CINCINNATI -- Two mid-rise condo towers could be in store for Downtown's Main Street Historic District if the city's Historic Conservation Board signs off on demolishing a 140-year-old building.
Greiwe Development and Terrex want to put between 30 and 34 condominiums in the 13- and 14-story towers flanking the north- and southwest corners of Main at Eighth Street.
Developer Rick Greiwe said they focused on the location because of its walkability to offices, restaurants and entertainment, and because it’s between the northbound and southbound streetcar tracks. The developers also believe that area of Downtown has the potential for a much larger population than is there now, he said.
The northwest corner currently has a surface parking lot, while the southwest corner is home to a six-story building, originally built as a warehouse but largely vacant for 30 years other than a Donato's pizzeria on the first floor. The southwest corner also has a two-story annex built later.
And, the developer argued in documents submitted to the city, “sales on the northwest parking lot site will be very difficult with a rundown property across the street."
The six-story former warehouse suffers from structural issues, roof and water damage, settlement and failure of its masonry walls and deteriorated windows.
John Schneider, a member of the city's Planning Commission who lives across the street and has been a champion of the streetcar project, said in a letter he agreed the building simply needs to come down. Schneider said he thought about redeveloping the property in 2013, but after touring and photographing the property, he realized "the 'bones' of 719 Main make its restoration impossible - not just uneconomic, but impossible."
Greiwe and Terrex are waiting on conditional approval from the HCB before closing on the property; then, when they apply for a building permit, they'd ask for a final demolition permit.
Tom Rowe of Terrex emphasized that the project is still in the very early stages of development.
The project's total cost for both towers is estimated at $60 million. The developers expect empty-nesters and young professionals to be the target buyers.