Building Cincinnati's Reputation
Last year, the former Tower Place Mall located adjacent to the iconic Carew Tower underwent a redevelopment to be repurposed as Mabley Place, a development anchored by converting the bulk of the former mall into a 775 car parking garage with approximately 8,400 square feet of walkup street facing retail. The majority of the parking spaces are accessible from the former mall entrances on both Fourth and Race streets. The remaining parking spaces will be accessed through the current Carew Tower valet, replacing the area that was the former food court. JDL Warm Construction began demolition in mid-December 2013. The developer Kingsley Wells Enterprises, a partnership formed between Warm and Notre Dame alumnus/former Bengal’s player Chinedum Ndukwe, expected it to be complete by October 1, 2014, and it was.
As one of many redevelopments in downtown Cincinnati there are many benefits of Mabley Place for the continued renaissance of this great city. First and foremost, downtown malls are struggling throughout the country and unlike many places, Cincinnati will not have to shutter the doors and “go dark” with another vacant property. Instead, due to the vision of many people that contributed to making this project a reality, it was repurposed to fulfill a need, a high demand for parking in the downtown area. In addition to bringing parking supply closer to demand, having an income producing property also creates tax revenue that would otherwise not be there. Along those lines it is important to note that unlike many development projects throughout our region and beyond, this project was 100% privately financed.
This project also helped to allow the proposed new garage, apartment tower and grocery store to be developed by Flaherty & Collins where the Pogues Garage currently is. As it stands today there is parking above the former Tower Place Mall, however it can only be accessed via the Pogues Garage and driving over a skywalk above Race Street. Therefore, if Mabley Place were not redeveloped the only options would be to keep the Pogues Garage as is or eliminate the parking above the former mall, thereby rendering that piece of real estate useless. There are countless other intangibles that are great for the city such as the continued support, enthusiasm, and commitment of time and money from the private sector to make this city great for many generations to come!
Many other developments are noteworthy to mention in the renaissance of downtown Cincinnati. Some of which will repurpose the assets for a better use, which is imperative to avoid having a significant amount of vacant buildings. Others are new construction, a great sign given where the economy has been and is today.
Projects that involve repurposing include but certainly are not limited to: The Reserve at Fourth and Race which has completed its conversion from office to apartments, the 580 Building which is currently converting office to apartments, The Bartlett building which is currently converting office to hotel, and of course all the rehabilitation 3CDC has done in Over The Rhine to restore and repurpose the historic buildings as well as the neighborhood as a whole.
New construction projects that have a significant impact are the Dunnhumby headquarters, the apartments at 7th and Broadway, the Banks project, the Horseshoe Casino as well as the proposed Flaherty & Collins development mentioned above and the proposed apartment tower above Fountain Place.
The city’s renaissance has garnered the attention locally for some time, and within the past year or two has also garnered attention nationally. Cincinnati has always been a great place to live and do business. Now the word is getting out there and everyone must do their part to promote it. Growth can and does promote more growth. Developments such as the Horseshoe Casino and the Great American Tower have generated national attention. Businesses such as the Brandery and Cintrifuse along with our staples of P&G, Kroger, Federated and the countless other Fortune 500 Companies are getting national attention This can be proven by events selecting Cincinnati to be their host city, such as last year’s World Choir Games and the announcement of the 2015 Major League Baseball All Star Game.
Cities are just like people, in that they continue to evolve and grow over time. Cincinnati is doing just that in a big way and with the support of the City Administration, the Business Community and each and every individual it will only continue to be a better place to live, work, and play.