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NKY Galaxie Skateshop opening second location in Northside

Galaxie Skateshop has been operating in Newport for just over six years, and on March 1, owners Gary Collins and Zach Kincaid are opening their second location in Northside.
 
“Galaxie will be a centrally located place for skateboarders to grab their gear, meet up and help dispel the myth that skateboarding is a negative activity,” Collins says.
 
Collins and Kincaid remodeled and renovated the 1,200-square-foot shop on Hamilton Avenue themselves. The shop will sell anything and everything that revolves around the skateboard culture, from boards and apparel to footwear and accessories.
 
“We’ve always wanted to do a shop in Northside,” Collins says. “It’s the most diverse and artistic part of Cincinnati that attracts a lot of skateboarders, musicians and creative types that have connections to the skateboard culture.”
 
Galaxie is 100 percent skater-owned, Collins says, who has been in the skateboarding business for more than 20 years. He’s been running Instrument Skateboards for the last eight or so, and he plans to carry it and other local brands like Absorb, Hella Cool, OATW, Curb Cult and Revive in the store.
 
Collins is also the driving force, both financially and physically, of the Newport DIY skatepark Under471.
 
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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Design firm announces second annual neighborhood speaker series

Urban Awakening’s second year kicks off February 27 with a symposium on Price Hill. Speakers include Mayor John Cranely, and Ken Smith and Diana Vakharia from the Price Hill Will.

Urban Awakenings is geared toward sponsor Bayer Becker’s clients—the developers, architects, landscape architects and construction companies that are looking for new opportunities.
 
Last year’s series included Walnut Hills, Northside, Over-the-Rhine and College Hill. This year’s hasn’t been set in stone, but Bayer Becker is looking at several neighborhoods, including Bond Hill, Madisonville and Northern Kentucky.
 
“We’re trying to stay on top of neighborhoods with momentum, those that are utilizing form-based code and other developments,” says Mike Dooley, associate at Bayer Becker.
 
After last year, many neighborhoods and companies have approached the firm and have asked to be included in the series.
 
“Having different neighborhood organizations ask if they can be involved gives encouragement to continue in the future,” Dooley says.
 
The program this year is very similar to last year’s, but Bayer Becker is looking to bring in city leadership to get their perspective on different neighborhoods and share their vision for the future. This would be in addition to representatives from the neighborhood as well.
 
The symposium is invitation only, but Bayer Becker plans to make the presentations available to the public, and make them more about the city than about the firm.
 
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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Pete Rose to host fundraiser for Incline Theater

On March 30, Pete Rose will be hosting an event at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts to raise money for East Price Hill’s Incline Theater. Rose, a former Cincinnati Red, grew up on the West Side of the city and wants to help raise money for the theater.
 
Currently, 90 percent of the $5.6 million has been raised for the 220-seat performing arts center. Cincinnati Landmark Productions hopes Rose’s event will help them reach their goal.
 
In the fall, city council voted to issue up to $1.7 million in economic development revenue bonds to help pay for the project, which also includes a 140-space public parking garage. New market tax credits through the Cincinnati Development Fund will give the project $2.1 million, and $750,000 has been promised from private donors.
 
The event is being held on the eve of Opening Day, and Rose will share stories from his baseball career and tales of growing up on the West Side. Each person who attends will also get an autographed copy of "4192: The Crowning of the Hit King," which is a documentary about Rose.
 
The Incline Theater plans to offer 112 individual shows per year, plus a subscription season that is designed to complement the Covedale Center’s season. There will also be a short summer season and one-night-only concerts, comedy events and cabarets.
 
Construction is slated to begin on the theater in the spring, with the grand opening set for spring 2015.
 
Tickets range from $65-125. For tickets, call 513-241-6550 or visit cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Covington's Mutual Insurance Company building to become apartments

Covington’s old Mutual Insurance Company building will soon see new life. Ashley Commercial Group hopes to start work on the $2.5 million mixed residential and commercial project by mid-March.
 
The 100-year-old building sits at the corner of Madison Avenue and Pike Street, across from Covington’s old city hall, which is being converted into a luxury hotel. Built in 1915, the building has been vacant for most of the past decade. There have been several efforts to renovate it, and it has been home to several businesses, including German Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and Goetz Jewelers.
 
The project will include first-floor commercial space and 15 upscale, one-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors of the building. Work is expected to take about 10 months to complete.
 
Last January, the city of Covington purchased the building for $430,000, with plans to develop it. Ashley became involved shortly after, and is working with the city and the Northern Kentucky Catalytic Fund to get the project going. It’s also working with Duke Energy on a grant to fund part of the project.
 
The city of Covington still owns the property, but Ashley has plans to buy it.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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New downtown apartment tower will offer 111 units and lots of amenities

Construction started this month on Seven at Broadway, a 111-apartment building at the corner of Seventh Street and Broadway downtown. NorthPointe Group, North American Properties and the City of Cincinnati are working on the $21 million project.
 
It’s being constructed on top of an eight-story parking garage that was built by Al. Neyer in 2003, and added onto in 2010 to accommodate the needs of Procter & Gamble. The company is handling the design and build services for the apartment tower, and John Senhauser Architects is the lead architect for the project.
 
The apartments will have high-end finishes, including an open floor plan, an abundance of natural light, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Studio apartments will be about 630 square feet, one-bedroom apartments will range from about 960-970 square feet, and two-bedroom apartments will range from 1,080-1,700 square feet. Residents will also have access to a concierge service, workout room and rooftop common space.
 
The apartment tower is designed to appeal to executives and baby boomers who want to live downtown. Developers are planning to seek LEED certification on the project.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Life Learning Center gets new home

The Life Learning Center in Covington is moving to the old Stewart Iron Works building at the corner of Madison Avenue and 18th Street. When redevelopment is complete this summer, the Learning Center will move from its current space on 15th Street to its new location.
 
The redevelopment of the long-time vacant, blighted brownfield was made possible by a partnership among the Catalytic Fund, Corporex and the city of Covington. The city is taking care of the site's brownfield development, including installing new windows, and Corporex is redeveloping for the Learning Center.

Currently, the Learning Center is located in a 5,000-square-foot building; the Stewart Iron Works building is about 60,000 square feet, but the Learning Center is only redeveloping and occupying about 35,000 square feet.
 
When it moves in, the Learning Center will acquire the building from the city, which purchased it in 2009 with assistance from the Kenton County Fiscal Court.
 
In its new home, the Learning Center will continue to deliver its six yearly programs that target at-risk people and help them overcome employment challenges and financial obstacles, but it hopes to be able to offer the programs more often. Its holistic approach includes educational programs and other resources that help transform lives.

There will also be a child care center and fitness/wellness facility in the new Learning Center.

"We serve many single moms here, and now, they can participate in our programs and bring their kids to our on-site child care center," says Erich Switzer, the Learning Center's director of awareness and fundraising. "We've also had a lot of people request a fitness center and programs, so we're excited to be offering that too."
 
The Learning Center’s move is the last of three development projects along Madison in the last year. In October, Walgreens relocated to the corner of Madison and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/12th Street; in December, the Kentucky Career Center announced its plans to move from 4th Street to the old Robke site at 1314 Madison.
 
Both the Kentucky Career Center and the Learning Center's projects are joint results of a deal that began in 2009 and involved multiple agencies, including the city, the Catalytic Fund, and other state and federal agencies.

The Learning Center is funding the renovation through a capital campagin—$2.4 million of the $3.2 million goal has already been raised. To donate, visit the Learning Center's website or send your donation to: Life Learning Center, 315 E. 15th St., Covington, Ky., 41011.
 
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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Christ Hospital to utilize old Drawbridge Inn site

The Christ Hospital Health Network has plans to redevelop the former Drawbridge Inn site in Fort Mitchell. The 75,000-square-foot medical office building will be part of a larger, mixed-used development.
 
The project is still in the very early planning stages, and there is no set date for construction to begin.
 
“The former Drawbridge Inn site presents an exceptional opportunity for us to expand our presence in Northern Kentucky and provide more choice and access for consumers,” says Mike Keating, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network.
 
The City of Fort Mitchell wants to create a community with easy access to residential, retail and medical offices. The new facility will bring new jobs to the city and offer additional health amenities.
 
The Christ Hospital Health Network is working with Brandicorp on the construction of The Christ Hospital Outpatient Center in Montgomery, which is scheduled to open in spring 2015. Brandicorp is also leading the redevelopment of the Drawbridge Inn site.
 
The Christ Hospital Health Network currently has its Outpatient Center in Fort Wright, which offers primary care; cardiovascular care; diabetes and endocrinology; a foot and ankle clinic; gynecology; orthopaedics and sports medicine; urology; urogynecology and pelvic floor medicine; wound healing; pre-surgery testing; and imaging services. Services are still being reviewed for the new facility.
 
Other Northern Kentucky locations include Crestview Hills (hematology and oncology; obstetrics and gynecology; and certified nurse midwives) and Fort Mitchell (primary care).
 
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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Two manufacturing companies looking at NKY would create jobs

Two manufacturing companies are considering a move to Northern Kentucky. Corrosion Resistant Reinforcing and Load Banks Direct LLC would add 50 jobs to the community and create more than $9 million in total investment if the relocation happens.
 
Corrosion Resistant Reinforcing, which receives stainless steel concrete reinforcing bar in coils and then straightens the coil to the desired lengths required for different jobs, is considering building a new facility in Walton. It is a new subsidiary of Evendale-based Contractors Materials Company.
 
The company would spend $1 million on land, $4 million on building construction and $3 million on other equipment. The new company would create 10 jobs in the Northern Kentucky economy. The project received preliminary approval for $200,000 in tax incentives over 10 years from the Kentucky Business Incentive program, and up to $100,000 in tax benefits through the Kentucky Enterprise Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use the tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing equipment.
 
Load Banks Direct, a manufacturer of high-capacity load banks used in the commissioning, testing and maintenance of standby emergency power systems, is looking at building a new facility in Erlanger to meet demands.
 
The company would spend more than $1.2 million on building and improvements, $30,000 on equipment and $15,000 on other startup costs. It would create 40 jobs, and received preliminary approval for $200,000 in tax incentives over 10 years from the KBI program.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Breadsmith raises funds for ArtWorks youth programs

On January 18, the new Breadsmith location in Hyde Park raised $1,600 to benefit ArtWorks. One hundred percent of the funds raised during the sneak preview and open house went to ArtWorks to benefit its summer youth development programs.
 
The event included a behind-the-scenes tour and free samples of Breadsmith’s award-winning breads, muffins and sweets. Customers got a look at the bakery’s European-style interior design, and the handmade, hearth-baked process of Breadsmith’s products.
 
ArtWorks’ summer program, Adopt-an-Apprentice, will directly support the 120 teen apprentices who will be hired this summer to work on 10 new community murals and other creative projects throughout the city. To date, ArtWorks has provided opportunities for more than 2,500 youth artists and 650 professional artists, and has graduated 175 creative entrepreneurs and artisans from SpringBoard, the organization's 9-week business development class.
 
Breadsmith currently has 30 independently owned retail bakeries across the country. It has received awards for its European-style breads, including top honors from Bon Appeit magazine, Modern Baking, the International Culinary Salon, the National Restaurant Association and “Best of” awards nationwide.
 
The new Cincinnati location, which is located at 3500 Michigan Ave., is open Tuesday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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