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WIN helps make South Cumminsville walkable, increases home ownership

Working in Neighborhoods was one of 12 organizations selected by the Project for Public Spaces to receive technical assistance from the Walkable & Livable Communities Institute, which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WIN is currently working to make the Beekman-Elmore corridor of South Cumminsville more walkable, livable, healthy and welcoming.
In South Cumminsville, only one in four people own or have access to a car, so crosswalks are vital to the community. But people had problems getting across the street in front of Wayne Park, where the crosswalk signals were too short. With a simple change in signal duration, it’s now easier for people to cross the street, says Marilyn Evans, president of the South Cumminsville Community Council.
WIN is also working to increase home ownership in South Cumminsville. The neighborhood has a 54 percent home ownership rate, which is high for the city of Cincinnati, where the average is 32 percent.
“WIN has had the opportunity to redevelop sections of the neighborhood into different housing options,” says Sister Barbara Bush, executive director of WIN. “We purchased an old church and converted the school into 18 senior housing units. It helped bring seniors into the community and opened up a housing option for the seniors who already lived here.”
The organization also provides education for homebuyers on everything from how to start saving for a house to how to secure a loan. And it's the second largest foreclosure prevention organization in the county. To date, WIN has educated about 300 families on buying a house and helped about 600 families from losing their home. WIN has also been dabbling in green efforts since the ‘70s, teaching homeowners how to be more energy efficient.
WIN partners with the South Cumminsville Community Council on an after-school program for kids; they also offer an on-site summer camp. There are plans to increase the recreation facilities at Wayne Park, and possibly put in a walking track and splash ground, Evans says.
“We’re also trying to combat the lack of healthy food options in South Cumminsville,” Sister Barbara says. “The neighboring communities of Northside and Camp Washington both recently lost their grocery stores, and it’s becoming harder for residents to get to healthy food.”
Closing the Health Gap came in and is looking at a healthy store program along Beekman. There’s also a community garden at the corner of Roll and Ralston, and it’s become an opportunity to educate kids about fruits and vegetables.  
“WIN has helped us come together, work together and stay on the same page as a neighborhood,” Evans says. “There are so many different opportunities for people to come in and make changes. Without WIN, it wouldn’t be possible for us to uplift our neighborhood.”
WIN is a comprehensive community development corporation, and is active in three Cincinnati neighborhoods—South Cumminsville, Northside and College Hill. It has rehabbed homes in Spring Grove Village, Elmwood Place and the West McMicken area of Over-the-Rhine. WIN will celebrate its 35th anniversary in November.
By Caitlin Koenig
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UC tech accelerator moves to Short Vine

The University of Cincinnati’s Technology Commercialization Accelerator recently opened at its temporary space on Short Vine. The accelerator’s permanent home at 2630 Vine Street is undergoing renovations, and is expected to be ready next year.
The move is due to a partnership between the accelerator and SV ARX, LLC, a Short Vine development group. The collaboration began with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in early 2012 when the accelerator was launched.
The accelerator, which was founded to bridge the gap between early-stage technology and investment dollars, focuses on identifying promising, early-stage technologies; assessing technologies to determine viable startup company opportunities; developing commercialization strategies; and facilitating the work necessary to move technology toward commercialization. It offers a number of services, including a number of highly experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence, early-stage grant funding for commercialization, and now, a workshop for teams to meet and further develop concepts.
The accelerator has committed $160,000 in awards to four promising projects led by UC investigators. Funding for the accelerator comes from Ohio’s Third Frontier Entrepreneurial Signature Program, UC’s partnership with CincyTech, UC’s 2019 Entrepreneur Grant funds and other outside sources.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Downtown development bringing affordable living options

Three historic buildings are currently under contract near Seventh and Race streets in downtown Cincinnati. They’re just north of a new retail corridor the city is planning on Race, and will offer more affordable living options to residents.
The development includes the 39,000-square-foot Robertson Building at 106 W. Seventh St., the 38,000-square-foot Oskamp Nolting Building at 26-30 W. Seventh St., and the 20,000-square-foot Lancaster Building at 22-24 W. Seventh St.
The six-to-eight-story buildings, two of which are adjacent to each other, will be redeveloped as one. The project will include 75 apartments—45 one-bedroom units and 30 two-bedroom units, with 15,000 square feet of first-floor retail space.
Rent is projected to start at $665 for the one-bedroom apartments and $800 for the two-bedroom apartments
Columbus developer Peak Property Group is partnering with Westward Development Co. for the project. Peak Property Group develops and manages multifamily and student housing across the United States.
By Caitlin Koenig
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City Flea founders hosting November market at 21c

Most of Cincinnati is familiar with the City Flea, the city’s once a month urban flea market. But this year, founders Nick and Lindsay Dewald are hosting the City Flea Small Mall November 17 from noon to 6 p.m. at the 21c Museum Hotel.
The Small Mall will feature locally owned small businesses under one roof, so it’s convenient for shoppers. The vendors are all ones that the Dewalds love from around the city.
“We want to bring a heightened awareness to the number of unique small businesses that are in the city,” Dewald says. “We’re hoping that, with the event being on a Sunday, more of the shop owners will be able to attend and answer questions, tell shoppers where they’re located and what’s around them. We want to get people excited about the city and what it has to offer.”
The 21c is working side-by-side with the City Flea to make the market happen, and Dewald is excited to bring more people to the hotel.
“I hope people take the extra time to look at the art at the 21c, and maybe go eat at the Metropole after the market,” he says.
The 21c is going to have a bar set up during the market and will offer fun cocktails for shoppers to try.
Currently, the Small Mall has about 30 vendors lined up. For a full list of Small Mall vendors, visit thecityflea.com/small-mall.
Upcoming City Flea events include the Factory Flea October 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the American Can Lofts in Northside and the Wrapped Up Holiday Market December 14 from 5 to 10 p.m. in Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.
By Caitlin Koenig
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City of Covington selling rehabbed, historic homes with financial assistance

Five city-owned, fully rehabilitated historic homes are currently available for purchase in downtown Covington. The houses were acquired as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which awarded funds to redevelop foreclosed and abandoned properties in the city to help revitalize neighborhoods.
NSP targets new and existing homeowners and provides financing to help with the cost of a down payment and other associated fees. However, existing homeowners must utilize the NSP property as their primary residence.
The houses that are for sale through the NSP program are: 334 E. 18th St., 912 and 914 Banklick St., and 118 and 120 E. 15th St.
The houses all boast new and modern kitchens with open floor plans on the first floor, master bedrooms with closet space, and new, modern bathrooms. On the outside, the houses all have new roofs, gutters and paint, while the interiors have new and updated plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems. They’ve also been rehabbed to high-efficiency standards, including added insulation, high-efficiency furnaces and Energy Star appliances.
For those interested in purchasing an NSP home, the City of Covington has financing programs available, through which buyers are required to borrow only what is termed an “affordable amount,” which is determined based on the buyer’s income. The city can provide interest-free, forgivable loans to supplement the affordable mortgage amount and the price of the home.
The program’s income limits are higher than other homebuyer programs—NSP allows households up to 120 percent of HUD Area Median Income ($57,700 for a single person household and $82,450 for a four-person household).

For more information regarding the program or find out if you qualify to purchase an NSP home, contact Jeremy Wallace via phone at (859) 292-2163 or via e-mail.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Findlay Market using crowdsourcing to fill three new storefronts

By December, three new storefronts will be open to the public at Findlay Market. The storefronts, which are located at 129, 131 and 133 W. Elder St., are on the south side of the Market across from the summer Biergarten.
The storefronts have been under construction for the past month and aren’t quite ready for tenants yet. But Findlay Market wants public input on what the stores should be.
“Like the ‘Before I Die’ public art project on Short Vine, we created two window displays for customers to tell us what should go there,” says Joe Hansbauer, Executive Director of Findlay Market.
The wishing wall, or “I Wish This Store Was,” is located at 129 and 131 W. Elder St.
Ideally, one of the three 1,000-square-foot spaces will be a restaurant, but the other two could be anything, Hansbauer says. Ideas for the stores range from a Hispanic grocery store to a store focused on local products that would complement what you can get on the weekends at the Market. A knife sharpener and cookware store are also potential options.
About 12 business models have been submitted, and Hansbauer expects to see more in the coming weeks. Both new and existing vendors have shown interest, he says.
The residential units above the storefronts won’t be developed at this time, but it’s possible that they’ll be developed and ready for tenants within the next 18 to 24 months.
The storefronts are all city-owned and will be transferred to the management of the Corporation for Findlay Market when complete. Graybach was the developer of the project.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Circus Mojo founder starting first U.S. training center for medical clowning

Paul Miller started out as a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. He founded Circus Mojo, a circus arts program for children and adults, in 2009, and will be opening the Institute of Social Circus & Vocational Training Center in Ludlow, Ky., next year.
The Institute of Social Circus will be the first training center in the world dedicated to teaching adults circus techniques, team building skills and social work principles for the purpose of training, educating and meeting the needs of disenfranchised youth, hospitalized people and youth in juvenile centers or other institutions.
The Institute for Social Circus is developing a certification program in applying circus training with three focus areas: youth, medical settings and adults who are seniors and/or have disabilities.
“For about 20 years, I’ve heard all of the baggage that comes with being a clown in the United States, and I want to work to broaden it from a strictly circus job,” Miller says.
At the Institute of Social Circus, clowns will become Circus Wellness Specialists, who will make people laugh, but also try to bring humanity to the hospital. For the past four years, Circus Mojo has had a contract with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to dispense Mojo Medicine. Performers work as Circus Wellness Specialists to reduce anxiety in patients and their families, and work to build hospital staff morale.
In 2012, Miller and a group of international partners purchased the former Duro Bag headquarters from the city of Ludlow with the help of a $10,000 contribution from Duke Energy. The building will become the Institute, and will be a block and a half from the Circus Mojo theater, which was an old movie theater built in 1946. Miller purchased the historic building from the city of Ludlow for $1 four years ago.
The Ludlow Fire Department did all of the demolition on the theater, which saved Miller thousands of dollars; they’re going to do the demo on the Institute as well.
“The idea of a private/public partnership in the city of Ludlow is if a clown buys a theater, the fire department does the demo,” Miller says. “It’s a unique way to get things done, and it really helped me out.”
Miller also hopes to offer jobs to the hundreds of circus performers who are without jobs. He’s had people from 15 different countries come and stay at the Circus Mojo apartment next door to the movie theater. Miller says about 30 other countries use clowns in hospitals to distract patients during treatment, which saves a fortune for health care organizations.

“I want to send kids home with new skills, not just a cast, scar or prescription,” Miller says.
Miller is currently looking for investors for the low-profit, limited-liability Institute.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Not Another Hostel offers a new way to stay the night in Cincinnati

At the end of September, roommates Amir Gamble, Adam Ochs and Alec Tamplin opened Not Another Hostel: Cincinnati, in Uptown. The nonprofit, donation-based, pay-what-you-want hostel is one of two in the world. 
The idea for the Cincinnati location came from Tamplin’s cousin, who has been running the one in Pittsburgh for a year and a half.
“In June, I took a road trip to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York, and it was hard to find places to stay because hotels can be expensive and staying with friends is hard to coordinate,” Tamplin says.
While on his trip, Tamplin visited his cousin in Pittsburgh, who runs Not Another Hostel out of his apartment, and found out how it works. After extensive research on zoning codes and city regulations, Tamplin and his roommates realized they could start one in Cincinnati.
One of Tamplin’s friends who is an urban planning student at DAAP helped out with the legal side of things; they also have an attorney who is assisting them.
“We had to make sure Not Another Hostel would be free because you can’t legally rent an apartment and run a business out of it,” Tamplin says. The three roommates also had to get permission from their landlord, and they can’t have more than five people staying with them at a time.
In August, the three roommates moved into a new apartment that would be perfect for Not Another Hostel. They were able to get everything they needed for guests ready in about 72 hours, with the help of Tamplin’s cousin.
The suggested donation for a night’s stay is $25, which goes toward rent, utilities, supplies, Internet costs, maintenance and general upkeep of the apartment. But Not Another Hostel encourages payment in other ways, like a meal, music or stories from guests.
“Whatever people want to give us in return is great,” Tamplin says.
If you’re interested in staying a night in Cincinnati at Not Another Hostel, visit the website, read the guidelines and fill out an application.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Bike-themed coffee and ice pop shop opens in Newport

Carabello Coffee’s Roasting Works and Craft Coffee Bar had its grand opening last Tuesday in Newport. The business is owned by husband-and-wife team Justin and Emily Carabello, who started roasting coffee in 2009 in their garage in a popcorn popper.
For the past two years, Carabello Coffee was roasted at Velocity Bike & Bean in Florence, but with the opening of their own 600-square-foot space, the Carabellos are able to offer more to their customers. The craft coffee bar serves Italian-style craft espresso drinks and cold-brewed ice coffee that is steeped in cold water for 20 hours. The Carabellos also hope to offer weekly tastings and classes on roasting and brewing coffee.
The Carabellos are passionate about serving Fair Trade, organic, farm-direct and direct-relationship coffees. Farm-direct is a way for coffee roasters to buy straight from the farmers at a price that is a minimum of 100 percent higher than Fair Trade pricing, which ensures that the farmers are paid a price that will allow them to improve their businesses.
Carabello Coffee serves one true farm-direct coffee from Nicaragua that is harvested by Louis Balladarez, a pastor and coffee farmer.
“We’re able to serve a coffee that no one else in the world has, and tell the farmer’s story,” Justin says. “We’ve been to visit him three times and know him personally.”
Since 2009, the Carabellos have used part of their coffee profits to fund works of compassion in Third World coffee-producing nations. They support an orphanage in Nicaragua on a monthly basis, and have had the opportunity to visit the children there four times in the past three years. They’re also supporting work among HIV orphans in Kenya with their Africa Project coffee—$3 of every bag bought goes to fund the project.
“We’ve used coffee as a fundraiser on a local level for everything from the fine arts program at Miami Valley Christian Academy to home school co-ops to the Ohio Valley Cat Rescue,” Justin says. “We really want to put our money where our mouth is. We’ve been able to give back since the beginning, rather than have a goal of helping organizations later.”
Carabello Coffee is served at Metropole in the 21c Hotel, Gigi’s Cupcakes in Kenwood, the Queen City Club and Velocity Bike & Bean. It’s also sold in retail shops around the city, including the Anderson and Madeira farmers markets. Some local churches serve the Carabello’s coffee too.
The roasting works is also home to Bello’s Ice Pops, which was started by Emily in 2012 after visits to New York City. She came home and started trying her hand at ice pops for fun, and realized she could make a good side business out of her hobby.
“I watched "Nefarious," which is a movie about human trafficking, and I thought the money I made from selling ice pops would be a good way to help,” Emily says.
While on vacation in Portland, Emily met a man who makes icicle tricycles, which is a three-wheel bicycle with an insulated basket in front. She purchased one, and has been a fixture at local farmers markets, weddings and the Oakley Fancy Flea ever since.
“I’m hopeful to see lots of families come into the roasting works next summer and not only try our coffee, but our ice pops too,” Emily says.
The Carabellos are excited to be part of the Newport community and can’t wait to see the changes that are in the works for the neighborhood.
“We want to be a place in the community that people feel is theirs,” Justin says.
Follow Carabello Coffee on Facebook (Carabello Coffee), Twitter (@CarabelloCoffee) and Instagram (#carabellocoffee).
By Caitlin Koenig
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Come Home Cincinnati initiative to increase home ownership, redevelop vacant areas

In late September, a new initiative was announced that will help increase home ownership and help to redevelop the Cincinnati neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by vacancy and abandonment. Come Home Cincinnati is a partnership with the Hamilton County Land Bank, private lenders and community development corporations.
The initiative will likely require using funds from Focus 52, which finances neighborhood projects. It will establish a loan guarantee pool that will range from $2.5 million to $4.5 million—other aspects will cost $3.4 million, but not all of the funding will come from the city.
Come Home Cincinnati will start with 100 homes in the pilot neighborhoods of Evanston and Walnut Hills to leverage existing public and private investment in the housing strategies. Over time, the initiative will expand to other neighborhoods as resources expand.
One of the key redevelopment corridors that will be targeted through Come Home Cincinnati is Woodburn Avenue in Evanston.
To qualify, owner-occupants will have to meet a minimum credit requirement, agree to live in the rehabbed home for five years, and pay for five percent of the total rehab and acquisition costs as a down payment. After that five years, the loan will be refinanced at the same or a better interest rate.
Potential partners for the initiative are the Cincinnati Development Fund, Northside Bank and Trust, Model Group, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Cincinnati Preservation Association, the Xavier University Community Building Institute, the University of Cincinnati Community Design Center, Evanston Community Council, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati.
Since 2011, the city has worked closely with the Hamilton County Land Bank, which helps combat vacancy and abandonment and helps remove obstacles to redevelopment in all neighborhoods in the county.
The Land Bank’s focus neighborhood strategy includes 14 neighborhoods in the county, eight of which are in the city—Avondale, College Hill, Evanston, Madisonville, Northside, Price Hill, South Cumminsville and Walnut Hills. The Moving Ohio Forward demolition grant allows the Land Bank and the city to address the worst blight in these neighborhoods.
City Council now needs to approve a motion that gives city administration 60 days to develop a plan and budget for Come Home Cincinnati.

By Caitlin Koenig
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$26 million residential and retail development coming to downtown

In mid-November, construction will begin on Broadway Square, a $26 million downtown residential and retail development project in Pendleton. The development will stretch from Elliot Street to 14th Street, and will include the redevelopment of former apartment buildings at three of the four corners of Broadway and 12th streets.

"We hope Broadway Square will drive the revitalization of Pendleton in a significant way, and continue Over-the-Rhine's transformation," says Bobby Maly, chief operating officer of Model Group, the developer and general contractor of the project.
The first phase of Broadway Square received $10.2 million in new market tax credits in September, which will include 26 one-bedroom and 13 two-bedroom apartments. Living space will total 40,000 square feet, and there will also be 11,000 square feet of retail space.
The project’s second phase will have 39 apartments, and construction is slated to begin in October 2014.
Although rental rates are yet to be determined, Model Group expects units will rent for about $1 per square foot. "We want Broadway Square to help meet a target price point below the high-priced luxury apartments downtown."
In all, Broadway Square will include 20,000 square feet of commercial space for restaurants, boutiques, destination shops and small offices, and about 90 apartments. A pub and restaurant is planning to move into one of the corner spots. There will also be 27 spots of dedicated parking for both retail and residential.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Proposed Incline Theater to be anchor of Price Hill redevelopment

Last summer, Cincinnati Landmark Productions, the group that operates the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, the Showboat Majestic and Cincinnati Young People’s Theatre, launched a campaign to raise $5.1 million for a new performing arts center and parking garage in Price Hill. Fundraising is 92 percent complete, with just over $300,000 still to raise for the project.
The proposed 235-seat Incline Theater is part of the 2010 master plan to beautify the Price Avenue streetscape. And with the Showboat closing at the end of the season, the Incline will bring some of the charm of the showboat to the neighborhood.
“The Incline Theater will have a nostalgic connection to Price Hill, as it will sit where the original Price Hill Incline came up,” says Tim Perrino, executive director of Cincinnati Landmark Productions. “The theater will have a great view of downtown from the lobby, and it will be a real driver to revitalization and vitality in the area.”
May through September, the theater will host an eclectic season with smaller, more intimate shows than currently produced at the Covedale or Showboat. During the summer, musicals and comedy will be part of Summer Faire. On the weekends, the Incline will host small touring groups and semi-famous bands.
“I grew up across the street from the proposed site, and my grandparents lived there until 1992,” Perrino says. “I want to see a new Incline District, a new East Price Hill, rise from what it is. We’re not bringing back anything, but creating something new and exciting.
“As we wrap up at the Showboat every night, I ask the audience ‘Did you have fun tonight?’ What I really mean is did they have fun for 23 years, and I want people to feel the same way about the Incline 23 years from now.”
Construction on the Incline Theater, which will be located at the corner of Matson Place and W. Eighth Street, is to begin in early 2014.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Schwartz Building to be converted from offices to apartments

The Schwartz Building, which is located at 906 Main St., is soon to become apartments. Black Iron Capital LLC, an affiliate of Levine Properties LLC, purchased the nearly 100-year-old building at a sheriff’s sale earlier this year for $446,000.
Black Iron plans to spend about $500,000 renovating four of the five floors of office space into 20 apartments. There will also be 6,705 square feet of first floor retail space available for rent.
The five-story building will be completely renovated, and will be LEED Silver certified when finished. The City approved a Community Reinvestment Area LEED tax exemption for the project, which will save Black Iron more than $100,000. 
Restoration will repair the building’s terrazzo floors in the entryway, and stainless steel appliances and granite countertops will be installed in each apartment.
The Schwartz will house 16 two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments and four three-bedroom, two-bathroom units that will range from about 900 square feet to 1,300 square feet. Rental rates are still to be determined.
Construction began late September, and apartments could be available as soon as May 2014.
By Caitlin Koenig
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ArchiNATI festival gives citizens a say in the city's built environment

During the week of Oct. 4–12, Cincinnatians will have the chance to experience the city’s built environment through the third annual ArchiNATI architecture festival. The week will include talks, tours and events throughout the city.
This year’s theme is Citizen Space, centering around the concept that every person has a right to the city’s spaces, a stake in its culture and a say in its built environment.
“Every year, we choose a theme to highlight one aspect of the city,” says Nick Cristofaro, one of the organizers of this year’s ArchiNATI festival. “This year’s goal is to let everyone know they have a stake in what happens to the city, especially its public spaces. It’s not just about the history of the city, but about celebrating the places we have, both old and new. We want people to see the potential that’s around us every day.”
Some highlights of the week include a reception and exhibit at the former Church of Assumption featuring submissions from Place from Space, a design competition in which vacant lots are turned into community spaces. The competition partners with community groups in Over-the-Rhine, Walnut Hills and Price Hill to turn empty spaces into places for the neighborhood. There’s also a dinner, prepared by Chef Stephen Shockley, and an exhibition curated by Daft Galleries at Rhinegeist. Plus, Rookwood Pottery is hosting a reception for the photo scavenger hunt and giving tours of its facility on Vine Street.
Most of the week’s events are free and open to the public, but a few of the events will require a small admission fee, tickets or reservations. To see the full list of activities, purchase tickets or make reservations, visit architecturecincy.org or archinati.org.
ArchiNATI is sponsored in large part by the Haile Foundation, GBBN Architects, Rookwood Pottery and Listermann Brewing. Each event also has a partner or organization behind it.
The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati is partnering with ArchiNATI for the festival. AFC was founded in 1982, and has enriched the Greater Cincinnati community by connecting people with the places in which they live, learn, work and play. Through programming and educational outreach, AFC strives to involve the public in shaping Cincinnati’s built environment.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Fortvna chocolate shop coming to Covington

Chef William Poole and his partner Loren Penton moved to Covington last November, with plans to purchase an existing company. The deal fell through, but they decided to stay. And hopefully by next fall, Poole will open his own chocolate shop, Chocolatier Fortvna.
“The Ohio Valley is rich in history, culture and food—it’s a very well-kept secret,” Poole says. “Amazing things are happening on both sides of the river, and I want to be part of it.”
Before they moved to the Tri-State, Poole owned a chocolate shop in Denver for about 10 years. When his lease was up in 2010, Poole and Penton moved to New Orleans, where they purchased an old hotel that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. They restored it back to its 1860s splendor, then sold it in October 2012. They then moved to Oregon, which is where Poole thought he would open another chocolate shop, but the food scene was different than in Denver and New Orleans, and things didn’t work out.
“The opportunity in Covington arose, and when I initially came here, I fell in love with the area,” Poole says. “I feel like I fit in here, and I’m at the right place at the right time—look at the redevelopment in Over-the-Rhine, the Newport Levee, increased river commerce and plans for the streetcar. It’s very exciting.”
Poole and Penton purchased 11 E. Fifth St., the former Bottoms Up bar, as Red Mare Holdings. The building is considered a historic landmark, and Poole plans to restore it to its 1905 splendor. The storefront is currently bricked over, and the interior will be completely gutted in order to create the vision Poole has for his shop.
Fortvna’s interior will match the age of the building, and the storefront will be reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century candy shop. The fixtures will be new, but Poole plans to reuse two large gas chandeliers from his restored house on Scott Boulevard. The other fixtures will be steampunk and industrial, but still old-school, Poole says.
The building is three stories, with the 1,000-square-foot storefront on the first floor and two 1900s apartments on the second and third floors. Fortvna’s renovation will take about eight months, which will be underway as soon as a leak in the roof is repaired and mold is removed.
“I want to help solidify the sense of community here in Covington with my shop,” he says. “I want to help bring back what once was a very commerce-driven town, and is now becoming that again with the people from all over who are selling their craft, talent and art for everyone.”
The shop’s chocolate selection will be a mixture of both in-house made and imported items because Poole believes that if he can’t make a sweet better than someone else can, why not bring it to his shop and support another business. Poole plans to have chocolate bars with inclusions, rare origin chocolates and truffles. He also wants to introduce couture items in the spring and fall to keep customers interested.
“I won’t be following trends, but creating them,” Poole says. “I feel that I’m very innovative, and I tend to be ahead of other confectioners. I don’t believe in competition because I think everyone needs to do their own thing and encourage customers to try other people’s chocolates.”
By Caitlin Koenig
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