at the 2010 State of Downtown meeting held this past Thursday, April 29th.

Mayor Mallory also likened downtown to an engine that is “hot and running well” at the Annual Member Meeting hosted by Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI). The positive 2009 report identified several positive indicators during one of the most difficult economic years the nation has seen including:

  • $116 million in completed construction and renovation project with another $1.6 billion in projects currently in progress
  • More than 445,000 square feet of office expansions, renewals and relocations in 2009
  • 30 new retail/restaurant/entertainment establishments opened in the central business district
  • 140 single family homes were sold, keeping population growth consistent with projections
  • $59 million economic impact of total room nights marked a record setting year for hotels
  • The Main Library, Cincinnati Museum Center, Krohn Conservatory and Fountain Square all posted record attendance years
  • Overall crime rate for the central business district/riverfront was down double digits in Part 1 and Part 2 offenses over the past decade, helping make Cincinnati the 7th safest city for pedestrians out of the nation’s 52 largest metro areas
  • DCI’s 3rd annual pedestrian count study showed a continued increase during peak weekday times (11am to 2pm), and a total increase of 20% in pedestrians during the evening hours
  • A partnership with the Hamilton County Department of Pretrial Services and the County Jail, University Hospital, Summit Behavioral Healthcare and others to identified the top 16 high risk panhandlers; placing 3 of the 16 cases in permanent housing to date

The meeting, which lasted for just a little over an hour, also included remarks from the Senior Regional Officer of the Cincinnati/Cleveland Branches of the Federal Reserve Bank Dr. LaVaughn Henry, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney, and DCI president David Ginsburg.

The speakers focused on the importance of economic development in the greater downtown areas, each bringing a different viewpoint to the podium. Commissioner Hartmann spoke briefly about the importance of downtown to all of Hamilton County and the region, while using the casino development as a prime example of how to get the public excited and involved in the development process. Dr. LaVaughn Henry addressed the national economic recession and stated that while unemployment is still high here in Cincinnati and across the country, the rate of job loss is slowing and consumer confidence is on the rise.

Downtown Cincinnati’s population has experienced steady population growth since 2005, and is expected to double by 2012 with the continued renovation of Over-the-Rhine and the opening of The Banks.

City Manager Milton Dohoney stressed the importance of taking risks, while also being cautious in our approach. His remarks on economic development revolved around the creation of new jobs, smarter land use, and partnership and investment in our community.

“Big steps equal big gains,” Dohoney commented in regards to taking risks. “We must work on expanding our tax base, while also proving that we are an inclusive community.”

Following the meeting, UrbanCincy caught up with DCI President David Ginsburg where he discussed the importance of projects like The Banks and the Broadway Commons Casino ultimately not becoming a single destination. Ginsburg also brought up the importance of “zoning flexibility” when it comes to downtown vacancy issues.

“Our primary role is to enhance downtown’s potential as a vibrant, clean and communal place that attracts employers, art, music and the creative class,” Ginsburg stated. “We must continue to improve downtown’s perception by getting more people downtown to witness the improvements firsthand. You wouldn’t buy a new car until you test drove it, so we need to get more people to test drive downtown.”