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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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Senate, Abigail Street owners opening third restaurant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program, a 90-day collaborative effort between city departments, neighborhood residents and community organizations, focuses on developing the assets of individual neighborhoods.
 
By focusing, integrating and concentrating city service delivery and community redevelopment efforts, the NEP’s goal is to improve the quality of life in Cincinnati. Examples of integrated service delivery include concentrating building code enforcement; identifying and “cooling down” crime hot spots; cleaning up streets, sidewalks and vacant lots; beautifying landscapes, streetscapes and public right-of-ways; and engaging property owners and residents to create and sustain a more livable neighborhood. Targeted areas are identified through an analysis of building code violations, vacant buildings, disorder and drug calls, drug arrests, graffiti, junk autos, litter and weeds.
 
Neighborhoods with the most successful NEPs have taken key steps before the program begins, while it’s taking place and after it has ended. To date, Price Hill, Avondale, Northside, Clifton Heights/University Heights/Fairview, Westwood, Evanston, College Hill, Madisonville, Mt. Washington, Corryville, Over-the-Rhine, Bond Hill, Kennedy Heights, Pendleton, Mt. Airy and Carthage have participated in the NEP program.

East Price Hill and Walnut Hills are participating in the program this year.
 
Before beginning the NEP, a neighborhood must consider its community’s commitment to the program. Stakeholders must agree on what needs to be done in the neighborhood, and want to improve the neighborhood as a whole. An NEP Steering Committee needs to be established, which is made up of a community council representative, a business association representative, a redevelopment agency representative (if applicable) and a resident who lives in the neighborhood, and come up with a list of goals to accomplish within the NEP time frame.
 
The NEP has won numerous awards, including the President’s Award from the Ohio Conference for Community Development.

Check out Soapbox's "Hot 'Hoods" features on Price Hill and Walnut Hills to see NEP practices in action.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Craft beer cafe soon to open in OTR

Childhood friends and founders of the Pedal Wagon, Jack Heekin and Tom O’Brian, will soon open the doors to their newest venture, HalfCut. The craft beer café will carry pints, flights and growlers of fresh beer or six-packs to go.
 
The idea for HalfCut came from Heekin’s father, a beer lover and Cincinnati history enthusiast. He told them about the resurgence of growlers in different parts of the country, and they thought it would be a good avenue with which to join the craft beer movement in Cincinnati.
 
“Half cut” is a slang term from the 1920s that means "the perfect state of mind."
 
“We feel like HalfCut will occupy a unique niche in OTR,” Heekin says. “There’s nowhere else like this neighborhood in Cincinnati, and there’s so much development going on. We love what’s happening and are excited to be part of it.”
 
In December 2012, Heekin and O’Brian took a cross-country road trip to refine their craft beer bar idea. HalfCut will serve craft beer from across the country, but with a heavy local influence.
 
HalfCut is housed in the 130-year-old Gobrecht building at 1128 Walnut St. The 800-square-foot space will be very low-key, much like a coffee shop. It will also offer a to-go window for customers who pass by on the street.
 
“Before you make your decision, you can sample different beers,” Heekin says. “We want to bring a unique experience that focuses on beer. No matter what level of beer you’re at—whether you don’t like beer, drink Bud Light or love craft beer—you’ll feel welcome at HalfCut.”
 
All of the tap handles will be the same, so customers are making their selections based on taste rather than handle design, he says.
 
In addition to beer, HalfCut will serve light snacks like pretzels and possibly meat and cheese platters. There will also be beer pairings with Gomez Salsa, which is a restaurant that is coming soon to the area.
 
Heekin and O’Brian hope to have HalfCut up and running by the end of January. They used the crowdsourcing site indiegogo to raise funds for their venture.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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New winter farmers market starting at Findlay Market

This year, Findlay Market is adding a winter farmers market to its lineup. The market, which started this past weekend, will be held in the Globe Building on the corner of Elm and Elder streets, across from the OTR Biergarten.
 
A winter farmers market has been in the works for three years now, says Karen Kahle, resource development director for the Corporation for Findlay Market.
 
“We know that the demand for local food is there,” she says. “But when there is just a seasonal farmers market, people get out of the habit of going, and they might not resume that habit in the spring.”
 
This year, Findlay Market was a bit space-challenged. Organizers thought about tenting the sides of the farm shed for the winter market, which has been done for events in the past, but the tents are cold and not cost-effective. The Globe Building, although not a permanent solution, wasn’t being used and was available for the time frame needed.
 
The winter market will be on the building’s first floor and will occupy about 3,500 square feet of space. There will be a wide array of vendors, from farmers to artists and crafters.
 
“We hope the winter farmers market will bring more shoppers to the market and turn seasonal shoppers into year-round shoppers,” Kahle says. “We want to become an outlet for farmers to make more money, and maintain or amp up their production. We also want to help strengthen the community and provide access to local food, which is good for the economy because dollars stay in the region.”
 
Findlay Market is exploring the possibility of dedicating a storefront to locally produced food as a way to have a year-round farmers market. There are also plans in the works to have a shared-use kitchen, and possibly sell the product coming out of the kitchen in the storefront.
 
As always, Findlay Market is open year-round, six days a week. Winter farmers market hours are Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7-29, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 4-March 29.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Brewing Heritage Trail to highlight Cincinnati beer history

The Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail will soon begin to take shape in Over-the-Rhine and surrounding areas. The trail celebrates the city’s brewing heritage and how beer shaped Cincinnati. It won’t focus as much on craft beer, but how beer built the city and influenced economic, social and political life.
 
The trail will include signs on buildings and at right-of-ways, public artwork and a strong virtual component that visitors can access online and on smartphones and tablets, says Steve Hampton, executive director of the Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation.
 
“Technology allows people to interact with the real world in many ways, and we wanted to take advantage of that with the development of the Brewing Heritage Trail and be able to tell many stories,” he says.
 
Virtual aspects will allow people to see underground spaces and buildings that no longer exist. The technological component will also allow the trail to be an evergreen attraction, possibly with a new tour every year and different featured activities.
 
The trail is primarily in OTR, but the city’s brewing heritage also extends downtown, to Clifton Heights and into the West End. There are plans to extend it out to West Chester and Sharonville as well, as many brewers have their farms out that way, Hampton says.
 
Funds for the trail came from private and public donations, including a Power2Give campaign that matched public donations two to one and the Beer Baron Ball. Support from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation has also helped make the trail a reality.
 
“We want the trail to bring two things to the city,” Hampton says. “We want to honor and celebrate Cincinnati’s heritage, and brewing heritage is a big piece of it. The trail is also an economic development tool, much like the Freedom Trail in Boston. The trail will give purpose and identity to the neighborhoods, and bring visitors there that will support small businesses and spend money at local establishments.”
 
The trail is still in the pre-development phase, and the final concept will be revealed in January.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Golden Gloves boxing program moves to new OTR boxing gym

The Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center is now home to a new boxing gym, and the Cincinnati Golden Gloves for Youth and Cincinnati Police Athletic Club, which was created by Buddy LaRosa of LaRosa’s Pizza. Golden Gloves was formerly run out the Mt. Auburn Recreation Center.
 
Construction of the 3,350-square-foot gym began in July, and the grand opening was November 1. The boxing gym was built at the site of the former Cincinnati Recreation Center indoor pool, which hasn’t been used for a few years because of leaks and other maintenance issues. The pool was filled in, and three boxing rings now stand in its place.
 
The floor of the gym is blue with a red running track along the outside, and the walls are red, white and blue striped. There are 17 heavy bags, six feed bags and a wall of mirrors for shadow boxing. Golden Gloves plans to host between six and eight events per year in the gym.
 
One of the boxing rings is a vintage ring that used to be located at Cincinnati Gardens and has been in storage for the past 10 years. The ring used to house matches for Cincinnati fighters like Aaron Pryor, Ezzard Charles and Joe Louis.
 
“The boxing gym is another destination location for the neighborhood, and it’s good for the community,” says Jason Richards, director of the OTR Rec Center. “It gives a positive program for kids and teaches discipline like karate or tae-kwon-do.”
 
Since opening, about 50-100 people have inquired about the boxing program.
 
Golden Gloves highlights the development of life skills, such as fair play, sportsmanship, responsible conduct and a commitment to schoolwork. Each boxer is held accountable for his or her grades and must hold a C average, otherwise he or she is suspended from the boxing program. Each boxer must also sign a code of conduct that emphasizes positivity and responsibility.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Graeter's coming to Over-the-Rhine

Construction began this week on Graeter’s newest location at 1401 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine. It will be the smallest Graeter’s location in 100 years, with just 1,000 square feet.
 
The store will focus on ice cream and coffee, but will not carry as many baked goods and candy as its other locations. The new store will sell a small assortment of fine candies.
 
Graeter’s is currently working with Cincinnati-based Bruce Robinson Design Group to refresh its look. The Vine Street location will feature the new look, including an updated menu board, seating, tables and lights.
 
On the inside, the new Graeter’s will look like the former OTR location did in the 1900s.
 
Walnut Hills-based HGC Construction is building out the space. They have completed 202 residential units and 43 commercial spaces in OTR.
 
The plan is to have the store open before the holidays. It will employ about a dozen people.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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427 Over-the-Rhine Articles | Page: | Show All
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