Last July the City of Cincinnati opened its first new police station in more than 20 years. Aside from updating and expanding the previous offerings inside a 107-year-old building, the new facility also aimed to create a new community gathering place for the city’s most populous neighborhood, while also achieving net-zero energy consumption.
The 36,000-square-foot facility was built for Cincinnati Police Department’s District 3, which serves 14 west side neighborhoods and some 95,000 residents. The $16 million landmark includes 40 geothermal wells, a 330-kilowatt solar panel system, and high-tech energy zones inside the building for system optimization.
Such investments have resulted in a LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the organization’s highest rating, and an energy usage coming in 20% lower than what was originally estimated for the environmentally sound building.
While the District 3 Headquarters is one of America’s most sustainable police stations, it is part of a growing trend where environmentally and economically conscience cities are looking to both reducing their carbon footprint, while also aiding their budgets through lower utility costs.
EDITORIAL NOTE: All 13 photographs were taken by Eric Anspach on March 17, 2016.
“It used to be that when cities built civic buildings like this, they were places the community could come together,” Mayor Mark Mallory (D) said. “With District 3, we’re doing that again. We want people to come here and feel comfortable coming here with their neighbors.”
According to city officials, the new police headquarters will serve 14 neighborhoods from a central location on the west side. A site that was specifically chosen due to the input provided during Plan Cincinnati.
To help further strengthen the concept of the police headquarters also serving as a community gathering place, city officials have ensured that the new facility will include community gathering space and public art. It is an approach to community building similar to what was done, with rave reviews, by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) when rebuilding its entire building portfolio.
The location is just a block away from Dater High School and Western Hills High School and sits in what was a vacant outlot of a suburban-style strip mall. Site plans show that the new facility will be built at the street and oriented toward the sidewalk.
While Cincinnati has been seen as a leader in green building when it comes to the rebuilding of CPS, its tax abatements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rehabilitation and new construction, and public building in general, this will be one of the Queen City’s greenest buildings.
The development team also says that it has designed the structure to achieve Net Zero Energy Consumption through its geothermal mechanical systems, high performance building envelope and solar panels. The new Police District 3 Headquarters will also reduce potable water consumption by 30% thanks to on-site bio-retention cells and strategic use of site design materials.
City leadership also expects the project will reach 36.2% Small Business Enterprise (SBE) inclusion. If such a number is achieved, it would make it the highest percentage of SBE participation on any city project to-date.
According to project officials, construction is expected to take about a year-and-a-half and could start welcoming members of the community as early as July 2015.
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, is in Cincinnati today to celebrate the completion of the newly redeveloped housing project called the Villages at Roll Hill. The project, which was once known as Fay Apartments, is being heralded as the largest green renovation, affordable housing project in the country.
Redevelopment of the long-stalled neighborhood had begun in earnest in 2010 after years of setbacks and delays. As disclosed by UrbanCincy in 2010, developers were able to tap a variety of funding sources to get the project off the ground including a $32 million loan from HUD and a $3.2 grant from City HOME. The City of Cincinnati also granted an eight-year tax abatement on the renovated units.
The rehabilitation included the demolition of 17 buildings on site and reduced the number of housing units to 703. The upgrades also include landscaping, security, tree installation, a new playground and other improvements.
The Villages of Roll Hill is located along Baltimore Avenue on the west side of Cincinnati. The housing development debuted in 1962 as a promising new city neighborhood with over 1,025 market rate apartments. The development was owned and operated by HUD but was bought by the City in 1982.
By 1986, the City sold the struggling development to Stern-Hendy due to promises to invest millions in rehabilitating and repairing the complex. By 2005, however, there were only 112 market rate apartments left, 650 were rented to Housing Choice Voucher recipients (Section 8) and 128 were rehabilitative housing operated by Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA).