Business Development News

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.

Up To Speed

What should take the place of the former Queensgate Correctional Facility?

What should take the place of the former Queensgate Correctional Facility?.

Hamilton County’s former Queensgate Correctional Facility is currently on the market. The historic warehouse building has sat vacant since the jail operation was shut down six years ago. The site sits close to the Central Business District and the building evidently has tremendous views of the downtown skyline and Ohio River. A buyer has not yet been identified, so it is unclear as to what the future holds for the 152,000-square-foot complex…so what would you like to see in its place? More from the Business Courier:

The Queensgate Correctional Facility closed in 2008 due to budget cuts. It housed low- and medium-security prisoners. It sits directly west of the former Hudepohl brewery property, which the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority purchased for $650,000 in May. The Port Authority is still working on a plan for repositioning that property. The former jail property includes five buildings. The largest is an eight-story, more than 128,000-square-foot building that served as the jail. The smaller buildings served as staff services space, administration space and a recreation building.

…the property has only been on the market a few weeks and he’s already had interest from a couple developers. The building could be redeveloped as residential space, used as warehouse space, or it could potentially be used as a jail again if the county is interested in reopening it.

Up To Speed

3CDC acquires three key properties from affordable housing developer

3CDC acquires three key properties from affordable housing developer.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) has made a somewhat major move in acquiring three new properties in the heart of Over-the-Rhine south of Liberty Street. While many neighborhood leaders are cheering the move, some others are expressing concern over the acquisition of properties that have been housing low-income residents. More from the Business Courier:

Anastasia Mileham, vice president of communications for 3CDC, said the three buildings have about 80 apartments, 16 of which were vacant when 3CDC purchased the properties earlier this month. “They are pretty significant problem buildings,” Mileham said. “Lots of calls for service, lots of criminal activity, gun activity. They are problem properties for the neighborhood. The residents have voiced an interest in moving out of these problem spaces.”

3CDC is working with the Model Group, the Community Builders, Affordable Housing Advocates Cincinnati and Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati to help current residents of the buildings find new homes. Some residents have already found other living situations.