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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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12 Cincinnati projects receive $30 million in state historic tax credits


Across the state, a total of $41.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits was awarded to 31 organizations that plan to rehabilitate 35 historic buildings. Projects range from new office, hotel, retail and event spaces to 792 new market-rate housing units and the preservation of 279 affordable housing units.

Twelve Cincinnati projects were granted almost $30 million in state historic tax credits, with the bulk going to the Music Hall renovation project.

51 E. Clifton Ave., Over-the-Rhine
Project cost: $750,000
Tax credit: $147,000
Built in 1890 as tenement housing for the workers at OTR’s breweries and other industries, the building has been vacant for a number of years. It will be redeveloped into seven market-rate apartments.

1200 and 1208 Main St., OTR
Project cost: $3,231,129
Tax credit: $320,000
Wurst & Lorentz opened a “fancy goods store” in 1887 at 1200 Main St. The property has housed a number of dry goods, millinery and butcher shops and is currently vacant. Urban Sites plans to redevelop the two buildings into 19 apartments with first-floor retail space.

1317 Republic St., OTR
Project cost: 1,494,669
Tax credit: $199,000
Built in 1878, the Greek Revival building has been vacant for several years. Grandin Properties plans to redevelop the first three floors of the building into six apartments.

1319 Republic St., OTR
Project cost: $1,494,669
Tax credit: $199,000
Also built in 1878, this building is the twin of 1317 Republic St. Grandin Properties will redevelop the vacant site into six apartments, and both projects will complement others from the company in the block, including the former Emanuel Community Center and two buildings on 13th Street.

1405 Clay St., OTR
Project cost: $1,101,746
Tax credit: $180,000
Built between 1885 and 1890, the currently vacant property will be rehabbed into four apartments and first-floor retail by Urban Sites.

4089 Langland St., Northside
Project cost: $770,760
Tax credit: $150,000
This building once housed a café and boarding house but was most recently used by a lumber company. It’s been vacant since 2005 and will eventually house Wire & Twine Design Studios and a coworking space as well as two residential units.

Ambassador Apartments, 722 Gholson Ave. and 3415 Reading Road, Avondale
Project cost: $9,410,866
Tax credit: $913,751
Opened in 1929, Ambassador Apartments has been challenged with a number of maintenance issues. The Community Builders recently acquired the property and plans to renovate the 18 units so they can continue to be affordable housing.

Cincinnati Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., OTR
Project cost: $127,500,000
Tax credit: $25 million
The national historic landmark was dedicated during Cincinnati’s fourth May Festival in 1878 and is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera and May Festival and is managed by Cincinnati Arts Association. Rehab plans include upgrading building systems and handicap accessibility, improving operational efficiency and reopening and refreshing the exterior facades in order to increase the number of events held in the space.

Crescent Court Apartments, 3719 Reading Road, Avondale
Project cost: $8,370,356
Tax credit: $249,999
Built in 1911, Crescent Court Apartments was recently acquired by The Community Builders. The 37 affordable housing units will be redeveloped as part of a larger project planned for the neighborhood.

Heberle School, 2015 Freeman Ave., West End
Project cost: $11,189,704
Tax credit: $1,834,000
The Heberle School is one of several vacant schools in the neighborhood and will be converted into 59 apartments. It’s the first project in the West End to utilize state historic tax credits.

Poinciana Apartments, 3522 and 3639 Reading Road; 610 and 615 Maple Ave., Avondale
Project cost: $20,279,443
Tax credit: $440,202
Built in 1908, The Community Builders will redevelop the 44-unit building as part of a larger project in the neighborhood. Along with three other properties, the project will yield clean, safe, affordable housing.

Somerset Apartments, 802 Blair Ave., Avondale
Project cost: $5,892,147
Tax credit: $249,999
The apartments were built in 1869, and The Community Builders will rehab and preserve the existing 30 apartments.  
 

Pedal Wagon, Halfcut owner opens coworking space in OTR


Jack Heekin, owner of Over-the-Rhine’s Pedal Wagon and Halfcut, recently opened up a coworking space dubbed The Office attached to Halfcut at 12th and Walnut Streets. Gomez Salsa, Push Pull Studios, Squirrel Films and Venn have joined Halfcut and the Pedal Wagon so far, and Heekin says there’s an open door policy.
 
“People are always coming in and out, and more and more people are asking about using it,” he says. "The Office is definitely open to whoever wants to use it."
 
Heekin says The Office evolved on its own: As he opened Halfcut and his friend from high school, Andrew Gomez, opened Gomez Salsa next door, they each realized they needed an office. They turned Halfcut’s storage space into The Office — it’s between the kitchen, which Gomez Salsa uses, and Halfcut’s bar.
 
The space has slowly developed into a place for friends and friends of friends to come in and work together.
 
The bottom floor is just under 1,000 square feet and has a lounge area for meetings as well as a ping pong table for hanging out. The second floor is about 300 square feet, with a number of desks for companies to work at and share ideas.
 
“The Office will help add to the big picture and overall success of Cincinnati,” Heekin says. “If another startup needs help with something, you’ll be able to get it, as well as pitch ideas and collaborate with others.”
 

Article owners opening women's wear shop


Anthony Graziani and his wife opened the men’s clothing store Article in Over-the-Rhine last September. And after positive customer response and continued development on Vine Street, they're opening a second shop, Idlewild Woman, just down the block.
 
“We’re still in the startup mode with Article, but there’s so much promise in the neighborhood we decided to take the leap and open a second store,” Graziani says. “The credit really goes to Cincinnati and the renaissance going on right now.”
 
The 1,000-square-foot space at 1232 Vine St. is currently serving as a holiday pop-up shop for Idlewild and Fern Studio, but by April it will be 100 percent Idlewild.
 
“People really like that Article is dialed into what men are looking for as far as a shopping experience,” Graziani says. “We plan to do the same thing with Idlewild.”
 
Graziani also found that female shoppers were looking for that same type of retail experience that Article offers. He received lots of feedback from female customers shopping at Article either for the man in their life or for themselves. As fit jeans, oversized sweaters and menswear-inspired work pieces have become more popular, female shoppers have begun to frequent Article more and more.
 
Idlewild will have items that aren’t necessarily on-trend but are classic. Graziani is focusing the retail options on brands not currently available in Cincinnati and is working to create a women’s general store with a wide variety of items rather than a boutique.
 
Currently, the pop-up shop features goods from a variety of designers, including Imogene and Willie, Baldwin Denim, Steven Alan, Objects Without Meaning, Faherty, Almond, Billy Kirk, Shinola, Tiro Tiro, Another Feather, Mazama, Jacobsen Salt, Herbivore Botanicals and Mast Brothers Chocolate. Additional brands will be added throughout the holiday season, and many of the brands will become Idlewild staples.
 
Where Article sells Noble Denim, Graziani says he hasn’t found a regional designer like it that makes women’s denim, although there’s probably one out there that does.
 
“We’re trying to support regional manufacturers as much as we can, and the majority of the designers we carry manufacture their products here in the States,” he says. “But our focus is really on quality, not necessarily where it’s made.”
 
The holiday pop-up shop is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays in December. Deeper Roots Coffee is on-site 11 a.m.-3 p.m. serving pour-over coffee, and there are also nightly wine tastings.
 

Business accelerator opening storefront in OTR


Business accelerator MORTAR is opening a storefront at 1327 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine to provide space for entrepreneurs to operate their businesses while taking full advantage of support services. Called Brick OTR, the space hosts its first brand, Originalitees, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28.
 
“We took a step back and looked at the landscape of Cincinnati,” says William Thomas II, leadership strategist and business developer for MORTAR. “The city is on the brink of a major comeback, and we wanted to make sure we were growing collectively. We also saw there were many others who wanted to take part in the progress who are often overlooked.”
 
Thomas and his partners Derrick Braziel and Allen Woods realized that many of OTR’s longtime residents were getting left behind as the neighborhood’s landscape was changing. MORTAR is designed to provide support for entrepreneurs or business owners who face barriers, including race, socioeconomic status, access to capital or institutional expertise.
 
MORTAR is open to entrepreneurs who have the desire to take their idea, listen to feedback, pivot and do what's needed to succeed.
 
“Our plan is to assist these entrepreneurs, whether they’re starting a new business or growing an existing business throughout the course, mentorship and continued guidance,” Braziel says.
 
The storefront is only 380 square feet but has the space for up to two businesses at a time. Businesses can rent out Brick OTR for a day, a week or a month, so the brands you see will be constantly changing. Follow Brick OTR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for upcoming concepts.
 
“One week you might stop in and see two brands working side-by-side, and next time one brand will have the entire space,” Thomas says. “We want to encourage people to stop in frequently because you never know what you’ll find.”
 
Brick OTR is currently only in Over-the-Rhine, but MORTAR’s goal for the coming years is to have multiple locations in underserved areas all over the city.

Urban Sites creating living, working spaces in OTR

Across the street from the Emery Theatre, Urban Sites is redeveloping two buildings, located at 1123 and 1125 Walnut St. The buildings will yield 16 units—14 apartments and two commercial spaces.
 
Sixteen years ago, the city loaned money to a developer to renovate the buildings. The developer defaulted on the loan, and Urban Sites purchased the property and began construction a few weeks ago.
 
The 14 market-rate apartments will all be two-bedroom, and are slated to be completed next summer. Each is about 800 square feet, and still has the original wood floors and fireplace facades intact. A small, concrete courtyard connects the two buildings.

“There are lots of young professionals and people who work downtown here, and we want people who work down here and love OTR to live here,” says Seth Maney, vice president of development for Urban Sites.

Urban Sites was founded in the '80s, and since then has focused much of its development south of Liberty Street in Over-the-Rhine. But the developer recently purchased the 40,000-square-foot film center building just north of Liberty.
 
“We’re currently working with Findlay Market to understand their needs, and we’ve been approached by several companies about the building too,” Maney says. “It’s still in the early stages, but it’s one of a few large office buildings like it.”

To date, Urban Sites has redeveloped 400 apartments and more than 100,000 square feet of retail and office space. Almost 100 percent of the developer’s units are occupied, but 70 more will soon be online.
 

New OTR event center hosts first show

Over-the-Rhine’s newest music venue, The Woodward Theater, is holding its first show with Nashville-based The Soil & The Sun on Nov. 10.
 
The 101-year-old theater was purchased and renovated by the owners of MOTR, who were looking for a venue that could handle larger acts and crowds.
 
“It’s a unique piece of architecture in OTR,” says Dan McCabe, co-owner of MOTR and The Woodward. “It’s a rare building, and we want to keep it around for another 101 years.”
 
The inside of the building is a big open room, and can handle up to 600 people. Seating will be brought in to meet the needs of each event, and the stage is in the center of the room against one of the four walls. A horseshoe balcony overlooks the space, and allows for a more intimate feel for both the performer and the audience.
 
A bar runs along one side of the space and features 24 taps. McCabe says there will be a strong local brewery presence, with a wider variety of beers than you see at MOTR, which only has 10 taps.
 
The Woodward was built to be an event hall, McCabe says. Local businesses are renting the space for speakers, and they’ve already booked several wedding receptions. He also wants to show films on a regular basis.
 
“The Woodward will be a gateway for the region and for OTR,” McCabe says. “People are coming from out of town to see shows, and they’re coming early, shopping around and visiting local businesses before and after the show. We hope that people look up and look around, and make the decision to explore Cincinnati deeper, and maybe event more here.”
 
Ticket prices vary for each show, depending on the act. You can get advance tickets for shows at The Woodward here.
 

Lavomatic space to become neighborhood tavern

When Lavomatic closed this summer, Thunderdome Restaurant Group quickly signed a lease for the space, which is right next door to Bakersfield. There was lots of speculation surrounding the coming restaurant, and this December, a new concept, Krueger’s Tavern, will open.
 
Many years ago, the space was home to a Laundromat, and opened as Lavomatic in 2008. It was the first restaurant to open in the Gateway District.
 
The building, which is the only open-air restaurant in Over-the-Rhine, is currently undergoing a remodel to fit the tavern concept. The Krueger’s menu will feature sandwiches and tavern food, with more than 75 varieties of canned beer, as well as a full bar.
 
Four types of sausages will be made in-house, and will be served with sides instead of on buns. The sandwiches will include a sloppy joe and a chicken club, made on bread from 16 Bricks.
 
The name for the restaurant comes from Krueger’s Brewing, which was a New Jersey brewery that, in 1935, was the first to sell beer in cans.
 
Thunderdome owns four Bakersfield restaurants with two more to come, several Currito locations, The Eagle Food and Beer Hall and SoHi Grilled Sandwiches in Oxford.
 

Frameshop opens Workshop in Walnut Hills

Frameshop recently moved the back end of its framing business to 700 E. McMillan in Walnut Hills. It’s in the same building as Beck Paint and Hardware, and will allow Frameshop the space to do the woodwork and finishing on pieces.
 
Co-owner Jake Baker says they ran out of space to make frames at the Over-the-Rhine location, and needed a place where they could test out their services and maybe develop new products.
 
“We were looking for new opportunities to work with wood,” Baker says. “Walnut Hills is looking to change the dynamic of the neighborhood, and we’re excited about that.”
 
Workshop will be housed in a 1,100-square-foot space on the first floor of the building, but they’re also testing out the third floor, which is about 2,000 square feet. It will solely be a workshop, and Frameshop will continue to offer retail options, with hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and appointments during the week.
 
Baker says they might take appointments at Workshop, as there are customers who like to see the whole framing process, but that’s still up in the air.
 
Frameshop is expanding in other ways, too. Since opening in 2012, they hired two employees, both graduates of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. They also opened a location in Lexington last September, with the intention of moving to a new space in January. The lease at the new location fell through, so Baker and partner Jake Gerth decided to focus on Cincinnati and the new Workshop.
 
“Being active in Walnut Hills and OTR is going to allow us to get to know a new set of people, and introduce each neighborhood to a new set of people,” Baker says. “We’re ambassadors for business and the neighborhood of OTR, and we want to do that for Walnut Hills too.

Off the Vine brings cold-pressed juices to Cincinnati

A juice bar will soon open in the old 940-square-foot Cincy Haus: American Legacy Tours space on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. Off the Vine will offer cold-pressed juices made from local and organic ingredients, when possible.
 
Cold-pressed juice is pressed between hydraulic plates in a juicer, which squeezes out every drop of juice and nutrients from the produce, and leaves a dry pulp behind.
 
Off the Vine’s menu will feature about eight different types of juice, ranging from a green juice to a nut milk-based juice. Juices will range in price from $6-$10, and will have three pounds of produce in each serving. Off the Vine will also sell juices for cleanses, which are $55 per day. Each cleanse package comes with five juices and one nut milk, and are meant for meal replacements.
 
Co-owners and OTR residents Annie McKinney and Cydney Rabe, who owns Core a Movement Studio in OTR, both started drinking juices for different reasons. McKinney is interested in how eating health food affects your daily mood and life, so she started drinking cold-pressed juice.
 
“You’re getting raw, living nutrients from cold-pressed juice that you can’t get from eating raw produce,” she says. “Plus, when you feel better, you treat other people better. It’s almost like a pay-it-forward mentality.”
 
When Rabe started doing Pilates, she looked at what she was eating and how she was treating her body, and decided that juicing would be the fastest way to get all of the nutrients she needed in one sitting.
 
Rabe says juicing can be frustrating because you see all of the produce that you’re throwing out. But with cold-pressed juices, you’re not wasting anything.
 
Off the Vine will offer some fruit-based juices for those who are just getting into juicing, as well as green juices and nut milks for more seasoned juice drinkers.
 
When Off the Vine opens in late October, its hours will be Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 

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

Food truck association to host street food festival

The Cincinnati Food Truck Association will host its first event, the CFTA Food Fest, from 4 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Washington Park. The event will feature beer, live music and food from 19 CFTA members.

CFTA members can be found at events all over the city, as can non-CFTA members. But this is the first time for a CFTA-exclusive event. All members were invited to Food Fest, but some won't be there due to prior commitments.
 
“CFTA members have been wanting to do our own festival since the beginning,” says Elizabeth Romero, president of CFTA and co-owner of SugarSnap! “We’re hoping the event will increase the buzz around town and give people a chance to try new and different trucks.”
 
Traditionally, Washington Park has been a great place for food trucks to set up for events like the City Flea and LumenoCity. So it made sense to have the CFTA event there too.
 
“It’s a great place to bring the community together,” Romero says. “It brings great vibes, and it has the room for a large number of trucks.”
 
Food Fest will feature beer served by 3CDC, music spun by D.J. Nate the Great, cornhole and giant Jenga.
 
CFTA members will be serving up everything from pizza and burgers to cupcakes and ice cream. Trucks that will be at the event include: Bistro de Mohr, C’est Cheese, Cuban Pete, East Coast Eatz, Eclectic Comfort Food, Falafel Mobile, Mobile Coldstone, Panino, Pizza Tower, Quite Frankly, Red Sesame, Streetpops, SugarSnap!, Texas Joe, The Chili Hut, Ricco Food Truck, Roll With It Café, Waffo and Wiggy Dip.  
 
CFTA’s goal is to host two events per year, and possibly make Food Fest an annual tradition in Cincinnati. The group also hopes to work with local bands, breweries and nonprofits in the future to give their events a wider scope.

Mural tour to highlight Cincinnati's history and famous painters

Cincinnati’s first annual “Mural Month” kicks off Oct. 1, and to celebrate, ArtWorks is launching its brand-new walking mural tours. The tours, The Spirit of OTR and Cincinnati Masters & More, begin Oct. 4.
 
Both walking tours feature about 10 murals, and last about an hour and a half. An Artworks Apprentice and an ArtWorks volunteer lead the tours, and give tour-goers background information on the mural, its painter, how it was made, and its connection to the community.
 
“Our murals tell stories, and are eye-catching and engaging,” says Ellen Stedefeld, communications and development coordinator for ArtWorks and the curator of the mural tour. “We want to tell the stories of the murals and the story of ArtWorks, as well as the murals’ connection to the city and the community.”
 
The Spirit of OTR tour will being outside of Coffee Emporium on Central Parkway, and will wind its way through Over-the-Rhine, ending at Washington Park. Tour guides will describe how the murals were made, and connect the murals to the history of the neighborhood from the 1800s to the present.
 
Murals included on The Spirit of OTR tour are Mr. Tarbell Tips His Hat, located at 1109 Vine St.; Canal at Vine Street circa 1900, located at 101 W. Central Parkway; Cincinnati Strongman Henry Holtgrewe, located at 1215 Vine St.; and The Vision of Samuel Hannaford, located at 1308 Race St.
 
Cincinnati Masters & More also begins at Coffee Emporium and ends at Fountain Square. It celebrates Cincinnati’s artistic legacy by highlighting some of the city’s most famous artists, including Charley Harper, John Ruthven and Tom Wesselmann. Murals included in the Cincinnati Masters & More tour are Fresh Harvest, located at 1014 Vine St.; Homecoming (Blue Birds), located at 119 E. Court St.; and Still Life #60, located at 811 Main St.
 
Tours will take place every Saturday in October and November, ending around Nov. 22 for the winter. Tickets are $20 per person (children under 12 are free) and are available on Artworks’ website. Tours are capped at 20 people, but larger groups can book private tours in advance.
 

The Sidewalk Project to bring awareness to sidewalk use, problems

Advertising agency PB&J and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful have teamed up to help improve one of Cincinnati’s most important asset: its sidewalks. The Sidewalk Project aims to keep the sidewalks cleared in the winter, as well as use them for community events.
 
Last year, PB&J CEO Micah Paldino was walking from his home to work, a total of two blocks, and he noticed that because the sidewalks weren’t properly cleared, pedestrians were actually walking in the street.
 
“It was a little bit backward to me,” he says. “Our city is becoming more pedestrian-friendly, but we can’t even walk on the sidewalk in the winter.”
 
Paldino says that the city is a brand, which aims to give people positive experiences 365 days a year. Winter needs to be addressed, not ignored.
 
According to an old city law, businesses need to clear their sidewalk within four hours of accumulation. But the law has many loopholes, and no one is quite sure how to interpret it. PB&J is working with law firm Graydon Head & Ritchey to figure out how to create positive conversations within the community about the law.
 
“The sidewalks aren’t being cleared because people have this perception that they will get sued if someone gets hurt,” Paldino says. “Changing the law isn’t feasible, but we want to work with the city and the community to stay within the law and make walking easier.”
 
The details are still being worked out, but PB&J hopes to have crews out clearing the sidewalks of ice and snow buildup. The plan is to launch The Sidewalk Project this winter in Over-the-Rhine, and if all goes accordingly, expand to other areas of the city.
 
In the spring, The Sidewalk Project will roll out a park-let initiative, which is a semi-temporary patio that is set up in front of a business. It takes up the metered parking spots on the street, but still allows traffic to pass. A railing is set up, benches erected, and flowerpots or other decorations are added to give new dimension to a space.
 
There are also plans to do public awareness initiatives like street cleaning, sidewalk washing, crime awareness, gum pickup, cigarette butt pickup and trash pickup on the weekends—in OTR and downtown, trash pickup isn’t available on the weekends.
 
“The opportunities are endless,” Paldino says. “Any action that happens on the sidewalk can help facilitate conversation and enact positive change.”
 
Because this winter is supposed to be worse than last year, PB&J hopes to raise $25,000 to get The Sidewalk Project going. To donate, visit Keep Cincinnati Beautiful's website.

Sea Cuisine Taco Tour lands in Cincinnati

This summer, Sea Cuisine took its Taco Tour to five cities across the country, and its last stop is in Cincinnati. The tour kicked off in June in Milwaukee, then headed to Minneapolis, Denver and Nashville, and it has its last day in Cincinnati on Sept. 27.
 
In each city, Sea Cuisine enlists a local chef to help create taco recipes to serve on the truck. In Milwaukee, Sea Cuisine sought the talents of owner and executive chef of Il Mito, Chef Michael Feker; in Minneapolis, chef de cuisine of Sea Change, Chef Jamie Malone; in Denver, chef and founder of Blackberry Catering, Chef Hosea Rosenberg; and in Nashville, executive chef of Urban Grub, Edgar Pendley.
 
Chef Kyle Johnson, formerly of Local 127, created two tacos that are exclusive to Cincinnati for the truck’s three-week Queen City visit.
 
“As a chef, I know how to use products like fresh fish, and it’s great to be able to suggest something that is a substitute for a harder-to-use item,” Johnson says. “I want to be able to give novice cooks the interest to cook at home, and give them the knowledge to do so.”
 
Johnson’s Chipotle Adobo Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Tacos bring a Mexican flair to Sea Cuisine’s Tortilla Crusted Tilapia, and is easy for the at-home cook to make. The fish is topped with tomato, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, avocado, cilantro and lime juice.
 
“When I go home, I need to eat too, and I would definitely make something like what they’re serving on the truck,” Johnson says.
 
The Taco Tour will be in Cincinnati until Sept. 27, and will be at Midpoint Music Festival on Sept. 25 and 27, and Fountain Square on Sept. 26. If you visit the truck, use #UpgradeYourTaco on Twitter, and follow Sea Cuisine on Instagram at seacuisinemeals#.

Sea Cuisine products are available at your local Kroger.
 

Simple Space to offer pop-up and event space in OTR

Over-the-Rhine residents Levi and Heather Bethune are opening a pop-up and event space on the first-floor of their home. Simple Space, located at 16 E. 13th St., will be available for everything from a pop-up store to a party space.
 
“Simple Space will be kind of like an extension of our living room,” Bethune says. “One of the reasons my wife and I decided to move our family into an urban environment is so we can influence, affect and contribute to the heart of the city. We believe that we can have an impact through Simple Space, but also through our home. Every tenant that rents out the space will be considered a guest in our home, and hopefully a friend in our city.”
 
The 600-square-foot space is an empty shell, and will be undergoing renovations soon. The Bethunes hope to have their first tenants in before Christmas, and will open the building to reservations in March.
 
Over the last two years, Bethune has met many vendors and creators at events like the City Flea and Second Sunday on Main. He’s talked to several people who are interested in using the space, including Julie Otten from Shoppe Class, who could use Simple Space for craft speciality lessons; Nick Elbi from Zip Zoo Apparrel, who might do a T-shirt pop-up shop; and Blake Smith from the local start-up Cladwell, who has talked about using Simple Space for a custom fitting and personalized men’s shopping experience.
 
“Simple Space is a container, an empty box,” Bethune says. “It’s not about what I want to happen in there, it’s about what you want to happen in there.”
 
Simple Space is currently looking for investors to help with renovations and signage. You can donate to the Indiegogo campaign here.  
 
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