Developers get started on $50M Incline Square project in East Price Hill

Developers have been working since 2005 to make the proposed $50 million Incline Square development a reality.  Over those five years developers have scaled back plans, modifying the phasing of the proposed development, and even adjusting specific elements of the project.  But as the economy slowly recovers, the development team believes that now is the time to move forward.

To commemorate that news, the development team celebrated an official ground breaking for the project on Monday, September 13 at the nearly eight-acre project site in East Price Hill.  One of the primary members of the team is former Cincinnati City Councilman John Cranley who believes that this success will breed success for future phases of the development.

"The $50 million project will be a long-term endeavor over the next decade, but we hope that momentum of the new restaurant and office building will help drive demand," Cranley explained.

Cranley described the initial $3 million work, that will include a restaurant with biergarten and 15 apartments ranging from $900-1,000 per month, as phase 1a.  The hope is to begin work on phase 1b - a development that includes at least 20,000 square feet of medical office space - by late 2011.  Once the two-part phase 1 effort concludes, Cranley expects there to be another medical office building and additional restaurant and retail space in later phases.

According to Cranley, the extended nature of the project can be explained by a variety of economic realities the project has faced including an ongoing lawsuit between the Greater Cincinnati Associated Physicians (GCAP) and the Health Alliance.

Even with the challenges, developers believe that the progress being made now is not only encouraging for Cincinnati, but specifically for the Price Hill community which doesn't ordinarily see this kind of investment.

"It's been a very, very challenging environment to say the least," said Cranley.  "But for us to be able to get a project done in Price Hill is very encouraging given that most people thought we would never get it done."

Cranley went on to speak to the project's viability by saying that this area of East Price Hill is facing the same challenges that Mt. Adams, Covington, and Newport have faced over the past 20 to 30 years, and that the views and close proximity to downtown are "very underutilized" at this point.

"Price Hill has astounding parks like Dunham and Mt. Echo, great proximity to downtown, unbelievable architecture, and a really great size and affordability of homes.  We need to keep anchors like Price Hill Chili, Elder and Seton high schools, and Kroger in the neighborhood while establishing new anchors like Incline Square.  East Price Hill today has more potential and signs of improvement than it has in 30 years thanks to the trend towards urban living."

Writer: Randy A. Simes
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