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Urban design board OKs new high-rise

Posted: 4:58 PM, Apr 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-07 21:11:26-04
Urban design board OKs new high-rise
Urban design board OKs new high-rise

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Urban Design Review Board had seen enough, and they liked what they saw, for the most part.

The board gave its positive recommendation Thursday to SkyHouse Cincinnati, a proposed 25-story, 352-unit rental tower that would be constructed at the foot of the Purple People Bridge along East Pete Rose Way.

The board, primarily composed of architects, is charged with advising City Manager Harry Black on the “appropriateness and conformity” of private development in the city’s Central Business District.

The developer of SkyHouse Cincinnati, the Novare Group, had to make several changes to its initial plans to satisfy the review board, including the addition of landscaping and masonry to the facade of the parking garage, a dog park, a pocket park along East Pete Rose Way and changing the color of the building glass from green to blue.

“We’ve gotten good feedback from day one up here,” said Todd Anderson, vice president of development with the Novare Group.

The parking garage’s facade will be accented with inset masonry. The garage itself will include bike racks, a bike-repair stand and a dog-washing area. The dog-washing area would feature a washtub and a dryer, Loomis said.

The first floor of the building will include about 3,000 square feet of retail space. Most of the building and its amenities at ground level will be accessible to the public, save for the garage and possibly the dog park, Andersen said.

Rendering of SkyHouse Cincinnati, at center-left

The signature element of the building is the SkyHouse, an enclosed area on the roof of the building that includes a fitness room, club room and a yoga/pilates area. Open areas on the roof to the north and south of the SkyHouse feature a swimming pool, a picnic area and scenic views of the city and Northern Kentucky.

Night lighting along the roof of the building will be able to change colors to celebrate holidays and city events, said Bill Loomis, an architect with Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart.

“We could [theoretically] light it up today for the Reds,” Loomis said.

Passing the design review board is the latest hurdle the project has overcome. The City Planning Commission approved a zoning change on the 2.77 acre property on Friday, April 1, that would allow for the construction of buildings taller than 15 stories high. That change must still be approved by the city council.

Remaining hurdles include getting the plan approved by the city’s Neighborhoods Committee and the city council, and obtaining permitting, including final approval from the City Planning Commission.