Demolition permit filed for Christy's and Lenhardt's building near UC

Neighbors want city to designate building historic

CINCINNATI - The clock is ticking for the 19th century building that houses Christy’s and Lenhardt’s in Clifton Heights.

A demolition permit dated March 1 seeks permission from the city of Cincinnati to raze the popular restaurant and bar near University of Cincinnati’s campus.

Developers from Gilbane Development Co. of Providence, R.I., and Optimus LLC from St. Louis want to buy the property and build a multi-level student-housing development on the site.

At a meeting in February, neighborhood residents asked developers if the 132-year-old building could be saved as part of the project. But developers said then that they didn’t think that would work.

Before the CUF Neighborhood Association met with the developers, however, the group already had filed an application with the city to seek historic designation for the building.

The restaurant at Christy’s and Lenhardt’s is closed, but the bar and beer garden are open under new management.

WCPO Digital first reported on the story Feb. 6.

The William Windholtz Trust owns the building. Members of the Windholtz family could not be immediately reached, but the permit indicates Newtown-based Evans Landscaping has been hired to do the demolition work.

Still, it will be weeks or months before demolition could start – if it ever starts at all.

City ordinances prohibit demolition of a structure while a request for historic designation is being processed. A city official confirmed that the city has placed a hold on all permits related to the building until April 1, and that hold could be extended.

Historic designation requests must be reviewed by the city Historic Conservation Board, which then makes a recommendation to the Cincinnati Planning Commission.

Once the planning commission reviews the request, that group must make a recommendation to Cincinnati City Council. That recommendation would be reviewed first by council’s Livable Communities Committee and then by council as a whole.

The city must give two weeks notice before each of those meetings, according to the city’s codes, which means it could be months before a decision is made. And if the designation is approved, that makes it much more difficult for a building owner to have the property razed.



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