Beyond Union Terminal and Music Hall: A lower budget preservation battle rages in Over-the-Rhine

Expert: 'It's a flawed system'

As some of the region's most influential business leaders fight to preserve two of the city's most iconic historic structures, a quieter battle is underway to save a vacant storefront in Over-the-Rhine.

In August, Cincinnati's Historic Conservation Board will be asked to decide whether the old Davis Furniture property on Main Street – made up of two, connected buildings – can be demolished.

It's tough to compare the cavernous old store to Union Terminal and Music Hall – the two historic structures that business titans have rallied to support. But preservation advocates argue demolition of the Davis Furniture building at 1119 and 1123 Main St. would destroy an important gateway from the central business district to historic Over-the-Rhine.

"I don't think anybody would argue that the Davis Furniture building itself is an architectural wonder," said Tim Mara, a lawyer representing the Over-the-Rhine Foundation, which wants the structure saved. "The bottom line here is what makes Cincinnati what it is, in large respect, is its old buildings. The Davis Furniture building is important because it's part of a set of buildings – as opposed to Union Terminal and Music Hall, which are important unto themselves."

The owners of the building agree, said Scott Stough, marketing director of The Stough Group, which bought the property at sheriff's auction last year.

"If someone could redo the building in a reasonable amount of time, we encourage it," Stough said. "We want to work with the community and give the building a fair chance of being saved."

But like so many issues in historic Over-the-Rhine, it's complicated.

WCPO Insiders can read what the fight is all about.


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