Historic Hudepohl smokestack will be demolished this fall, after Port learns repairs would cost $1M

Historic Hudepohl smokestack will be demolished this fall, after Port learns repairs would cost $1M
Posted at 10:39 AM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-29 10:12:23-04

CINCINNATI - The historic Hudepohl smokestack will be demolished this fall, despite Cincinnati City Council members' attempts to save this iconic part of the city’s skyline.

Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority hired a chimney expert to see if the historic smokestack could be saved and repaired, while the rest of the crumbling Hudepohl Brewery in Queensgate was demolished to ready the site for future development.

But the Port discovered the cost to repair the smokestack would be nearly $1 million.

“I want to inform you that we will move ahead toward demolition this fall,” Laura Brunner, Port president and CEO, wrote in an email to council members on July 19.

“Unfortunately … the costs associated with salvaging the smokestack make it economically unfeasible to preserve,” Brunner wrote. “At minimum, the cost to partially demolish and restore the smokestack is $985,400, not including any added expense of protecting the smokestack during demolition.”

City Council approved spending $2 million on the brewery demolition at a March 29 meeting, but asked the Port to investigate whether it could save the beloved smokestack.

“If you get to a point in the demolition where you think its not going to be able to be saved, come back to us first,” Councilman Chris Seelbach said at the meeting. “This doesn’t guarantee that it will be saved. The city’s not going to pay, I don’t think, for it to be saved.”

The Port hired International Chimney Corporation to prepare an inspection and structural analysis of the smokestack. 

Their report listed several expensive repairs:

  • Immediate need to demolish the upper 40-45 feet of chimney due to failing mortar joints and safety concerns ($96,000)
  • Immediate need to replace lightning mitigation system due to safety concerns ($35,000)
  • Optional partial rebuild of the chimney ($240,000)
  • Required tuck-pointing and refractory lining of the entire smokestack ($614,400)

“I have not heard any discussion (among council members) and I don't know where the extra million dollars would come from, so I believe that the entire facility will be demolished,” said Councilman Kevin Flynn.

The Port will prepare bid specs this fall to award the demolition contract. The 100,900 square foot building is located on 1.6 acres adjacent to the former Menke building.

The Hudepohl Brewery was originally established in Cincinnati in 1885 and was known for its signature brands, including Hudy Delight and Hudepohl 14K.

The Port bought the old brewery and tower at 801 W. Sixth St. in 2014 for $400,000 from owners who had been cited with building code violations.

The Port also bought the adjacent building at 840 W. Fifth St. for $250,000, as part of an overall plan to clean up and prepare the area for redevelopment over the next 10 years.

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson said this could become “a really great brownfield site that could be the host to green tech jobs and health care tech jobs and it tech jobs right here in the city so people don’t have to spend two hours on a bus to have a job that pays a living wage,” at the March 29 meeting.

READ about Hudepohl and the Tri-State's rich brewing history.