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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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Tri*Metro campaign providing entertainment buses Sept. 13

This fall, Metro is launching the tri*Metro campaign, which will encourage young professionals to incorporate Metro into their lives. The three-pronged campaign focuses on learning about Metro, experiencing Metro and challenging riders to go car-free during the month of October.
 
Cincy YP and Give Back Cincinnati wanted to form a partnership with Metro to better educate others about riding the bus. They didn’t want to go to more meetings, but instead created a video about riding Metro, which shows riders how 20- and 30-somethings use the bus.
 
As part of the campaign, Metro is providing three entertainment buses for riders on Sept. 13. The bus will circulate to hotspots in Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout, Oakley, O'Bryonville and Over-the-Rhine. The bus will run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and will stop at designated bars and restaurants.
 
“Riders can get on and off the bus all night long, and will give everyone the opportunity to experiment with the buses,” says Kim Lahman, ridership development manager for Metro.
 
A specific route will be drawn up for the night that will circle the neighborhoods involved in the event, and there will be a bus schedule specifically designed to fit the route.
 
Volunteers from Cincy YP will be at each of the designated bus stops to help riders figure out where they’re going and how long they will have to stand and wait. Riders will also receive special discounts at participating bars and restaurants.
 
Venues include Cock & Bull Public House and Unwind Wine Bar in Hyde Park; Mt. Lookout Tavern and Millions Cafe in Mt. Lookout; Animations and The Oak Tavern in Oakley; O’Bryon's Bar & Grill and Uncorked in O’Bryonville; and The Drinkery and MOTR in OTR.
 
“It will be great for ridership, as well as for economic development because we’re supporting businesses along the way, and helping get people familiar with the Metro system,” Lahman says.
 
If you’re interested in riding Metro’s entertainment buses on Sept. 13, tickets are $5. For more information, visit Metro’s website.

Neighborhood bar and bottle shop serving this September in OTR

Garth Lieb, Jeremy Moore and Tom Stephen are no strangers to the Over-the-Rhine bar scene. Not only do they frequent them, but they’ve worked at a handful as well. And this September, the trio will be opening a bar of their own, Liberty’s Bar & Bottle.
 
The 1,000-square-foot space, which was formerly a condo, will feature 20 rotating taps, wine by the glass, and beer and a selection of wine to-go. Liberty’s will focus more on European craft beer and wine than local offerings, but you can be sure there will be a few of those as well.
 
“The American craft beer movement has pushed everyone around the world to experiment with different types of hops, fruits and barreling processes,” Stephen says. “It’s really pushed Europe to keep up and play around with the fun stuff.”
 
The bar’s wine program will be made up of Old World wines, but there will be a few from California and Oregon as well. There will also be a small liquor selection with a very small list of well-picked bourbons and scotches, and a vodka, gin and tequila option.
 
Meat and cheese plates will be available as well for light bites, featuring goods from local purveyors.
 
Liberty’s copper topped, walnut bar is original to the building. Eighteen bar stools, a few drink rails and a beer hall-style table will round out the seating. Eight French doors open onto the sidewalk, which Stephen says will make it feel like you’re outside.
 
When Liberty’s opens, there will be a few special beers that lots of people probably haven’t had on draft in Ohio. After unveiling the taps, Stephen says they’ll unveil a 20-foot tall mural painted by local artist Alex Scherra.
 
“We want Liberty’s to be a neighborhood bar, and with that, we want to feature local art,” Stephen says.
 
Scherra will also be creating pieces of art for the bar’s chalkboards that were salvaged from a 1902 schoolhouse in Connecticut. The artwork will change over time, and will feature hops and wine regions from around the world.
 

Macaron-focused bakery opening this fall in OTR

Cincinnati natives Patrick Moloughney and Nathan Sivitz lived in LA for a year, where they realized macarons—flavored ganache or cream sandwiched between two almond meringue cookies—are the next cupcake. So Moloughney, a former brand manager at P&G, and Sivitz, a trained pastry chef, are bringing the French sweet to Cincinnati.
 
“Macarons are delicate and light, and temperamental to make,” Sivitz says. “They’re difficult for the home baker to make, so we thought a shop dedicated to macarons would be perfect for the neighborhood.”
 
Macaron Bar is slated to open in November in a 1,400-square-foot space at 1206 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine, next to Park + Vine. The OTR location will primarily be a takeaway kitchen, so customers can grab a treat on the way to work or on the way home.
 
The shop will have a minimalist and contemporary look and feel, with lots of white laminate materials and a glass wall separating the kitchen from the front of the house. The white walls will make the colorful macarons pop, Sivitz says.
 
The shop’s menu will feature classic flavors like chocolate, pistachio and salted caramel, with seasonal flavors like pumpkin and peppermint. All of the macarons will be gluten-free and Kosher certified. Macaron Bar will also offer a limited selection of coffee from Deeper Roots and loose-leaf tea from Essencha Tea House.
 
Moloughney and Sivitz picture the OTR location to be the flagship store, and they plan to open several satellite shops around town that will be retail-only stores supplied by the OTR kitchen.
 
The guys are also committed to the community—three percent of the profits from Macaron Bar will go to nonprofits in the OTR area.
 
“We want a way to give back,” Moloughney says, who has served on the board of several community organizations, including Community Shares and GLSEN. “Volunteering and being involved are very important to us.”
 
 

Cross-stitch and embroidery shop new to OTR

The Hoop & Needle, a cross-stitch and embroidery shop, had its grand opening during Over-the-Rhine’s Second Sunday in June.
 
The 750-square-foot shop boasts cross-stitch and embroidery supplies, including modern and edgy patterns, kits and accessories. There’s also an online shop, which will carry many of the same offerings as the brick-and-mortar store.
 
The Hoop & Needle’s owner and sole employee, Sarah Fisher, hopes to eventually offer classes. She’ll be hosting the first “Stitch Night” from 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 7, where people can bring in their projects and work on them.
 
“I want to provide a place where people can explore something new, and try out something different,” Fisher says. “I’ve found that lots of people who live in OTR used to do cross-stitch or embroidery, and this is a way to make the hobby more approachable and help people get back into it.”
 
Fisher, an Akron native who now lives in Northside, started creating her own cross-stitch patterns a few years ago, and sold them as Purple Hippo Stitches at craft shows, including the Crafty Supermarket. The Hoop & Needle is an extension of that, and it happened a lot faster than she was expecting.
 
“I started looking at spaces, and this seemed like the perfect space,” she says. “There are other art stores in OTR like Rock Paper Scissors, and it seemed like a friendly community to start a business in.”
 
The Hoop & Needle, located at 1415 Main St., is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
 

Explore OTR cards offer arts patrons perks for visiting nearby restaurants and retail

Over-the-Rhine arts organization Elementz recently produced Explore OTR cards, which will drive business from the arts to restaurants and retail in the neighborhood. The cards are based on a concept seen in Kentucky where groups of businesses get together and create a process to get customers to go to the businesses.
 
“The cards are for people who might come to OTR for arts events, but who don’t think of the neighborhood as a place to stay and shop,” says Tom Kent, executive director of Elementz.
 
Explore OTR cards are free, and will be handed out by smaller arts organizations after performances—the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Art Beyond Boundaries, the Cincinnati Boychoir, Elementz and Know Theatre.
 
Patrons can then visit up to five of the 21 businesses listed on the card and get them initialed. Park + Vine, Rhinehaus, the YMCA, The Anchor Restaurant in Washington Park, Taste of Belgium and Sweet Sistah Splash are just a few of the diverse restaurants and retail options that are participating in the Explore OTR cards.
 
Once they’ve visited five businesses, patrons can redeem the cards at larger arts organizations such as American Legacy Tours, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Theatre and Know Theatre for deals like 20 percent off tickets for the Queen City Underground Tour and buy one, get one free tickets at Know Theatre.
 
Each offer has an expiration date, with some expiring in November, others in May, Kent says.
 
“We’re trying to build an alliance between arts organizations and the customers who come to see the shows,” he says. “Local businesses make the neighborhood thrive, and the cards will also help bring in a more diverse audience as membership builds.”
 
Elementz will be collecting the cards after they’re redeemed for the discounts, and keeping track of where people redeemed them and which businesses were visited.
 
The cards are currently being printed, and will be handed out at LumenoCity next weekend.

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.

Columbus-based pretzel shop opening in OTR

An authentic German pretzel shop will soon open its doors in Over-the-Rhine. Columbus-based Brezel will be located in the 565-square-foot space next to Graeter’s at 6 W. 14th Street. 
 
Owner Brittany Baum and her husband, Tim, became pretzel enthusiasts after visiting Germany in 2008.
 
“I’m a vegetarian, and it’s hard to be one in Germany,” Baum says. “I lived off of Bavarian pretzels during our travels.”
 
When she returned to her native Columbus, Baum couldn’t find pretzels that compared to those in Germany. She and a friend spent hours in the kitchen, perfecting their recipe, and sold them at farmers’ markets from 2008-2011. In March 2011, they opened the first Brezel location at Columbus’ North Market.
 
After visiting Cincinnati last August, Baum fell in love with OTR.
 
“It reminded me a lot of the Short North neighborhood in Columbus,” she says. “It has a raw feeling to it. It felt unrefined, artistic and on the verge of self-discovery. I knew I wanted to play a role in creating OTR.”
 
Brezel is best known for its original salt pretzel, but there are 30 different flavors to choose from, including French Onion and Asiago, Peppercorn and Mozzarella, Jalapeno and Cheddar, Roasted Garlic and Cheddar, and Coconut and Almond. The menu includes pretzel twists, pretzel bites and scratch-made dips, as well as buns, soup bowls and pizza crust, which are all made from pretzel dough.
 
“I believe in working with other small businesses to collaborate and create interesting products, and I hope to share that vision with other businesses in OTR,” Baum says.
 
She hopes to open Brezel in time for Oktoberfest, but there is no set date yet. Hours of operation will include mid-morning through the evening, as well as late-night hours on the weekend.
 
“Brezel will be a place for people to grab a quick bite before or after work, as well as late night,” Baum says.

OTR mural to serve as gateway to Brewery District

A mural designed by Keith Neltner of Neltner Small Batch will soon adorn the bricks of 131 E. McMicken Ave, the former site of the Schmidt Brothers/Crown Brewery. Work on the mural has begun, and will be completed Aug. 1.
 
When finished, the mural will depict two men crowning a pint glass of beer. It was funded by grants through ArtWorks, and is being created by Neltner and a team of 15 other artists. It will be the first of three installations to complement the Brewing Heritage Trail.
 
“The mural is inspired by the incredible history and resurgence our city is experiencing,” Neltner says. “This mural features building a monument to beer’s rich history, crowning it (literally) in the Queen City. The ‘Earth rewards’ headline communicates that the earth has given us the raw materials from which we created and built an industry, culture and city. Rich patterns and graphic line work will create stopping power and a dramatic gateway into the Brewery District. Described as ‘blue collar,’ yet urban and contemporary.”
 
The mural will serve as a tourist spot on the Brewing Heritage Trail, as well as a point of interest for the neighborhood.
 
“Murals bring a most beautiful energy and vibrancy into urban spaces,” says Chelsea Koglemeier of Roadtrippers, whose building will host the mural. “I love the way kids are getting involved and people on the street stop to check it out.”

Vintage-inspired clothing store coming to OTR

In 2007, Ryan Vesler founded HOMAGE as a wholesale company that specialized in graphic T-shirts. It has since grown into an online business, then a brick-and-mortar store in Columbus in 2010, and a larger store in 2012. This fall, HOMAGE will open a location in Over-the-Rhine.
 
The 1,500-square foot store, located at 1232 Vine St., will offer the company’s vintage-inspired, U.S.-made graphic tees, sweatshirts, sweatpants and accessories.
 
“We’ve been excited about the Cincinnati market for a long time,” says Jason Block, HOMAGE’s president. “There’s an energetic, enthusiastic fan base here, and our product has resonated with them.”
 
HOMAGE’s Columbus location sports an NBA Jam arcade machine, a Coca-Cola machine, championship banners and memorabilia unique to the city. Block says the OTR location is undergoing some renovations to bring personality to the space, and will probably include some of the details of the Columbus store.
 
The OTR HOMAGE will also offer licensed University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, University of Dayton and University of Miami-Ohio gear.
 
“We want to be part of the community,” Block says. “We want our personality and authenticity to add to what OTR already has to offer.”

Pendleton Street Townhomes to offer single-family housing in OTR

In the next year, the Pendleton area of Over-the-Rhine will have five new single-family houses. Pendleton Street Townhomes will include one 1870s renovation, located at 1533 Pendleton, and four new builds. The project is being developed by Pendleton Ventures, LLC, and is being funded by the City and the Cincinnati Development Fund.
 
Construction began on July 1, although some preliminary emergency stabilization was done on this past winter. The townhomes should be complete in 9-12 months, and ready for move-in shortly after.
 
“We want to provide a format for families to move into the city,” says Edward Wright of Wright Design, LLC. “This is a great place to raise a family, with lots to do. Why not create a place for families to live like they would in the suburbs?”
 
Each townhouse will have three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, as well as a two-car garage. Homeowners will have the option of adding a rooftop deck or a deck on the back of the house.
 
All of the houses will be LEED certified and will have a mostly grass backyard with a concrete pad for parking. The houses that don’t have a side alley for trash cans will also have a “trash yard” attached to the house and screened from the street, with a balcony above that overlooks the street. 

In order to make the buildings look original, custom caster work will be done on the front of each house.
 
“There have been vacant properties in this area for years, and it’s exciting to be putting some of the buildings back,” Wright says.
 
The second phase of Pendleton Street Townhomes will include five units on Spring Street across the street from those on Pendleton. Although the buildings have a slightly different character, they will feature many of the same amenities as Phase I, Wright says.
 

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.
 
 

Brewery tour company connects beer drinkers with beer brewers

Bryan and Emily Moritz, along with Emily’s brother, Ben Beachler, have always shared a passion for craft beer and small business. After taking a tour of a Denver brewery last year, they decided to start Craft Connection Brewery Tours in Cincinnati.
 
“We wanted to connect the people of Cincinnati to great breweries and give the breweries a chance to share their beer and their stories,” Bryan says. “We’re connecting the beer makers to the beer drinkers.”
 
A 14-passenger shuttle takes guests to four different breweries in four hours. For $55, guests get a behind-the-scenes look at Rhinegeist, Listermann Brewing, MadTree Brewing and Fifty West, as well as beer samples.  
 
Craft Connection’s maiden voyage was May 2, and since then, they have hosted corporate groups, bachelor parties, and groups of friends and family. They’ve also done a few tours to raise money for charities.
 
“Our guests love interacting with the faces of the breweries, whether that’s the owners, brewers or taproom managers,” Bryan says. “They also enjoy the simplicity of being guided through four breweries and having beer poured for them throughout the tour.”
 
Tours are held from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. All tours depart from HalfCut in Over-the-Rhine.

To learn more about the inner workings of these breweries, check out our recent article about Cincinnati's craft beer market.

Online public art map takes Cincinnatians on "artventure"

Downtown Cincinnati Inc. recently launched Cincinnati’s online public art map, ArtVenture. The map includes a list of murals and sculptures found downtown and in Over-the-Rhine, and users can find themed itineraries that highlight works and fun spots along different routes.
 
Years ago, the Ohio Arts Council and SAVE OUR OUTDOOR SCULPTURE! Program developed A Guide to Public Art in Downtown Cincinnati, and the print edition was later migrated to the web. But the information hadn’t been updated since the early '90s.
 
ArtVenture was developed using information from Cincinnati Parks, ArtWorks and A Guide To Public Art in Cincinnati.
 
“It made sense for DCI to take on the project and combine information from different sources into one, easy-to-use database,” says Tricia Suit, director of marketing at DCI.
 
There are five itineraries—Hometown Heroes, Music City, The Old Ballgame, Take in the History and Mother(lode) of Presidents—and there are plans to add more this summer.
 
The Hometown Heroes itinerary includes Carew Tower, which is an important part of Cincinnati’s architectural, artistic and business history. Also on that itinerary is Cincinnati Venus, Jim Dine’s sculpture at Centennial Plaza. The Music City itinerary includes a stop at Memorial Hall, which has six free-standing sculptures on its façade that pay tribute to veterans from the Revolutionary War to the Spanish-American War.
 
The Old Ballgame is a tour around Great American Ball Park; and Take in the History features the National Steamboat Monument at the Public Landing. The Mother(lode) of Presidents itinerary includes stops at The Cincinnatian and The Phoenix, where local history is mixed in with the story of Ohio’s presidents.
 
“We created ArtVenture to be more than just an art walk,” Suit says. “Many cities have maps and routes to see monuments and unique architectural features, but by combining information about art with fun stops along with way, we’ve created a unique experience with all downtown has to offer.”
 
The public is invited to share its artventures with DCI using #cincyartventure on Twitter and Instagram.

Foodie Cincy supports local restaurant scene

In December, Brian and Gina Barrera launched Foodie Cincy, a deck of 52 cards that feature local and independent restaurants from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Each card contains a coupon for $10 off a minimum of $30 purchase for a different restaurant.
 
Rome Ali started Foodie US in 2009 in St. Louis; since then, the franchise has spread to 11 cities, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Indianapolis. Each Foodie city has a local charity that receives a portion of the proceeds from the deck sales. Foodie Cincy dedicates a portion of its sales to the Freestore Foodbank.
 
Featured restaurants were chosen based on Yelp reviews and broader Google searches, Gina says.
 
“When we started searching, we had a list of hundreds of restaurants. We narrowed that list down to those with the highest ratings in customer service and food quality, and chose restaurants from a variety of Cincinnati neighborhoods.”
 
The Barreras pitched Foodie Cincy to more than 150 restaurants, and those restaurants chose whether they wanted to be included in the deck, which consists of offers from 52 restaurants, for a total savings of $520.
 
Foodie Cincy decks cost $20, and are available until they’re sold out online and at a number of restaurants, including BrewRiver GastroPub, Mokka and The Sunset, Nicola’s and Café De Paris. Coupons are valid through November, and next year’s deck will be valid starting December 1.
 
Next year’s deck will feature many of the same restaurants seen in this year’s deck, but there will be quite a few new ones, Gina says.
 
“The deck doesn’t make people rush to restaurants, but keeps a steady stream of customers coming in with Foodie cards, and customers love it,” she says.
 
For a complete list of Foodie Cincy restaurants, visit its website or Facebook page.

Cincinnati Saints kick off first home game in OTR

This season, the Cincinnati Saints’ soccer team will play their home games at Stargel Stadium at Taft High School. The first men’s home game is tonight, and the women’s first home game is June 7.
 
Stargel seats 3,000, but can hold more than that in standing-room only.
 
“Soccer isn’t a sport you need to sit to watch,” says David Satterwhite, president and CEO of the Saints.
 
Although alcohol can’t be sold inside the stadium, the Saints are partnering with Over-the-Rhine bars and restaurants for tailgates before and after games. Beer sales will benefit different nonprofits each week, with the Muscular Dystrophy Association as the first game's sponsor.
 
The Saints are also planning events at Fountain Square, such as watch parties for the World Cup.
 
“We want to show what a true soccer atmosphere can bring to the city,” Satterwhite says. “It’s always been in the suburbs, and now it’s coming downtown.”
 
The ultimate goal is to bring an MLS team to Cincinnati. According to Satterwhite, Cincinnati is a huge market for soccer because of the almost 60,000 kids who play the game in the area.
 
The men’s team has seven home games, and the women’s have five. All games are streamed live on YouTube by official broadcasters. And if you want to watch a game in person, admission is $8.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

 
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