Look Who’s Talking: the Voices of Local Leaders

Under the leadership of Mary Beth McGrew, University of Cincinnati architect and senior associate vice president of planning, design and construction, Uptown recently won the bid for NIOSH site selection. 

Occasionally we ask local influencers their thoughts on issues affecting Uptown and the region. We asked David Adams, William Ball, M.D., Jill Meyer and Patricia Milton to send us their thoughts on the NIOSH decision to locate in the Uptown Innovation Corridor.                    And they said...

From: David J Adams
Chief Innovation Officer
CEO, UC Research Institute

"UC's role in attracting NIOSH to Uptown is yet another example of how the Innovation Corridor fits perfectly in our region’s only anchor district.  
My work at UCRI links the world’s leading companies with our world-class students and forward-thinking, specialized experts of more than 100 University of Cincinnati labs, colleges and clusters. From here in the 1819 Innovation Hub, the future looks even brighter knowing NIOSH is joining the Corridor’s solutions community.” 

 

From: William S. Ball, M.D.
Senior Vice-President for Health Affairs
Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of Medicine
Professor Radiology, Biomedical Engineering and Pediatrics

“Scientists at NIOSH want to be near advanced collaborating scientists at the University of Cincinnati. A majority of the region’s most sophisticated, pioneering research takes place in Uptown, and NIOSH is making the efficient choice—the advantage of being within walking distance of the people with whom they collaborate. I believe  that contributed substantially to their decision. And, of course, now this makes the Uptown Innovation Corridor all the more attractive to future collaborators in forward-thinking companies who want the same advantage.”

 

From: Jill P. Meyer
President and CEO  
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

“The Cincinnati Chamber applauds the Government Services Administration’s decision to strategically position NIOSH in Cincinnati's Innovation Corridor and thank our regional congressional delegation for its work to make it reality. As global companies support research and investigative work in Uptown Cincinnati, they will appreciate the growth in bright and diverse talent accessible near the 1-71 and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive crossroads. Our businesses and their employees realize the importance of working where inclusion is a neighborhood principle.”

 

From: Patricia Milton
President
Avondale Community Council

“Avondale is a legacy community with a rich history of working families. NIOSH has a legacy and mandate to provide excellent research and the promotion of safe and healthy workers and working conditions. We look forward to getting to know more about the development project as it comes to fruition.  We encourage NIOSH workers to live, work, and volunteer in Avondale as integral neighbors working to make Avondale a neighborhood of choice.”

City Planning Commission on Development Done Right

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High praise from city officials greeted Terrex Development and Messer Construction as they presented a thoughtful, economically inclusive plan to develop the southeast quadrant of Reading Road and East Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a project they’ve planned in close collaboration with the Uptown Consortium. As a result, at the August 18 planning commission meeting, commissioners approved a measure to rezone the area of land for use as a planned development.

Developers Terrex and Messer presented to the commission their preferred developer agreement (PDA), which is a cornerstone of corridor planning and an essential step in strategically planning a city’s limited space. As part of the presentation, developers additionally shared their economic inclusion plans which outlined strategies to ensure the new development works for the community, not against it.

Messer and Terrex shared their goal to have at least 25 percent minority-owned businesses and six percent women-owned businesses in the corridor, along with a workforce of at least 12 percent minority groups and at least three percent women. 

The developers plan to use the land, which the city agreed to sell earlier in the summer, for a mixed-use project that will include a hotel with ground-floor retail and three office buildings with a combined 450,000 square feet of office space.

A city only has so much space, and good city planning helps make the best use of the space within a city’s limits while respecting the growing needs of a diverse population. The Messer and Terrex project is an example of responsible development, a sentiment echoed by City of Cincinnati Planning Commission President Daniel Driehaus who, in addition to praising the developers for “doing things right,” said that he looked forward to seeing the project completed. 

Uptown Consortium and HOC Drive Up Down Payment Incentive

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Uptown Consortium and the Homeownership Center of Greater Cincinnati’s (HOC) Down Payment Assistance Program is receiving a facelift entering its second year. The new “2to4K Uptown Incentive” program launches Monday, October 2, and offers $2,000 to $4,000 forgivable loans to first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in the five Uptown Cincinnati neighborhoods—Avondale, Clifton, Corryville, Clifton Heights/University Heights/Fairview Heights (CUF) and Mt. Auburn.

Based on homebuyer trends and feedback from the real estate community during the pilot program, Uptown Consortium and HOC adjusted the grants to meet the needs of homebuyers of varying income levels. The program is designed to encourage homeownership in the Uptown neighborhoods and create opportunities for first-time homebuyers to explore each of the amenities and resources that Uptown has to offer.

How it works: Turnkey process

For individuals and families to access the “2to4k Uptown Incentive” program, a real estate professional must apply in their name. Uptown Consortium is raising awareness of the program among local real estate professionals, so they can offer information to – and potentially apply for – their clients considering an Uptown home.

The previous program launched in late 2016 and provided 50 fixed $1,500 forgivable loans to first-time homebuyers. Although applicant income did not limit incentive eligibility, Uptown Consortium and HOC learned that the $1,500 fixed rate lessened its attractiveness among lower-income prospects. The new “2to4k Uptown Incentive” program offers larger loans on a sliding scale, with dollar amount determined on a case-by-case basis.

Who qualifies: High income, low income and everyone in-between

All first-time homebuyers and buyers who have not owned a house in Cincinnati in the past three years qualify for the “2to4k Uptown Incentive” program. To be eligible for the program, there are two other qualifications—buyers must complete HOC’s homebuying training session online or in person and they must owner-occupy the house for at least five years. 

Income is not a qualification—any home buyer can participate, whether they’re purchasing the most expensive or the most affordable home in Uptown. The grant can be applied to down payments, closing costs and out-of-pocket costs.

For more information on the “2to4k Uptown Incentive” program, click here.

 

Another Research Rockstar Comes to Uptown

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Joseph Cheng, MD, professor and vice chair of neurosurgery at the Yale School of Medicine recently joined the University of Cincinnati as  professor and chair of the UC College of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Cheng leads all neurosurgery activities in the College of Medicine and at UC Health.

"We are thrilled to be able to attract a surgeon of the caliber and national reputation of Dr. Cheng. He is an extraordinary neurosurgical clinician and researcher, respected educator and a true leader in his field,” says William Ball, MD, UC senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the UC College of Medicine.

Cheng is working to grow an academic neurosurgery program that is fully integrated within the UC College of Medicine and UC Health. He also leads efforts to enhance postgraduate education, is exploring the future of neurosurgery through research and as a clinical department of the College of Medicine, is growing clinical interactions between neurosurgery and other neuroscience-related departments, including neurology and rehabilitation medicine, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience, emergency medicine and internal medicine. His programmatic priorities for the Department of Neurosurgery are built around five key areas: neurotrauma, cerebrovascular neurosurgery, adult brain tumor surgery, functional neurosurgery and complex spinal disease.

"Dr. Cheng is an extremely important addition to the team that will lead the growth and continued maturation of our neurosciences programs,” adds Richard Lofgren, MD, president and chief executive officer at UC Health. "He has built a great reputation as an expert in complex spinal surgery, and he is recognized nationally for his neurosurgery outcomes research which has led to improved patient care. He also has played an important role in guiding national health policy. We are very fortunate to have him here in the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region.”

"Neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati and the city began in 1920 with the appointment of Dr. George Heuer, student of Drs. Harvey Cushing and William Halsted of Johns Hopkins. A general surgeon, Dr. Heuer initiated a tradition of education, scholarship and practice of neurosurgery that was continued, in 1937, at UC by Drs. Joe Evans of Montreal and in the community by Dr. Frank Mayfield of Virginia. Both leaders were dedicated to the collaborative practice of healing, education and research that was focused on the community and university,” says John Tew Jr., MD, professor and former chair of the UC Department of Neurosurgery and co-founder and former director of the then UC Neuroscience Institute, a forerunner of the now UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute. "Now in 2017, nearly 100 years later, the tradition of integration and collaboration will continue and be nurtured with the appointment of Dr. Joseph Cheng, a teacher, healer and researcher who will join the UC Department of Neurosurgery as the Frank H. Mayfield Chair of Neurological Surgery. Dr. Cheng is cut from the molds of Drs. Heuer, Evans and Mayfield, and will, I am convinced, continue to lead the advance of neurological care, education and research in this university and community."

Cheng joins a UC College of Medicine and UC Health neuroscience program that will soon see the construction on a new facility housing the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, 223 Piedmont Ave., which is scheduled to open in 2019.

This story originally appeared in UC Academic Health Center: Health News.

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.

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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.

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

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