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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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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
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Happy Belly health food cafe coming to OTR

Happy Belly on Vine, a new health food café, will soon open in Over-the-Rhine. It’s owned by Abby Reckman, a University of Cincinnati graduate in food and nutrition sciences, and her sister-in-law, Molly Reckman.
 
“I’ve always been passionate about nutrition and how it affects the body,” Abby says. “If you eat healthy, you feel healthy, both mentally and physically.”
 
Clean eating means eating foods in their most natural state—limiting highly processed foods, preservatives and added refined sugars. It’s not always easy, and Abby and Molly want to offer this type of food to the residents of OTR.
 
“We hope to bring a healthy lifestyle to the community,” Abby says. “We know that a lot of people in OTR are already health conscious and pay attention to what they put in their bodies, and we want to make it more convenient for people to eat healthy.”
 
The menu will feature smoothies like The Foundation and Hawaiian Berry, as well as a sweet potato burger, a free-range chicken wrap, the Peanut Butter and Berry Sandwich, and Spirulina Energy Bites. Sides include popcorn and mixed fruit. All of the oats used at Happy Belly are gluten-free, and there will be a gluten-free bread option too.  
 
Happy Belly will have a take-away cooler with cold sandwiches, wraps and salads, all made fresh daily. Abby says they expect about 80 percent of their business to be carry-out.
 
Molly recently moved back to Cincinnati from Chicago, but Abby has lived in OTR since 2010, and has seen a lot of the development that’s been going on during the past four years. Abby’s father-in-law, husband and brother-in-law have all been part of the growth and development in OTR through Model Group and Urban Expansion.
 
“OTR is growing every day, and it’s an amazing neighborhood with so much life and energy,” Abby says. “This area seemed like a natural fit for us, and we want to continue to see OTR grow and be part of it.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Elm Street Senior Housing expected to be rented out by June

On May 20, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the Elm Street Senior Housing project in Over-the-Rhine. The 15-unit building will be the neighborhood’s first and only affordable senior housing project.
 
Over-the-Rhine Community Housing led the $4 million redevelopment of the 150-year-old building at Elm and 15th streets.
 
Records indicate that Christian Moerlein built the building to serve as the brewery’s icehouse. It was sold in 1919 during Prohibition, and has since housed a saloon, grocery store, market, restaurant, barber, billiards hall and rental flat.
 
The one-bedroom units are expected to be all leased out by June.
 
Elm Street Senior Housing will have a manager living on-site, and amenities will include a laundry room, a community meeting space, a resident services office, an elevator and a courtyard. The building is expected to seek LEED silver certification.
 
OTR Community Housing worked with Model Group and CR Architects + Design on the project. Cincinnati Area Senior Services will provide support services for residents. The project used state and federal historic tax credits, state low-income housing tax credits and city property tax abatements.
 
To apply for one of the apartments, visit the OTRCH website. Interested applicants must be 62 or older, and income restrictions apply.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Metro issues RFP for streetcar branding

Today, Metro issued a request for proposals for the streetcar’s branding. Proposals are due May 23 at 4 p.m.
 
Earlier this year, the city requested that Metro assume responsibility for the streetcar’s marketing and community education. The branding RFP is a preliminary step toward Metro’s role as the operator of the streetcar.
 
The design of the station stops, vehicles, color scheme, maintenance facility and other physical aspects of the streetcar have been finalized. But the RFP will include the streetcar’s logo and guidelines related to the use that will be needed for everything related to its operations, including vehicles, signs, operators’ uniforms, website and printed materials.
 
All costs for the streetcar branding are being paid for by federal funds, not Metro’s operating budget.
 
To learn more about bid opportunities, including the branding RFP, visit Metro’s website.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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New website helps drivers navigate Cincinnati construction

The City of Cincinnati launched a new website last week to help drivers navigate the construction downtown. RoadmapCincy.com highlights construction areas and provides detours to help alleviate traffic.
 
RoadmapCincy focuses on construction in Over-the-Rhine, downtown and along the riverfront. It also aggregates tweets from the city and other organizations so users know what’s happening on the streets around them.
 
In the coming months, downtown will see construction continue or begin on several projects, including the new dunnhumby building on Race Street between Fifth and Sixth streets; a hotel on Walnut Street between Fourth and Fifth streets; streetcar tracks along Central Parkway and soon in downtown; a new apartment tower on top of the parking garage at Seventh and Broadway streets; and a building at Sixth and Walnut streets.
 
Cincinnatians can follow @roadmapcincy on Twitter for the latest updates.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Eli's Barbeque, Maverick Chocolate opening at Findlay Market

Two new businesses, Eli’s Barbeque and Maverick Chocolate, will soon be opening on Elder Street at Findlay Market. Both businesses signed three-year agreements for their respective spaces.
 
Eli’s BBQ got its start at the market years ago, and the new permanent location will be open until 9 p.m. six days a week. Maverick Chocolate is a craft chocolate maker that produces product direct from cocoa beans. It will be the first bean-to-bar chocolate company in Ohio.
 
The market’s main goal is to increase foot traffic and business activity on the south side of the market, and improve visibility for existing businesses like Saigon Market. In the coming months, additional storefronts will be built out on the south side, and all storefronts on that side are expected to be occupied, except Luken’s cold storage building and the Mr. Pig building.
 
There are also plans to bring in a café for one of the market’s more prominent spaces at the corner of Race and Elder.
 
The two new businesses follow a months-long renovation of three storefronts, 129-133 Elder St., on the south side of the market. Each space is about 1,000 square feet, and were made possible by a $500,000 contribution from the city’s Department of Trade & Development.
 
Findlay Market is still looking to fill the third storefront. If you’re interested in leasing it, please contact Joe Hansbauer or call 513-604-7567.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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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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417 Over-the-Rhine Articles | Page: | Show All
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