NIOSH Chooses Uptown Innovation Corridor

Hundreds of scientists including chemists, biologists, engineers and toxicologists will join the region's largest contingent of advanced researchers who call Uptown their professional home, as yesterday the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced it has chosen 14 acres at Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road for its new site.

Thursday’s announcement about the new facility to be built in the Uptown Innovation Corridor came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will invest $110 million to create an ultra modern research facility for NIOSH’s occupational safety and health research.

NIOSH’s site selection process began 11 years ago, and became active again in 2014 following the economic recovery. NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, said the new location will expand opportunities for collaboration and partnership with the Cincinnati scientific research community. 

NIOSH’s economic impact on Greater Cincinnati is forecast to be $291.7 million along with $1.2 million in earnings tax revenues for the City of Cincinnati. Much of this economic impact is experienced by local workers and the communities around NIOSH’s locations. All 550 employees at the three existing NIOSH locations will be relocated to the new site in Uptown.

The University of Cincinnati led the process for presenting the Uptown site, with the UC Department of Planning + Design + Construction managing all application, compliance and presentation activities. 

“Investing in research and innovation are key operating principles for the University of Cincinnati. Leading the work to recruit NIOSH to the Uptown Innovation Corridor aligns our commitment to advancing this urban institution and our local community with tomorrow’s global solutions in mind,” said Neville Pinto, President of University of Cincinnati and Chairman of the Board for Uptown Consortium.

Design and construction for the new NIOSH campus is scheduled to begin in summer 2018, with a completion date of early 2021. This development joins the Terrex/Messer Uptown Gateway, the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute and 1819 Innovation & Research Accelerator as part of the Uptown Innovation Corridor. 

The new site will combine three Cincinnati NIOSH locations with aging facilities.  CDC and GDA representatives are hosting a community meeting on August 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Walnut Hills High School for community feedback on issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement required by federal law.

Neville Pinto named chair of the Uptown Consortium board

UC President Neville Pinto brings his record of innovation and collaboration to his new role as chairman of the UCI board, and he does so at a time when Uptown is poised for unprecedented growth. As Pinto notes, “we stand at an important threshold.”

University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto, Ph.D., was named chairman of the Uptown Consortium Inc. (UCI)  through April, 2019.

“As UCI prepares to launch the new Innovation Corridor, Uptown Cincinnati is poised to become the Midwest’s research and innovation engine,” said Pinto, who will serve a two-year term. “I am honored to serve as the Consortium’s incoming chair during this important threshold.”

Since its creation in 2004, the Uptown Consortium has spearheaded more than $1 billion in redevelopment, new construction and neighborhood improvements in Avondale, CUF, Clifton, Corryville and Mt. Auburn neighborhoods.

“The Uptown Consortium has been a catalyst for positive change in its five neighborhoods. The area has an $11.5 billion annual economic impact that promises to grow with current projects that are focused on fueling the future,” Pinto said, pointing to UC's 1819 Innovation Hub, the recently announced Cincinnati Children's patient tower, construction of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and the new Uptown Innovation Corridor with the Uptown Gateway flagship as examples.

Pinto, who was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2010, brings expertise and a background in engineering to his role as chairman. He is well-known for a longstanding commitment to research and collaborative partnerships.  

Pinto, who was a faculty member in chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati from 1985 until 2011, returned to the UC as president in February of this year from the University of Louisville. 

During his 26-years as a member of the UC Department of Chemical Engineering, Pinto helped foster the University’s academic research agenda. He established the Adsorption and Ion Exchange Laboratory, which resulted in over $6 million in external funding for study in biochemical and environmental engineering. As vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, he helped attract external awards of more than $10 million to support graduate and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

Pinto, replaces Beverly Davenport as chair of the UCI board. Davenport left her position as UC president in January to become chancellor of the University of Tennessee.

Q&A with Uptown Rental Properties President Dan Schimberg

Dan Schimberg

Recently named Cincinnatian of the Year at the JDRF Southwest Ohio Super Gala, Dan Schimberg, Uptown Rental Properties President, is establishing a legacy in Uptown Cincinnati. Now with over 2,500 units, Uptown Rentals have developed new and historic housing options near the University of Cincinnati for more than 25 years. We caught up with Dan in his newly renovated offices on Short Vine.   

Q: How did your start your business?

A: Uptown Rental Properties was founded about 30 years old, when I left the University of Cincinnati in the mid-80s. I rehabbed my first house on Victor Street, and I rented it to six people in the marching band. I saw a hole in the market, and I thought to myself I could be a great, considerate property manager in the Uptown area.

Q: Why did you choose to invest in Uptown? 

A: I’ve always been interested in Cincinnati’s Urban Core and interested in urban architecture, urban infrastructure and helping to provide housing, good quality infill housing and housing solutions in the Urban Core.

Q: Uptown has five neighborhoods, or some say “burroughs.” What’s your favorite area?

A: I would say that Short Vine is my favorite part of Uptown Cincinnati. When I went to college here, I lived on Short Vine for three years. Uptown Rentals started to buy properties here in the early 2000s. It has become a passion of mine to rent properties on Short Vine.

Q: What about Uptown keeps you as an investor?

A: It is very rewarding to work in the Uptown real estate market. We can look around at the success of the university, the surrounding institutions and the success of our own company to see our hard work accumulate in the Uptown area. Uptown Rentals enjoys being a major stakeholder in a region that is seeing so many successes and has experienced so many great milestones.   

Q: How do you hope your residents describe your approach?

Uptown Cincinnati

A: We want them to see us as the best in class and also feel comfortable with us to have open communication and transparency. I tell all of our employees that when they enter one of our apartments, you are walking into someone’s home. Uptown Rentals strives to be the best for our clients.

Q: Why do you champion Uptown as unlike any other regional district?

A: There is a certain amount of energy in Uptown, that really isn’t found in any other community around the city. Uptown has a daytime population that is diverse and spirited. It is filled with energized youthful people and an eclectic mixed of residents and visitors. We thrive on the energy and diversity in Uptown, and that is what I find so rewarding to work here. Uptown Rentals loves being a part of Uptown because it is a great neighborhood. To sit here with all these wonderful employers, one of the best children’s hospitals in the country, a university that includes world-renowned colleges, Christ Hospital having one of the best regional cardiac and Nero centers around… it’s really rewarding to play a role in this area.

Q: What is next for Uptown Rental Properties?

A: As a whole, Uptown Rental Properties has room for growth. We recently conducted a five-year vision plan. We have room in our new Short Vine office to double the size of our company. Currently, we own a significant amount of property in Mount Auburn. We are going to be working hard there, but we have several other great developments in Corryville and CUF. We have ramped up our rehab capabilities, are working closely with some community groups, developers and the university officials to solve a senior housing need in the area, and with nonprofits to try to solve some housing needs temporary transplants who come to Cincinnati for medical care. Our goal is to service everyone that needs to live in Uptown for either the short or long term. To reach this goal, we are venturing into different areas to make sure Uptown can be a home to everyone who wants to live here.

With new MLK interchange, studies predict changes

Last month the first ramp of the I-71 interchange at Martin Luther King Drive opened to traffic. The interchange, which is slated for completion later this summer, is forecast to have a state-wide economic impact of more than $1 billion and is already propelling massive development in the adjacent Innovation Corridor.

Uptown’s new front door is swinging open, positioning the area for unprecedented economic development and innovation.

In April, the northbound ramp from Martin Luther King Drive (MLK) onto I-71 opened to traffic. The remaining ramps of the new I-71/MLK interchange are slated to open this summer. Although the new interchange – the first in Cincinnati’s urban core since the freeway system was completed in the early 1970s – will dramatically improve the entrance to Uptown, it likewise poses a chance for economic growth.

“Uptown is has begun another level of transformative change,” Uptown Consortium President and CEO Beth Robinson said. “The new MLK interchange presents an opportunity for positive economic change in the area directly off of the interstate and gives residents, employees and visitors direct access to some of Cincinnati’s largest institutions.”

The University of Cincinnati Economics Center forecasts the economic impact of the MLK interchange and potential projects in its May 2012 report.

“The proposed interchange, coupled with the redevelopment that is a likely consequence, makes Uptown much more competitive as a location for spinoff technology and research commercialization businesses, and it reduces the likelihood that new high‐tech firms will move to competing university/technology research districts in other cities,” the report noted.
Among the interchange’s myriad benefits the report cites:

  • Economic impact. The project is expected to have more than $1 billion in total economic impact. That figure can be traced to an initial $325 million of anticipated private investment that will likely produce a change inthe economy of more than $460 million in Hamilton County and $290 million in other parts of Ohio, in addition to more than $100 million in construction.
  • Job creation and retention. Construction of the interchange and development of the surrounding area are expected to create 2,950 short‐term jobs. However, the projects will likewise promote permanent job growth. Major Uptown institutions are expected to add as many as 3,000 permanent positions, and new businesses will contribute up to 2,000 more jobs. The interchange is also critical to retaining businesses that might otherwise leave the district taking between 1,900 and 2,300 jobs with them.
  • Additional tax revenue. New business is expected to contribute more than $200 million in sales, earnings and property taxes to city, county and state coffers.
  • Improved quality of life. When the interchange is completed it will alleviate congestion on neighborhood streets. New growth will bring additional amenities to the area, including retail and dining options.
  • Access to care.  Even more significantly, the new ramps will dramatically improve access to emergency care for people throughout the region. Some 17,000 patients are expected to use the interchange to access trauma and emergency care at Children’s and University hospitals, enabling them to receive potentially life-saving care faster. In addition, the new interchange will enable more efficient disaster response in the event of a major emergency.

Is the Corridor unfolding as predicted?

The interchange has already spurred several important ancillary projects in the area, including Children’s Hospital’s $41 million Vernon Manor II office complex and the University of Cincinnati’s $50 million Neuroscience Institute. But the interchange’s greatest and most immediate influence will be on the nascent Uptown Innovation Corridor.

Since construction began, the Uptown Consortium has invested $25 million in more than 100 properties to support its vision of a mixed-use venture spanning the intersection at MLK and Reading Road. The proposed pedestrian-friendly, live-work-play environment will extend north and south to encompass major Uptown research institutions. 

The Corridor features 44 acres capable of supporting 4 million square feet of commercial development. It will be home to NIOSH, UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub, a $16 million research accelerator which is located in the former Sears Building at the southeast corner of Reading Road and Lincoln Avenue. The 133,000-square-foot accelerator will provide space for start-up companies born from UC led projects and technologies.

In addition NIOSH announcing their new 14-acre site selection, later this year Terrex Development & Construction and Messer Construction Co. will begin construction on a six-acre site on the southeast corner of the Reading Road and MLK intersection. The pedestrian-friendly project will include three office buildings, providing approximately 450,000 square feet of Class A office, a 200-room hotel, offering both limited- and extended-stay rooms, ground floor retail space and an underground parking structure for 1,800 cars topped by a park.

“All of this builds on Uptown’s existing strengths,” Robinson said. “The new MLK interchange is just the beginning for our vision for Uptown. We plan to create a district that will incubate talent and attract innovative businesses.”

Annual Uptown Business Celebration Honors Local Businesses and Community Members

Beth Robinson, President and CEO, Uptown Consortium, discussing the Uptown Innovation Corridor.

Beth Robinson, President and CEO, Uptown Consortium, discussing the Uptown Innovation Corridor.

A sold-out crowd enjoyed stories from innovation to celebration as the Uptown Consortium presented the sixth annual Uptown Business Celebration recognizing business excellence and commitment to the Uptown community. Local businesses and community members from the five Uptown neighborhoods and beyond gathered at the Kingsgate Marriott to celebrate the growth and success of Uptown over the past year. 

“This past year, the continued work of the Uptown Consortium, local businesses and the community has further established Uptown Cincinnati as a hub of innovation,” said Beth Robinson, President and CEO of Uptown Consortium. “As we continue to shape Uptown and the Innovation Corridor, collaboration with our partners and the community will be the key to our future success.”

Uptown Consortium also debuted a video featuring the Uptown Innovation Corridor near the new MLK I-71 interchange. Robinson and Peter Horton, principal and co-founder of Terrex Development & Construction, introduced the video speaking to the importance of inclusion for the Corridor’s success. 

During the keynote address, Thane Maynard, executive director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, highlighted the value of partnership in Uptown Cincinnati. He shared how Fiona, Cincinnati’s new baby hippo, survived against all odds with the help of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, unprecedented community support and the extraordinary experts on Fiona’s care team, Team Fiona. Through collaboration, the Cincinnati Zoo became the first team in the world to care for a premature hippo that survived.   

After the address, the Consortium distributed awards to nominees that shared a strong commitment to the Uptown community, success in meeting the organization’s mission and a demonstration of sustainable business practices in the five Uptown neighborhoods: Avondale, Clifton, Corryville, CUF and Mt. Auburn. The following were named winners:

Joyce Powdrill, Thane Maynard, Sandra Jones Mitchell and Beth Robinson (left to right) pose for the Avondale Community Champion Award.

Joyce Powdrill, Thane Maynard, Sandra Jones Mitchell and Beth Robinson (left to right) pose for the Avondale Community Champion Award.

  • Uptown Community Champions (one from each neighborhood)
    • Avondale Community Champion: Sandra Jones Mitchell 
    • Clifton Community Champion: Eric Urbas 
    • Clifton Heights Community Champion: Jack Martin 
    • Corryville Community Champion: Dan Luther 
    • Mount Auburn Community Champion: Carol Gibbs   
  • Uptown Small Business – Conscious Living Center
  • Uptown New Business – Gaslight Gourmet Cookies
  • Uptown Nonprofit – Crossroads Uptown Church
  • Uptown Large Business – Kroger, University Plaza

The May 31st event’s premier sponsors were Terrex Development & Construction and Messer Construction, while Neyer Properties, Ross, Sinclair & Associates, LLC, University of Cincinnati, UC Health, TriHealth and Uptown Rental Properties served as silver sponsors.

Joyce Powdrill, Ron Esposito, Thane Maynard and Beth Robinson (left to right) pose for the Uptown Small Business Award.

Joyce Powdrill, Ron Esposito, Thane Maynard and Beth Robinson (left to right) pose for the Uptown Small Business Award.


Joyce Powdrill, Thane Maynard, Lena Schuler and Beth Robinson (left to right) pose for the Uptown Nonprofit Award.

May 31: Annual Uptown Business Celebration

Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) will hold its sixth annual Uptown Business Celebration on May 31, 2017. This event will celebrate Uptown Cincinnati by recognizing business excellence and a commitment to the Uptown community. There will be complimentary parking in the Kingsgate Marriott and Eden Garages. 

May 31, 2017
11:30 a.m. - Registration                                                       12:00 p.m.- Lunch/ Awards
Kingsgate Marriott

To purchase an individual ticket or a corporate table, please visit our Eventbrite page.


Interested in sponsoring this event? Contact us for more information. 


Inclusion in Uptown: Pathways to Highway Construction Careers

The forthcoming  I-71 interchange at Martin Luther King Boulevard in Uptown is already an economic driver for the region, producing new jobs and investments in the urban core. Combining workforce needs from the current construction phase with post-construction development opportunities, the project is expected to have a multimillion dollar ultimate impact.

In addition to serving as master developer for the interchange and surrounding “Uptown Innovation Corridor," Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) plays a leading role in ensuring inclusion is at the heart of the projects. When the interchange and corridor were still in early conception stages, UCI engaged WEB Ventures to serve as professional economic  inclusion consultants for the growing anchor district. As part of a strategic partnership, WEB worked with UCI to outline a cohesive plan for leveraging inclusion opportunities at each phase of development.

The $80 million I-71 interchange development is expected to be completed by summer 2017. Of the 87 workers employed on the job site, 19 are minority contractors training with the "Pathways to Careers in Highway Construction" program.

The $80 million I-71 interchange development is expected to be completed by summer 2017. Of the 87 workers employed on the job site, 19 are minority contractors training with the "Pathways to Careers in Highway Construction" program.

Rather than solely focusing on hiring Uptown residents for temporary labor jobs, UCI and WEB connected local trade unions with skilled service providers – Partners for a Competitive Workforce, Cincinnati Public Schools’ “My Tomorrow” program, United Way, ODOT and various Cincinnati Chamber organizations among them - to create a plan for long-term job creation. According to union officials, this was the first time they’d seen organized trades brought to the table in the formative stages of an inclusion effort.

As a result of these discussions, UCI and WEB created the “Pathways to Careers in Highway Construction” training program. The first-of-its-kind initiative leverages  a variety of existing workforce development programs to ensure minority residents have the skills necessary to transition from on-site training to a full-time trade career. Individuals interested in the four-year program are first connected to service providers and an established apprenticeship program. After receiving a full set of trade tools, they start their training on various job sites where they can earn money while completing the program.

After less than two years, “Pathways to Careers in Highway Construction” has already shown successful results. Of the 87 workers employed on the I-71 interchange job site, 19 are minority contractors training with the program. When these individuals complete their training, they’ll be poised to begin a life-long career with a sustainable income, something that may have been out of reach without this multi-faceted collaboration.

Building in Uptown: Hickory Place Townhomes Success

Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) reached a new milestone in Avondale’s Burnet Avenue revitalization with the complete second phase sale of the Hickory Place Townhomes development.

The eager response to the eight new townhomes was no surprise following the early success of UCI’s initial Hickory Place development. When the first phase of the highly-anticipated Avondale project debuted in 2015, Cincinnati area homes spent an average of 51 days on the market. The first five Hickory Place Townhomes were sold in just 16 days.

Like Phase I, Phase II homes offer a modern, contemporary design and feature:

  • Nearly 1,400 square feet of space
  • 2 or 3-bedroom floor plans
  • 2.5 baths
  • Hardwood floors
  • Private study
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Quartz countertops
  • 2-car tandem garage
  • On-street parking

The average Phase II townhome sale price was above $240,000. The project team included Wichman + Gunther Architects, Northpoint Advisory Services and John Huber Homes. Theresa Alexander and Mark Dehler, with Coldwell Banker West Shell Metro Link office, served as listing agents.

The $5 million housing project was developed by UCI with collaboration from the Avondale Community Council and the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation. Project funders include UCI, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the Uptown Cincinnati Development Fund, as well as UCI member institutions including the University of Cincinnati, UC Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and TriHealth. 

The next Hickory Place development phase is already underway, continuing the exciting expansion of new single-family residences in the historic Avondale community. Phase III townhomes are expected to hit the market by late summer 2017.

Behind the Scenes of NMTCs

$1.39 billion can have quite an impact, especially when it’s invested directly into community development. But where does that kind of money come from? For Uptown Cincinnati, it came in the form of New Market Tax Credits (NMTCs). Since 2004, Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) has been incrementally awarded more than $158 million in NMTCs. Those core tax incentives attracted an additional $129 million in direct investment and $1.39 billion in related investment in Uptown Cincinnati neighborhoods.

In 2016 alone, Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) was awarded $48 million in NMTCs. The NMTC program, started in the 1990s and managed by the U.S. Treasury Department, incentivizes private capital investments in low-income communities by granting tax credits to an individual or company who makes equity investments in Community Development Entities like UCI. The tax credit, which is claimed over seven years, equals 39 percent of a corporation’s original investment.

In 2016, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund awarded NMTCs to:

  • 121 organizations nationwide
  •  8 organizations in Ohio
  • 3 organizations in Cincinnati

If you haven’t noticed the transformative changes, it’s OK. For many of us who enjoy Uptown every day, we’ve gotten used to the characteristic changes associated with a Renaissance. If you aren’t here often, I encourage you to leverage your next trip for a little sightseeing. Next time you drive to UC to catch the Bearcats in action, cheer on FC Cincinnati, visit one of the super-specialists in Cincinnati’s innovative health care hub or tour the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, let me know what catches your eye. (@BethUptown)   

From the Desk of Beth Robinson

Community development is multi-disciplined work. Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI) and our partners must be strategic about immediate and future opportunities and challenges for Uptown Cincinnati’s five core neighborhoods: Avondale, Clifton, Corryville, CUF and Mt. Auburn. An interdisciplinary approach to identifying, reviewing and selecting the best opportunities for Uptown institutions, businesses and residents is the key to this district’s future, which is central to our entire region.

With more than $1 billion in private real estate and $200 million in UCI investments, we face the important challenge of supporting the ecology between small businesses, entrepreneurs and anchor institutions. Part of that support comes in the form of a tried-and-true concept: shop local. Buying local means your money is directly invested in the community, giving you a reason to feel good about an extra shopping splurge. This support provides community sustainability and makes Uptown a more vibrant and attractive location for future businesses, residents and visitors.

To provide Uptown residents, employees and visitors with all our district has to offer, UCI and our partners created

The first of its kind, includes:

More than 300 subscribers already enjoy the significant savings and unique events ambitious Uptown businesses share with our savvy shoppers.

On behalf of the 800 businesses in our five core neighborhoods, I invite you to stop over to to explore all the vibrant shopping, delectable dining and energetic entertainment Uptown has to offer.