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Author Topic: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop  (Read 222314 times)

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Offline edale

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1155 on: February 05, 2013, 03:58:29 PM »
I think it's an issue of national retailers looking at demographic information, and basing their decisions off of that rather than UC specifically.  The student population is only there 9 months out of the year, so it would be hard to justify moving into the neighborhood just to serve students.  I think it's good sign that retailers are signing on to this project, even if they aren't stores that I would shop at.  It will be a long, long time before we see a J. Crew opening a store in a neighborhood business district in Cincinnati (possible exception being HP Square).

Offline mcadrenaline

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1156 on: February 06, 2013, 08:17:29 AM »
I heard a little clip on WVXU/NPR this morning about how the plans for the U-Square public space/circle/garden whatever you want to call it did not go over so well in yesterday's (I think) CUF meeting? Anyone know what the concerns were here?

Offline willalbro

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1157 on: February 06, 2013, 09:11:23 AM »
I heard a little clip on WVXU/NPR this morning about how the plans for the U-Square public space/circle/garden whatever you want to call it did not go over so well in yesterday's (I think) CUF meeting? Anyone know what the concerns were here?

I'll know soon enough, and when I do I will post up the info.

Offline TheCOV

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1158 on: February 06, 2013, 02:51:20 PM »
Drove by this development today on both Calhoun and McMillan.  Yikes, is all I can say.  These big continuous buildings just leave me feeling cold.  I don't like it.  There needed to be more variation in the streetwall.   I'm not a fan of these monolithic monster structures.  I'm glad to see this land finally become useful again, but wish it were scaled better.  At least, if it's going to be so large, make the quality of the architecture outstanding.

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1159 on: February 06, 2013, 02:59:06 PM »
It feels totally fake and awkward.

Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1160 on: February 06, 2013, 03:26:29 PM »
I live across the street on Ohio Avenue in the 65 West apartment complex.  The EIFS/brick facade on U Square may not be ideal, but it's vastly superior to the bluish-turquoise portions of facade on 65W.  What was the dude smoking when he picked the color schemes back in 2009/10?

Anyway, the atmosphere in CUF, especially when we've been lucky enough to experience habitable weather outside, is unbelievable.  There is a genuine excitement among UC students/CUF residents who live close enough to the site to see progress on the project each day.  I think all CUF residents are looking for the weather to break this spring, as this will signal the near completion of the project.  While the architecture may be boring, dull and/or unoriginal, it's still extremely exciting to see this site finally being occupied.  When I first came to UC, the site was a field with random areas of tiled floors and gravel that people tailgated on for UC FB games.  I didn't even know there used to be fast food restaurants and retail between McMillan and Calhoun until last week..... 

So compared to that empty field, I am more than thrilled with U Square.
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Offline natininja

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1161 on: February 06, 2013, 03:41:52 PM »
65W may be the worst example of urban construction in the city. (By "urban" I basically mean abutting the sidewalk.)
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Offline neilworms

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1162 on: February 06, 2013, 03:50:17 PM »
Quote
While the architecture may be boring, dull and/or unoriginal, it's still extremely exciting to see this site finally being occupied.  When I first came to UC, the site was a field with random areas of tiled floors and gravel that people tailgated on for UC FB games.  I didn't even know there used to be fast food restaurants and retail between McMillan and Calhoun until last week..... 

Look earlier in this thread I believe, and you'll find some pics of some of the cooler historic buildings that were lost - not everything was fast food, though the pr campaign made it sound that way.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 03:52:13 PM by neilworms »

Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1163 on: February 06, 2013, 04:24:15 PM »
65W may be the worst example of urban construction in the city. (By "urban" I basically mean abutting the sidewalk.)

It actually wouldn't be terrible if people would actually go out on their balconies facing the street.  The balconies inside 65W always have activity, but I've never seen anyone on the balconies facing the streets.  Maybe this is because all of the units facing the streets are single units....

But I think the intention is to give Ohio Ave. a residential feel, meaning no storefronts just outdoor balconies and new streetscapes.  Plus the hill running along 65W on the McMillan side makes storefront pretty difficult to achieve.

Quote
While the architecture may be boring, dull and/or unoriginal, it's still extremely exciting to see this site finally being occupied.  When I first came to UC, the site was a field with random areas of tiled floors and gravel that people tailgated on for UC FB games.  I didn't even know there used to be fast food restaurants and retail between McMillan and Calhoun until last week..... 

Look earlier in this thread I believe, and you'll find some pics of some of the cooler historic buildings that were lost - not everything was fast food, though the pr campaign made it sound that way.

The only building I've seen is the Friar's Club, which I understand would have been very challenging to rehab and was worse than 65W in terms of abutting to the sidewalk.  I liked the landscaping, but the clubhouse at 65W also has a public gathering space with a garage door opening that was pretty sweet to pregame UC games with neighbors. 

Not all classic buildings are being targeted for demo.  Like the Urban Outfitters/Verizon across from Shell.  But some of these classic buildings are taking up space, like Old St. George Church and the school next to it.  Is that hotel ever going to happen? Anyway, not saying tear them down, just do something with them.

The bottom line is these new developments are providing better places for people to live, bringing new retail to the area, and adding parking.  It's also amazing how much more walkable Calhoun St. already is and McMillan St. will be this spring.  Complete change from my freshman year when walking from Siddall to "Stab n Grab" (Stop n Go) was sketchy.
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Offline neilworms

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1164 on: February 06, 2013, 04:33:49 PM »
This is what the area looked like when I first went to college: http://cincinnatimonocle.blogspot.com/2012/01/photos-of-calhoun-st-and-mcmillan-st-in.html

There was a lot of fast food junk and the Prime Time building at on vine was a monstrosity from the 1970s, but the rest of the buildings were really nice if not in the best of shape - the kinds of buildings one would only really find in a handful of cities in this country.  Seeing that being a grassy field for 10 years was really frustrating, developers should have their finances in order before they are allowed to tear down existing structures.

The new stuff is consistently ugly, but if it was blended in a little more it would be nicer.  Refering back to the CUF thread, the development on McMillian at W Clifton should be handled that way.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 04:37:30 PM by neilworms »

Offline ProkNo5

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1165 on: February 06, 2013, 04:34:05 PM »
^^^as much as 65 West makes me want to puke...I kind of agree with el double u on these new developments in Corryville and CUF.  They're the right scale and they'll prove to be great nodes of energy within the neighborhood.  Hopefully, we'll get a developer who will see the development and try to one up it with quality architecture.  Until then...this is progess.
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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1166 on: February 06, 2013, 04:45:50 PM »
I have another photo somewhere of the building closest to the Shell station.  It was the only building of that style in the city, maybe more of a St. Louis style apartment:


So what you're looking at here is now the space for the hotel and the east parking garage.

Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1167 on: February 06, 2013, 05:18:00 PM »
^^^as much as 65 West makes me want to puke...I kind of agree with el double u on these new developments in Corryville and CUF.  They're the right scale and they'll prove to be great nodes of energy within the neighborhood.  Hopefully, we'll get a developer who will see the development and try to one up it with quality architecture.  Until then...this is progess.

Maybe as current projects progress it will encourage developers to spend more money on future projects like the one on McMillan at W Clifton?  Or maybe give better developers an incentive to bid on projects in the area?  I guess here's to hoping, right?
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Offline wholtone

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1168 on: February 06, 2013, 07:36:00 PM »
I'm not too worried about U Square. I think it looks fine, not great at this point, but it will be successful, which is ultimately what matters. I know some people hate it, but every building project has had its critics, including great buildings like the Eiffel Tower and the Parthenon. I admit the parking garage by Shell doesn't look too hot thus far, but I'll wait until its complete before giving it my final verdict.

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Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1169 on: February 07, 2013, 09:17:33 AM »
Does anyone know anything about plans for the site at the corner of McMillan and Vine across the street from CVS?
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Offline CincyGuy45202

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1170 on: February 07, 2013, 09:31:29 AM »
It is a future phase of U Square.


Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1171 on: February 07, 2013, 09:41:43 AM »
It is a future phase of U Square.

Future as in Phase II? Anywhere you can find a breakdown of each phase of U Square? 

I haven't seen that rendering before, but it looks really cool.  Can't imagine how congested that intersection will be during construction.
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Offline Yves Behar

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1172 on: February 07, 2013, 09:36:46 PM »
I feel like that park space is pretty superfluous and won't see a lot of use with the park across the street and the fact that Vine is busy and noisy. And who would want to sit and look at the CVS??

Offline jmicha

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1173 on: February 07, 2013, 09:59:05 PM »
^I really wish that that park, as well as the one across the street would be developed. They're awful places that nobody is ever going to spend time in, so why even have them?

Also, I'm hoping in time that the CVS spot is redeveloped to continue the urban feeling of the space between Calhoun (Taft) and McMillan. A longer pedestrian mixed use corridor would be awesome and there are already some larger scale residential buildings further east.

Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1174 on: February 13, 2013, 11:37:41 AM »
Does anyone know anything about the planned hotel at USquare? Is there a timetable for construction to start or are the developers waiting to find the right partner?
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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1175 on: February 13, 2013, 01:12:32 PM »
Yuck, more useless greenspace buffer on what should be the the premier"welcome to UC" corner.  Also note that the McMillan side of the building is garage at ground level, so expect blank walls or views of cars, lovely. 

Offline jmicha

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1176 on: February 13, 2013, 01:25:44 PM »
^I wonder if there is any chance of that greenspace being swapped out for more development as the next phase happens. It seems like such a huge waste to put another useless little park there. That whole section, as in ALL sides of that intersection, needs a TON of help.  It's such an awful entrance to the campus area. It's kind of insulting that there isn't more of a push to make it a significant gateway to the university area.

Online jjakucyk

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1177 on: February 13, 2013, 01:35:30 PM »
I'll admit it's difficult to envision a development that embraces the sidewalk when the street is a traffic sewer, the natural response is to retreat behind a buffer, but with pedestrian activity being as much as it is here, it's criminal not to work with that.  The potential here is much better than at Vine/MLK or even Clifton/MLK.  It really isn't all that different from Clifton/McMillan/Calhoun a half mile west, aside from the topography, and that's a bustling area despite all the traffic.  There's some good fabric on the south side of the Vine/McMillan intersection to respond too here, especially since they finally gave the Mad Frog building a decent paint job.  Seriously, it's not that difficult to be contextual even with modern architecture.  I'm just flabbergasted that no architects seem to know how to deal properly with corners anymore.  All these developments retreat from the corners leaving unresolved useless space and making the project look unfinished, when it's a marvelous opportunity to punctuate the design and really go all-out on making it cool.  Sad really.

Offline neilworms

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1178 on: February 13, 2013, 02:03:51 PM »
Quote
I'm just flabbergasted that no architects seem to know how to deal properly with corners anymore.  All these developments retreat from the corners leaving unresolved useless space and making the project look unfinished, when it's a marvelous opportunity to punctuate the design and really go all-out on making it cool.

It makes you even more frustrated when you see buildings only 100 miles away that look like they belong more in Cincy than the garbage being built around the university - here's one in short north and *gasp* the architect understands the building is on a corner and references the best architecture in that neighborhood - http://www.columbusunderground.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/construction-september-2012-34.jpg

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1179 on: February 13, 2013, 10:12:15 PM »
>I'm just flabbergasted that no architects seem to know how to deal properly with corners anymore.

I have this hunch that it's all sales-driven.  The architects who are the best salesmen are getting the gigs, an basically nobody is both an academic and a salesman. 

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1180 on: February 13, 2013, 10:24:54 PM »
Part of it is also the starchitect mentality, that buildings need to be an art object set away from everything else so they can be properly viewed "in the round."  The site itself and surrounding context are things to be ignored and pushed as far away as possible, leading to unresolved and useless green spaces and parking decks as platforms to elevate the building above the "uncooperative" site.  Any time a project is represented by an aerial view you have to be very suspicious, because it's being depicted as an art object, disconnected from and completely unresponsive to pedestrians and the surrounding environment. 

Offline el double u

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1181 on: February 14, 2013, 11:55:41 AM »
I'm not sure if anyone has walked the site lately, but I think U Square fits into the neighborhood pretty well on the Calhoun side with UPA right across the street.  The McMillan side kind of has a dominating feeling because of the surface lots on the south side of McMillan.  Projects like the one at the corner of McMillan and West Clifton should ease that feeling, if they come to fruition.  Also, there are other possibilities to create a sort of transition zone into the old housing stock on that side of the street. 

Sites like Pomodori's Pizza, Stab 'N Grab (Stop 'N Go), and the Adriatico's parking lot all provide opportunities for development in the future. 
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Offline GCrites80s

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1182 on: February 14, 2013, 01:01:57 PM »
Part of it is also the starchitect mentality, that buildings need to be an art object set away from everything else so they can be properly viewed "in the round."  The site itself and surrounding context are things to be ignored and pushed as far away as possible, leading to unresolved and useless green spaces and parking decks as platforms to elevate the building above the "uncooperative" site.  Any time a project is represented by an aerial view you have to be very suspicious, because it's being depicted as an art object, disconnected from and completely unresponsive to pedestrians and the surrounding environment. 

And every building needs a yard just like a house!

Offline GCrites80s

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1183 on: February 14, 2013, 01:21:05 PM »
The architects who are the best salesmen are getting the gigs, an basically nobody is both an academic and a salesman. 

Nope, and it's certainly not a pleasant career transition. Unfortunately, the demand for salesmen is much greater.

Offline Yves Behar

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1184 on: February 14, 2013, 02:14:52 PM »
Part of it is also the starchitect mentality, that buildings need to be an art object set away from everything else so they can be properly viewed "in the round."  The site itself and surrounding context are things to be ignored and pushed as far away as possible, leading to unresolved and useless green spaces and parking decks as platforms to elevate the building above the "uncooperative" site.  Any time a project is represented by an aerial view you have to be very suspicious, because it's being depicted as an art object, disconnected from and completely unresponsive to pedestrians and the surrounding environment.

I've been saying this for a while. I saw so many student architecture projects and a lot of them were often very monumental and isolated from their surrounding infrastructure. I think it's absurd, and I feel there should be a more humble approach to designing within the context of an urban environment, there needs to be some structure and cooperation. Look at the new casino for example, not only does it completely buck the style of any of the surrounding neighborhoods with it's Las Vegas adobe desert bs, and it's lack of ornamentation. But also, it's arbitrarily set back from the street, unlike anything else in the area.

Offline natininja

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1185 on: February 14, 2013, 04:06:50 PM »
The architects who are the best salesmen are getting the gigs, an basically nobody is both an academic and a salesman. 

Nope, and it's certainly not a pleasant career transition. Unfortunately, the demand for salesmen is much greater.

Maybe you could open up a new branch of you store at U Square, reconciling your academic days with your post-grad salesman status. ;)
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Offline GCrites80s

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1186 on: February 14, 2013, 05:06:44 PM »
You wouldn't think it, but college campuses are actually not good places for game stores. People have tried many times, including a bare minimum of the three independents that I know of for sure at gigantor tOSU. These were started by experienced, otherwise successful businesspeople with other well-performing game stores. Rent's high on college campuses and you lose out on Christmas and the sizzling summertime months among other things. And those big boxes full of good trade-ins in people's basements are mostly in the 'burbs. You might see GameStop on a campus but they've got all those other locations to feed them stock.

Offline Living in Gin

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1187 on: February 14, 2013, 05:29:38 PM »
This has nothing to do with "starchitect" mentality; quite the opposite. There are maybe fifty architects worldwide who legitimately fall into the category of "starchitect", and none of them are involved in either the U Square or casino projects. These projects are horrible because the developers wanted something that could be built cheaply and turn a quick profit, and they hired architects of mediocre talent who would roll over and give them exactly what they wanted, regardless of any detriment to the urban context. Architects have a legal and ethical responsibility to create projects that benefit the public good, but some architects take that responsibility more seriously than others. A few can get away with abandoning that responsibility because of the sheer power of their egos, but most get away with it simply because they don't give a damn as long as they're getting paid.

I know it's fashionable to bash architects here on UO, and the architects of these projects certainly deserve it, but please make sure you're bashing them for the right reasons.
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Offline natininja

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1188 on: February 14, 2013, 05:30:49 PM »
^^ Hmm, interesting. Hadn't thought of that.

There actually is a GameStop in UPA, across Calhoun from U Square. Apart from the reasons you listed, that would be another reason an indie would really struggle in the area.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 05:31:07 PM by natininja »
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Offline TheHemroid

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1189 on: February 14, 2013, 06:06:54 PM »
There's always a fear of looking too different.  The same thing happens in car design.  Companies just copy off of eachother.  At U-Square, the architects played it safe and looked at The Banks and probably thought, hey let's save time and money and just make them similar.  The other problem is that in the design world, art directors are wimps.  They don;t know when to say NO.  So what happens is you get architecture input from a marketer, an intern, a secretary, a treasurer, and the janitor.  It becomes a clusterf$!k of ideas.  Just look at the Pontiac Aztec;)