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New children's play area at CVG features high-tech interactivity

The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport recently partnered with The CTM Group Inc. to develop the latest in children’s play areas. The new development, called Funway Runway, provides entertainment for the whole family.
 
Funway Runway is located in the food court seating area of Concourse B at CVG. It features an interactive floor that is equipped with MotionAware technology, which comes to life and reacts with human movement. By interacting with projected images, travelers activate animations, trigger sounds, play games or interact with content applications.
 
There are touch screen monitors with educational and fun games for younger children, and individual rides for all ages. Funway Runway’s colorful walls provide a backdrop for images of local landmarks that were provided by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
 
The CTM Group installed the first to market iReality ride, which incorporates augmented reality into a ride. The four-way motion ride lets riders watch their faces as they're featured as part of the ride in real-time. It is enhanced through hand mapping, which allows riders to participate in the action through simple hand movements. iReality lets everyone watch the fun on a 55-inch flat screen monitor above the ride.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Japp's owner looking to East Walnut Hills for new bar

Molly Wellmann, owner of Japp’s and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and co-owner of Neon’s, is looking to open a new bar in East Walnut Hills. Myrtle's Punch House will be located at the corner of Woodburn Avenue and Myrtle.
 
The concept for Myrtle's is a punch house, where you can get a punch bowl at your table to share with your friends. Punch will also be available by the glass.
 
“Recipes for punches date back about 500 years; it’s a very old way of drinking,” Wellmann says. “We want to bring that to Cincinnati—there’s such great heritage here, and a great drinking heritage.”
 
There will also be a wine list and craft beer selection. Beer will be served by the glass, pitcher and growler. The focus will be on wine by the bottle or beer by the growler that you can take home and enjoy.
 
Wellmann and her partners hope to offer acoustic music in the basement, as well as a room in the basement that can be rented out for parties.
 
“East Walnut Hills is such a cool neighborhood,” Wellmann says. “It’s waking up, much like Over-the-Rhine was when we opened Neon’s and later Japp’s. We want this bar to be a place for the people of the neighborhood. When you’re looking to start a community, there are always two main things: a place to worship and a tavern. And East Walnut Hills already has a church.”
 
Plans are still in the preliminary stages, but Wellmann is hoping for a late summer opening.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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ArtsWave receives NEA grant for Arts Atlas project

ArtsWave recently received a $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant to support Arts Atlas Cincinnati, an interactive, web-based geographic information system that is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of the arts assets in the region.
 
Arts Atlas was created to address the social impact metrics for the arts sector. The custom-designed GIS is intended to assist local arts constituents and standardize the measurement of the social impact of the arts. The GIS provides the capability to collect, manage, manipulate, analyze and distribute information that is geographically based to provide a better visual image of patterns and relationships.
 
The site will launch in late 2014, and will be continually updated with data gathered by ArtsWave and other local arts organizations.
 
The NEA Art Works grant supports the creation of art that meets the highest standard of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and enhancing the livability of communities through art. The NEA received 1,528 eligible applications that requested more than $75 million in funding. ArtsWave was one of 895 nonprofit organizations to receive the grant, and one of six in Cincinnati, with a total of $23.4 million in funding overall.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Northside art gallery features modernist art by local artists

Object, a new art gallery and retail store in Northside, features modernist pieces from the early 20th century. Artists Keith Chrapliwy of Modology and Andrew Kozakov teamed up to offer a range of art-driven furniture, paintings, sculpture and small objects.
 
Items run an artistic range that starts with early 20th century-inspired Constructivist paintings and sculpture, and continues through the 1950s living room culture. It finishes with chairs of the 1950s and 1970s by designers like Eames and Kofod-Lawson. There are also restored and reworked items like valises and small tables, paintings in new styles and a small collection of creatively made jewelry. Object’s collection will vary as Chrapliwy and Kozakov bring in new pieces from their collections.
 
Chrapliwy and Kozakov made a large number of the furniture and artwork pieces—Chrapliwy’s walnut Modology cabinets are in high demand, and are colorful with handmade Lucite panels; Kozakov focuses more on furniture, including a tall, elegant wooden sculpture that contains a hidden bar cabinet that’s large enough to hold glasses and wine.
 
“We want to blur the line between high art and functional pieces,” Chrapliwy says. “We both hope that visitors to the store can envision the possibilities of creating their own artistic environment.”
 
The store, which is located at 4008 Hamilton Ave., also has work by other artists, including Spencer van der Zee, a Cincinnati folk artist, and jewelry designer Brie Hiudt, who is Object’s guest artist through December.
 
Items range in price from $16 for T-shirts by van der Zee, to $25 for a metal case, to $2,750 for the handmade bar cabinet.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Keegan's Seafood to open second location on Hyde Park Square

Keegan’s Specialty Seafood Market is opening a second location on Hyde Park Square at the end of January. They work directly with fishermen, seafood auction houses and purveyors to bring the best seafood from around the world to Cincinnati.
 
Keegan’s also stocks a variety of specialty foods with an emphasis on local products, including salads, spreads and soups, which are prepared in their Anderson Township location’s kitchen. They will also continue to host private dinner parties in addition to their weekly Thirsty Thursday wine tastings in Anderson. During the wine tastings, customers can purchase a selection of four wines for $12, along with seafood, meat and cheese. Sometimes there are impromptu cooking demos.
 
The Hyde Park location will carry a variety of local products; Keegan’s popular housemade foods; and a selection of high-end grass-fed beef, lamb and pastured pork. The soups and sauces will be packaged in reusable Mason jars that customers can return for a rebate.
 
Although not a restaurant, the Hyde Park Keegan’s will feature a custom-made, German-style communal table for gathering and eating. Customers can order their food to-go or enjoy their meal at the table.
 
Keegan’s rotating breakfast and lunch menus will feature items prepared in-house, including New York-style bagels boiled and baked by Jean Paul’s Paradiso, housemade cream cheese and authentic lox from New York City. There will also be healthy made-to-order smoothies, fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, and daily specials like steel-cut oatmeal, lobster quiche and shrimp and grits.
 
Owner Tom Keegan expects the new location to be an extension of the Sunday Hyde Park Farmers Market, as he says he has a good relationship with the vendors there.
 
Keegan’s is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Customers can sign up for e-mail alerts for more information about the new store opening and menu offerings at both locations.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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New police substation in Walnut Hills result of partnership, safety efforts

A new police substation at 921 E. McMillan, or Red Point, in Walnut Hills is the result of a partnership between Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, LISC, the City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Police Department. Through a grant from LISC, WHRF has been able to focus its attention on safety issues and build a relationship with CPD.
 
The substation is part of WHRF’s efforts to redevelop McMillan between Gilbert and Kemper. It used to share an office with WHRF, and is more of a break room for CPD officers and an office for Hamilton County probation officers.
 
“We’ve used the presence of law enforcement to help stabilize the corner,” says Kevin Wright, executive director of WHRF.
 
Red Point was formerly a corner store that became one of the biggest drug houses in the neighborhood. After a homicide in March, police did an undercover drug buy that lead to a raid. WHRF suggested that police take a city code official with them on the raid to check out interior code violations.
 
The building was ordered vacant because of code violations, and the Land Bank could then foreclose on it. WHRF and the city purchased the building as part of a larger development project, and in nine months, Red Point went from a murder scene and drug hotspot to a Hamilton County probation office.
 
“Our partnership with LISC, Place Matters, the City of Cincinnati and CPD has been essential to community development in Walnut Hills,” Wright says. “Our shared objective makes the community stronger and allows us to effect change to make the neighborhood more livable.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Lick Run project to help redevelop and revitalize South Fairmount

This summer, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati demolished 21 residential and commercial buildings in South Fairmount as part of the Lick Run project. It’s designed to help redevelop and revitalize the neighborhood by introducing a park-like urban waterway between Queen City and Westwood avenues.
 
The Lick Run project will include a series of underground storm sewers, water quality features and natural, aboveground waterways constructed throughout the watershed to transport stormwater and natural drainage to Mill Creek. The central element of the project is an urban waterway that will run through South Fairmount between Queen City and Westwood, just east of White Street.
 
The individual projects will eliminate about 624 million gallons of combined sewer overflows into Mill Creek each year. Construction is slated to begin in 2015, with construction completion in 2019.
 
Lick Run is part of Project Groundwork, a $3.2 billion project to rebuild and improve the region’s sewer system.  
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Gilpin's Steamed Grub opens second location near UC

Brad Gilpin opened his first restaurant, Gilpin’s Steamed Grub, downtown five years ago. He recently opened a second location in Clifton near the University of Cincinnati, his alma mater. He chose UC because the incoming freshman class is huge, and Gilpin's Steamed Grub is the kind of restaurant he wished was in Clifton when he went to school there.

"I love food, and wanted to bring the steamed sandwich concept to Cincinnati, but make it my own," Gilpin says.
 
The 1,600-square-foot coffee shop seats about 50 people, and has contemporary and rustic décor and a coffee house feel. There is also a separate study area for students. Like the downtown location, the UC Gilpin’s has an old-school Nintendo and a fake fireplace.
 
All of Gilpin’s coffee drinks are made via steam. The restaurant’s breakfast menu has eggs cooked via steam only as well; the lunch and dinner menus are the same as the downtown location’s, but with a few additions, including steamed pulled pork and additional steamed burgers with meat from Avril-Bleh. Gilpin’s sources pastries from Shadeau Breads, donuts from Holtman’s Donuts and cookies from Donna’s Gourmet.

The new location has five steamers—one for eggs, one for burgers, one for steamed cheese sandwiches, one for salads and one for deli sandwiches. So far, the smoked pulled pork and grilled chicken sandwiches have been the most popular, but customers are also ordering the Razzle Dazzle, which is pepperoni, turkey, bacon, provolone cheese, mesculin mix, honey mustard, Frank's Hot Sauce and nacho cheese Doritos on a pretzel bun.
 
Gilpin’s focuses on fresh, local produce, and encourages its customers to recycle and eat local.
 
The UC Gilpin’s is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday, and from 7 a.m. to 3:45 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Gilpin also has plans to open a third location in the next six months near another college campus.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Queen City Cookies opens Northside cafe

Peggy Shannon moved to Cincinnati in 2006, and started baking cookies out of her home. As Queen City Cookies grew, a café seemed like the next logical step. Shannon recently opened a four-room café in the old St. Pius Church complex in Northside.
 
The café, which is inside the former rectory, consists of an espresso bar and a pop-up Madisono’s gelato shop. There are also two whimsical seating areas and ceramic tiled staircases. 
 
The partnership with Madisono’s has allowed Shannon’s sweet treats to now be served ala mode. Special flavors of gelato were designed in conjunction with Queen City’s schnecken as well.
 
Queen City also welcomed former co-owner of Take the Cake, Doug Faulkner, to the team. “Doug has brought so many new things to the table,” Shannon says. “We now have croschnecken, which is half croissant and half schnecken. We also have a bread pudding made from schnecken.”
 
Another addition to Queen City’s team was Michelle Lightfoot, the former owner of Poppies and Deli seven20. Shannon and Lightfoot have plans to roll out a light, limited lunch menu of soups and sandwiches in early 2014.
 
The expansion has also allowed for a line of pastries Queen City didn’t have room for before. The bakery’s menu now includes vegan items from Sweet Peace Bakery and gluen-free choices from local sources.
 
“One of the only downsides to our expansion is that I don’t bake anymore,” Shannon says. “I used to have a hand in everything, but now I’m more into research and development of new things.”
 
Queen City recently applied for a liquor license, and there are plans to offer cooking classes and host parties. Now, Shannon is encouraging customers to utilize the café for meetings.

And as if expanding isn't enough, each quarter, Queen City also raises money and awareness for a different nonprofit. This quarter, they're supporting Caracole, the first organization in Ohio to provide housing for people living with HIV/AIDS. The product to buy to support Caracole is Queen City's blueberry schnecken, served by the slice or in loaves. People can also help out by donating toiletries at Queen City.

Queen City also supports organizations online through Cookies for a Cause. This quarter, 50 percent of the sales of Queen City’s version of Brooksters, which is a rich brownie bottom, a double stuffed Oreo middle and a chocolate chip cookie on top, goes to WordPlay.
 
The café is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
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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Kolar Design expands, moves back to downtown

Almost 25 years ago, Kelly Kolar started Kolar Design in a small office downtown on Walnut Street. Three moves later, the company is back downtown, now on the top floor of 807 Broadway.
 
After moving from its original downtown location, Kolar Design moved to Eden Park but outgrew the space shortly after the move. Five years ago, the company moved to an old Ford factory in Uptown, but that space had become too small as well.
 
The new 7,724-square-foot office is nearly twice the size of Kolar Design’s Uptown office, and is home to its 17 employees, with room to grow. The office is in the heart of the downtown design district, and Kolar is excited to be back. When Kolar looks out the window, she can see the city. She can see the arches of the Daniel Beard bridge and see all of the branded architecture that tells the story of Cincinnati.
 
“We came back to our roots and early beginnings, and we’re more connected to the fabric of the city,” Kolar says. “I see our partners on the street and wave to our clients when I see them. We picked this corner because of the collaboration and community partners around us. The Eighth Street Gateway Corridor felt right.” 
 
Currently, Kolar Design is working on several community design projects in Dublin, Ohio, which is just outside of Columbus, and the renovation of The Ohio State University’s North Campus. They’re also working on projects at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Mercy Health West. Outside of Cincinnati, Kolar Design has projects at Rutgers University, Bowling Green State University and Washington University in St. Louis. They’re also working with a TV station in Geneva to redo their set design and the look and feel of the station.
 
Kolar Design is also working on the relaunch of its own website. The new site will include a new platform for social media, including Facebook and Twitter interfaces. The site will also include more news and information about Kolar Design’s projects. The company will be revealing its new site with the coming of the new year.
 
“This move is a new chapter in Kolar Design’s journey,” says Bill Thiemann, client leader and event manger. “We want to help strengthen the design community and show our passion for the city.”
 
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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Hyde Park's 2770 Observatory under construction

Greiwe Development Group has partnered with North American Properties and Sibcy Cline Realtors for the redevelopment of the intersection of Observatory and Shaw avenues in Hyde Park. Demolition is expected to be completed by mid-December.
 
Five properties will be cleared to make way for the new project. Developers purchased the buildings in 2011; an affiliate, NAP Oak Park LLC, purchased four parcels on Linshaw Court and Shaw Avenue in March 2011, as well as two parcels at 2762 and 2770 Observatory Ave. Since acquiring them, Greiwe has been renting the apartments, which were built in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.
 
The condos at 2770 Observatory will follow the established business model that Greiwe and NAP used in Mariemont with Emery Park, Nolan Park, Jordan Park and Phase IV.
 
Messer Construction will build the shell for the condos, and NAP will complete the interiors.
 
More information will be available in January as the project develops.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Old Enquirer building will become home to two new hotels

The owners of the former Enquirer building downtown have chosen HGC Construction as the construction manager for the $27 million conversion of the office building into two hotels—a Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites.
 
The Hampton Inn will focus on serving the business and weekend traveler, and Homewood Suites will cater to the extended-stay traveler, with fully equipped kitchens in every room. The project will include 144 Hampton Inn units and 105 Homewood Suites units.
 
SREE Hotels LLC purchased the building last year. Construction will begin immediately on the project, and it is planned to open in early 2015.
 
HGC has worked with different developers in the past to try to create a viable plan for the building—developers have looked at turning the space into apartments, condos or offices during the past 10 years.
 
JDL Warm Construction LLC performed pre-construction services on the building for SREE. CR Architecture + Design will provide architectural services for the project.
 
SREE is located in Charlotte, and owns 28 hotels with premium brand affiliations with Marriot, Hilton and Starwood. This is the group’s first hotel in the region.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Three Northern Kentucky companies expanding, creating jobs

Three Northern Kentucky companies are expanding their existing operations. The growth will add about 60 jobs and will bring in more than $37 million in total investment.
 
Ticona Polymers Inc., a subsidiary of global technology and specialty materials company Celanese, produces specialty polymers for industrial applications, including automotive and manufacturing. Ticona, which is located at 8040 Dixie Hwy., plans to spend $4.2 million on building improvements and $21.5 million on equipment, including prototyping and full-scale production lines. Ten jobs will be added with the expansion.
 
Ticona received preliminary approval for $300,000 in tax incentives over 10 years from the Kentucky Business Incentive program and up to $100,000 in tax benefits through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing equipment.
 
Best Sanitizers Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of sanitary and soap products for a variety of industries, including hospitals, laboratories and manufacturing. The company plans to build a $4 million warehouse and distribution center next to its existing facility in Walton at 154 Mullen Dr. The expansion will create 19 jobs.
 
Best Sanitizers received preliminary approval for $175,999 in tax incentives over 10 years from the KBI program and up to $50,000 in tax benefits through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.
 
Niagara LaSalle Corp., a subsidiary of Optima Specialty Steel, is the largest independent cold finished steel bar producer in North America. The company has proposed to relocate cold finished steel bar operations to an existing facility in Florence. Its expansion will create 29 jobs and total investment of $6.65 million.
 
The project received preliminary approval for $600,000 in tax incentives over 10 years from the KBI program.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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