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The ripple effects of Stratford Heights transition

Stratford Heights was a major change for the area surrounding the University of Cincinnati.  Its completion in 2005 brought with it a consolidation of a previous scattered Greek community and new investment into the Uptown community.

The close proximity to campus, while also not being under university control, made the development a prime spot for Greek organizations and other campus groups.  But as the University of Cincinnati ran out of available on-campus housing options, the Stratford Heights development project became an appetizing option for expanding university-controlled student housing options.

Within the past two years Phi Kappa Alpha built a brand new house adjacent to the Stratford Heights development at 2711 Stratford Avenue.  There have also been a number of additions on other streets throughout The Heights neighborhood that consists of about 90 percent University of Cincinnati-affiliated individuals.

With the University now controlling Stratford Heights, demand is through the roof with its enrollment growth.  At the same time, some of those Greek organizations are looking for other options as the development will now be subject to University regulations.

One such fraternity is Lambda Chi Alpha which will move to 2809 Swiss Chalet along Clifton Avenue on September 1.  The fraternity will lease the building with plans of buying it within three years says Lambda Chi Alumni Adviser, Greg Braun.

“You’re usually not going to spend less than $400,000 to $450,000 to buy one of those buildings,” says Braun who goes on to say that the buildings will then require another $50,000 to $100,000 minimum to bring the buildings up to par.

These amounts can vary based upon the financial situation of the related Greek organization.  Braun says that some will drop big-time amounts of money into the buildings to get them to the status they desire.  This means big money and big investment in the Uptown community as well.

“Many students are coming from two-income households where they are not used to sharing a bathroom and have a certain expectation for their living accommodations,” says Braun who is also overseeing Lamba Chi’s move from Stratford Heights to their new house on Swiss Chalet.

After Lambda Chi moves from Stratford Heights there will be a couple of Greek organizations left in the development.  Some are looking to move and others are not says Braun.  There are other University student organizations at Stratford Heights that will stay as long as they can maintain a 90 percent occupancy rate as stipulated by the University.

In all, there are 14 or 15 Greek organizations located within The Heights neighborhood that makes up the western side of UC’s main campus.

Writer: Randy Simes
Source: Greg Braun, alumi adviser, Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity
Photography by Randy Simes
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