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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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Cincinnati landmarks receive state money for renovations, updates

Every two years, the state of Ohio issues bonds for its capital budget in order to support the renovations and updates of local buildings, schools, roads, sewers, prisons and parks. Earlier this winter, the Cincinnati Business Committee recommended projects that would help educate and train the state’s workforce to the governor.
 
Due to the recession, the state wasn’t able to issue these bonds fromm 2007-2012, but resurrected them for colleges and universities in 2013-2014. This year is the first since 2006 that the state has been able to allocate money to community projects.
 
Cincinnati’s Music Hall and the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Union Terminal are to each receive $5 million of Ohio’s $2.4 billion capital budget to get renovations underway, if the legislature approves the governor’s request to issue long-term bonds for money to improve universities and community buildings. The decision is going before the General Assembly this spring.
 
But state money won’t come close to covering the $275 million needed to update both Music Hall and Union Terminal. Music Hall, which was built in 1878, is in need of $95 million worth of renovations; Union Terminal, which is 80 years old, uses an outdated heating and air conditioning system, and needs $180 million in repairs.
 
In all, the state’s capital budget includes $675 million for local school buildings; $454.4 million for renovations at public colleges and universities; $369 million for road and sewer improvements; $574.3 million for state-owned buildings at prisons and parks; and $100 million for the Clean Ohio program to preserve farmland, trails and green space.
 
The state-owned Aronoff Center for the Arts theater and Hamilton County Memorial Hall will each get $2 million for renovations. Another $4 million will go to the future parking garage south of Freedom Way at The Banks. The University of Cincinnati will get $28.8 million for its ongoing Medical Sciences Building project, and Miami University will get $21 million to renovate Shideler Hall.
 
Cincinnati Zoo will get $2 million, and West Chester’s Voice of America MetroPark will get $1 million to build an athletic complex for regional and national tournaments.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Workshops to help with ins and outs of OTR homeownership

A series of workshops on homeownership in Over-the-Rhine will take place this spring. The series aims to bring together relevant resources and expertise to better educate potential homebuyers.
 
Owner-Occupied Over-the-Rhine, which is sponsored by the OTR Foundation, will cover everything from selecting the right property to financing to navigating the specific needs of a historic property and historic district.
 
The Foundation’s goal is to make it easier for individuals and families to rehabilitate buildings in OTR, the Brewery District or Pendleton by educating them about what redevelopment in a neighborhood entails, and helping them make connections to successfully complete a project.
 
The workshops will be held at 8 a.m. on April 12, May 10 and June 14 at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in OTR. Registration is $50 for all three sessions. You can register for the series here.
 
April 12’s session is titled “Learning from those who have gone before you.” Attendees will learn from other owner-occupants who have successfully renovated buildings, and tour completed or in-process projects. The second session, “You have a property, where do you begin?” will deal with choosing and purchasing a building, preparation for renovation, choosing a team, preserving historic properties, and laws and regulations. The final session, “Do the numbers add up and if they don’t, what do you do?" will touch on financing options that are available to owner-occupants.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Underground dining experience expanding to restaurant, urban market

Hen of the Woods’ owners Nick and Kim Marckwald started out doing underground dining experiences with family and friends in 2012, but it quickly grew into something much bigger. They’ve done the Over-the-Rhine farmers market, Findlay Market, private events and pop-up brunches. And in the next year, Hen of the Woods will have a physical restaurant space in the old J.B. Schmidt building in OTR.
 
“We looked everywhere for a space,” Nick says. “Nothing felt right until we found this building on Main. We knew it would let us reach our fullest potential. And Main is the next phase of the OTR scene, and it fits our personality and energy.”
 
J.B. Schmidt occupied the building for about 100 years. The contracting company left in 2012, and Urban Sites purchased it, but it’s been vacant since then.
 
The space, which includes the storefronts at 1432 and 1434 Main St., is just under 10,000 square feet. In the 1970s, the three-story building at 1432 was partially torn down and a warehouse was built by the city to house the drainage lines before they put them under OTR streets, and Schmidt eventually acquired it. It’s connected to 1434, which is a shed-type building with many different pockets, Nick says.
 
The first floor of 1432 will be HOTW’s urban market (beer and wine to-go, prepared food, an old-school butcher shop, smoothies, coffee, tea) and the second floor will be an extension of the dining room, overlooking Main Street. The Marckwald’s offices will be located on the third floor of the building. The “shed” will become a large dining room, bar and three-season patio with seating for 50-60.
 
HOTW’s serves modern American cuisine with a farm-to-table aesthetic.
 
“We like to take American classics and bend them on their ear,” Kim says. “We do lots of surprising touches and like to celebrate every element of whatever we’re using.”
 
The Marckwalds met in Colorado nine years ago, where Nick was an executive chef and Kim was bartending at the same restaurant. They’ve eaten their way through New York City and Chicago, and love to look at the menus, drinks, clientele and décor of the places they go. HOTW will showcase what’s important to them: service, presentation, fun and, of course, food.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Entrepreneur opens clothing and accessory boutique in OTR

After living in New York City for 11 years, Libby Andress came to Cincinnati and decided it was time to open her own boutique. LIBBY, a clothing and accessory shop, opened in fall 2013 in Over-the-Rhine.
 
“I’ve always been a boutique shopper, their imagination just amazes me,” Andress says.
 
The 600-square-foot, single-employee shop sells clothing and accessories, including handmade and custom jewelry and repairs. In the future, Andress hopes to offer other items like home goods, candles, perfume and fine jewelry.
 
Andress mainly sources her inventory from New York City and Los Angeles, where fashion is on the forefront. Her goal is to provide accessible shopping options that are on the pulse of the newest fashion being produced around the world.
 
“I stock off-brand fast fashion, which is a burgeoning market in fashion,” she says. “The market is inspired by all branches of the fashion industry. For example, it’s just begun to explore sustainable fashion, and I sell some clothes made from bamboo to reflect that.”
 
LIBBY is open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. You can visit her Etsy shop here.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Local brewer paying homage to Taft with new brewery, restaurant

There will soon be a new brewery on the scene in Over-the-Rhine. Kevin Moreland, former head brewer at Listermann/Triple Digit Brewing Company, is opening Taft’s Ale House in the historic St. Paul’s Church complex.
 
Built in the 1850s, the church has been abandoned since the ’80s. The city acquired the church and attempted to repair it, but the funds were never there. 3CDC bought it in 2010 for $350,000, and later made about $450,000 worth of structural repairs, including a new roof and some internal work.
 
Several other tenants were considered for the space, including offices and other commercial options.  
 
Taft’s Ale House pays homage to the 27th President of the United States and Cincinnati native William Howard Taft. The $8 million brewery is looking to open this fall or winter.
 
Taft’s beer will be made from locally sourced ingredients and is inspired by OTR restaurants, bars and specialty food retailers. There will be 12 beers on tap—three staples chosen by patrons, and the others will rotate seasonally. There will also be a menu with pub fare, which will include tri-tip steak sandwiches.
 
All three floors of the church will be utilized by Taft’s. The first floor, or Big Billy’s Basement, will house the brewery’s barrel-aged projects and rotating taps of local beer. The second floor will be the main beer hall with a view of the entire brewing process, including the eight 20BBL fermenters and eight 20BBL serving vessels behind the bar, separated by a catwalk. The third floor, or Brauzzine, will be the dining room that overlooks the beer hall.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Sam Adams brewery expanding OTR location

In June, the city approved plans to develop a brewery district in Over-the-Rhine. Part of that district includes the expansion of the Sam Adams brewery.
 
Cincinnati is one of three places in the country to brew Sam Adams beer.
 
Sam Adams is planning a 6,700-square-foot expansion of its Central Parkway facility. The brewery will be putting $6 million of improvements into the facility, with $3.5 million toward building new beer storage and $2.3 million in new beer storage tanks.
 
The brewery, whose build-out is being handled by Cincinnati-based Reece-Campbell Inc., will hold 14 large tanks with the space for six more tanks to be added; nine tanks will be added to the bottling and packaging facility.
 
Sam Adams is currently hiring eight positions, including a project engineer and brewing operator.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Senate, Abigail Street owners opening third restaurant

Over-the-Rhine restaurateurs Daniel and Lana Wright are looking to open their third restaurant, Pontiac Bourbon and BBQ, at 1403 Vine St. this summer.
 
The Wrights, owners of Senate and Abigail Street, plan to focus Pontiac’s menu on barbeque favorites such as Texas brisket, Memphis-style ribs, Alabama-style chicken and Frito pie. The bar will be stocked with a variety of bourbon, whiskey and beer; there will also be a choice of sodas from the Wrights childhood.
 
Pontiac will have seating for about 60, and will offer take-out options by-the-pound. It will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Go Dutch design firm moves to OTR

In May, brand design firm Go Dutch will move from Covington to its new home across the river. Its new location will be in the Emanuel Center Building at 1380 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
The firm will occupy a 4,600-square-foot space on the third floor. The move will allow Go Dutch to hire additional employees to add to its current staff of 10.
 
Formerly the Emanuel Community Center, the 143-year-old building was converted into office space for entrepreneurs by Grandin Properties.
 
Go Dutch, which was founded in 2011 by a group of former Landor employees, is doing most of the space design work themselves. The firm is working with Aubrie Welsh Interiors, a frequent collaborator of theirs, on the job.  
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Moerlein adds restaurant to OTR taproom

Today, Christian Moerlein is holding a soft opening for Wienerwurst Mike Frankfurtary, a new restaurant at the brewery’s Over-the-Rhine taproom. The event marks the 161st anniversary of the founding of the original Moerlein brewery, and the 10th anniversary of the brewery’s renaissance.
 
The 19th-century deli and frankfurtary is named for the roaming sausage vendors who sold to hungry saloon goers in the OTR of the past. They were called Wienerwurst Mike.
 
The concept for the restaurant came from S&J Bakery and Café in Findlay Market.
 
Moerlein has tapped a new beer for the occasion, 10/161 Winter Warmer Ale, which was aged in bourbon barrels for three months. The beer has notes of vanilla and, of course, bourbon, as well as sharp oak tannins and rich chocolate malt.
 
Food will be served during taproom hours, plus Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until midnight; and Sunday until 7 p.m.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Westfalen Lofts II offers condo living on future streetcar line

Westfalen Lofts II, located at 1426-1438 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine, is an extension of Westfalen Lofts. The project involved converting seven buildings into one condo development.
 
When completed, Westfalen II will include 33 for-sale units, plus about 4,000 square feet of commercial space right along the streetcar line. A few of the first-floor units have the ability to be sold as live/work spaces.
 
Units range in square footage from 531 square feet for a studio to 1,366 square feet for a two-bedroom. Prices range from about $90,000 to about $300,000. Units will go on sale in March.
 
Every fireplace in the original seven buildings was preserved for the development. Other features of the condos include sliding barn doors, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and open floor plans.
 
Northpointe Group is the developer on the project.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Nourish Yourself offers healthy, home-cooked meals to busy clients

After a 15-year career with P&G, Cherylanne Skolnicki became a certified health coach and started teaching people how to eat better. In January 2011, she started Nourish Yourself, a service that will cook dinner for you.
 
“The concept of a home-cooked meal resonates with busy families,” Skolnicki says. “Clients want to feed their families fresh, healthy, unprocessed, seasonal food, but struggle with the time and skills to cook those meals. We take the guesswork and challenge out of it.”
 
Nourish’s core team has three employees who focus on everything from customer care to menu development to marketing. A team of nine cooking partners go into clients’ homes and make the magic happen, Skolnicki says.
 
Clients are matched with a Nourish cooking partner in their area—they shop for and prepare meals in your kitchen. Meals are prepared all at once, and Nourish even cleans up afterward.
 
Nourish offers flexible pricing that starts at $159 per week plus groceries, and you choose the service date. Nourish’s winter menu is available on its website, with 50 entrée choices, many of which are freezable, plus fresh salad greens and homemade dressing.
 
The menu changes seasonally, but favorites include healthy makeovers of restaurant dishes, such as chicken enchiladas, Thai basil chicken and buffalo chicken meatballs. Skolnicki says both Nourish’s risotto with asparagus and peas and bison burger with Cabernet caramelized onions and white cheddar are also popular.
 
“Busy is the new reality for today’s families,” Skolnicki says. “We hope to make dining in the new normal for busy, health-conscious households. And cooking is one of the aspects of a healthy lifestyle that you can now outsource and still get all of the benefits.”
 
Today, Nourish serves the Greater Cincinnati area and northwest Arkansas (because of P&G employees), but Skolnicki hopes to expand to other markets in 2014.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Cincinnati Saints pro soccer team moving downtown

Starting this season, the Cincinnati Saints professional soccer team will be playing at Stargel Stadium at Taft High School. The stadium is two blocks from Over-the-Rhine’s Music Hall, Washington Park, restaurants, bars and breweries; plus there are two parking garages within walking distance.
 
The 3,000-seat stadium is ready to go, and there is room for expansion if needed, says David Satterwhite, president and CEO of the Saints.
 
“We want to show Cincinnati what a true soccer atmosphere can bring to the city,” he says. “Bringing the soccer community that has always been in the suburbs will help them see what they’re missing out on in OTR.”
 
About 60,000 kids play soccer in the Greater Cincinnati area—10 years ago, Cincinnati was second in the country in youth participation on a per capita basis.
 
“There’s a huge market for kids playing soccer here,” Satterwhite says. “We’ve created a really good team with really good players, and the natural progression has led to a professional team.”
 
The Saints’ men’s team was founded in August 2009, and the women’s team in December 2011. Currently, the indoor teams play at the Tri-County Soccer Plex, and the outdoor teams have played the last few years at Withrow High School.
 
The Saints organization has been looking for an outdoor stadium that will allow them to sell alcohol to fans, but they haven’t been able to find one. They’re currently working with local breweries to host tailgate parties before the games in order to enhance the fan experience.
 
The first men’s home game is May 23—tickets are available online.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Core Resources adding jobs to handle Family Dollar account

Last year, Over-the-Rhine-based construction and development company Core Resources added to its team to handle its Family Dollar Stores Inc. account. In 2013, the company had 48 employees; by the end of 2014, that number will grow to about 70.
 
In the next four months, Core Resources plans to add an administrator, a developer, two project managers and 15 field managers.
 
This year, Family Dollar is building out 550 stores across the country. Core Resources is developing and building free-standing stores for the retailer in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, West Virginia, Illinois and Missouri. Over the past two years, it has finished 12 stores, and currently has 60 projects in various stages of development and construction.
 
Most stores aren’t in Cincinnati, but three have been completed locally, one is under construction and two more are approved for construction. All work is being handled out of Core Resource’s OTR office.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Walk-up Mexican restaurant coming to OTR

Andrew Gomez learned to make salsa from his father, who learned to make salsa when he was growing up from his mother. 
 
“I don’t make it like my dad, and he doesn’t make it like my grandma,” Gomez says.
 
At the end of March, Gomez will be opening his restaurant, Gomez Salsa, on 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine. It will be a to-go window only, with late night offerings until 3 a.m.
 
Gomez’s salsa is a thick, hand chopped salsa that lets you see exactly what you’re eating and adds texture to his tacos. Gomez Salsa will specialize in not just salsa, but tacos and another dish called the Turtle Shell, which consists of rice, beans, cheese, a tostada, sour cream, lettuce, meat and salsa seared closed with melted cheese.
 
“We want to be a convenient, fresh Mexican food option in OTR,” Gomez says. “It’s exciting to be one of the first new places over here after Rhinehaus to help get things going. We’re excited to be part of it.”
 
He also wants to offer customizable build-your-own taco bars for catering. And he plans to offer beer and food pairings with next-door neighbor HalfCut, which is owned by Gomez’s friend Jack Heekin.
 
Keep your eyes peeled for Gomez Salsa's Indiegogo campaign in the next few weeks. One of the offers will be a food and beer pairing, probably for happy hour, Gomez says.  
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Gerke Building's unique characteristics make it ideal for beer

Three years ago, New York City native Noah Smith purchased the Gerke Building, which he's calling Kool Cellar, at 132 W. Court St. Because of the building’s unique characteristics, he envisions the building becoming a brewery or a restaurant.
 
The Gerke Building was designed and built by German immigrants in 1861, long before mechanical refrigeration. Instead, the building is fitted with a lager cellar, which was used to ferment beer that needed to be kept at cool temperatures. There are lots of buildings like the Gerke Building around town, but it has one of the deepest and most well-preserved lager cellars.
 
Beneath the 21-unit apartment building lies a 1,600-square-foot storefront that Smith says would make a great brewery or restaurant space. Below that is the upper cellar, which is 1,200 square feet and has an 11-foot ceiling. Then comes the lower cellar, which has an 18-foot ceiling and stays at 58.6 degrees, no matter the temperature outside.
 
Smith wants to rent out Kool Cellar, or part of it, for free because starting a business is an expensive venture. Another option for the space is a production facility for aging cheese, wine or even mushrooms—a less expensive option that would allow the storefront to be rented separately from the cellar.
 
Smith is a landlord and condo developer in New York City, and when the market went south, he began to look elsewhere for development opportunities. After looking at several buildings in places like Fort Dodge, Iowa, Smith came to Cincinnati. The city was in transition, and he wanted to be part of it.
 
“I really like what’s going on in Over-the-Rhine,” Smith says. “There’s lot of energy here, and Cincinnati has the promise of becoming a destination city.”
 
The Gerke Building was the first one he purchased in Cincinnati, and he now owns the Thunderbird Apartments in East Walnut Hills and the Manifest Gallery building, along with a few others.
 
“There’s so much happening below Liberty Street in OTR, but above Liberty, not much is happening,” Smith says. “I want to see development happen there, and that’s where I’m starting.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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