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CitiRama sells first home, installs innovative geothermal system

Many believe the Great Recession was, at the very least, created by an unsustainable housing market.  A housing market that included a bountiful supply of builders constructing $250,000-plus homes with an equal supply of lenders willing to loan out the money to make it all a reality.

As the housing market recovers it has not been the once booming suburban markets that have come back to life though.  In Cincinnati, housing sales have been strongest in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood that sits just north of the Central Business District.  The trend has continued as the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati has shifted its attention away from the once grandiose Homearama event to its CitiRama counterpart that highlights unique urban living options in Cincinnati.

The 9th annual CitiRama event is being held at Potterhill Homes' Rockford Woods development in Northside.  The 36-home development is not only indicative of the resurgent urban housing market, but also the green building boom happening in Cincinnati and other cities around the country.

The single-family homes will start at just under $200,000 and include a variety of green building features.  The first home has already been sold.  The development will be showcased in the 2010 CitiRama until June 3 through June 13, and feature an innovative geothermal heating and cooling system installed by NRG Solutions that utilizes the Earth's natural thermal energy to heat and cool the home.

"The system will allow the future owners of the home to experience dramatic energy savings on their heating and cooling bills, even on the coldest of winter days," explained Carolyn Rolfes, President of Potterhill Homes.

The success seen in the wave of new urban dwellers can be credited in part to changing demographics, changing economics and an aggressive push by the City to increase home ownership and leverage neighborhood investment.

The City of Cincinnati currently offers a variety of residential tax abatements including those for new housing units and units built to LEED standards.  At the same time the City has been a strong financial backer of green building projects and neighborhood-level investment over recent years.  Cincinnati contributed $2 million to the Rockford Woods development to help improve the existing infrastructure serving the development and create new infrastructure within phase two of the development.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy
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