Rejuvenation and growth in the heart of historic Madisonville


Plans for development at the corner of Madison Road and Whetsel Avenue could mean big changes for Madisonville. A number of new businesses have already opened this year, adding retail and restaurant destinations, as well as jobs, to the neighborhood.

“We’re working to create a vibrant heart of the neighborhood that will radiate out to the other parts,” says Matt Strauss, real estate and marketing manager for the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation.

Madisonville has been successful in attracting new restaurants and shops this year, with much of it centered at the core of the business district. Establishments new to the neighborhood in 2016 include Boxing 4 Fitness, Cookoo’s Coffee Shoppe, Dubwerx Auto Repair, Jojo’s Chicken and Fish, Lala’s Blissful Bites and Mad Llama Coffee. It was also just announced that Mazunte Taqueria Mexicana will be expanding, and plans to open a commissary kitchen and retail space in Madisonville.

MCURC is hard at work on additional plans to strengthen and enhance the business district. The City of Cincinnati has offered $4 million to help build several new, multi-story, mixed-use developments at the intersection of Madison and Whetsel. MCURC is working with local developer Ackermann Group on the effort, which is expected to total about $36 million.

Once completed, the project will add 10,000 square feet of retail space, 15,000 square feet of office space, and 185 units of new housing, a portion of which will be workforce-rate.

“The project is evolving,” Strauss says. “We’re still waiting to hear on the final piece of the financing puzzle, which includes a pending tax credit application. If we get the go-ahead, we’ll start immediately thereafter."

Once construction begins, the project will take a year and a half to complete.

MCURC also recently completed a $644,000 renovation of the former Fifth Third Bank building at the corner of Madison and Whetsel. MCURC transformed the building into a 2,600-square-foot, street-level restaurant space with two, two-bedroom apartments on the second floor. The upstairs apartments are now occupied, but the search for a downstairs business tenant continues.

Strauss says that the effort to revitalize the neighborhood includes outreach to the larger community. “In no small part, it’s about people getting to know us. We want to show people Madisonville’s personality.”

One thing that helps people get to know the neighborhood the Cincinnati Jazz and BBQ Festival, which was started in 2014. The event features food, vendors and live music, and will be held this year from 4 to 9 pm on September 10. The Madisonville 5K takes place at 8:30 am that same morning, and raises funds for MCURC’s community-building initiatives in the neighborhood.
 

Read more articles by Kamal Kimball.

Kamal Kimball is a freelance writer and co-founder of Ampersand Creative Services.
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