Author Topic: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop  (Read 239433 times)

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Offline jmecklenborg

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1330 on: October 20, 2014, 02:11:08 PM »
It's really the worst-possible outcome.  Yet many seem eager to repeat the same mistake elsewhere in the area. 

Btw, I'm assuming you were the one who did that blog post am I right?.  If so, thank you very much for taking those pics back in 2003 as it at the very least shows people what really happened, whenever some developer or community leader associated with the project tries to paint it as just removing ugly fast food restaurants.

Yeah I've actually got more photos than that that I discovered after doing that post.  The most ridiculous sacrifice of all was Inn The Wood, not because it was an outstanding building, but because it was on the corner and very easily could have been built around.  Then there was a strip of buildings facing Adriatico's that was very similar to the ones on the south side of Calhoun where Moe's records and the hookah places are.  That's now a parking lot.  Sure, there are plans to build a hotel there, but this whole project was an example of the city and university going overboard to boost the profits of a large private entity to the detriment of a smaller one.  Again, it's about government helping already rich people get richer to the detriment of small-time landlords.     

Offline neilworms

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1331 on: October 20, 2014, 02:14:56 PM »
It's really the worst-possible outcome.  Yet many seem eager to repeat the same mistake elsewhere in the area. 

Btw, I'm assuming you were the one who did that blog post am I right?.  If so, thank you very much for taking those pics back in 2003 as it at the very least shows people what really happened, whenever some developer or community leader associated with the project tries to paint it as just removing ugly fast food restaurants.

Yeah I've actually got more photos than that that I discovered after doing that post.  The most ridiculous sacrifice of all was Inn The Wood, not because it was an outstanding building, but because it was on the corner and very easily could have been built around.  Then there was a strip of buildings facing Adriatico's that was very similar to the ones on the south side of Calhoun where Moe's records and the hookah places are.  That's now a parking lot.  Sure, there are plans to build a hotel there, but this whole project was an example of the city and university going overboard to boost the profits of a large private entity to the detriment of a smaller one.  Again, it's about government helping already rich people get richer to the detriment of small-time landlords.     


Inn the Wood was also a pretty nice reasonably priced locally run restaurant, which was good for students.  I remember going there and really enjoying it before they closed.  It was upsetting to see locally run stuff like that get pushed away due to this whole plan, and integration into the project was an option but people just put their blinders on to it.

I seem to remember those buildings behind all the hookah places being pretty ornate as well, lots of bay windows and what not, broke my heart when they tore those down as well.  The only building there I didn't care for was the old prime time place, though I have a weird feeling that it might have been a Victorian/Edwardian building that was reclad in the 60s or 70s or was it new construction?
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 02:18:53 PM by neilworms »

Offline taestell

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1332 on: October 20, 2014, 03:18:42 PM »
At least one block of historic buildings was saved (the Urban Outfitters / Myra's / Mole's Records block). I'm worried that they will be in danger in a few years, with a chance of being redeveloped into more generic junk like the rest of Uptown.

Online thebillshark

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1333 on: October 20, 2014, 11:02:56 PM »
If all of these yuppie apartment complexes hadn't been built, some landlords would have been motivated to fully rehab their buildings and the increased UC student population would now be renting homes deeper into Corryville, Mt. Auburn, Avondale near the zoo, and streets along McMicken like Hastings and Tafel.   

I think those neighborhoods (except maybe for Corryville) need stronger connections to campus & Clifton Heights for that to happen.

Take Mt Auburn and the streets around Auburn Ave. for example.  The area feels completely cut off from campus.  This is because McMillan and Taft are high traffic, high speed one way streets that have a moat effect.  Then the University Plaza lot forms another barrier separating it from Corryville.  And there is a steep up and down dip in elevation right around Vine St. to further the effect.  It may not take the Uptown Five https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/70250228/The%20Uptown%20Five%2009302014.pdf to reconnect Mt Auburn; I think there's other things you could do (more pedestrian friendly two way streets, get University Plaza right) to reconnect it.  (I see lots of potential down Auburn Ave around Jackson Hill Park.  I really like the flatiron style currently abandoned building down by the Sycamore St. intersection.)  Strong connections are so important- I think it's telling that now demolished Glencoe-Auburn Place was known as the Glencoe "Hole"- limited access in and out, tucked away in the corner and forgotten.

To go completely off topic you have an analogous situation where Betts-Longworth and the lower West End is cut off from OTR by Central Parkway, the electric substation, and Channel 48 studio/parking garage superblock. Although that area is doing well and has more of a "quiet oasis" feel which I really, really like, it would probably have more buzz and be a candidate for more infill if it were better connected.

Offline jmecklenborg

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1334 on: November 13, 2014, 09:01:12 PM »
I ran across these fall 2005 photos on my photobucket account...here we see the burnt-out carcasses of Inn The Wood, Acropolis Chili, and various fast-food places.  By this time the nice brick row houses had already been demolished.





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Offline northsider

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1335 on: November 14, 2014, 11:03:38 AM »
Man, I'm still irked that Inn The Wood got torn down, what a great old building it was.  It's just a shame they couldn't have built around it.

Offline edale

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1336 on: November 14, 2014, 11:17:37 AM »
^Eh, it looks nice enough from the front, but the side and back views look pretty crappy.  A tall cement block wall fronting the sidewalk is less than ideal.  I still think that U Square is a hands down improvement over what was on the site previously.  If the whole block was buildings that looked like Inn the Wood, that would be another story.  The anger/hostility that some posters here direct at U Square should really be directed at whoever allowed drive-through fast food restaurants to replace the historic buildings that were formerly there.  The current streetscape is undeniably better now than it's been in about two generations.

PS is anything ever going to be done with St. George? The plan to turn it into a hotel has been around for years, but nothing has come of it.  I would love to see its spires replaced, if nothing else.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 11:19:14 AM by edale »

Offline jmicha

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1337 on: November 14, 2014, 11:48:24 AM »
^They did a lot of roof restoration work but then it seemed like all hype died. It's such a great building that needs to be reused in some manner.

Offline JYP

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1338 on: November 14, 2014, 11:48:42 AM »
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.
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Offline JYP

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1339 on: November 14, 2014, 11:56:48 AM »
Here are some more pics from PointyCollars of the townhomes:












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Offline JYP

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1340 on: November 14, 2014, 11:58:52 AM »
I posted the pics above because while I think its not worth it to lament the loss of the fast food restaurants that used to occupy the block and maybe even parts of Inn the Wood, the old townhomes were pretty cool buildings that would have added a lot of character if they were preserved.
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Offline jmicha

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1341 on: November 14, 2014, 12:07:56 PM »
^I definitely think a combination of what was there and what's new would've been a better end product. Keeping the old buildings by Shell but building the western half of U Square would've resulted in a revitalized street without damaging the historic nature of the area and would still provide a nice streetfront along the entire stretch.

Offline Ram23

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1342 on: November 14, 2014, 01:09:20 PM »
A combination of old and new would have definitely been better. I think a lot of people are critical of U Square and UPA because they are just plain old ugly. The streetscape is vibrant and that’s nice, but the buildings are as bland as you can get. Part of the problem is inherent in this “superblock” type development. It’s tough to not have either a bland, monotonous facade like UPA, or a goofy attempt at making one huge building look like several buildings ala The Banks or that thing on Ohio and McMillan.

These places are charging close to $3000 a month for four bedroom apartments, they can afford to step up the game a bit and focus on the design. Anything else and I just feel like the community is getting shortchanged while developers turn massive profits, all while collecting tax incentives.

Offline jmecklenborg

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1343 on: November 14, 2014, 01:23:43 PM »
A combination of old and new would have definitely been better. I think a lot of people are critical of U Square and UPA because they are just plain old ugly. The streetscape is vibrant and that’s nice, but the buildings are as bland as you can get. Part of the problem is inherent in this “superblock” type development. It’s tough to not have either a bland, monotonous facade like UPA, or a goofy attempt at making one huge building look like several buildings ala The Banks or that thing on Ohio and McMillan.

These places are charging close to $3000 a month for four bedroom apartments, they can afford to step up the game a bit and focus on the design. Anything else and I just feel like the community is getting shortchanged while developers turn massive profits, all while collecting tax incentives.


Correct the Bortz's made out huge on this because the site was already prepped and they got big tax breaks.  The previous developer probably lost a lot of money since the thing was held up in court for several years in the middle-2000s and if they sold the development rights 2009-2010 they did so for millions less than what they could have fetched in 2007.   

Also the earliest design wanted underground parking and I'm guessing that the clearing of the entire site was a way to mitigate underground garage costs.  They might have been planning a garage that continued under Hartshorn St. (now gone) and the interruption to that design caused by keeping Inn The Wood would have raised costs if not reduced the number of parking spaces to the point where they couldn't get financing to do what they wanted to do above ground.  For example the Inn The Wood/227 Tavern property might have kept 50 spots per garage deck from being built, in which case it would have forced the entire garage to go deeper in order to compensate for those spots.  Plus that corner property probably (approximately where Alterd State is) earns more per square foot than the Great Clips. 




« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 01:26:33 PM by jmecklenborg »

Offline neilworms

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Re: Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop
« Reply #1344 on: November 14, 2014, 02:54:04 PM »
^Eh, it looks nice enough from the front, but the side and back views look pretty crappy.  A tall cement block wall fronting the sidewalk is less than ideal.  I still think that U Square is a hands down improvement over what was on the site previously.  If the whole block was buildings that looked like Inn the Wood, that would be another story.  The anger/hostility that some posters here direct at U Square should really be directed at whoever allowed drive-through fast food restaurants to replace the historic buildings that were formerly there.  The current streetscape is undeniably better now than it's been in about two generations.

PS is anything ever going to be done with St. George? The plan to turn it into a hotel has been around for years, but nothing has come of it.  I would love to see its spires replaced, if nothing else.

Jake's photos are a bit too late, the anger and hostility is towards the rowhouses which were already torn down when he took those photos - look at what JYP posted via pointy collars to see what I mean.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 02:57:23 PM by neilworms »

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