Greater Cincinnati's 10 Most Anticipated Development Projects

We’ve all heard stories about the Cincinnati of five years ago. The restaurant corridor on Vine Street was just getting started, and the streetcar was only a whisper of an idea.
Today it seems that construction is everywhere. The Banks and Mercer Commons popped up overnight, and redevelopment is taking over in neighborhoods like Walnut Hills. Long-time residents and recent transplants are breathing life back into the city, and new projects are being announced everyday.
What will the next five years bring? Soapbox rounded up 10 projects in the Greater Cincinnati area that, once finished, are sure to create a buzz and more economic development.
1. Over-the-Rhine

Restaurants now line Main and Vine streets, where just a few years ago vacancies were the norm. Off the Vine will soon open its doors, and Liberty’s Bar & Bottle started pouring last month. The owners of Senate and Abigail Street are opening Pontiac Bourbon & BBQ soon, which is sure to be another smash hit. And The Mercer promises to become another neighborhood favorite in the coming weeks.
Housing seems like it would be hard to come by, but not with 3CDC at the helm of much of the revitalization efforts in OTR. The organization is currently working on four commercial and residential spaces, including Parksite, a $3.6 million project that will add eight condos along Race Street. Mercer III townhomes will have 12 units, and three buildings on 15th and Pleasant streets are being converted into 11 condos with just under 1,000 square feet of commercial space. And a five-condo building and with retail space is coming to 1408 Elm St.
2. Hellmann Lumber Mill, Covington

Built in the 1870s, the Hellmann Lumber Mill made all of the woodwork and window pieces for Covington houses, as well as church pews. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet auctioned it off last October, and the Center for Great Neighborhoods purchased the property.
“This is about finding creative new ways to address community issues, not to continue to solve the same problems the same way we’ve been trying to solve them,” says Rachel Hastings of CGN. “We want to bring in artists, makers and designers to look at the issues and take a multidisciplinary approach to community development. It will be a great way to bring everyone together and start conversations about making Covington a better place.”
CGN plans to make the 13,500-square-foot lumber mill into a center for creative placemaking, with artist studios for rent and community meeting space, as well as spaces for theater companies like The Carnegie to create sets.
3. Trevarren Flats, Walnut Hills

The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation has partnered with Model Group to redevelop three buildings along E. McMillan Street—the five-story Hauck Building, the Trevarren Building and an adjacent three-story building. The $9 million project will yield 30 market-rate apartments and 7,200 square feet of first-floor commercial space that could be divided into five smaller spaces. The one- and two-bedroom apartments will be similar to Model Group’s Broadway Square and rent for about $1 per square foot. Phase I is scheduled to start construction in November, with a completion date in fall 2015. The total Trevarren Flats development will yield 36,000 square feet of commercial space and 78 market-rate apartments.
4. Scholar House, Newport

Scholar House, a program of the Kentucky Housing Corporation, is designed to help low-income families as parents earn post-secondary degrees. Northern Kentucky’s Scholar House will include 48 two-and three-bedroom apartments and a childcare center, as well as staffing and programming for life skills classes.
The main focus of Scholar House is on education, and helping parents "graduate" the program free from government assistance.
“We see the Scholar House as a pathway for some of our at-risk and needy single parents to be able to make better lives for themselves, get a degree and get a good job,” says Tammy Weidinger, CEO of the Brighton Center, which will be in charge of the Scholar House’s programming.
Ground broke on the project in August, and Weidinger says they hope to move families in before the start of next school year.
5. Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, Price Hill

Construction began on Price Hill’s new performing arts theater in September, and the plan is to open the venue on June 3. The project is a collaboration between Cincinnati Landmark Productions, who will manage the theater, and Price Hill Will. The $5.1 million project includes the 220-seat theater and parking garage.
“This is one of those projects that will transform an area of a neighborhood, maybe even the whole neighborhood,” says Ken Smith, director of Price Hill Will. “It creates a destination, adds jobs and brings in people who might be getting a first look at Price Hill.”
6. Lower Price Hill Community School, Lower Price Hill

Lower Price Hill Community School recently changed its name to Education Matters, and formed a new nonprofit, Community Matters. But that’s not the most exciting news from the organization—renovations on its new home in Lower Price Hill will be completed this spring.
Education Matters moved into the old St. Michael’s complex in 2007, and has been working diligently to create a space for the community. Work on the sanctuary, which is now a community gathering and event space, is complete, with the rest of the complex soon to follow. The renovations will allow Education Matters to expand its existing programming, as well as offer affordable housing to the neighborhood’s AmeriCorps members. Its thrift store, food pantry and once-a-month soup kitchen are getting facelifts, and will reopen soon.
Education Matters also acquired several other properties in Lower Price Hill, including a building on Warsaw Avenue that will serve as an adult education center during the day, and will offer something for the community at night. Two floors of a building on Eighth Street will have service learning through Miami University and Xavier University, and the bottom floor will become a community-owned co-op. Community Matters was recently awarded Impact 100, which is allowing it to open the only community laundromat in the neighborhood.
7. PAR Projects community space, Northside

Par Projects is bringing what is sure to be one of the coolest looking buildings to Northside for its new home and community art and education center. The building will have three stories of usable space, and is being constructed out of repurposed shipping containers. The first phase is five shipping containers joined together, with others stacked on top to make up the different floors. Programming will be geared toward practical arts training, like graphic design and video editing.
8. Harrison Green, West Side

The West Side will soon be able to grab a slice or a grilled cheese donut, and top it off with a scoop or two, as Dewey’s, Tom + Chee, Graeter’s and First Watch have all signed leases for Green Township’s newest development. The 47,000-square-foot, pedestrian-friendly development along Harrison Avenue will include two buildings—a 17,000-square-foot upscale retail building and a 30,000-square-foot office/medical building.
9. Chatfield College’s new Findlay Market campus, OTR

Chatfield College is only moving a few blocks, but the move will increase the college’s visibility in the neighborhood, as well as the number of students it serves. The new space could help boost enrollment from its current 300 students to 900 in the next five to seven years.
The $3.4 million project will renovate a vacant building, which was built in 1870 and originally housed a stable for the Windisch-Mulhauser/Lion Brewery. In 1923, the Cincinnati Association for the Welfare of the Blind bought it, added on, and operated a broom factory out of it. It’s now been vacant for seven years.
Chatfield plans to add classroom space, labs for science, visual and performing arts classes, a high-tech learning center and a new chapel in its new home. Renovations are expected to be completed in time for next school year.
10. Cincinnati Streetcar

Track has already been laid for the city’s newest mode of transportation—the streetcar. The first phase of track is 3.6 miles long, and will travel from Second Street at The Banks to Henry Street, north of Findlay Market. Plans are still in the works for operation, funding and hours of operation, but the streetcar is sure to spur more economic development downtown and in OTR.

Photo slideshow by Scott Beseler
Warsaw Federal Incline Theater
Warsaw Federal Incline Theater
Hellmann Lumber Mill, Covington
Hellmann Lumber Mill, Covington
Hellmann Lumber Mill, Covington
Lower Price Hill Community School
Lower Price Hill Community School
Lower Price Hill Community School
PAR Projects Community Space
PAR Projects Community Space
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Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.