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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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New routes and TANK hub in Florence

The new Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky Florence Transit Hub recently opened in Florence on Heights Boulevard. The hub includes 170 parking spaces, and will accommodate multiple routes and provide an easier transfer between routes for riders.
 
TANK also added a new express route to downtown Cincinnati. The new route, 42X, began on November 4, and will provide direct service between the Florence hub and downtown Cincinnati during peak travel hours. The route also includes midday service to other Northern Kentucky Park & Ride locations.
 
The existing flow of TANK routes requires many customers who travel between Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties to go south on one bus, then north on another to reach their destination. The new east-west service will help alleviate some of that hassle and reduce travel time for many TANK customers.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Florence will be home to new UC Health facility

Florence will be home to a new UC Health facility, to be completed in July 2014. The 42,000-square-foot facility at 58 Cavalier Blvd. will employ 30 physicians and 60 staff members.
 
The two-story facility will have easy access to parking and have an open interior design for patient convenience.
 
UC Health’s other Northern Kentucky facilities in Southgate and Florence will remain open during the new facility’s construction, and will then move to the new location upon completion. The new location will include services in orthopedics and dermatology, which are currently offered at the other two Northern Kentucky offices. There will also be specialty practices in cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, and obstetrics and gynecology.
 
The Florence branch of UC Health is one of eight primary care centers that is opening or relocating in 2014-2015 in response to the growing communities in the Cincinnati region.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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PAR Projects creating garden along Mill Creek Trail

A new sculpture park and edible garden is being constructed along Mill Creek Trail in Northside, at the intersection of William P. Dooley Bypass and Ludlow Avenue. The garden is a partnership between PAR Projects and Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek, and it recently received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
 
The acre of land is being developed in an effort to help beautify the Mill Creek Trail. It is an ongoing project, which began last October, and the next stage is to be completed in the spring, says Jonathan Sears, Executive Director of PAR Projects.
 
The garden, which used to be a parking lot, will include a number of sculptures, four of which are already installed. One is an abstract interpretation of a fishing bobber in the water by Ben Lock from Bowling Green. The second is a 16-foot ear of corn buried in a field, which represents PAR’s cornfield project, by Sean Mullany from Cincinnati. The third sculpture is an abstract tree with a bird on one of the branches by local artist Kate Demske. The fourth, by Meg Mitchell of Madison, Wisc., is a geodesic dome that is about 75 percent complete—the vegetation still needs to be planted inside.
 
PAR is currently looking at an artist from Kansas City to complete the fifth piece, which they envision to be whimsical. The sculptures will rotate on a two-year basis.
 
“The idea is to not try to cram sculptures into the garden, but create a feel-good space,” Sears says. “The sculptures will rotate much like the plants and the colors do from season to season.”
 
The garden will also have edible fruits and vegetables, which will rotate in and out as the weather and seasons permit. Sears says he spoke to a couple who said they’ve used some of the garden’s corn in their meals recently.
 
“We see the garden as a way to liven up Northside on a micro level rather than on the macro level,” Sears says. “We hope to also get the conversation going about public sculpture, as well as provide a pleasant area for trail walkers.”
 
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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