It can be nearly impossible for developers renovating historic buildings in Over-the-Rhine to anticipate every curve ball the neighborhood could throw at them.
For Hyde Park-based Grandin Properties, the latest curve ball came in the form of The Golden Muse. The muse is a mural on the west wall of a building at 28 W. 13th St., one of two structures that Grandin is renovating and joining to create an 11-unit apartment development called Park West.
Grandin CEO Peg Wyant knew the mural was there, of course. It’s impossible to miss. The golden lady covers the entire wall of the four-story structure, which sits across from the newly renovated Washington Park. It was created by the nonprofit ArtWorks as part of the Taft Museum of Art’s 80th anniversary celebration in 2012.
But it wasn’t until the day that construction crews were about to start removing bricks from the west wall of that building to install new windows that Wyant and project manager Peter Frey realized the impact that work would have on the muse.
“We realized the top window would go right in the middle of her face,” Wyant said. “I called (ArtWorks CEO) Tamara Harkavy and said, ‘We have a triple red mural emergency alert!’”
Before Wyant even heard back from Harkavy, she decided she “couldn’t do that,” she said. She couldn’t be the person responsible for punching holes into The Golden Muse to make her apartments more marketable. The mural, she decided, was too important.
“Not all developers would have pulled back,” she said. "It was a good thing we were here. It sort of speaks to the importance of being here every day in some way."
To give the public a better idea of what it takes to bring a historic building back to life, Grandin has given WCPO exclusive access to the Park West project from start to finish to document the work involved.
WCPO published the “before” story on March 9, a couple weeks after touring the properties for the first time. Part two was published after a tour March 19, about three weeks after initial demolition had begun inside the buildings. The third installment of the series was based on a tour taken April 16.
These pictures were taken during a tour May 21.
Much of the current work on the development is focused on an addition onto the rear of the building at 28 W. 13th St. The extra space will accommodate bedrooms for the apartments, and each of the units on that side of the development also will have a deck.
Insiders can see more photos from the May 21 tour and read more about Wyant's long-term hopes for The Golden Muse.