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CPA lauds projects preserving the urban fabric, identity of Cincinnati

A Hannaford design c. 1872, Old St. George Church at U.C. was restored by Crossroads.

The beer garden style courtyard contains the original St. George's steeple bell at Crossroads Uptown.

Model Group received a Rehabilitation Award for its work on Trevarren Flats in Walnut Hills.

The 'Harry Potter Room' at Crossroads Uptown.

The former Coppin's Department Store is now Hotel Covington and Coppin's restaurant and bar.

Ryan Messer and James Musuraca received a Rehabilitation Award for the restoration of Marion Hall into a home for their family.

Cincinnati's oldest residence at 440-442 Liberty Hill received a Rehabilitation Award.

Dr. Jenkins House in Newport received a CPA Rehabilitation Award.

The restoration of the ceiling mural in the Belvedere Lobby was recognized by the CPA.

The Louis Hauck Summer Home is now an event space in Sharonville.

Norwood Fire Co. #2 was recognized for the restoration of the Norwood Firefighter Assocation.

Taylor Shop OTR now houses three apartments.

The former Warner Bros. Film Building on Central Parkway is now office space.

Ken Hughes of Decorative Restorations received the Craftsmanship Award for his work on the John Hauck House in the Dayton Street Historic District.

The restoration of this raised-basement duplex received a Sustainability Award.


The Greater Cincinnati region is celebrated for its exceptional historical architecture and neighborhoods. Each year, the Cincinnati Preservation Association Preservation Awards recognizes projects that restore community icons, repurpose neglected buildings and preserve the urban fabric that makes the region unique and vibrant.
 
“These awards contribute to neighborhood revitalization, as well as reflect and celebrate what is already happening,” said Margo Warminski, CPA's preservation director. “Many renovation projects, especially those involving challenged buildings in disadvantaged or struggling neighborhoods, involve considerable risk and difficulty. Some take years to complete because of financing difficulties. We like to think the awards offer encouragement as well as celebrate achievement. Saving buildings also helps to preserve a sense of place by preserving a community's distinct identity: a special place, not Anyplace. No two neighborhoods are alike, and that's the way it should be.”
 
"Saving buildings also helps to preserve a sense of place by preserving a community's distinct identity: a special place, not Anyplace." — Margo Warminski, CPA preservation director

 
Fourteen awards were given to projects and individuals for outstanding contribution in preservation, restoration, craftsmanship, and sustainability. Winning projects came from several Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky neighborhoods.
 
Crossroads Uptown

Crossroads Uptown received a rehabilitation award for its work on the Old Saint George church in Clifton Heights, adjacent to the U.C. campus. Samuel Hannaford designed the church and monastery in 1872; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The property suffered a major fire in 2008 that destroyed the church's iconic steeples.

Crossroads Uptown’s $13 million construction and rehabilitation project included preserving the building's stained glass windows and replacing its steeples.

“The Old St. George building was near and dear to the hearts of many Cincinnatians, and especially Uptown residents,” said Lena Schuler, campus pastor of Crossroads Uptown. “It represents physical, spiritual and social history for many in the city." Before restoration, there were stubs where the steeples used to be she noted, and the deteriorating building was an eyesore.

"Bringing this building back to life not only made part of this community beautiful again, but also brought jobs, foot traffic and additional business to local restaurants, and a deep sense of ownership, pride and joy to the Uptown community,” concluded Schuler.
 
Trevarren Flats, Walnut Hills

Trevarren Flats on East McMillian Avenue in Walnut Hills also received a rehabilitation award. The $9.2 million project leveraged state and federal tax credits to convert a long-vacant building into 30 apartments and 7,000 square feet of commercial space. The building also earned a LEED Silver rating for its environmentally friendly features.
 
“This is the first of multiple phases in historic Peebles Corner developed in partnership with the community with the intent of revitalizing the community business district along McMillan,” said Matt Reckman, assistant director of property management for Model Group, which worked on Trevarren Flats. “The project has brought residents, patronage and economic activity back to this vital neighborhood business district.”
 
Community involvement has been central to the development and restoration projects taking place in Walnut Hills.
 
“People who have lived in the neighborhood have witnessed these buildings play a part in the health and the vitality of the neighborhood,” said Thea Munchel, director of development for the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. “They remember going to the old Tally Ho and eating or shopping in the secondhand store. And they remember when the lights went out and the shops boarded up. And as soon as we began construction, and the lights turned on inside the buildings, residents began to see the future of their neighborhood and they found hope and pride in that future.
"The Trevarren was still a part of the streetscape, part of the story of urban decay and disinvestment. The rehabilitation of these three historic buildings begins to tell a new story." — Thea Munchel, director of development, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.

 
“The Trevarren is in the heart of the business district and is already a place where many people visit often, but in passing because no one lived there and no businesses could operate from there. But it was still a part of the streetscape, part of the story of urban decay and disinvestment. The rehabilitation of these three historic buildings begins to tell a new story. And that story includes the beauty of the architecture and the resilience of the community determined to write a new future for its residents.”
 
Hotel Covington

Across the river, the Hotel Covington received a restoration award for the conversion of the first modern skyscraper in Kentucky into a boutique hotel. A $22 million project that included $3.3 million in historic tax credits turned the former Coppin’s Department Store into a 114-room hotel. The building’s 106-year-old history is recognized in several ways by the new owners, including naming the restaurant and bar Coppin’s and having shopping-bag shaped waste baskets in each guest room. The project is seen as a key part of re-energizing Covington's historic downtown.

“We hope and believe that Hotel Covington will be the final punch in the arm to catapult Covington into rapid revitali
2016 Cincinnati Preservation Awards

• $13 million renovation of Old Saint George church in Clifton Heights, adjacent to the U.C. campus. Samuel Hannaford designed the church and monastery in 1872; it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The property suffered a major fire in 2008 that destroyed the church's iconic steeples; the project included preserving the building's stained glass windows and replacing its steeples.

•$9.2 million Trevarren Flats Walnut Hills project converted a long-vacant building into 30 apartments and 7,000 square feet of commercial space. The building also earned a LEED Silver rating.

Hotel Covington, the conversion of the first modern skyscraper in Kentucky into a boutique hotel, the $22 million project turned the former, 106-year-old Coppin’s Department Store into a 114-room hotel.


Other projects receiving awards:
  • Marion Hall, a North Avondale Beaux Arts palazzo restored by Ryan Messer and James Musuraca as a family home.
  • Ron, Cynthia and Diana Tissue were recognized for their work on 440-442 Liberty Hill, one of Cincinnati’s oldest residences.
  • The 1907 Dr. Jenkins House in Newport's East Row Historic District was returned to residential use by Melvin and Lisa Bomprezzi.
  • Abigail Apartments on East 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine, a former tenement building redeveloped into one-bedroom apartments
  • Belvedere Lobby in North Avondale, specifically the restoration of murals by H.H. Wessel;
  • Louis Hauck Summer Home, now an event space in Sharonville;
  • Norwood Fire Co. #2, home to the Norwood Firefighter Association;
  • Tailor Shop OTR, an 1870s tenement restored as three apartments; and
  • Warner Brothers Building in OTR, a former film storage facility converted into office space.

 
zation,” said Jack Olshan, the hotel's general manager. “It is already proving to be true with the groundbreaking of Duveneck Square, the opening of The Hannaford and many more storefronts are on the way.”
 
Hotel Covington is also offering its own programming, including a music series, a farmers markets and movie screenings on the patio. The Artisan Coffee Bar features caffeinated brews from Newport's Carabello Coffee.

“Hotel Covington is first and foremost for the local community,” Olshan said. “We are privileged to be a part of this region and it is with that philosophy that we want to give the region’s residents a place to visit frequently and enjoy unique experiences every time. We want people to think to themselves when they want to do something and don’t know what; ‘Let's go to Hotel Covington, they always have something going on.’”
 
Several residential projects also received rehabilitation awards:
  • Marion Hall, a North Avondale Beaux Arts palazzo that was featured in Walter E. Langsam’s book Great Houses of the Queen City, was restored by Ryan Messer and James Musuraca as a home for their family.
  • Ron, Cynthia and Diana Tissue were recognized for their work on 440-442 Liberty Hill, one of Cincinnati’s oldest residences.
  • The 1907 Dr. Jenkins House in Newport's East Row Historic District was returned to residential use by Melvin and Lisa Bomprezzi, complete with the restoration of its original art-glass windows that had been saved by Terry Rasch.
Other rehabilitation award winners include:
  • Abigail Apartments on East 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine, a former tenement building redeveloped into one-bedroom apartments;
  • Belvedere Lobby in North Avondale, specifically the restoration of murals by H.H. Wessel;
  • Louis Hauck Summer Home, now an event space in Sharonville;
  • Norwood Fire Co. #2, home to the Norwood Firefighter Association;
  • Tailor Shop OTR, an 1870s tenement restored as three apartments; and
  • Warner Brothers Building in OTR, a former film storage facility converted into office space.
Ken Hughes of Decorative Restorations received the Craftsmanship Award, recognizing his work on the John HauckHouse in the Dayton Street Historic District. One Sustainability Award, recognizing a “renovation project with high standards of efficiency and energy, while preserving the historic character” was given. The recipient, 1405-7 Elm St., is a rare, raised-basement duplex that is now four units of condos, which is expected to receive LEED Platinum certification.
 
“It has been an exciting year for the Cincinnati Preservation Association as we expanded our footprint in the community and took on a proactive role," said CPA Board President Arthur Sturbaum.
 
He went on to highlight CPA’s work leveraging tax credits and collaborating with other organizations and developers, including working with the University of Cincinnati to convert a Shaker dormitory in Whitewater Forest into a learning center. CPA has actively been working with local municipalities, including conducting a day-long training for the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board. They have also launched a fee-for-service program and are planning to establish a fund to support the preservation and restoration of historic structures.
 
CPA Executive Director Paul Mueller wrapped up the event by announcing a $50,000 challenge grant had been received for the Annual Fund campaign, which runs through the end of the year.
 
“It has been an extraordinary year for preservation in Cincinnati,” Mueller said. “For the entire city and also for the Cincinnati Preservation Association.”
 

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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