New businesses opening in Over-the-Rhine

What was at one point one of the most troubled intersections in Cincinnati has now become the trendiest shopping district in the Greater Cincinnati region. During the completion of the first phases of the wildly successful Gateway Quarter, dozens of new businesses have opened with more on the way.

Gateway Quarter leasing consultant, Kathleen Norris reports if the next round of leases goes through, historic Over-the-Rhine will see 24 new businesses opened in just two years.

The first wave of businesses included a unique focus offering specialized retailers that Norris says were designed to create a destination atmosphere rather than focusing on service retailers such as banks or dry cleaners.  “When we started this project we knew we had to ensure survivability for our retailers…we had to create an instant critical mass,” says Norris.

That strategy seems to be working with popular retailers such as Park+Vine, City Roots, Outside, Mica 12/v, Metronation, Joseph Williams Home, A Lucky Step and Lavomatic.  These retailers have helped to create destination atmosphere the Gateway Quarter was banking on.

“We’re still looking for those lively, creative retailers and business owners for whom this is their perfect neighborhood,” says Norris.  Part of that creative business model is bringing in “high creative office users” like the newly signed Vine Street Interactive which will take occupancy of some 1,100 square feet of space in the Gateway Building on Vine Street.

Vine Street Interactive is a company started by native Cincinnatian, Mark Celsor who works as a freelance web developer.  Returning to Cincinnati from San Francisco to work on this business venture, Celsor found the energetic Gateway Quarter to be an ideal spot for his business and hopes to be moved in by the end of the month.

A new office furniture showroom on 12th Street called Integrated WorkSpace Solutions will also occupy 700 square feet of space in the Quarter.

“As more spaces become available and retailers become more established, and as our customers become more familiar with the neighborhood, we will try to backfill with those neighborhood amenities,” says Norris.  She goes on to say that specialty food stores would be a possibility, but also says that the Kroger grocery store on Vine Street is a solid asset to build from.

Norris goes on to say that the next phase of businesses will attempt to focus on ideal locations for restaurants throughout the neighborhood.  “We can really make this Cincinnati’s independent restaurant district,” says Norris.

3CDC currently controls dozens of more commercial properties throughout Over-the-Rhine south of Liberty Street.  Kathleen Norris says that interest continues to grow and that in addition to these two new business additions, there are several more that are in the works and should be announced soon.

Writer: Randy Simes
Source: Kathleen Norris, Gateway Quarter leasing consultant, Link Realty
Photography by Randy Simes
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