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Creative types to gather for PechaKucha Night


Local creative types will gather at Rhinegeist Jan. 14 for PechaKucha Night, which started in Tokyo in 2003 as an event where young designers meet to network and show their work to the public; by last year, it had grown to more than 800 cities. The Cincinnati version launched in October 2009, and this week’s event is a reboot of sort, since there hasn’t been one held since then.
 
“Pecha kucha” means “chit chat” in Japanese and is based on a presentation format showcasing 20 images in 20 seconds. This makes each presentation concise and keeps things moving.
 
“The key to a great presentation is to present something you love,” says Ryan Newman, organizer for PechaKucha in Cincinnati. “Most people use PechaKucha Night to present their latest creative projects or work. Some people share their passion and might show their prized collection of records, while others share photos of their latest visit to a construction site or their recent holiday snaps.”
 
There will be eight presenters on Jan. 14, starting at 8:20 p.m.:

• Joi Sears, Free People International, “Social Change xChange”
• Brian Monahan, Prestige AV & Creative Services, TBD
• Steve Stidham, MSP, “Waste=Capital”
• Darrin Scott Hunter, Dish Design, “You’re Probably a Font Whore (or Typographic Slut Shaming)”
• John Stoughton, TBD
• Lightborne Studios, TBD
• Ryan Newman, Kolar Design, “The Secure Illusion/Psychology of Security Design”

PechaKucha is open to the public and requires a $3 donation from attendees in order to cover the cost of the venue and set-up.
 
“Cincinnati has an amazing and dynamic group of people doing exciting things in all aspects of creativity, beyond traditional design,” Newman says. “My hope is that PechaKucha helps connect, inspire and showcase the diverse communities in Cincinnati.”
 
There will be three other events in 2016, with the next scheduled for mid-April. If you’re interested in presenting at the next PechaKucha Night, send an email to cincypk@gmail.com.
 

Five Cincinnati arts orgs receive NEA grant money


The National Endowment for the Arts recently doled out $27.6 million to arts organizations across the country, including $517,000 to organizations in Ohio. Five Cincinnati organizations received a total of $150,000 to support creative placemaking, premieres, renovations and art installations.
 
ArtsWave received $35,000 for professional development workshops on the arts and community engagement. Workshops will be facilitated by Design Impact to provide participants with the chance to brainstorm creative placemaking ideas. The grant will also help ArtsWave create the Creative Placemaking Network, which will yield creative placemaking toolkits for other organizations to use. There are also plans to create a searchable website with a directory of locally-based artists and organizations.
 
In June, Cincinnati Opera will present Fellow Travelers, an opera composed by Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce based on the novel by Thomas Mallon exploring the persecution of homosexuals in the 1950s, particularly by the U.S. Government. Cincinnati Opera received $35,000 from the NEA to support the world premiere.
 
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra received $40,000 to support commissions and premieres of new works, including related educational activities. The CSO will be premiering “Symphonic Triptych” by Gunther Schuller this month and two concertos for orchestra composed by Thierry Escaich and Zhou Tian in May. Accompanying educational activities include pre-concert lectures, residency activities for schools and community groups and panel discussions.
 
The Clifton Cultural Arts Center received $10,000 to help aid designs for renovation of the old Clifton School, home to the CCAC.
 
The Contemporary Arts Center received a $30,000 grant to support the installation of “Solar Bell,” a large kite-like object created by Tomas Saraceno that will be hung from the CAC’s newly renovated lobby, and others like it.
 

Men's lifestyle shop Righno to open in OTR after launches in Indianapolis and Columbus


Columbus native Corey Bee will open his lifestyle boutique Righno in March at 1417 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine. The business started off as a men’s and women’s online retailer, but when Bee opened his first shop in Indianapolis in Fall 2014 he decided to focus on men’s only.
 
He opened the second Righno last Fall in Columbus.  
 
“When I started Righno, a storefront was always in the future,” Bee says. “I always wanted a physical location for the shop, and an online shop was a way for people to see what was coming — almost like a lookbook or showroom of sorts.”
 
Righno is a true men’s lifestyle shop that embodies the attitudes, opinions, interests and overall way of life of its customers. When a customer walks into the shop, he’ll find clothing, accessories, books, plants and hygiene products inspired by European, Australian and Southern Californian streetwear styles.
 
“I think OTR is the perfect spot to expand to because of the diversity and culture of the community,” Bee says. “It’s so raw and natural in every aspect. It’s said to be the largest and most intact urban historic district in the United States, and the best part is that the city is doing everything in its power to keep it that way while making it even more beautiful and keeping its charm.”
 
Righno will be the third men’s-only lifestyle shop in OTR, but with something different to offer.
 
“We believe Righno will give guys the complete shopping experience, but if we don’t have it we will direct customers to a neighboring shop,” Bee says.
 
If you can’t wait for Righno to open, make sure to check out its online store.
 

16 area projects receive total of $11 million in Ohio historic tax credits


In late December, 34 Ohio projects were awarded $285.3 million through the 2015 Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits program, resulting in 55 buildings in 13 cities undergoing renovations to create apartments, offices, retail storefronts and restaurant space.
 
Sixteen proposed Cincinnati projects received a total of about $11 million in state historic tax credits.
 
Brighton
Fromm Building, 286 W. McMicken Ave.
Total cost: $682,394
Tax credit: $108,500
Built in 1865, the Fromm Building was renovated in the early 1930s to house doctor’s offices. Renovation plans include several residential units, with the first-floor unit designed as a live-work space.
 
Downtown
Union Central Life Annex, 309 Vine St.
Total cost: $75,541,592
Tax credit: $5 million
Built in 1928, the now-vacant building originally housed offices. Village Green will renovate it into 294 market-rate apartments, a first-floor grocery store and a rooftop restaurant. There will also be space for a business incubator and offices.
 
Over-the-Rhine
100 W. Elder St.
Total cost: $1,587,987
Tax credit: $220,000
Located across the street from Findlay Market, it once housed apartments and first-floor commercial space. Vacant since the early 2000s, it will be rehabbed into first-floor retail/restaurant space with offices on the upper floors.
 
205 W. McMicken Ave.
Total cost: $375,000
Tax credit: $37,000
Built in the 1870s, it has housed barbers, conductors, shoemakers, bartenders, plasterers and other laborers. It’s been vacant for over 20 years, and OTR Adopt’s rehab plans include first-floor commercial space and one three-bedroom apartment above.
 
1737 Elm St.
Total cost: $1,200,047
Tax credit: $233,799
The two buildings were built in the mid- and late-1800s and will be renovated into small market-rate apartments and first-floor retail.
 
1737 Vine St.
Total cost: $1,316,634
Tax credit: $185,000
The three-story building has been vacant for more than a decade. Plans include seven market-rate units and restaurant space.
 
1814 Race St.
Total cost: $1,983,366
Tax credit: $217,000
Model Group plans to convert the building, which is also across the street from Findlay Market, into five apartments and first-floor commercial space on the front side.
 
Kauffman Building, 1725 Vine St.
Total cost: $2,775,353
Tax credit: $249,999
Built in 1863 to house brewery workers, the Kauffman Building has been vacant since the 1990s. It will be renovated into first-floor commercial space with six apartments above. A new addition will yield six more apartments and parking.
 
Ophthalmic Hospital, 208-214 W. 12th St.
Total cost: $7,366,150
Tax credit: $732,950
The now vacant medical facility will be rehabbed by 3CDC into a boutique hotel with 20 guest rooms, a bar and a restaurant on the first floor.
 
Rutemueller Building, 527 E. 13th St.
Total cost: $1,137,569
Tax credit: $113,500
The former grocery store and tenement apartments will be upgraded into modern living spaces with seven market-rate apartments and first-floor live/work spaces.
 
Schmitthenner Building, 1527 Elm St.
Total cost: $671,870
Tax credit: $82,750
The four-story building will become seven market-rate apartments with one retail storefront.
 
Northside
3936 Spring Grove Ave.
Total cost: $504,843
Tax credit: $71,608
It’s been vacant since the 1980s, and renovations will yield two market-rate apartments upstairs and a bar on the first floor.
 
Pendleton
515 E. 12th St.
Total cost: $1,579,851
Tax credit: $195,000
Part of a larger project, Model Group plans to renovate the building into six market-rate apartments.
 
Broadway Square II, 1126-1211 Broadway, 405-414 E. 12th St., 331 E. 13th St.
Total cost: $13,133,245
Tax credit: $1.3 million
Model Group will renovate the 10 historic buildings into retail space and 37 residential units.
 
Walnut Hills
Central Trust Company East Hills Branch, 1535 Madison Road
Total cost: $1,259,939
Tax credit: $196,007
Built in 1926, it was used as a bank until the 1960s. South Block Properties plans to rehab the building into restaurant space.
 
Paramount Square, 900-921 E. McMillan St., 2436-2454 Gilbert Ave., 2363 St. James St.
Total cost: $20,093,697
Tax credit: $1,999,000
The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and Model Group will renovate six historic and two non-historic buildings into 15 commercial spaces and 44 market-rate apartments.
 

These 11 Cincinnati/NKY businesses are celebrating their first year of operation


Doesn't it seem like more restaurants and retail businesses have opened in Greater Cincinnati in 2015 than in previous years? Entrepreneurship is booming, due in part to organizations like Bad Girl Ventures, The Brandery, Cintrifuse, Mortar and UpTech, which have helped a number of local business owners get their ideas off the ground.
 
Here's a roundup of 11 high-profile businesses that just happen to be celebrating their one-year anniversary or will before the start of the new year.
 
Brick OTR, 1327 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine: Business accelerator Mortar started Brick as a way for business owners to host pop-up shops and expand on their ideas; the holiday pop-up opens on Dec. 12. Mortar recently opened a second pop-up shop in Walnut Hills.
 
DogBerry Brewing, 7865 Cincinnati Dayton Road, West Chester: Since opening in January, DogBerry has had to expand its hours and days of operation due to demand. They’re celebrating their one-year anniversary on Jan. 8; you can purchase tickets for $25 at the taproom.  
 
Folk School Coffee Parlor, 332 Elm St., Ludlow: Folk School serves up Deeper Roots coffee and handmade foods and goods from local retailers and artisans. It also hosts workshops and classes for musicians of all ages and skill levels, plus casual concerts.
 
G. Salzano’s, 201 E. Fourth St., downtown: The son of the founder of Salzano’s barbershop opened a men’s grooming products retail store, where you’ll find everything from razors to cologne.
 
Goodfellas Pizzeria, 1211 Main St., OTR: With two restaurants in Lexington and one in Covington, the OTR location took over the former Mayberry space and serves up pizza in a 1920s speakeasy.
 
The Growler House, 1526 Madison Road, Walnut Hills: This beer haven has been a huge draw in the burgeoning Walnut Hills area and boasts 40 taps, 20 of them with local beers.
 
The Gruff, 129 E. Second St., Covington: Ever heard of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff?” Cross the bridge into Northern Kentucky for brick oven pizzas, but watch out for the troll!
 
Horse & Barrel, 625 Walnut St., downtown: Owned by the same group as Nicholson’s, Horse & Barrel is all about the bourbon and small plates.
 
Tap & Screw Brewery, 5060 Crookshank Road, Western Hills: Tap & Screw rebranded last December, started brewing beer and revamped its menu. They recently hosted TapFest, adding to Cincinnati’s growing beer scene and events.
 
The Weekly Juicery, 2727 Erie Ave., Hyde Park: The Weekly Juicery features cold-pressed juices and a raw food menu. Even if you’ve never tried pressed juices, they want to make you a fan.
 
Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., OTR: MOTR Pub’s owners added to the local music scene last November by converting this 101-year-old building into a music/events center. The Woodward hosted its first wedding this summer and continues to book nationally touring bands.
 

Holiday events for beer drinkers, outdoors types and kids at heart


The holidays are upon us, and in typical Cincinnati fashion there are scores of events happening around town. Check out this roundup of our favorites....
 

For the beer lover:
Polar Bear Express Route on the Pedal Wagon, now through Feb. 29
Two-hour pub crawl with seasonal drink specials along the way. 15-seat private tours are $250 Sunday-Thursday and $295 Friday-Saturday; public tours are $20/seat Sunday-Thursday and $25/seat Friday-Saturday.

Cincinnati SantaCon, 12 noon-12 midnight Dec. 12
Register online for your chance to dress up like Santa and stop at some of Cincinnati’s favorite bars.
 

For the outdoors type:
Weekend carriage rides at Macy’s Celebration Station across from Fountain Square, 12-5 p.m. Dec. 12-13

Krohn by Candlelight, 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 & 23

Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show, now through Jan. 3

Light Up OTR at Washington Park, 6 p.m. Dec. 12

Holly Jolly Downtown Trolley, 12-5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 19
Trolley service will run every five minutes, with stops along Fourth and Fifth streets. Free.

Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt at Fountain Square, 4-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 20
Market vendors offer a variety of traditional holiday sweets and European baked goods, Glühwein (hot spiced wine) and other hot beverages, Christian Moerlein beer and handcrafted gifts and seasonal decorations. USA Today named it one of the top 10 German-themed holiday markets in the U.S.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, now through Jan. 2
Tickets are $16 adults online, $11 kids and seniors online; $18 adults at zoo, $12 kids and seniors at zoo

Fountain Square Ice Rink, now through Feb. 15
$6 admission, $4 skate rental.


For the arts enthusiast:
The City Flea at Washington Park, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 12

Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art, now through Jan. 3
Tickets are $10 adults, $5 kids; kids 5 and under are free.

Holiday Toy Trains at the Behringer-Crawford Museum, now through Jan. 17
Tickets are $9 adults, $5 kids.
 

For the historian:
Luminaria at Mt. Lookout Square and Cincinnati Observatory, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 13

Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center, now through Jan. 3
Tickets are free for members; prices vary depending on which museum package purchased.
 

For the kid at heart:
Macy’s Downtown Dazzle on Fountain Square, 6 p.m. Dec. 12
Watch Santa rappel down the 525 Vine building to Macy’s rooftop, and catch fireworks afterward as well as much from local choirs. John Morris Russell will conduct the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and May Festival singers. 

Holiday Mystery Theater at Cincinnati Museum Center, 5 p.m. Dec. 13
The Whodunit Players will perform Santa’s Slay…Oops, Sleigh. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for non-members.

BRICKmas Holiday Display at Newport on the Levee, now through Jan. 1
Tickets are $10.


For the dog lover:
Reindog Parade in Mt. Adams, 2 p.m. Dec. 12
26th annual parade of dog owners and their best friends, with Marty Brennaman as Grand Marshal. Prizes awarded for best costumes for dogs under 25 lbs. and over 25 lbs., best group and best master/dog lookalike.
 

Innovative chef Ryan Santos finds spot for a brick-and-mortar restaurant


For the past four years, chef Ryan Santos has hosted pop-up dinners under the name Please. In a Soapbox interview in February, he said he’d finally decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant and was looking at locations in Columbia-Tusculum, East Walnut Hills and Over-the-Rhine.

Santos has now settled on a spot at the corner of 14th and Clay streets in Over-the-Rhine, where he plans to open his restaurant, also called Please.
 
The space is small, with seating for 25 plus 10 at the bar, which will be separate from the main dining area. The building is currently being renovated by Urban Sites and will have four apartments on upper floors.
 
Santos’ pop-up dinners usually consist of five-course dinners with artistic and experimental food and featuring local ingredients. He will carry this into the restaurant’s menu, which will feature three- or five-course meals that change with the seasons based on the availability of local ingredients.
 
The bar menu will feature cocktails made with fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables as well as a small a la carte menu.
 
Please is slated to open in the late spring. Pop-up dinners will cease once the restaurant opens, but Santos plans to continue private dinners for customers that he cooks in their home.
 

Another new townhouse development planned for OTR


In June Maestro Development/Daniels Homes acquired a number of properties near the corner of West 15th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine, where the developer has announced plans to construct nine 3,600-square-foot townhomes.
 
Five units will be built on the north side of 15th Street, and the other four will be built on the south side. Each unit will be three stories, except one that will have four floors. The units will all be LEED Silver certified, with two-car garages located off the rear alleys.
 
The project will be completed in three phases, with the five north-side units to be constructed first and the four on the south side as phase II. Four of the first five units have already been purchased, with prices ranging from about $650,000 to $1 million.
 
Phase I is expected to be completed in late 2016, with phase II completed in mid-2017. Phase III includes redeveloping the former Washington Park Firehouse at 222 W. 15th St. into a private residence for Jim Daniels, manager of Daniels Homes.
 
The 15,000-square-foot building has a garage on the first floor, and the top floor will become a penthouse-style loft. Plans for the second floor are still up in the air but could include office space or more residential living space.

The new townhomes will be adjacent to a Towne Properties development that will feature seven townhomes at 15th and Elm.
 
Montgomery-based Maestro Development/Daniels Homes has constructed homes for about 20 Homearama shows and is finishing up redevelopment of a historic home at 1405 Elm St.
 

Noble Denim founders open Victor Athletics storefront, partner for Brush Factory launch


Noble Denim clothing has been sold online and exclusively at Article in Over-the-Rhine since 2012, but on Nov. 21 its founders will open a nearby storefront for their denim as well as for their new brand, Victor Athletics. This next step was made possible due to a Kickstarter campaign that launched in the spring and raised over $120,000.
 
Like Noble, Victor will offer American-made, organic clothing — specifically athletic-based items like sweatshirts, jogger pants and T-shirts. The Noble team focuses on organic clothing because, just like food, cotton is grown using a number of pesticides that can damage clothing in the long run.
 
Although the average consumer’s buying habits haven’t changed as much when it comes to purchasing organic clothing, Noble and Victor hope to shine a light on the benefits of organic clothing. They’re interested in sourcing cotton that lessens the impact on workers and is grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
 
Noble and Victor are also committed to American-made products.
 
“Victor really came to be because our factory in Tennessee wanted more work and wanted to grow their workforce and Noble Denim customers were looking for items at a lower price point than our jeans,” says co-founder Abby Sutton, who started Noble with her husband, Chris.
 
The 987-square-foot Victor Athletics Club is on the ground floor of Beasley Place, a mixed-income apartment project at Republic and 14th Streets developed by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. The majority of Victor’s clothing is under $100, including a crewneck sweatshirt for $30 and a hoodie for $70. The storefront will also have a sewing area where workers will make totes in-store from American-made canvas.
 
Although Noble and Victor will both be available at the new store, the team’s primary goal is to grow Victor online.
 
“Our generation goes online first,” Sutton says. “But that in-person experience is so important, especially for a brand that wants to grow online.”

Noble/Victor is partnering with another successful startup, Brush Factory, to sell that company’s first collection of solid hardwood furniture, BFF. A soft launch of the furniture line is scheduled for 4-10 p.m. on Black Friday (Nov. 27) at Victor Athletics Club.

Brush Factory won the 2015 ArtWorks Big Pitch competition in August, while Noble Denim won the same competition in 2014.
 
Once open, Victor Athletics Club hours will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
 

New contemporary art gallery opens in Over-the-Rhine


Art enthusiast Rachael Moore has opened Cincinnati Art Underground, a contemporary art gallery, at 1415 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine. The gallery’s first show, Delicate Fractures, debuted Nov. 13, featuring work by glass artist Jacci Delaney, ceramics artist Didem Mert and painter Katie St. Clair.
 
“Cincinnati is so full of artists, and I wanted to be another space for artists to show their work and help start conversations with other artists,” Moore says.
 
Before opening a physical space, Moore held two pop-up galleries that allowed her to work closely with artists and bring a collaborative environment to the events. She wanted to open a storefront because it would make it easier for people to find the gallery.
 
Moore describes the 800-square-foot Cincinnati Art Underground space as a boutique gallery rather than a typical white box gallery. Its colorfully painted walls help accent the artwork and draw in the viewer’s attention. Shows will change every six to eight weeks, and every piece on display is for sale.
 
“There’s this dichotomy between serious and beautiful art, and I’m trying to go down the middle with approachable art,” Moore says. “I want to inspire people to learn more. Not everyone will like every piece of art they see, but I want to help people find what they like.”
 
To help with that, Cincinnati Art Underground will host studio talks to give artists a chance to mingle with art lovers and potential clients and share their process and inspiration. Moore also plans to offer concierge art services and work with interior designers to help customers find the perfect piece of art for their space.
 
“I really want to connect more people with art,” she says. “The community is so involved in the arts, whether it be through theater, music or physical art. I want to help bring more people to visual art and educate them about visual art.”
 
Cincinnati Art Underground’s hours are 12-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday or by appointment. Delicate Fractures runs through Jan. 2.
 

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company sets the stage for new OTR theater


The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has started a $17 million capital campaign to construct a new theater/rehearsal/office complex at the site of the former Drop Inn Center at 12th and Elm Streets in Over-the-Rhine, increasing programming from 272 days and nights per year to 360 days and nights per year. CSC has been renting theater and office space at 719 Race St.
 
The theater — which is being named for Otto M. Budig, a longtime CSC patron — will add one more piece to OTR’s arts corridor around Washington Park, joining Music Hall, Memorial Hall and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

A large portion of the necessary capital funds were raised during the private portion of the campaign, with only about $4 million still needed to move the project forward.

Plans for the 27,855-square-foot-theater have been about two years in the making and include adding about 100 seats, increasing current capacity from 150 to 244. The thrust stage will jut out into the audience, and the aisles between seats will allow actors to move among the audience during shows. A balcony is planned, but no seat will be further than 20 feet from the stage.
 
On the outside, the building will resemble the National Theater in London with glass walls facing the street, allowing passersby a look inside. The actors’ rehearsal space will also serve as a second theater for smaller performances or special events.
 
The inside will be modeled after the Globe Theater, which was designed by Shakespeare himself. Indoor lighting will mimic starlight, and there will be 38 steps connecting the two floors to represent each of the Bard’s plays.
 
The theater ceiling will be tall enough to allow for multi-level seats and scenery. Currently, sets are constructed outside of the Race Street theater, disassembled and reassembled once they’re inside. There will be an on-site scene shop in the historic Teamsters building that adjoins the Drop Inn site, and the theater will include an actual backstage area, trap space under the stage and wing space with lighting as well as a classroom for educational programming.

For patrons, the Otto M. Budig Theatre will feature a more spacious lobby than CSC’s current location, additional restrooms, a separate box office and a bar. All patron amenities will be in full ADA compliance.
 
Three buildings stand at the site of the Drop Inn Center, which will be demolished at the beginning of the year to make way for Cincinnati Shakespeare’s new home. Construction is projected to begin in April, and the troupe should be able to take possession in July 2017, just in time for the start of its 24th season.
 

Cincinnati's first streetcar begins testing phase this weekend


Now that Cincinnati’s first streetcar has arrived in town, what’s next?
 
The initial vehicle, which arrived Oct. 30, will be put through its first “dead pull” on Sunday, Nov. 8, meaning it will be towed through the motions, ensuring that the mechanics, wheels and rails are working correctly. Assuming all goes well with that testing, the next step is operating under its own power.
 
Both series of tests will be done on the Over-the-Rhine loop around Washington Park north to Findlay Market.
 
“The arrival of the streetcar represents a big milestone for the project,” says Rocky Merz, director of communications for the city. “It also represents the turning of the page and a new phase of the project. There is much that needs to happen before passenger service.”
 
As the streetcar starts moving along the tracks, pedestrians and drivers have to get used to having the streetcar around. The transportation infrastructure of Cincinnati is changing, which means that other things need to change too. Signage will soon be added along the 3.6-mile loop throughout OTR and downtown to help Cincinnatians navigate with the streetcars.
 
In total, there will be five streetcars. The next two are expected to arrive before the end of the year, with the final two vehicles arriving in the spring. Each streetcar vehicle will go through the same testing processes, logging 300 hours of safe travel before passengers are allowed to ride.
 
The Cincinnati Streetcar project is currently on time and on budget, though delays could arise once the cars are put on the rails. Passenger service is expected to begin in September.
 

New Cincinnati development company planning townhouses in OTR


Karvoto, a new Cincinnati development company, is planning to renovate four existing buildings and construct five new townhouses in the heart of Over-the-Rhine. The nine units will become part of Hillman Point OTR, a multi-phase residential development.
 
Existing buildings at 221 and 229 Kemp Alley and 206 and 212 Wade Street will be renovated, and new townhouses will be constructed at 223, 225 and 227 Kemp and at 208 and 210 Wade. An existing building at 214 Wade will be renovated as part of the development’s proposed second phase.
 
Karvoto purchased most of the properties from an affiliate of Urban Sites in February, while 208 Wade, which is the last piece of the puzzle, is owned by an affiliate of 3CDC and is currently under contract.
 
The townhouses will range in size from 2,050 to just over 2,700 square feet and cost between $500,000 and $600,000. Each unit will have three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, with open main floors, gourmet kitchens, balconies, rooftop decks and hardwood and tile throughout.
 
Karvoto plans to break ground on the $4 million development after the first of the year.
 
Karvoto was founded in early 2015 by Luke Bennett and his brother, Rob, who also own Custom Carving Source, a Cincinnati-based contracting company.
 

DesignBuildCincy event expands, makes improvements for second year


In its second year, DesignBuildCincy has made some changes to add to the event’s overall experience. The biggest change is that the design showcase will now be held over three days instead of just two, which gives more people a chance to come see what it’s all about, says organizer Doug Hart.
 
“We still want the show to be manageable for vendors, but we also want to give people a chance to step outside of the event and really enjoy Over-the-Rhine, which has some beautiful architecture and design elements itself,” he says.
 
DesignBuild will be held at Music Hall over Halloween weekend. Music Hall’s ballroom is a more intimate venue when compared to large convention centers where trade shows are traditionally held.
 
“The most important aspect is the content of the show and how diverse it is,” Hart says. “It’s very rare to see a show in this small of a space with so many vendors.”
 
There will be about 130 vendors this year, with 25 percent of them new to the event as well as more than a dozen companies that call OTR and downtown home, showcasing everything from masonry and metalwork to cabinetry and restoration. But DesignBuild isn’t just about Cincinnati — there are also companies from Dayton and central Ohio.
 
DesignBuild helps to showcase the rebirth happening in OTR, and Music Hall is right in the middle of it. More and more companies are coming to the neighborhood because they want to be part of that rebirth, so those working on restoration projects no longer have to look to cities like Chicago and New York for talent because it’s already here.
 
There also won’t be featured speakers this year, but instead two exhibits from the show’s sponsors, Rookwood Pottery and Keidel Supply. Hart says he hopes to add to the experience of DesignBuild in the future with pop-up presentations and talks at other locations throughout the neighborhood.
 
“For those who are interested in architecture and design, all you have to do is take a walk around the neighborhood,” he says. “It will provide as much content and enjoyment as any presentation.”
 
DesignBuild will be held 5-8 p.m. Oct. 30 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Tickets are $8 for everyone 13 & up and are available online.
 

Newly renovated OTR church is The Transept event space and bar


The former church at the corner of 12th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine is now home to the neighborhood’s newest event space and bar, The Transept. The facility is already hosting events, and the bar debut and grand opening celebration are still a couple weeks away.

The $4.7 million renovation of the 150-year-old building had been in the works for many years. Michael Forgus, manager of Funky’s Catering, and business partner Josh Heuser, who heads the AGAR promotions agency, have been working on their idea for The Transept since the early 2000s. They took their concept to 3CDC in 2011, and the nonprofit developer bought the building in 2012 with an agreement that within a year Forgus and Heuser would buy it back.

The historic 1868 structure is one of a number of abandoned local churches that have found new life in recent years.
 
The former German Protestant church has sat vacant since 1993 and was in dire need of repairs. During the renovation process, all of the church’s original wood floors were refinished and the building’s 89 stained glass windows were preserved and repaired.
 
On the inside, the building is much the same as when it held church services. There are several different rooms that all flow into the transept, dividing the building in half. Now that area will house restrooms and will allow a number of events to be held in the building at once.
 
The South Tap Room at Transept, the event center’s bar, has a street-level entrance accessible from 12th and Elm. The 1,200-square-foot space will offer a small food menu when it opens Oct. 8 as well as a craft beer and cocktail program run by a local bar operator. It will be open to the public seven days a week.
 
The main part of The Transept is upstairs and has its own entrance off of Elm. The Assembly is the main floor of the church, and the Gallery is the former church’s balcony. Both spaces are perfect for weddings or concerts, with enough space to accommodate up to 600 people standing.
 
All of the events held at The Transept, including the bar’s food menu, will be catered by Funky’s.
 
The Transept hosts a grand opening event Oct. 8 to show off its event spaces, open the bar and raise funds for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. The event is $15 for OTR Chamber members and $20 for non-members and includes appetizers and two drinks. Tickets can be purchased here.
 
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