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Historic renovation in Covington CBD receives $10,000 grant


Covington Business Council and the Urban Parntership created the Commerical Whitebox Program in 2015 with a $10,000 grant from the The Catalytic Fund and Duke Energy Foundation to help revitalize vacant, blighted and aged storefront spaces in Covington’s central business district.
 
David Vissman, who is redeveloping and “white boxing” a building at 12-14 W. Pike St., is the grant program’s first recipient. He’s working on renovating the three-story, 8,000-square-foot building into first-floor retail, a second-floor photography studio and residential space on the upper floor.
 
“White boxing” means that, rather than build out space for a specific business, the developer will create a blank canvas for a future business. The process can involve HVAC, electrical and plumbing installation as well as bathroom, wall and ceiling restoration.
 
As part of the program, the developer must match the grant, creating at least $20,000 worth of investment.
 
There are 22 storefronts in this block of West Pike, with eight of them vacant. Projects like Vissman’s help bring additional grassroots investment in Covington to follow larger successful ventures like the Mutual Building, Hotel Covington and Braxton Brewery.
 

Blue Ash to get area's newest brewery this fall


Blue Ash will be home to the area’s newest brewery by this fall, say the owners of Queen City Brewery of Cincinnati, the brainchild of brothers Mike and Marquis Wofford, brewer Jason Surniak and a fourth silent partner.
 
“We’re focusing on the historical elements of Cincinnati,” Surniak says. “Everyone from Cincinnati is proud to be from here, and we want to bring that passion and share it with others.”
 
The brewery will be about 3,200 square feet at 11253 Williamson Road, with the taproom occupying 1,200 square feet. Queen City Brewery will offer tours of its production setup, and in the future Surniak might teach homebrewing classes or offer up a portion of his brewing equipment for others to use.
 
When Queen City Brewery opens, it will feature five flagship beers: a black IPA, a citrus IPA, a scotch ale, a nut brown ale and an oatmeal cinnamon stout. There will also be one or two rotating seasonals, with room to grow.
 
The location won’t offer an in-house food menu, but the team plans to partner with food trucks to set up outside on certain nights.
 
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Mike Wofford says. “We all have a passion for business and are excited to bring a brewery to our hometown.”
 

16 area projects receive total of $11 million in Ohio historic tax credits


In late December, 34 Ohio projects were awarded $285.3 million through the 2015 Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits program, resulting in 55 buildings in 13 cities undergoing renovations to create apartments, offices, retail storefronts and restaurant space.
 
Sixteen proposed Cincinnati projects received a total of about $11 million in state historic tax credits.
 
Brighton
Fromm Building, 286 W. McMicken Ave.
Total cost: $682,394
Tax credit: $108,500
Built in 1865, the Fromm Building was renovated in the early 1930s to house doctor’s offices. Renovation plans include several residential units, with the first-floor unit designed as a live-work space.
 
Downtown
Union Central Life Annex, 309 Vine St.
Total cost: $75,541,592
Tax credit: $5 million
Built in 1928, the now-vacant building originally housed offices. Village Green will renovate it into 294 market-rate apartments, a first-floor grocery store and a rooftop restaurant. There will also be space for a business incubator and offices.
 
Over-the-Rhine
100 W. Elder St.
Total cost: $1,587,987
Tax credit: $220,000
Located across the street from Findlay Market, it once housed apartments and first-floor commercial space. Vacant since the early 2000s, it will be rehabbed into first-floor retail/restaurant space with offices on the upper floors.
 
205 W. McMicken Ave.
Total cost: $375,000
Tax credit: $37,000
Built in the 1870s, it has housed barbers, conductors, shoemakers, bartenders, plasterers and other laborers. It’s been vacant for over 20 years, and OTR Adopt’s rehab plans include first-floor commercial space and one three-bedroom apartment above.
 
1737 Elm St.
Total cost: $1,200,047
Tax credit: $233,799
The two buildings were built in the mid- and late-1800s and will be renovated into small market-rate apartments and first-floor retail.
 
1737 Vine St.
Total cost: $1,316,634
Tax credit: $185,000
The three-story building has been vacant for more than a decade. Plans include seven market-rate units and restaurant space.
 
1814 Race St.
Total cost: $1,983,366
Tax credit: $217,000
Model Group plans to convert the building, which is also across the street from Findlay Market, into five apartments and first-floor commercial space on the front side.
 
Kauffman Building, 1725 Vine St.
Total cost: $2,775,353
Tax credit: $249,999
Built in 1863 to house brewery workers, the Kauffman Building has been vacant since the 1990s. It will be renovated into first-floor commercial space with six apartments above. A new addition will yield six more apartments and parking.
 
Ophthalmic Hospital, 208-214 W. 12th St.
Total cost: $7,366,150
Tax credit: $732,950
The now vacant medical facility will be rehabbed by 3CDC into a boutique hotel with 20 guest rooms, a bar and a restaurant on the first floor.
 
Rutemueller Building, 527 E. 13th St.
Total cost: $1,137,569
Tax credit: $113,500
The former grocery store and tenement apartments will be upgraded into modern living spaces with seven market-rate apartments and first-floor live/work spaces.
 
Schmitthenner Building, 1527 Elm St.
Total cost: $671,870
Tax credit: $82,750
The four-story building will become seven market-rate apartments with one retail storefront.
 
Northside
3936 Spring Grove Ave.
Total cost: $504,843
Tax credit: $71,608
It’s been vacant since the 1980s, and renovations will yield two market-rate apartments upstairs and a bar on the first floor.
 
Pendleton
515 E. 12th St.
Total cost: $1,579,851
Tax credit: $195,000
Part of a larger project, Model Group plans to renovate the building into six market-rate apartments.
 
Broadway Square II, 1126-1211 Broadway, 405-414 E. 12th St., 331 E. 13th St.
Total cost: $13,133,245
Tax credit: $1.3 million
Model Group will renovate the 10 historic buildings into retail space and 37 residential units.
 
Walnut Hills
Central Trust Company East Hills Branch, 1535 Madison Road
Total cost: $1,259,939
Tax credit: $196,007
Built in 1926, it was used as a bank until the 1960s. South Block Properties plans to rehab the building into restaurant space.
 
Paramount Square, 900-921 E. McMillan St., 2436-2454 Gilbert Ave., 2363 St. James St.
Total cost: $20,093,697
Tax credit: $1,999,000
The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and Model Group will renovate six historic and two non-historic buildings into 15 commercial spaces and 44 market-rate apartments.
 

Summit Park in Blue Ash gets more restaurants, including OTR favorite Senate


Summit Park, located on 130 acres of the former Blue Ash Airport, is being built in stages. The first phase is currently open to the public and includes a large lawn and stage, pergolas, restrooms, a parking area and a playground. Two restaurants will open in the park soon, with another two to follow.

Blue Ash staple Brown Dog Cafe is moving from its current location on Pfeiffer Road to Summit Park. The new location will double the restaurant’s capacity and will open late this winter or early spring.
 
Over-the-Rhine favorite Senate recently signed a lease for a 4,200-square-foot space in the park. The menu will be much the same as the original location, with creative hotdogs — including a dog of the day — poutine and mussels charmoula.
 
The cocktail menu will also be the same but will focus on more family-friendly options. The restaurant will have seating for 80-100 people inside and about 70 on the 2,000-square-foot outdoor patio. Senate will be open for lunch and dinner and will have a business-friendly private dining room.
 
Owner/operators Daniel and Lana Wright will have the keys for their new restaurant by February and plan to be open by mid-summer.
 
Two more restaurants are planned for the neighboring buildings, which has an activity space between them covered by a glass canopy.
 
Future plans for Summit Park include a 12-15-story observation tower, lakes, trails and possibly the tristate's first bike park.
 

Neighborhood Enhancement Program targets Roselawn blight, improves community engagement


Earlier this month, Roselawn wrapped up the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, a 90-day collaborative effort among city departments, neighborhood residents and community organizations focusing on developing neighborhood assets. The program started the momentum, and now it’s up to the neighborhood and its residents to continue it.
 
The goal in Roselawn was to develop neighborhood assets and improve the quality of life for residents as well as improve community engagement, educate residents on fire and police safety, train landlords, recycle and improve the neighborhood’s overall health and wellness.
 
Roselawn is home to Cincinnati’s first year-round outdoor gym, YEP Fitness. The project was funded in just two months, as volunteers raised over $150,000 for new weather-proof equipment and a new track.
 
In October, 200 volunteers from the University of Cincinnati, local businesses and the Roselawn community helped clean up the neighborhood. They spent the weekend mowing lawns, cleaning up vacant lots, painting parking meters and fire hydrants and removing litter, debris and overgrowth from targeted areas.
 
During the NEP, parks and vacant lots were cleaned, bus stops were removed and consolidated, loitering was discouraged, flooding issues were resolved, blight was decreased and recycling was encouraged for residents and businesses. Roselawn now holds the record for the most completed building orders for homes of any of the previous NEP neighborhoods.
 
NEP partners included the Roselawn Community Council, the Roselawn Business Alliance, the City of Cincinnati, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, the American Red Cross, Operation DRIVEN Mercy Health Foundation and Deaconess Associations Foundation, among others.
 
Roselawn is the 20th Cincinnati neighborhood to participate in the NEP. Other neighborhoods included Avondale, Clifton Heights/University Heights/Fairview, College Hill, Corryville, Evanston, Madisonville, Mt. Washington, Northside, Over-the-Rhine, Price Hill and Westwood.
 

New deli in Pleasant Ridge will bring the retro vibe, starting with Dec. 20 preview event


The concept of Grand Central Delicatessen started when Jeffrey Strong, who’s spent 14 years working in Cincinnati restaurants, and partner Sheelah Parker decided it was time to go into business for themselves. At first the idea was to offer sandwiches and cold cuts just like delis in New York City, but the concept has blossomed into a deli/bistro complete with a bar and dog-friendly outdoor patio.
 
“We really want Grand Central to be a destination (but) we knew we couldn’t set up in a strip mall,” Parker says. “We live in Milford and have been able to watch the resurrection of Pleasant Ridge. It’s cool to watch old buildings come to life with new businesses in them.”
 
Strong and Parker are working to open the deli in February. On the inside it will look like a bistro straight out of the 1920s or ’30s, with Art Deco touches throughout, including a phone booth and bar from the time period.
 
“We’re trying to make it an immersion destination location,” Parker says. “When they step inside, we want customers to feel like they’ve gone somewhere else.”
 
Grand Central will also have house accounts, which delis had back in the day. Customers will be able to open accounts and place delivery or catering orders for business meetings. Grand Central is using Equity Eats, a program that allows customers to open house accounts for any amount and add to it over the year. After a year, customers see a 10 percent return on the original amount.
 
“House accounts will allow us to keep track of customers’ most ordered items and will help us build a relationship with them,” Parker says.
 
Not only is Strong Grand Central’s CEO, but he’s also the head chef. The menu will feature about eight signature sandwiches made on Sixteen Brix bread, each customizable. The piled high sandwiches will feature a number of toppings, including homemade pesto mayo, cilantro lime mayo and guacamole.
 
Grand Central plans eventually to offer pasta dinners with Strong’s homemade marina sauce, as well as brunch.
 
Parker and Strong are hosting a preview event on Dec. 20 at the Overlook Lodge right next door. The event will feature a curated drink menu from Lodge owner Jacob Trevino and light bites from Grand Central’s menu. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. You can order tickets here.
 
“The tasting event will help introduce the neighborhood to our menu as well as give everyone a chance to meet new friends and neighbors,” Parker says.
 

These 11 Cincinnati/NKY businesses are celebrating their first year of operation


Doesn't it seem like more restaurants and retail businesses have opened in Greater Cincinnati in 2015 than in previous years? Entrepreneurship is booming, due in part to organizations like Bad Girl Ventures, The Brandery, Cintrifuse, Mortar and UpTech, which have helped a number of local business owners get their ideas off the ground.
 
Here's a roundup of 11 high-profile businesses that just happen to be celebrating their one-year anniversary or will before the start of the new year.
 
Brick OTR, 1327 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine: Business accelerator Mortar started Brick as a way for business owners to host pop-up shops and expand on their ideas; the holiday pop-up opens on Dec. 12. Mortar recently opened a second pop-up shop in Walnut Hills.
 
DogBerry Brewing, 7865 Cincinnati Dayton Road, West Chester: Since opening in January, DogBerry has had to expand its hours and days of operation due to demand. They’re celebrating their one-year anniversary on Jan. 8; you can purchase tickets for $25 at the taproom.  
 
Folk School Coffee Parlor, 332 Elm St., Ludlow: Folk School serves up Deeper Roots coffee and handmade foods and goods from local retailers and artisans. It also hosts workshops and classes for musicians of all ages and skill levels, plus casual concerts.
 
G. Salzano’s, 201 E. Fourth St., downtown: The son of the founder of Salzano’s barbershop opened a men’s grooming products retail store, where you’ll find everything from razors to cologne.
 
Goodfellas Pizzeria, 1211 Main St., OTR: With two restaurants in Lexington and one in Covington, the OTR location took over the former Mayberry space and serves up pizza in a 1920s speakeasy.
 
The Growler House, 1526 Madison Road, Walnut Hills: This beer haven has been a huge draw in the burgeoning Walnut Hills area and boasts 40 taps, 20 of them with local beers.
 
The Gruff, 129 E. Second St., Covington: Ever heard of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff?” Cross the bridge into Northern Kentucky for brick oven pizzas, but watch out for the troll!
 
Horse & Barrel, 625 Walnut St., downtown: Owned by the same group as Nicholson’s, Horse & Barrel is all about the bourbon and small plates.
 
Tap & Screw Brewery, 5060 Crookshank Road, Western Hills: Tap & Screw rebranded last December, started brewing beer and revamped its menu. They recently hosted TapFest, adding to Cincinnati’s growing beer scene and events.
 
The Weekly Juicery, 2727 Erie Ave., Hyde Park: The Weekly Juicery features cold-pressed juices and a raw food menu. Even if you’ve never tried pressed juices, they want to make you a fan.
 
Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., OTR: MOTR Pub’s owners added to the local music scene last November by converting this 101-year-old building into a music/events center. The Woodward hosted its first wedding this summer and continues to book nationally touring bands.
 

Holiday events for beer drinkers, outdoors types and kids at heart


The holidays are upon us, and in typical Cincinnati fashion there are scores of events happening around town. Check out this roundup of our favorites....
 

For the beer lover:
Polar Bear Express Route on the Pedal Wagon, now through Feb. 29
Two-hour pub crawl with seasonal drink specials along the way. 15-seat private tours are $250 Sunday-Thursday and $295 Friday-Saturday; public tours are $20/seat Sunday-Thursday and $25/seat Friday-Saturday.

Cincinnati SantaCon, 12 noon-12 midnight Dec. 12
Register online for your chance to dress up like Santa and stop at some of Cincinnati’s favorite bars.
 

For the outdoors type:
Weekend carriage rides at Macy’s Celebration Station across from Fountain Square, 12-5 p.m. Dec. 12-13

Krohn by Candlelight, 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 & 23

Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show, now through Jan. 3

Light Up OTR at Washington Park, 6 p.m. Dec. 12

Holly Jolly Downtown Trolley, 12-5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 19
Trolley service will run every five minutes, with stops along Fourth and Fifth streets. Free.

Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt at Fountain Square, 4-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 20
Market vendors offer a variety of traditional holiday sweets and European baked goods, Glühwein (hot spiced wine) and other hot beverages, Christian Moerlein beer and handcrafted gifts and seasonal decorations. USA Today named it one of the top 10 German-themed holiday markets in the U.S.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, now through Jan. 2
Tickets are $16 adults online, $11 kids and seniors online; $18 adults at zoo, $12 kids and seniors at zoo

Fountain Square Ice Rink, now through Feb. 15
$6 admission, $4 skate rental.


For the arts enthusiast:
The City Flea at Washington Park, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 12

Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art, now through Jan. 3
Tickets are $10 adults, $5 kids; kids 5 and under are free.

Holiday Toy Trains at the Behringer-Crawford Museum, now through Jan. 17
Tickets are $9 adults, $5 kids.
 

For the historian:
Luminaria at Mt. Lookout Square and Cincinnati Observatory, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 13

Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center, now through Jan. 3
Tickets are free for members; prices vary depending on which museum package purchased.
 

For the kid at heart:
Macy’s Downtown Dazzle on Fountain Square, 6 p.m. Dec. 12
Watch Santa rappel down the 525 Vine building to Macy’s rooftop, and catch fireworks afterward as well as much from local choirs. John Morris Russell will conduct the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and May Festival singers. 

Holiday Mystery Theater at Cincinnati Museum Center, 5 p.m. Dec. 13
The Whodunit Players will perform Santa’s Slay…Oops, Sleigh. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for non-members.

BRICKmas Holiday Display at Newport on the Levee, now through Jan. 1
Tickets are $10.


For the dog lover:
Reindog Parade in Mt. Adams, 2 p.m. Dec. 12
26th annual parade of dog owners and their best friends, with Marty Brennaman as Grand Marshal. Prizes awarded for best costumes for dogs under 25 lbs. and over 25 lbs., best group and best master/dog lookalike.
 

Northside's Urban Artifact brewery now has food options


Urban Artifact in Northside began offering two food options for its patrons last week, something that had been in the plans since the brewery opened earlier this year.
 
Local food truck Bistro de Mohr  is looking to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the rectory, which is across the courtyard from the brewery’s taproom. The food truck now sets up shop on the weekends at Urban Artifact, but come spring you’ll be able to get visit the full-service restaurant.
 
In its third year, Bistro de Mohr is owned by Trudy Mohr, whose family owns a farm north of Cincinnati. On the truck, Mohr serves up dishes with her locally grown meats, including lamb and beef gyros, Italian beef sandwiches, wraps and hog balls made with potato, cheddar, bacon and jalapenos. The restaurant will also feature Mohr’s meats but will offer a larger selection of items, including new appetizers and desserts.
 
Bridges, a Nepalese food vendor, is currently serving 6-10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays in Urban Artifact’s taproom. Owner Ashak Chipalu’s family operates restaurants in Nepal, and when he moved to the United States he couldn’t escape food; he began serving at Findlay Market in September.

Bridges uses recipes from Chipalu’s mother, and the dishes contain the same spices as Indian cuisine but use them differently. The Urban Artifact menu includes samosas — pastries filled with creamy spiced potatoes and cheese — served with a side of sweet and sour sauce; chips and salsa, which you can get mild or hot; chicken chuala and potatoes; and rice bowls with chicken tikka masala, chuala or potato curry. There’s also rice porridge for dessert.
 
Chipalu also offers takeout, so if you stop by Urban Artifact to get a growler of beer, you now have two food options to go with it.
 

Innovative chef Ryan Santos finds spot for a brick-and-mortar restaurant


For the past four years, chef Ryan Santos has hosted pop-up dinners under the name Please. In a Soapbox interview in February, he said he’d finally decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant and was looking at locations in Columbia-Tusculum, East Walnut Hills and Over-the-Rhine.

Santos has now settled on a spot at the corner of 14th and Clay streets in Over-the-Rhine, where he plans to open his restaurant, also called Please.
 
The space is small, with seating for 25 plus 10 at the bar, which will be separate from the main dining area. The building is currently being renovated by Urban Sites and will have four apartments on upper floors.
 
Santos’ pop-up dinners usually consist of five-course dinners with artistic and experimental food and featuring local ingredients. He will carry this into the restaurant’s menu, which will feature three- or five-course meals that change with the seasons based on the availability of local ingredients.
 
The bar menu will feature cocktails made with fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables as well as a small a la carte menu.
 
Please is slated to open in the late spring. Pop-up dinners will cease once the restaurant opens, but Santos plans to continue private dinners for customers that he cooks in their home.
 

Another new townhouse development planned for OTR


In June Maestro Development/Daniels Homes acquired a number of properties near the corner of West 15th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine, where the developer has announced plans to construct nine 3,600-square-foot townhomes.
 
Five units will be built on the north side of 15th Street, and the other four will be built on the south side. Each unit will be three stories, except one that will have four floors. The units will all be LEED Silver certified, with two-car garages located off the rear alleys.
 
The project will be completed in three phases, with the five north-side units to be constructed first and the four on the south side as phase II. Four of the first five units have already been purchased, with prices ranging from about $650,000 to $1 million.
 
Phase I is expected to be completed in late 2016, with phase II completed in mid-2017. Phase III includes redeveloping the former Washington Park Firehouse at 222 W. 15th St. into a private residence for Jim Daniels, manager of Daniels Homes.
 
The 15,000-square-foot building has a garage on the first floor, and the top floor will become a penthouse-style loft. Plans for the second floor are still up in the air but could include office space or more residential living space.

The new townhomes will be adjacent to a Towne Properties development that will feature seven townhomes at 15th and Elm.
 
Montgomery-based Maestro Development/Daniels Homes has constructed homes for about 20 Homearama shows and is finishing up redevelopment of a historic home at 1405 Elm St.
 

Noble Denim founders open Victor Athletics storefront, partner for Brush Factory launch


Noble Denim clothing has been sold online and exclusively at Article in Over-the-Rhine since 2012, but on Nov. 21 its founders will open a nearby storefront for their denim as well as for their new brand, Victor Athletics. This next step was made possible due to a Kickstarter campaign that launched in the spring and raised over $120,000.
 
Like Noble, Victor will offer American-made, organic clothing — specifically athletic-based items like sweatshirts, jogger pants and T-shirts. The Noble team focuses on organic clothing because, just like food, cotton is grown using a number of pesticides that can damage clothing in the long run.
 
Although the average consumer’s buying habits haven’t changed as much when it comes to purchasing organic clothing, Noble and Victor hope to shine a light on the benefits of organic clothing. They’re interested in sourcing cotton that lessens the impact on workers and is grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
 
Noble and Victor are also committed to American-made products.
 
“Victor really came to be because our factory in Tennessee wanted more work and wanted to grow their workforce and Noble Denim customers were looking for items at a lower price point than our jeans,” says co-founder Abby Sutton, who started Noble with her husband, Chris.
 
The 987-square-foot Victor Athletics Club is on the ground floor of Beasley Place, a mixed-income apartment project at Republic and 14th Streets developed by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. The majority of Victor’s clothing is under $100, including a crewneck sweatshirt for $30 and a hoodie for $70. The storefront will also have a sewing area where workers will make totes in-store from American-made canvas.
 
Although Noble and Victor will both be available at the new store, the team’s primary goal is to grow Victor online.
 
“Our generation goes online first,” Sutton says. “But that in-person experience is so important, especially for a brand that wants to grow online.”

Noble/Victor is partnering with another successful startup, Brush Factory, to sell that company’s first collection of solid hardwood furniture, BFF. A soft launch of the furniture line is scheduled for 4-10 p.m. on Black Friday (Nov. 27) at Victor Athletics Club.

Brush Factory won the 2015 ArtWorks Big Pitch competition in August, while Noble Denim won the same competition in 2014.
 
Once open, Victor Athletics Club hours will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
 

New contemporary art gallery opens in Over-the-Rhine


Art enthusiast Rachael Moore has opened Cincinnati Art Underground, a contemporary art gallery, at 1415 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine. The gallery’s first show, Delicate Fractures, debuted Nov. 13, featuring work by glass artist Jacci Delaney, ceramics artist Didem Mert and painter Katie St. Clair.
 
“Cincinnati is so full of artists, and I wanted to be another space for artists to show their work and help start conversations with other artists,” Moore says.
 
Before opening a physical space, Moore held two pop-up galleries that allowed her to work closely with artists and bring a collaborative environment to the events. She wanted to open a storefront because it would make it easier for people to find the gallery.
 
Moore describes the 800-square-foot Cincinnati Art Underground space as a boutique gallery rather than a typical white box gallery. Its colorfully painted walls help accent the artwork and draw in the viewer’s attention. Shows will change every six to eight weeks, and every piece on display is for sale.
 
“There’s this dichotomy between serious and beautiful art, and I’m trying to go down the middle with approachable art,” Moore says. “I want to inspire people to learn more. Not everyone will like every piece of art they see, but I want to help people find what they like.”
 
To help with that, Cincinnati Art Underground will host studio talks to give artists a chance to mingle with art lovers and potential clients and share their process and inspiration. Moore also plans to offer concierge art services and work with interior designers to help customers find the perfect piece of art for their space.
 
“I really want to connect more people with art,” she says. “The community is so involved in the arts, whether it be through theater, music or physical art. I want to help bring more people to visual art and educate them about visual art.”
 
Cincinnati Art Underground’s hours are 12-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday or by appointment. Delicate Fractures runs through Jan. 2.
 

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company sets the stage for new OTR theater


The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has started a $17 million capital campaign to construct a new theater/rehearsal/office complex at the site of the former Drop Inn Center at 12th and Elm Streets in Over-the-Rhine, increasing programming from 272 days and nights per year to 360 days and nights per year. CSC has been renting theater and office space at 719 Race St.
 
The theater — which is being named for Otto M. Budig, a longtime CSC patron — will add one more piece to OTR’s arts corridor around Washington Park, joining Music Hall, Memorial Hall and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

A large portion of the necessary capital funds were raised during the private portion of the campaign, with only about $4 million still needed to move the project forward.

Plans for the 27,855-square-foot-theater have been about two years in the making and include adding about 100 seats, increasing current capacity from 150 to 244. The thrust stage will jut out into the audience, and the aisles between seats will allow actors to move among the audience during shows. A balcony is planned, but no seat will be further than 20 feet from the stage.
 
On the outside, the building will resemble the National Theater in London with glass walls facing the street, allowing passersby a look inside. The actors’ rehearsal space will also serve as a second theater for smaller performances or special events.
 
The inside will be modeled after the Globe Theater, which was designed by Shakespeare himself. Indoor lighting will mimic starlight, and there will be 38 steps connecting the two floors to represent each of the Bard’s plays.
 
The theater ceiling will be tall enough to allow for multi-level seats and scenery. Currently, sets are constructed outside of the Race Street theater, disassembled and reassembled once they’re inside. There will be an on-site scene shop in the historic Teamsters building that adjoins the Drop Inn site, and the theater will include an actual backstage area, trap space under the stage and wing space with lighting as well as a classroom for educational programming.

For patrons, the Otto M. Budig Theatre will feature a more spacious lobby than CSC’s current location, additional restrooms, a separate box office and a bar. All patron amenities will be in full ADA compliance.
 
Three buildings stand at the site of the Drop Inn Center, which will be demolished at the beginning of the year to make way for Cincinnati Shakespeare’s new home. Construction is projected to begin in April, and the troupe should be able to take possession in July 2017, just in time for the start of its 24th season.
 

Oakley Cycles moving to Mariemont, rebranding as Fifty West Cycling Company


Oakley Cycles will move to Mariemont Crossing in January to rebrand as Fifty West Cycling Company, part of Fifty West Brewing Company’s expansion plans as well as an opportunity for the cycling group to be on the Little Miami Scenic Trail
 
“We were looking for a new location that would give us the opportunity to offer more than just bikes and accessories,” says owner David Ariosa. “We wanted a location where we could offer customers a complete cycling experience.”
 
The Little Miami Trail connects to Fifty West Cycling’s parking lot and will allow Aroisa to provide all kinds of fun cycling experiences such as rentals, cycling lessons, corporate outings, charity events and specialty rides for casual and more serious recreational riders.
 
Fifty West Cycling will continue its bike advocacy programs, raising awareness about cycling in the community. The new space, located at 7669 Wooster Pike, will also have an outdoor seating space and offer drinks, energy bars and snacks.

Aroisa hopes that the new location becomes a center for family-friendly cycling fun.
 
“We’re very excited to be associated with Fifty West, which shares our passion for providing an experience to customers,” he says. “It’s not just a piece of machinery or a glass of beer. We’re on the same journey, and it made sense to team up.”
 
Oakley Cycles has been in business for 34 years and is known for its personalized, consultative approach to professionally outfitting cyclists of all ages and skill levels as well as repairing and selling bikes and accessories.
 
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