Cinci to demo parking garage, build 30-story tower

Discuss anything urban that's pertinent to our understanding of the USA.
http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/n ... ml?ana=twt

A few interesting things about this story:

1) The city is the developer....why? (I don't know)
2) Cinci is a smaller metro that STL, yet they seem to be doing the exact opposite of what happens in STL (here we demo buildings for parking).

Now, will we see the announcement of new tower (Ballpark village doesn't count) in downtown STL in the next 10 years? With Clayton, very unlikely, I say.
^ The city's the developer because they're taking ownership and pride in their city.
^Although more work needs to be done by city leadership to empower city residents to take more pride in the city, I think St. Louis, its leadership and other powers-that-be (foundations, private citizens etc.) have done a fairly good job in recent years to improve civic pride and the city's aesthetic - Citygarden, Central Library, Washington Avenue streetscape, Forest Park, SLAM, support of City-Arch-River as well as support to businesses to build and maintain employment, improve housing and housing construction with HTCs, NMTCs and other tax incentives etc. And let's not forget all of the infrastructure improvements in the city.

To me, this Cincy project seems to be no different than Phase I of the MX District - 600 Washington, MX Building/Garage with ground-level retailers, The Laurel and the National Blues Museum - the only exception is that Cincy's new 30-story tower with residential, parking and ground level retail will be built from the ground up new instead of renovated. There's still a lot of parking (1,000 spaces) proposed for this project.

Nonetheless, I think what is most interesting is how they are planning to fund this project. This project is worth following because it could be interesting to see how Cincinnati finances this project if it moves forward. It potentially could be a finance lesson for St. Louis.

Perhaps parking lots and old garages in downtown St. Louis could see new development.
Well this is certainly an interesting use of funds for revenue expected from leasing off/privatizing city parking. If St. Lou were to go this route, I'm not sure where I'd put funds to.
roger wyoming II wrote:
Well this is certainly an interesting use of funds for revenue expected from leasing off/privatizing city parking. If St. Lou were to go this route, I'm not sure where I'd put funds to.

I see your point because there are so many other needs in St. Louis, but wouldn't investing in downtown be a good choice?

Downtown, the region's front door, could improve. One example, the long-planned uniformed streetscape project for downtown could commence. Or imagine student and market-rate condo mid and high apartment towers here, here or here.
To many empty lots and surface parking to be tearing down parking garages but the principle is the same.

Not a huge fan of public funds to build luxury condos. I don't think the government should or is even qualified to be real estate developers but what about a tastefully urban community fitness center on par with the ones recently built in north and south city.
Downtown St. Louis has so many empty buildings, although that number is rapidly going down. We also have to remember that although cities like Cincy and Pittsburgh are peer cities, they are also more downtown centric (we are really a polycentric region). With all that said, I expect St. Louis to see a mini-high rise boom once all the existing buildings are rehabbed. Think about it, we are filling up warehouses the size of a city block with hundreds of apartments. I'm assuming that a few hundred apartments on a conventionally lot would translate to a much taller modern building.
soulardx wrote:

1) The city is the developer....why? (I don't know)



According to the article, "Flaherty & Collins would be the developer of this project".
framer wrote:
soulardx wrote:

1) The city is the developer....why? (I don't know)



According to the article, "Flaherty & Collins would be the developer of this project".


I don't the developer is the issue even though it is a very important aspect of any project to come out good or bad, thinking Cordish I think the issue at the end of day is who is footing the bill, bonding?

In other words, I take this as Cinci version of the Power and Light District. Maybe mistaken, but just a different take on what actually is being built. I think St. Louis at the end of the day will do better over the long run vs KC and Cinci with the emphasis of developing the building stock/residential community it has on hand via historic credits.
framer wrote:
soulardx wrote:

1) The city is the developer....why? (I don't know)



According to the article, "Flaherty & Collins would be the developer of this project".


Yes, you are correct. The story looks to have been updated.

My second (whiny/cynical) point stands. In STL, we demo buildings large (Pevely, Powell Square) and small (712/714 13th) for surface parking and vacant lots. Very frustrating to see a peer city like Cinci doing the opposite.

Just too much $$ in the demo business in STL.
One of the most interesting presentations at the Crafting Corridors forum in Philly was Fundrise: https://fundrise.com/?source=adwords-ad I think this concept could be transformative for St. Louis, and we should bring these guys here to talk about it.
I know we like to praise other cities on this site and say what St Louis is not doing. But Cincinnati has some of the same problems with saving buildings in STL. They have had buildings as large as Pevely torn down. Here is a blog from last year in Cincinnati

http://www.blogotr.com/otr/the-gradual- ... incinnati/
Cincy might have more pressing issues than putting up 30 story mixed-use towers:

From the Cincinnati Business Journal:
Cincinnati might scrap streetcar track bids, start over: "All three bids received last Friday came in much higher than the city’s estimate of $44.6 million. The lowest bid came in at $70.9 million."

One of Cincy's mayoral candidates wants to abandon the project altogether, the other is calling "for the city to step back, put the project through intensive value engineering, and bring the project’s costs back into line."

I don't think choosing towers over transit makes sense long-term. But they might be of a different mind.
Had a reunion of sorts in Cincinnati this weekend with my college roommates and I hadn't been in downtown Cincy since college graduation a decade ago. I have always been intrigued by Cincinnati's dominant appearing downtown now bolstered by many projects including the impressive Great American Tower (the view coming from northern KY on I-71 is a great feather in the city's cap). The county seat and downtown centric patterns are well noted, as well as the hills/topography and smaller river also lending a totally different vibe and aesthetic than downtown STL. Both sides of the river are well developed with a certain European flair. What bothers me is their expression of modernism on both sides of the river (Libeskind building northern KY) in a town that traditionally suffers from crippling conservatism just as much or more than STL.

Also spent Sat evening in the Over the Rhine area which is really looking good compared to what I remember. The revitalized stretch of Vine St. where the streetcar will go (I think) is a legit neighborhood with some excellent residential in place and on the way with a great mix of solid restaurants, galleries, gyms/fitness centers, beer hall/pubs, etc. Most have excellent signage too proudly displayed. Congrats to Cincy on what appears to be a great work in progress. Hopefully we can catch up with some more dramatic architecture involving some upcoming projects between BPV/ Bottle District/Landing, and keep pace with TOD and our streetcar/metro inception and expansion.
It's amazing what's happening in Cincy. I was last there two years ago. There's been talk of Cleveland being, "The Comeback City", but Cincinnati is flying low under the radar. Over-the-Rhine and downtown has had millions of dollars in investments over the past ten years - not that St. Louis hasn't done the same throughout the city. Although there are lots of positive things happening in St. Louis, Cincy's "comeback" has been easier, it seems, because Cincy did not deteriorate to the extent St. Louis did.

OTR has great-looking renovated historic iron-cast buildings stretching for blocks. It reminds me of what was once on the riverfront. The riverfronts of Cincy and Covington have great museums and attractions.

Separated by highways and railroad lines, I don't think St. Louis has a residential area - especially a historic one - that close to (or blending into) downtown like OTR is to downtown Cincy. The only exceptions are Old North St. Louis or LaClede's Landing. Some good faux-historic modern infill projects in those neighborhoods and Downtown West, would be great, I think. Perhaps the long-awaited Northside project will take care of some of the gaps. Adding streetcars or Metrolink could help fill in the gaps.

Also, on the plus side, Cincy doesn't have as many old office buildings and warehouses in their downtown as St. Louis, which is a positive for St. Louis as they have been repurposed.
Not to knock Cincinnati (it's a fine city and I like it), but St. Louis is sooooooooo much more liberal, happening and fun. Almost anyone who has spent time in both cities will say the same thing. Obviously we should acknowledge the progress Cincinnati is making, but we should certainly not be jealous.
Im in Cinci right now and it definitely is kicking St. Louis' butt. TONS more street level retail and energy in downtown. And they're really stepping up on modern infil now too. I'd take the Banks, over the Rhine, and Newport over Ballpark Village 15/10 times.
Cincinnati, Kansas City and Pittsburgh (maybe others, but those are the main two that come to my mind) are three major midwestern cities that seem to have an advantage over St. Louis in that their respective suburban cultures aren't built upon the foundation of outright antagonism toward their respective central cities. You get the occasional offhand "Don't go to these streets after dark" remark, but from what I've seen, it's nothing like in St. Louis, where, for instance, as a kid raised in Town & Country and going to private schools in West county, it was pretty much accepted as common knowledge that you don't go to the City for any reason whatsoever other than a Cardinals/Rams/Blues game.

I could be wrong, but it also feels (perhaps as a result of the aforementioned phenomenon) like a disproportionate amount of St. Louisan human and monetary capital is concentrated outside of the City of St. Louis proper in comparison with those other three cities.

I dunno, I just makes it seem like St. Louis urbanists face so much more of an uphill battle than in those other places.
There's no doubt other cities have been kicking our butt left and right in Greater Downtown the past few years but I continue to be optimistic that things will pick up here.

I'm not sure what my greatest disappointment is, but I think it is our failure to have lit up Downtown West -- probably our best equivalent to an OTR-type neighborhood walkable to the CBD. I just envision DW chock full of creative companies, boutiques, residential, etc. and with a fair amount of infill with the CBD picking up steam as a robust jobs and cultural center. We have fits and starts, but we lost consistent momentum somewhere along the line while others are accelerating their redevelopment pace.

I know part of the issue is we have a comparatively large core, for example we have Midtown Alley that has a large concentration of creative companies, but it still is odd to me how progress seems to be so slow. Just thinking about how western Wash Ave has retreated or Schlafly, where it took until last year for something like Laccassian Lofts to come to what should be an extremely hot area.
To me, many lessons here for STL....not the least of which is see what happens when the big boy corporations have the city in the mind and put their heads together. Also getting major urban planning minds involved from around the country shows in these projects.

Get it together with downtown, STL.


http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/ ... ion-213969
My bro and I just got back from a weekend in Cincinnati- our first time in the city in about 5 years. We had a great time (saw Sleepy Kitty perform at MOTR!), and exploring the Queen City only reinforced our pride and appreciation for St. Louis. Here are our impressions and observations on the city...

Cincinnati is a beautiful city. Over-the-Rhine is one of the most impressive urban neighborhoods in the country, let alone the Midwest. It's amazing how intact the neighborhood is, and amount of investment and business development compared to my previous visits is astounding. Lots of restaurants, microbreweries, clothing stores, record stores, etc. Although it's clearly "THE" hot neighborhood of Cincinnati, it still has a good amount of grit and racial and economic diversity which is great. The new streetcar infrastructure is pretty much complete and that is sure to boost OTR even more. We saw a streetcar on a test run-- it's such a cute little train (although I'll take the MetroLink over it any day)! Over-the-Rhine makes me pine (pun intended!) for Mill Creek Valley, which would undoubtedly be one of St. Louis' most impressive neighborhoods had it survived until today.

We didn't spend too much time on the riverfront, but from what we could see, it looked a lot more welcoming than the St. Louis riverfront. Let's hope the Archgrounds overhaul is successful, because Cincy's thriving riverfront really made us realize how lame and depressing our current riverfront is (granted, the Ohio River seems a lot calmer and generally more pleasant than the mighty Mississippi). And Covington across the river from downtown makes East St. Louis look like, well, East St. Louis!

After the Sleepy Kitty show we were hungry, so we asked our Uber driver where to go. He took us to Shanghai Mama's in downtown Cincy. Holy s##t, this place is awesome, and St. Louis has nothing like it (but it should). A fun, funky Asian noodle restaurant open till 3:00am on weekends. We went at about midnight and the place was full. Crowd was cool, and the food was awesome-- exactly what we were in the mood for after a a few drinks, and in the perfect location for a post-bar crowd. This place would kill it in St. Louis. I am really jealous.

St. Louis feels MUCH bigger than Cincinnati- there's really no comparison. Outside of the inner core neighborhoods, the density and activity drop off substantially. The outer city neighborhoods are old and attractive, but in terms of urbanity they feel more like Webster Groves than neighborhoods in St. Louis City. St. Louis' urban neighborhoods span a much larger area than Cincy- there's nothing in Cincy even remotely comparable to the Central West End or even Midtown, and certainly nothing like Clayton. On top of that, St. Louis outside of downtown feels a lot busier, both in terms of pedestrian and automobile traffic. The fact that St. Louis has so many great destination neighborhoods (Soulard, Lafayette Square, The Grove, Cherokee, Grand Center, CWE, South Grand, The Loop, The Hill, Maplewood, Clayton, etc) with so much to offer is probably why downtown St. Louis struggles to achieve true critical mass, whereas Cincinnati has few little districts outside of to compete with downtown and Over-the-Rhine, and therefore most of the action is concentrated in the center of the city.

Cincinnati is not winning any awards for cutting-edge fashion, let me tell ya. People dress very conservative and preppy. Not that St. Louis is particularly fashion forward, but I've never seen so many tucked-in polo shirts, khakis and ball caps in one place since college. These were not tourists-- many of the people walking around in Mt. Adams on a Saturday night and in the restaurants would fit right into Mid Rivers Mall. "Bro" culture is alive and well Cincy, even in the hip neighborhoods (i.e. Over-the-Rhine, Mt. Adams, Clifton). And speaking of conservative... we counted probably a dozen TRUMP bumper stickers IN THE CITY! It wouldn't seem so strange if we were hanging out in the subburbs, but Mt. Adams and Over-the-Rhine?? And on top of that, we didn't spot a single Bernie or Hillary sticker anywhere, which was even more shocking to us. I have yet to see a Trump sticker in the city of St. Louis (I saw one on Hwy 40 westbound in Brentwood once), but you can't go a block in STL and not see a Bernie sticker. For real. Based on our observations, Cincy definitely lives up to its conservative reputation-- St. Louis feels like Amsterdam in comparison! Also, St. Louis seems to be more ethnically diverse than Cincinnati. We explored the city extensively and saw very few international businesses or immigrants on the streets.

Another weird thing was that we found a lot of the Cincinnati people we met to be rather closed. Not in a cold, East Coast kind of way, but more like they just didn't know how to make conversation. For example, it seems like all our servers and Uber drivers were born without personalities. We'd ask them questions and they just replied with one-word answers. Obviously this observation is strictly anecdotal, but it's worth mentioning.

Overall, we loved Cincinnati. It's an attractive city with great bones and beautiful topography. The hills and views are charming as all get-out. It's easy driving distance (about the same distance from St. Louis to Chicago ~5ish hours), and definitely one of the most interesting cities in the Midwest. I can't understand why it's so relatively under-the-radar among St. Louisans. I hear way more about Louisville than Cincinnati these days, but Cincy has way more to offer in terms of cultural amenities and urban appeal.

ST. LOUIS WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVORITE CITY, BY FAR.
^ Cincy definitely has been a sleepier town than similarly geographically-sized peers such as STL, CLE and PITT... even at it's population height in 1950 it was only 500,000 and with a population density roughly half of the others. It didn't rise as high nor fall as far. Anyway, like its peers it has much to like and I'd rather live in any of them than just about any of the faster-growing "hot spots."