Welcome to Somewhere Over the Rhine

A site dedicated to Cincinnati's Over the Rhine neighborhood.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Streetcars will Boost Usage of Riverfront

Check out this great article in the Enquirer today.


OTR Goes Green

This is exciting news I hadn't heard about yet.
Press Release from 3CDC:

Two redevelopment projects currently underway in the Gateway Quarter in Over-the-Rhine (OTR) are seeking to become the first residential “LEED-certified” buildings in the neighborhood.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification calls for meeting certain objectives set forth by the United States Green Building Council. It is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes, which use less energy, water and natural resources resulting in less waste, lower energy and water bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins.

Urban Sites and Northpointe Group/B2B Equities are both building to LEED standards in order to achieve LEED certification. They hope the following projects will be the first LEED-certified condo buildings in OTR:

· Urban Sites: The Belmain, 1202 Main St., 16 residential loft units expected to open summer 2009

· Northpointe Group/B2B Equities: Mottainai (Mot-tie-nai) Lofts, 1222-24 Republic St., eight loft condos expected to open spring 2009

Both buildings are part of a LEED-certified pilot project for mid-rise, multi-family buildings. Certification will be determined in summer 2009.

Bill Baum’s Urban Sites (www.urbansites.net) has been redeveloping historic buildings in OTR for more than 25years. In addition to The Belmain, Baum recently completed renovation of Trideca at 1232 Vine and is nearing completion of Good Fellows Hall Lofts at 1306 Main.

Mottainai is the third joint venture between Rick Kimbler’s Northpointe Group (www.northpointegroup.com) and Brandon Smith of B2B Equities (www.b2bequities.com). Their first two projects are Duncanson Lofts, 1201-1213 Vine St. and Gateway Condominium at 1150 Vine St.

Both the Belmain and Mottainai are part of Phase III development in the Gateway Quarter, a $30.3 million project that includes 106 for-sale housing units and over 15,000 SF of commercial space. Gateway Quarter Phases I & II resulted in 86 for-sale units and nearly 23,000 square feet of commercial space.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Renovated Properties on the way

I have been watching construction crews begin work on renovating a few various properties around Repbulic and Vine streets for the last couple of months. They are finally starting to make some real progress so I thought I would share some pics.
The first two buildings are on the corner of 13 & Republic. I'm really excited that these buildings are being saved. They were completely abandoned earlier this summer and now there are crews breathing new life into them again. It looks like they are doing a great job and I'm sure the properties inside are going to be top notch. There's even a preview of their future color schemes too!

Right around the corner from the above two buildings there is another project well under way that looks like its going to turn our very nice. This building is on the corner of 13 & Vine, right across from the new Trideca Lofts. This buildings exterior architectural features are outstanding. I'm so glad that this building has also been saved and is being renovated. It certainly deserves to shine again.
Here are some pics of the progress so far:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meiner Flats: 3CDC Press Release

Historic Vine Street building in OTR to be renovated

The City of Cincinnati and 3CDC are teaming up to save an historic Over-the-Rhine building from the wrecking ball.

Meiner Flats, a five-story building at 1500-1502 Vine St., was built in 1875 and has been vacant for more than 20 years, resulting in neglect and disrepair. In March, the city ordered an emergency demolition of the building because the roof had collapsed and bricks and pieces of cornice were falling from the building, endangering pedestrians below.

At the time of the demolition order, members of the community, led by the Over-the-Rhine Foundation, came together in an attempt to save Meiner Flats, even setting up a website for pledges toward the building’s preservation.

Last week, Cincinnati City Council approved an emergency ordinance to transfer $187,000 to stabilize the building. In addition, the City will draw up an agreement with 3CDC, which will contribute more than $200,000 to bring the structure up to code.

“The opportunity to partner with the city to stabilize this historic and beautiful building is too important to pass up,” said Steve Leeper, president and CEO of 3CDC. “We look forward to working with the city and the community to restore Meiner Flats as part of the continued revitalization of Over-the-Rhine.”

According to the Cincinnati Preservation Association, Meiner Flats is also known as the
Kruckemeyer Building and was built by a family of German-American stonemasons as an investment. Its intricately carved stone fa├žade served as a giant advertisement for their business.

Following what is hoped to be a successful stabilization process, plans for a full restoration will be explored. Future use of the building is expected to include residential on the upper floors and a commercial use at street level.

Lots of Music in OTR and Downtown this weekend

On a lighter note...:)
Starting tonight and going through Saturday there will be lots of music events happening in OTR and Downtown. I'm not even sure which ones to go to because there are so many to chose from. Check out the Mid-Point Music Festival website for previews and links to all of the acts along with a schedule of the events.
I would like to point out that The Tillers, one of my favorite local acts will be playing at Arnold's on Eighth street tonight at 9pm. They are well worth the $5 cover to come in and always put on a great show.
Also, Friday night at Memorial Hall in OTR (right next to Music Hall on Elm) there will be a surf music show that seems like its going to be interesting. I'm not familiar with the bands that are playing, but I'm excited about the venue and this genre of music is always fun.
So, come on downtown and check out some of these great artists that will be gracing our city all weekend long!

Monday, September 22, 2008

OTR labeled as "Combat Zone"

First, I'd like to apologize for my lack of posts lately. I've been very busy with work and other things and as a result, this blog has suffered a bit. I also want to apologize for the harsh tone in the post below.

Now to the subject at hand...
I just caught sight of this article from the Enquirer published a couple of weeks ago. Not only am I angered and disgusted by this trash talking of our neighborhood, but also ashamed to live in a city where people actually still think this way.

The really frustrating thing about this is that many people in Cincinnati actually believe every word of what a newspaper or TV news anchor has to say. So, when they see an article like this labeling OTR as a "combat zone" or "the most dangerous place you could imagine" they actually believe it without question!

Obviously this pathetic excuse of a lawyer Rick Gibson is an ignorant moron for thinking that OTR is "the most dangerous place one could imagine." Perhaps it is when you compare it to the white-washed suburbs surrounding the city, such as West Chester or Blue Ash. However, when you compare it to the rest of the world, its not bad at all. In fact, as pointed out many times before, OTR in any other major metropolitan city outside of the racist mid-west would be an urban mecca that people would flock to by the thousands.

Greenwich Village, SoHo, and Tribeca neighborhoods in NYC were all pretty rough areas much like OTR at one time. Once people started moving back to the once abandoned areas they have become beautiful, diverse, lively places to live.

When are the citizens of Cincinnati going to stop living in the 1950s and join the rest of the modern world? Sometimes I simply can't believe how ignorant and sheltered the people in this city really are. We have one of the most beautifully preserved historic neighborhoods in the world and the majority of the population here completely ignore it. We can't even get a 4-Mile streetcar loop built in a timely fashion with out people throwing a fit.

Here's my suggestion to people who don't understand my frustration with this city...Spend some time traveling to other major cities around the world. See what life is like outside of your monotonously boring suburban neighborhoods. Meet and get to know people of as many different cultures and backgrounds as you can. Perhaps you'll start to see that just because someone is different doesn't mean you have to be afraid of them.

OTR has been a ghetto for many years because it was abandoned. When you take everyone out of a neighborhood and leave a few under-educated poor people behind by themselves, the neighborhood will become ridden with crime and poverty. OTR was abandoned because of the racist driven "white-flight" and suburban sprawl that swept this country after WWII.

The civil rights movement has already taken place. The rest of the modern world has learned that racism was a mistake of the past and has moved past it. The people of Cincinnati need to do the same. Its no longer 1955, you don't have to live in a white-washed suburban neighborhood to be somebody.

Lets stop ignoring the social problems this city faces (poverty, terrible public education, substance abuse, crime...) and start facing them head on. Move back to our city's urban core and help solve these problems directly (by demanding better public education for instance). OTR has for too long been a dumping ground, a place where the suburbs can concentrate and ignore all of our troubled citizens. These problems aren't going to fix themselves. If you don't want to live downtown fine, but don't continue to mis-label a neighborhood that is so vitally important to our city's future.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Businesses Opening in Over the Rhine

Three new businesses are preparing to open in Vine Street storefronts in the Gateway Quarter this month. Two are long established and moving from other Cincinnati locations and the third is a brand new business. The Gateway Quarter is made up of locally-owned businesses and restaurants that cater to city living. The latest additions to the Quarter are:

· The Little Mahatma, 1205 Vine St., 723-1287, will celebrate its 20th year in business with the move to the Gateway Quarter. The store specializes in beautiful jewelry, art and artifacts from many countries that you won't see anywhere else in the region. Owner Gloria McConnaghy is moving from her current location at 639 Main St. Hours for The Little Mahatma are Monday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday noon-4pm. (www.mahatmashop.com)

· Switch, 1207 Vine St., 721-8100, is a fresh alternative to the modern lighting store, offering a full range of decorative fixtures for the home or office and also providing consultation services to help assist in lighting layout and design. A collaboration between owners Drew Dearwester and Bertie Ray III, SWITCH will highlight current designs from North and South America, Europe and Scandinavia while being conscious of the growing popularity of energy efficient trends using fluorescent and LED sources. Hours are Monday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday noon-6pm and by appointment. (www.switchcollection.com)

· Incredible Creations, 1209 Vine St, 961-4111, is an upscale barbershop and beauty salon offering diverse clients diverse services from a range of barbering needs for men (including some Cincinnati Bengals) as well as beauty services including cut, color, nail services, makeovers and wedding needs for women. Owners Devan and Kim Johnson have been in business for five years and have more than 20 years experience. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday-Saturday 8am-7pm, closed Sunday and Monday.

All of the business owners say they plan to be open on Saturday September 27, for the “Downtown Tour of Living” with official Grand Openings planned for later in the fall. The “Downtown Tour of Living” is from noon to 5pm on Sept. 27 and includes five stops in and around the Gateway Quarter. (www.downtowncincinnati.com/tourofliving)

The new shop owners say they’re excited to be part of the urban living renaissance that is taking place in Downtown Cincinnati and it’s most historic and unique neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine.

"Our location in the Gateway Quarter was an easy decision,” said Bertie Ray, co-owner of Switch. “The diverse combination of creative and independent business owners here is a relief to the overwhelming chaos you experience in larger shopping areas. Gateway is the epicenter of Cincinnati's renewed interest to bring retail to the city and Switch is excited to be part of that effort."

For Kim and Devan Johnson, moving their popular Incredible Creations Salon from Gilbert Avenue to the Gateway Quarter just made good business sense. “Many of our clients have followed the urban lifestyle trend, purchasing condos in downtown or Over-the-Rhine, so we’re thrilled to be part of such a dynamic neighborhood where we’ll be close to our current clients and able to cultivate new clients,” said Devan Johnson.

The “Downtown Tour of Living” will allow all the new stores to show off their new homes to potential new customers. “We’re looking forward to welcoming tour-goers into our new location,” said Gloria McConnaghy, owner of The Little Mahatma. “The Downtown Tour is a great opportunity to not only see the beautiful new condos in Over-the-Rhine, but also the amazing shopping district that we’re now so proud to be a part of.”

The Little Mahatma, Switch and Incredible Creations are joining an established list of locally-owned stores and restaurants already doing business in and around the Gateway Quarter including:

* Park + Vine, Cincinnati’s only green general store, 1109 Vine St.
* City Roots, urban garden store, 1133 Vine St.
* Mica 12/v, gifts/jewelry/home furnishings, 1201 Vine St.
* Outside, outdoor furniture and accessories, 16 E. 12th St.
* Metronation, clothing/gifts/home furnishings, 1213 Vine St.
* Lavomatic, Jean-Robert’s newest bistro, 1211 Vine St.
* Venice on Vine Pizza, operated by Power Inspires Progress, offering paid on-the-job training to inner-city residents, 1301 Vine St.
* A Lucky Step, contemporary furniture store, 1220 Vine
* Enzo’s, good food, great coffee, 1106 Race St.
* The Coffee Emporium, coffee drinks, sandwiches, deserts, 110 E. Central Pkwy
* Below Zero Lounge, ultra plush martini lounge, 1120 Walnut St.
* Joseph Williams Home, urban furniture store, 550 Reading Road

Must See Streetcar Report