Cincinnati shows cities how to revitalize their downtowns and nearby neighborhoods

Since 2004, over $1.1 billion has been invested in redevelopment in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and the adjacent Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

Representatives from Erie, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri and Atlanta, Georgia have visited the city in the last year to see how a combination of nonprofit redevelopment, historic preservation, land banking, and strategic acquisitions, funded by tax credits and corporate investments, have turned things around.

Cincinnati’s 300-acre (121 hectare) Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood, just north of the downtown core, was a troubled but architecturally-rich neighborhood.

Over the past 16 years, its amazing turnaround has been largely attributed to the nonprofit, private real estate development firm Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC). 3CDC projects are designed to support their four strategic goals: 1) to create great civic spaces; 2) to create high density mixed-use development; 3) to preserve historic structures and streetscapes; and 4) to build diverse mixed-income neighborhoods supported by local businesses.

Joe Rudemiller, senior communications manager for 3CDC, says, “Our mission is to revitalize Cincinnati’s downtown urban core. We’ve renovated vacant historic structures, redeveloped civic spaces, filled vacant buildings with unique commercial tenants, and enlivened the civic spaces with interesting, family-friendly, free programming, all with the goal of creating vibrancy.

The Glassmeyer. Photo courtesy of
City Studios Architecture.

3CDC’s latest success is The Glassmeyer, a mixed-use, transit-oriented redevelopment, completed in January of 2018. The project included the renovation of two buildings totaling over 10,000-square-feet at the corner of 15th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine.

The renovated buildings have yielded six 2-bedroom condos, two 1-bedroom condos with second-story living space, an interior courtyard, and a 950-square-foot street-level commercial space perfect for a small office user.

City Studios Architecture did the design work for the project, with Hudepohl Construction Company serving as the general contractor. The renovated buildings, which are located just a block north of Washington Park, now feature stunning condo units with open floorplans and modern amenities.

In the 1940s, the now-renovated buildings were home to a cigar shop, as well as a corner market and residential apartment units. As years passed, the buildings sat vacant, becoming run down and ultimately falling into disrepair before 3CDC purchased and eventually redeveloped the structures.

Each of The Glassmeyer’s eight units features its own private balcony, many of which provide breathtaking city views. The spacious floorplans include Somerset hardwood floors and retro-industrial light fixtures. Their kitchens, each with white quartz countertops and Don Justice cabinetry, also come equipped with state-of-the-art GE appliances. Additionally, each unit includes unique tile designs in the kitchen and bathroom areas, adding to their modern appearance.

Perfect for young professionals, small families or empty nesters, The Glassmeyer is just steps away from Washington Park, Music Hall, and much more. Additionally, while parking is included, the buildings are conveniently located on the Cincinnati Bell Connector line.

The units range in price from $339,900 to $409,900. 3CDC and The Oyler Group of Coldwell Banker West Shell are actively meeting with potential buyers for the condo units, and demand is high, as evidenced by the fact that two units are already pending. 3CDC is also currently seeking a tenant for the lone commercial space.

HR&A Advisors designed and supported the creation of 3CDC, to steward the revitalization and ongoing redevelopment of downtown Cincinnati.

In 2004, 3CDC—in partnership with the City of Cincinnati—launched a two-year, $49 million renovation of Fountain Square (pictured at top). The completed project has brought people back to downtown Cincinnati in record numbers, has spurred investment of over $125 million in additional private investment in the Fountain Square District, and continues to serve as a catalyst for new residential, retail and restaurant development in the region.

The next big challenge, which 3CDC is currently working on, is to reconnect Over-the-Rhine with the downtown. This will make it a perfect example of the 3Re Strategy (repurpose, renew, reconnect) at work.

Photo of Cincinnati’s revitalized Fountain Square courtesy of HR&A Advisors.

Learn how 3CDC revitalized Cincinnati in this Urban Land article by Scott Sowers.

See 3CDC website.

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