Bill Kiffmeyer remembers how huge the players from the Cincinnati Reds looked to him as an eight year old boy when they visited his father's Price Hill dry cleaning shop. He also remembers how the sight of the shuttered shop would nearly bring his father to tears five decades later, after the neighborhood lost its luster and he had no choice but to close.
The Kiffmeyer's family business was located on the ground floor of an elegant apartment building originally called the Robinson. As Kiffmeyer recalls, it was the largest building around and was the centerpiece of a thriving West side neighborhood.
Today it stands as an eyesore, and the largest reminder of the neighborhood's decline. But a recent partnership between Price Hill Will
and Model Group
aims to change that. They have purchased the building and will turn it back into an apartment building.
"This is something that's sort of been the biggest drag on neighborhood, and when it's done it will be one of the biggest success stories," Price Hill Will's marketing director Matt Strauss said.
The building located at 8th and Elberon will be converted into 37 units of affordable housing for senior residents of Price Hill. The project will use several funding sources including a federal tax credit which requires the units to be available as affordable housing. The units will house seniors who are currently neighborhood residents, but will not be a care facility.
In addition to renovating and selling single family homes, Price Hill Will organizes an array of community outreach efforts ranging from litter pick-ups to neighborhood surveys. The Elberon building has been on their radar since before the group's inception, Strauss said, but was a far bigger project than any they had ever taken on.
"We've gone out of our comfort zone to get something really important accomplished," Strauss said.
Their partnership with Model Group, a private development firm with years of experience in affordable housing, allowed them to take on the project. Though Model owns the building, they will consult with Price Hill Will about design decisions and neighborhood impact, Model's development director David Thompson said.
For proud Westsiders like Kiffmeyer and current residents the project is heartening. Kiffmeyer recalled his first reaction when Strauss told him the building would be renovated was, "Can I move in?"
Writer: Henry SweetsPhotography by Scott Beseler.