Uptown's Projects to Watch: It's All in the Details

Few areas experienced the type of milestone moments like Uptown did this past year. From the opening of the new MLK interchange to the unveiling of the unprecedented Uptown Innovation Corridor, the five neighborhoods of Uptown created transformative events.

It’s no surprise that our development partners are working their site plan strategies, while around Uptown, 2018 is already marking more ground-breaking research, job creation, inclusion initiatives and collaborations. Those who follow activity in Uptown are interested in both economic potential and the historic importance of the area. Check out both types of details through behind-the-scenes information about these efforts to watch throughout this year:

Terrex/Messer’s Uptown Gateway at Southwest Quad of Reading and Martin Luther King:

Uptown Gateway is the first large-scale joint venture between Terrex and Messer. Aligned with Uptown Consortium’s vision, the Terrex/Messer team has integrated into their planning inclusion and minority-driven results. Throughout Uptown Gateway’s development process, Terrex/Messer is designing opportunities for minority-owned businesses and contractors, sharing ownership in everything from engineering and construction services, to investment and workforce opportunities.

Photo courtesy of Terrex/Messer.

Photo courtesy of Terrex/Messer.

MLK Investors I mix-used development at Northeast Quad of Reading and Martin Luther King:

This planned development will include a mix of commercial, hospitality and residential uses. Site planning and design work is underway on the first phase of this multi-phased development. The site is advantageously situated with visibility and access from the new ramp. The development team plans to use the site’s unique (or challenging) elevation grade changes to their advantage.

University of Cincinnati’s Gardner Neuroscience Institute (UCGNI):

On Martin Luther King Jr. Drive East between Eden and Bellevue avenues, the $60.5 million project is underway, and based in part on some unique research. UC leadership and architects from Perkins+Will met numerous times with patients and their families to gather insight to create a patient-focused facility that aids in the [JH1] healing process. While it’s not unusual to gather patient research, meeting with families is an enviable strategy for healthcare facility design, and likely a model for similar projects.

North American Properties’ (NAP) One41:

This $35 million, 60-unit apartment building renovation at 2309 Auburn Ave will rent from between $1.70 and $1.80/square foot. Before purchasing the property, NAP learned that the site held an orphanage from the 1800s through the 1920s. Specialists will be brought in to clean and restore the original iron fence, stone wall and stone entrance pillars. Many of the natural elements and colors that embody the stone quarry adjacent to Inwood Park will be reflected in the building’s interior design.

North American Properties’ Highland Park:

Within the One41 development (see above) Highland Park will feature ten single-family units and a house with garages (which are unique in a dense urban environment). Additionally, rooftop decks will add to the properties’ value with views to the east and the south. Each home will sell for between $325,000 and $400,000.

Avondale Town Center:

This long-awaited redevelopment of the Town Center at 3635 Reading Road is part of Reading Road Corridor’s multiphase transformation. More than 30 percent of the 80,000 square foot, $50+ million construction spend will be invested with minority-owned businesses.

1819 Innovation Hub:

Originally opened in 1929 at 2900 Reading Road, this 133,000 square foot building was home to Cincinnati’s first Sears, Roebuck and Co. store, and was the first large department store outside the downtown area. It was among the initial wave of Sears stores after the Chicago-based company opened its first large retail site in 1925 and was designed by Chicago architectural firm Nimmons, Carr & Wright. Many of the original architectural elements are being maintained while marrying futuristic elements that will house UC Research Institutes’ rigorous R&D.

Avondale Community Council Building:

The Avondale Community Council rescued this former Golden Age Nursing home building at 3635 Reading Road, which stood empty in blight and disrepair for several years. The $1.6 million building renovation was completed in October 2017. This year, the second phase of the renovation will include completion of the commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs.

University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena:

More than 40 subcontractors are involved throughout the $87 million Fifth Third Arena renovation, and the project hosts an average of 150+ workers on site daily. More than 1,500 square feet of the original wood floor has been salvaged for reuse in the project, and 450 tons of existing stone roof ballast was removed and recycled to make way for the new roof.

Walnut Hills The Central Trust Bank Building:

While not technically a member neighborhood of the Uptown Consortium, we applaud our neighbors at the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and their work at DeSales Corner in East Walnut Hills. The Central Trust Bank Building transformation at 1535 Madison Road employs a Walnut Hills-based company, Valley Interiors, LLC, to restore the building’s historic plaster art deco ceiling and light fixtures. Experts have built replica molds to cast new plaster ceiling tiles and wall sconces to restore the interior plaster components to the original style and condition. The building was built in the 1920s, but hasn’t been occupied since the 1960s, so the restoration is time, material and labor intensive, but certainly worth the investment.