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New housing development coming to Northside

Northside’s first new housing development since the American Can Lofts in 2012 is under construction. The Gantry, located at 4100 Hamilton Ave., will bring 131 apartments to the neighborhood.

With Northside's business district continuing to stabilize, The Gantry will help bring more residents and foot traffic to the area. Most of Northside's housing stock is circa 1950s, and land for new developments is hard to come by in the neighborhood.
 
The $16 million project involves redeveloping the site formerly occupied by the Myron G. Johnson & Son Lumber Co., which closed in the early 2000s. The city purchased the land parcel in 2006, and Indianapolis-based Milhaus Construction was chosen as the developer after a request for proposals in 2012.
 
The mixed-use project will include three separate buildings: two four-story buildings and a three-story building at 1518 Knowlton St., which was the home of a bowling alley and pool hall. There will also be 8,000 square feet of retail space, which will bring a number of new businesses to the Hamilton Avenue business district.

Apartments will range from 400 square feet to 1,100 square feet, and prices will range from $600 to $1,600 per month. The LEED Silver-certified apartments are expected to be ready by next summer.   
 
 

Turn-of-the-century bar coming soon to Northside

The Northside building most recently occupied by The Serpent will open as Tillie’s Lounge in February and feature champagne cocktails, craft beer, wine, premium snacks and bite-sized desserts sourced from a local bakery.
 
The building, located at 4042 Hamilton Ave., was built in 1881 for Droege Shoes and remained a cobbler for over 75 years. It’s been vacant since The Serpent closed and has seen a makeover, since the inside was previously all black.
 
Tillie’s will incorporate Northside’s history as well, and the champagne cocktails will be named for neighborhood nostalgia. For example, The Walk-Over, which is named for one of Tillie’s tricks, is made with raspberry vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and pomegranate juice.
 
The bar is being named after Tillie the elephant, one of the exotic animals from John Robinson’s Circus, which performed at the intersection of Blue Rock and Hamilton in the early 20th century. Tillie is known for stopping an elephant stampede and a derailed streetcar, and when she died schools were closed so the children could attend her funeral.
 
Tillie’s won’t be circus-themed but will be period-themed. Owners Nigel Cotterill and JC Diaz, who also own Below Zero Lounge, are working with Dwellings on Madison to give the bar a turn-of-the-century feel. The space will feature a baby grand piano and TVs and will host local and national music acts.
 

Local theater company setting up shop in Northside

New Edgecliff Theatre is currently between homes, but by April, it will be rehearsing and performing in a new event space in the old St. Patrick Church in Northside, located at 1662 Blue Rock St. Grayscale Cincinnati is currently renovating the church, which will also be home to a brewery and taproom.
 
“We hope to help strengthen the arts in Northside, and bring more vitality to the area,” says Jim Stump, New Edgecliff’s producing artistic director. “Northside has an arts profile already, but it doesn’t have a permanent theater company.”
 
On Nov. 15, the theater group is performing a murder-mystery fundraiser at Below Zero Lounge. It will feature The Whodunit? Players, as well as members of the New Edgecliff staff. There’s also a radio drama performance of Miracle on 34th Street at Northside Tavern this winter. During the extended intermission, the audience will be able to enjoy desserts from Cincinnati State’s culinary arts department.
 
New Edgecliff is also working on doing bar nights at Northside haunts over the next few months. Stump is performing his one-man show at Below Zero in January to help raise funds for the theater.
 
“Northside is very similar to our former home in Columbia Tusculum,” Stump says. “It’s a unique community with lots of locally owned and operated businesses. And our new facility has so much potential.”
 
New Edgecliff’s mission is to create a powerful artistic experience by utilizing local professionals and stressing the fundamental communion between the actors and the audience.
 
New Edgecliff will christen its new space with its performance of Race April 9-25. Tickets to all performances are $27, and student tickets are $20. You can purchase them online or by calling Cincy Ticket at 888-428-7311.
 

Video arcade to bring classics, food and beer to Northside

You may have visited Arcade Legacy at Forest Fair Village (formerly Cincinnati Mills), but owner Jesse Baker will soon open another arcade in Northside. Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition will be serving up video games alongside beer and food.
 
“I personally love Northside,” Baker says. “I’ve been hanging out and shopping there for years, and I never considered another area when I was looking for a new space.”
 
The arcade is coming to the 3,300-square-foot space formerly occupied by Alchemize on Spring Grove Avenue. It will feature about 40 arcade games and five pinball machines, including classics like Ms. Pac Man and Donkey Kong, as well as old-school consoles like Super Nintendo and N-64.
 
Games will be free to play, but gamers will pay a $5 cover at the door, and will receive $5 worth of food and drink tickets. The menu is still being finalized, but it will feature items not already found in Northside.
 
“The arcade will provide nostalgic fun, and it won’t feel like a bar,” Baker says. “Think of it as an arcade for adults that serves food and drinks too. I know we’ll attract people who normally hesitate going to a bar—they’ll feel more comfortable here.”
 
Arcade Legacy is slated to open in the first part of 2015. Baker plans to be open from about 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
 

Outdoor theater coming to Northside

Not only is PAR Projects building an art and education center in Northside, but it’s also bringing an outdoor theater to the neighborhood. The theater will be part of the new building, and will show films March-October.
 
Films will be projected on two stacked shipping containers, which will be Phase I of PAR’s new building. The rest of the 2,000-square-foot building will branch off of either side of the theater, creating a horseshoe-shaped first floor.
 
“Everything we’re doing is a step toward the next piece in the building process,” says Jonathan Sears, executive director of PAR. For example, the Makers Mobiles that were around the neighborhood this past summer will be used to create the building.
 
PAR is currently holding a membership drive—for a $40 donation, members will get to watch 15 films for free, as well as receive a membership card, free access to other PAR events, swag and first dibs on PAR classes.
 
PAR’s goal is to gain 500 members in order to break ground, and raise $20,000.
 
You can donate to the project here.
 

ArtWorks brings interactive bike racks to city

If you’re a bicyclist, you’ve probably seen the 14 artist-designed bike racks, called Art Racks, throughout Greater Cincinnati. ArtWorks is currently working to help install a 15th in front of The Carnegie in Covington.
 
The new Art Rack will be designed by Michael Stillion, and will feature three ghosts. The Carnegie, ArtWorks and power2give have partnered to bring the new Art Rack to the city.
 
The organizations need to raise $7,000 to pay for the materials and the artist. The NLT Foundation will match all donations dollar-for-dollar. Donors will have the chance to select from a variety of benefits, including a Carnegie membership, tickets to The Carnegie’s annual Art of Food event and bike rack naming rights.

There are also three other power2give campaigns open for Art Racks in Columbia Tusculum, at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and at the Lloyd Library and Museum.
 
Since 2012, ArtWorks has partnered with local artists and organizations to bring artist-designed, functional Art Racks to spaces and add to the streetscape of the neighborhoods.
 
Art Racks can be found at:
  • The Coffee Emporium, 110 E. Central Parkway: Tour de Cincy, designed by Pam Kravetz, Carla Lamb and Karen Saunders; sponsored by the NLT Foundation 
  • Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave.: designed by Bob Dyehouse; sponsored by Truepoint, Inc. and ArtsWave
  • Duke Energey Convention Center, 525 Elm St.: Humanity Machine Outpost, designed by Edward Casagrande; sponsored by Duke Energy Convention Center
  • YWCA, 898 Walnut St.: designed by Carolyn Watkins; sponsored by Pantene
  • Fifth Third Bank, 38 Fountain Square Plaza: Currents, designed by Claire Darley and Rebecca Seeman; sponsored by goVibrant and Fifth Third Bank
  • Salway Park Trailhead at Mill Creek Trail: Elements, designed by Christopher Daniel; sponsored by ArtsWave and Truepoint, Inc.
  • Studio S, 3456 Michigan Ave.: Circular Logic, designed by Mark Schlacter; sponsored by Studio S
  • 1411 Main St., Ohio?: designed by John Dixon; sponsored by Over-the-Rhine Revitalization Corporation via Urban Sites
  • Hoffner Park, 4104 Hamilton Ave.: Sago Palms, designed by Kate Demske; sponsored by Terry Bazeley and John Castaldi and MoBo Bicycle Co-op
  • Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway: Acanthus Leaves, designed by David Tarbell; sponsored by Walnut Hills High School Alumni Foundation
  • Over-the-Rhine Kroger, 1420 Vine St., and East Price Hill Kroger, 3609 Warsaw Ave.: Fresh Fruit, designed by Maya Drozdz and Michael Stout of VisuaLingual; sponsored by Kroger
  • Smale Riverfront Park, West Mehring Way: designed by David Rice; sponsored by Jan and Wym Portman
  • SCPA, 108 W. Central Parkway: SCPA Octopus, designed by Christian Schmit and students at SCPA; sponsored by ArtsWave, The Johnson Foundation and power2give donors

PAR Projects building new community space in Northside

PAR Projects recently purchased the parcel of land at 1622 Hoffner St. in Northside. Plans are currently underway to create an art and education center for the community.
 
The future home of PAR Projects is being constructed out of repurposed shipping containers, two of which you may have seen around Northside. All of the programming will be geared toward practical arts training, including teaching the elements of graphic design and video editing.
 
“Lots of different places offer painting and drawing classes, but there aren’t a lot that offer access to digital media and things that are valuable in creative workplaces,” says Jonathan Sears, executive director of PAR Projects.
 
The building will have three floors of usable space, or about 2,000 square feet. The first phase of the building will be five shipping containers joined together, with others stacked on top to form different floors.
 
The first step won’t actually be building, but rather creating a community space in the form of an open, outdoor movie theater. It will feature community screenings every two weeks or so; and the theater will actually be two containers stacked on top of each other near the front of the future building.
 
“We want to give the neighborhood a little more hope,” Sears says. “We plan to reach out to at-risk youth and provide more direction for them, as well as educate older people who need new skill sets.”
 
PAR Projects is partnering with the Apple Street Market Co-op initiative to host Northside Rising, a 50/50 fundraiser to benefit access to food and the arts. The event is Aug. 30, and will feature food, music and family activities.
 

Co-op market hopes to set up shop in former Northside Save-a-Lot

The Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative, a nonprofit that partners with organizations and individuals to create worker-owned businesses, is helping spearhead the grocery store effort in Northside. The group, along with the neighborhood, hopes to bring a grocery store co-op to the former Save-a-Lot building.
 
If fundraising goes according to plan, and enough community shares are sold by August 30, funding will be in place for the Apple Street Market Co-op to open in early 2015. But if that goal isn’t reached, the opening date will continue to be pushed back. 

Currently, almost 200 shares have been sold. Shares are $100, and are subsized for those who qualify for SNAP or free or reduced lunch.
 
Last fall, Save-a-Lot, which was the last convenient grocery store in the Northside area, closed. Now, the closest stores are the Kroger on Kenard and the one in North College Hill. They’re not easily accessible by riding Metro, and they’re not ideal for people who need that one last ingredient to make dinner.
 
“One of the reasons we think this co-op will succeed is because it’s important to have accessible food nearby,” says Casey Whitten-Amadon, legal consultant for CUCI.
 
Because of the lack of food access nearby, Northside is considered a food desert. The only options are fast food, which isn’t necessarily healthy, and convenience stores, which often mark up prices on basic items like bread, milk and eggs. Having a grocery store back in the neighborhood will help increase foot traffic to surrounding businesses, and will bring jobs to the area.
 
The Apple Street Market will be a full-service grocery store, with larger than average produce, organic and local food sections, as well as paper products and beauty products. Local food will be sourced through connections with Our Harvest, which will help Apple Street Market work with local farmers and butchers to get products you can’t find at Kroger, Whitten-Amadon says.
 
The co-op will offer unionized wages, as well as worker-ownership options. It will also be affordable for customers of all income levels, and accessible to those walking, biking, riding the bus or driving a car.
 
“Having a high-end grocery store wouldn’t solve the access problem,” Whitten-Amadon says. “That kind of model wouldn’t be sustainable in Northside.”
 
If you’re interested in purchasing a share in the co-op or want to learn more about it, come to Northside Rising, a 50/50 community fundraising event with PAR Projects, on Aug. 30 at 1622 Hoffner St.
 

ArtWalks bring temporary public art to communities

The community was invited to help paint the crosswalk, or ArtWalk, at Main and Melindy streets in Over-the-Rhine during the neighborhood’s Second Sunday on Main. Artists Beth Graves, Pam Kravetz and Carla Morales designed and painted the outline of the crosswalk, aptly named “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?”
 
About 50 community members painted as little or as much of the crosswalk as they wanted.
 
“The most expensive part of any street painting is closing the street, so Second Sunday was a great time and place to do it,” says Margy Waller, Serendipity Director for Art on the Streets.
 
Another crosswalk will be painted during next month’s event, and Waller says they hope to have one or two painted at every Second Sunday between now and October.
 
Art on the Streets will also have an ArtWalk painting during the Walnut Hills Cincy Summer Streets on July 19, which was designed and outlined by Graves. There are also plans to have an ArtWalk at Northside’s Cincy Summer Streets on Aug. 24.
 
“ArtWalks reflect the vibrancy that the arts bring to neighborhoods, and show how arts bring people together,” Waller says.
 
The Main Street ArtWalks are being funded by a grant from Cincy Sundaes and a matching grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Big Idea Challenge. The Walnut Hill’s ArtWalk is being funded by Interact for Health and The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

Cincy Summer Streets brings car-free fun to Walnut Hills, Northside

Tomorrow, a mile-long stretch of E. McMillan Street and Woodburn Avenue between Gilbert Avenue and Madison Road will be closed to cars, but open to pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders and rollerbladers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Walnut Hills.
 
Cincy Summer Streets is based on similar events held in cities like Indianapolis, Louisville, New York City, Portland and Chicago to promote local businesses and community—all without cars.
 
Activities, which are free, include sidewalk painting, yoga, belly dancing, pottery, jazz dancing, a flash mob and hula hooping from a variety of local businesses. There will also be an ArtWalk crosswalk painting, held by Art in the Streets, where anyone can help create a piece of temporary public art.
 
The second Cincy Summer Streets will be held on August 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Northside. Hamilton Avenue will be closed between Pullan and Spring Grove avenues, and Blue Rock Street will be closed between Cherry Street and Dane Avenue.
 
Northside’s event will include activities from Happen Inc., My Nose Turns Red, Spun Bicycles, Galaxie Skate Shop, Queen City Bike, Wump Mucket Puppets, Word Play, Yoga Ah and more.
 
Each route is situated within the neighborhood’s local business district with locally owned shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as the street activities. Cincy Summer Streets is accessible in both Walnut Hills and Northside by bike, bus and car, with street parking available nearby.
 
Cincy Summer Streets is sponsored by The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and Interact for Health.
 
Follow Cincy Summer Streets on Twitter @cincystreets, #cincystreets and on Instagram @cincystreets.

Northside restaurant to bring sports and international food together

This fall, Northside will welcome another new restaurant, World Cup, located at 4023 Hamilton Ave. The sports bar will cater to all kinds of sports, and will feature international cuisine.
 
Owner Alex Kuhns, who has worked in about 15 restaurants, is a huge soccer fan, and says that when watches games at English and Irish pubs, something is missing.
 
“Our menu will represent soccer itself, in that every item is inspired by a different nation,” he says.
 
Menu highlights include an Ivory Coast Pizza, topped with curry spices, bananas, spiced peanuts and ground beef; a French pizza, topped with mushrooms, pesto and roasted garlic; Spanish fries with Romesco sour cream and red onions; and chicken wings, a Puerto Rican style with a jerk rub and a Mexican style with chipotle, lime and cilantro.
 
Kuhns says the menu will rotate to reflect the winners of different sporting events. For example, since Germany beat Brazil in the World Cup, the restaurant would feature a special German dish.
 
World Cup will have 10-12 TVs airing different sporting events, including Bengals games. They’ll also have at least 20 beers on tap, with local, international, craft and mainstream brews.
 
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant will have seating for 115 people. Two garage doors will open onto the street, but without seating on the sidewalk.
 
“It’s going to be a big open space, nothing stuffy,” Kuhns says. “One of my friends’ dads described it as ‘gemuchlikeit,’ which means carefree.”
 
He wants World Cup to be a community gathering space for neighborhood groups and parties. The restaurant will feature a large stage for music and game tables, including foosball, pool and darts.

Eleven local projects receive state historic tax credits

The Ohio Development Services Agency recently awarded $37.7 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to rehabilitate 35 historic buildings in 13 communities across the state. Eleven of those projects are in Cincinnati, for a total of $6.2 million in tax credits.
 
A three-story building at 412-414 E. 13th St. received $150,000 in tax credits. Model Group plans to rehab the structure into five residential apartments. The project’s total cost is $831,314.
 
433 E. 13th St. received $245,000 in tax credits. The building was rehabbed several decades ago, but has decayed over time. It will house eight apartments and 1,200 square feet of retail space, and will feature a bike storage space for each tenant. The project’s total cost is $1,495,029.
 
The four-story building at 501 E. 13th St. in Over-the-Rhine is across the street from 433 E. 13th St. It received $136,500 in tax credits, and will house four apartments and first floor commercial space. The total cost will be $834,055.
 
Two buildings across from Findlay Market at 1818 and 1826 Race St. received $1,650,500 in tax credits. In a partnership between Model Group and the Corporation for Findlay Market, the buildings will become 15 apartments and more than 28,000 square feet of commercial office space and first floor retail space. The project’s total cost is $8,503,167.
 
Emanuel Community Center at 1308 Race St. received $248,017 in tax credits. The former gym will become squash courts for a new squash-based youth enrichment program, and office space at the front of the building will be used for tech and startup firms. Grandin Properties will use the tax credits to rehab the building’s fourth floor. The total cost is $5,101,146.
 
The Globe Building, located at 1801-1805 Elm St., will be home to People’s Liberty, an initiative of The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, and first floor retail space. The $4,886,992 project received $540,000 in tax credits.
 
The Landman Building, located at 3929 Spring Grove Ave., received $223,650 in tax credits. It was built in 1926, was stabilized by the Northside Business Association and sold to South Block Properties, Ltd. It will be rehabbed as a mixed-use facility for an arcade bar on the first floor and four one-bedroom apartments on the second floor. The total cost is $1,140,681.
 
Sorg Mansion in Middletown received $212,500 in tax credits. The 27-room mansion will be fully rehabbed to become an owner-occupied bed and breakfast. It’s the first Middletown project to receive state historic tax credits. The total project cost is $1,319,000.
 
St. John’s Church, located at 1205 Elm St., will be redeveloped into a bar and event space in the former sanctuary and balcony. It received $490,000 in tax credits, and the project’s total cost is $4.5 million.
 
Buildings at 703-707 Race St., 22-24, 26-30 and 106 W. Seventh St. will be jointly rehabbed to create 75 market-rate apartments and first floor retail space. The project received $1.45 million in tax credits, and will cost $14,656,862.
 
Windsor School, located at 937 Windsor St., received $900,578 in tax credits. Cincinnati Public Schools operated the building until 2004, and it was later sold at auction. Core Redevelopment plans to redevelop it into 44 market-rate apartments, and the now-empty southern portion of the property will become 48 new-build units. The project’s total cost is $9,139,567.
 
 

Kirby Road School to become 40 apartments

Later this year, the former Kirby Road School in Northside will become an apartment complex, developed by Bloomfield/Schon+Partners. The school was purchased at a Cincinnati Public Schools auction for $230,000 in 2012.
 
The $4.2 million Kirby Lofts project will convert the 50,000-square-foot, three-story building into 40 apartments, which could be completed by June 2015. The former gym will become three two-story, loft-style apartments, and the auditorium will become a 1,800-square-foot unit with 20-foot ceilings.
 
Much of the exterior of the building will remain, along with the preservation of the building’s Rookwood tile, cabinets, trim, doors and blackboards.  
 
Kirby Road School was built in 1910, and closed in 2005. It temporarily housed Chase School before closing for good in late 2012. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Bloomfield/Schon also redeveloped Northside’s American Can Lofts. The city granted a property tax abatement that will be worth $130,000 annually for eight years, and Bloomfield/Schon already received $600,000 in state preservation tax credits.
 
Plans are still in the works, and bids are being sought for the construction work.

Bourbon bar opening this summer in Northside

In June, Northside will welcome a bourbon bar to the neighborhood. The Littlefield, which will be located at 3930 Spring Grove Ave., is an idea that has been in the works for about five years.
 
“All four of us owners live in Northside,” says co-owner Matt Distel. “It’s where we choose to spend our time and money.”
 
Two of the owners are developers, and have started to get control of a number of buildings in the neighborhood. The Littlefield will actually be housed in one of those buildings.
 
The physical space is only about 400 square feet, but Distel says that the outdoor deck and patio are about triple that size.
 
Distel says they’re also looking to partner with Northside nonprofits and art organizations to focus on what makes the neighborhood fun and interesting.
 
“We want to highlight those organizations, and maybe have drinks specials or nights where we can help promote their events,” he says.
 
The Littlefield won’t just focus on bourbon, but will serve regional and craft-based beer and other alcohol, as well. Cocktails will be bourbon-based, with housemade bitters, and some will be cask-aged. Distel and the other owners are partnering with Shoshana Hafner, the former chef at Honey, on the menu, which will feature her take on typical bar food.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter


 

Kintimate Costumes expands in owner's Northside home

Lucia Jackson, a busy mother and corporate retail consultant, went to school to design wedding gowns. But somewhere along the line, her love of costumes turned into a business she runs from her Northside home. On June 14, Kintimate Costumes is holding a mod-themed open house to celebrate its expansion.
 
Jackson’s three-bedroom home at 1522 Knowlton will soon be full of costumes. Since its founding in 2011, Jackson has operated Kintimate from the house’s attic, but her inventory has grown exponentially since then.
 
“The costumes started to burst the seams of the attic, and I knew it was time to expand,” Jackson says. “No matter how much inventory I have, this house will be able to store it.”
 
With so much growth in Northside, Jackson says she’s in a prime location. Twenty new apartments will soon be built next door to her, and another 80 are going in across the street. “I hope that those 100 people will need costumes,” she says.
 
Jackson has something new in store for costume lovers and party-goers. Kintimate will now be offering a party planning option, with parties held at Jackson’s house or with Kintimate throwing a party at another location.
 
Although she hasn’t done any advertising for the party planning, she has already hosted a number of gatherings, from bachelorette parties to baby showers to a wedding reception for 500 guests.
 
“My friends and I recently dressed up as Disney princesses for a 4-year-old’s birthday party,” Jackson says. “We showed up, had cake and read the kids stories. It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done.”
 
For the 2014-2015 school year, Kintimate is partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools through School Aids. Jackson wants to work with schools’ theatrical departments to teach kids how to find costumes, research them and make them rather than hiring a company like Kintimate to make them. With that, when a school is finished with a costume, Kintimate will then rent or sell it, with the proceeds from each sale or rental going back to the original designer.
 
“I would love to see us working with students from DAAP and independent designers,” Jackson says. “They could use the program as a great jumping off point. And I would love to see my costumes attached to a number of designers.”
 
Jackson has big dreams for Kintimate—in a few years, she would love to see a number of locations, each with a team of designers busy making costumes.
 
“When I was a teenager, my dad told me that I couldn’t party the rest of my life,” she says. “I think that’s the only thing he’s ever been wrong about.”
 
For starters, Kintimate will be open three or four days through the weekend, from noon to 6 or 7 p.m. It will always be available for appointments, and parties can be booked any time. 
 
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

 
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