& Co. [VIDEO] featuring 3CDC's Adam Gelter on public-private partnerships

Episode two on & Co. - Yard & Company's limited series focused on COVID-19 and the impact on cities - features Adam Gelter from 3CDC. Over the last decade or so, 3CDC has creatively invested over $1 billion into downtown Cincinnati and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Those investments have touched everything from streetscapes, parks, mixed-use developments, cultural arts venues and more. Kevin Wright and Joe Nickol's conversation with Adam ranged from the post-pandemic real estate market to retail gift card programs. Here is a recap from &Co, Episode 2 on public-private partnerships with Gelter: 


Over the last several years we’ve learned that in order to execute complex real estate projects in the urban context a mixture of financing types are necessary. Whether the aim is to save historic properties, develop a mix of uses or serve a diverse housing market the solution typically involves multiple partners and sources of capital. With local, regional and state-wide governments making dramatic cuts and projecting massive budget shortfalls it is fair to be concerned with the future of tax credits, flexible loan products and other public financial tools.


Those who have followed 3CDC’s efforts over the last decade know that their focused use of public/private funds has been a key component of their success. At times they’ve started with just a building and moved methodically down the street, while at other times they’ve started with a great public space and radiated out from there. In either case they were focused on building a neighborhood with a mix of uses and amenities. The idea of the 15-minute neighborhood has been growing in recent years and this pandemic may have proven that the way to build a resilient community is to focus your financing tools and build a place that can survive on its own. 


The pandemic and the quarantine that followed has hit small retailers, restaurants and bars particularly hard. In the wake of the mandated closures 3CDC jumped in to help by temporarily abating rents for their tenants. While this has happened elsewhere, 3CDC’s approach to retaining ownership of the first floor of their buildings and creatively financing these spaces through their P3 structure has allowed them to be more nimble and creative than others. This, coupled with their gift card match program, has helped many of their tenants keep going during these unprecedented times. 


As we continue to spatially distance in the coming months, it will be critical to embrace the outdoors and utilize as much public space as possible for food and retail sales. The street has to be a part of this conversation. Whether it is a parklet or the closure of an entire street, 3CDC is in the process of exploring the viability of expanding the footprint of small businesses by bringing the tables and chairs outside.


Civic events do not have to (and should not) stop in the coming months, but they will have to adapt. Large concerts and salsa dancing might not be possible, but there are plenty of other ways to gather while keeping your distance. The design of parks and plazas coupled with smart creative programming will be key this summer and beyond.

Register for the next & Co. discussion here.  

In partnership with Soapbox Cincinnati and NKY thrives, Yard & Company, launched video podcast series, & Co., focused on solutions, ideas and interventions related to the COVID-19’s impact on cities. Please share.
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