A Glimpse Behind the Big News

Beth Robinson headshot.jpg

The same week a crowd gathered at the University of Cincinnati’s much-anticipated digital futures press conference, the Federal Register announced its official decision to purchase a 14-acre site for NIOSH in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. A design build contract for the $110 million federal research facility at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King (MLK) Drive and Reading Road will be up for bid in early 2019, while Terrex and Messer begin the neighboring 180,000-square-foot, $165 million UC digital futures complex in the Uptown Gateway Development. And, Kroger Co. announced its collaboration with UC to run a 2,500-square-foot incubation lab at UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub.

For those of us involved in the years-long strategic planning of the Uptown Innovation Corridor, these announcements are a celebration of something more than real estate transactions and new construction projects. For us at the Uptown Consortium and our partners, this tremendous news is built upon—and wouldn’t have happened without—incremental achievements that can’t go unsung. These successes aren’t the stuff of major headlines, but rather the rocks upon which a foundation of inclusive economic success is built.

For each example listed below, there are countless additional noteworthy efforts, accomplishments and milestones that underpin front page stories.

  • RWB Construction established a 12-week carpentry training program with $20,000 in funding from a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Avondale Community Capacity Building grant. WEB Ventures, Uptown Consortium’s inclusion partner, vetted construction candidates and helped applicants enroll in the program. Participants met three times weekly to learn carpentry skills that would make them more competitive for future higher-paying jobs on local construction projects. Terrex Development and Construction provided a site in the Innovation Corridor for the construction classes, and all graduates were hired by RWB Construction, Model Group or HGC Construction.
  • Battle Axe Construction, both an SBE/MBE, won the UCI demolition contract to raze the Marathon gas station at Reading and MLK, a key corner in the Innovation Corridor.
  • HCDC has been providing Uptown-supported coaching to small businesses located within or in proximity to the Corridor. Take J.D. Sandipher, owner of Avon Home Improvement for example. With HCDC’s support, Sandipher applied for MBE certification, improved his website, began mobile payments, improved his bookkeeping tools and patented a masonry tool he invented. 
  • MORTAR, an urban entrepreneurship hub in Cincinnati, moved its UCI sponsored nine-week Uptown accelerator program to the Uptown Innovation Corridor. Having already graduated two entrepreneurship classes in Uptown, MORTAR contributes to the growing ecosystem by working with individuals who possess talent, energy, creativity and drive—and building a pipeline of small businesses that could someday locate in the Corridor.

The University of Cincinnati is the perfect first tenant to kick off this district that involves collaboration, innovation and talent. As Uptown’s largest employer, UC embodies a strategic direction that includes urban health, urban futures and inclusive excellence. It’s no accident that our major institutions champion principles that tie to the success of the communities in which they thrive. It’s the bedrock of their futures. 

As always, on behalf of all who are invested in the future of Uptown, thank you for being a partner who helps us achieve tomorrow together.




Beth Robinson

President & CEO

Uptown Consortium, Inc.