Judge allows Dennison Hotel demolition to continue

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 18:00:03-05

CINCINNATI -- A judge denied a request to issue a temporary restraining order on the demolition of the Dennison Hotel building, allowing the developer to continue with its plans.

Fences now surround the former hotel, and property owner Columbia REI said that crews have begun removing asbestos from inside the building.

Built in the 1890s, the former Dennison Hotel stands eight stories tall in Cincinnati's Main Street Historic District. The building's history has fueled much of the opposition to its demolition.

"These are the type of building that people want, and to lose this building at this stage of our revitalization just doesn't make any sense at all," Paul Muller of the Cincinnati Preservation Association said.

A lawsuit filed last week sought to stop the demolition, stating that the loss of the building would diminish "the integrity and value" of other properties in the historic district. If the order had been granted, the demolition could have paused for at least 14 days.

"It did not go the direction that the other concerned citizens here would have liked to see, and it seems like the fate of the Dennison is very much in question," Dennis Renck said.

The plans to demolish the building have already faced several administrative and legal hurdles and the company "has done everything properly and completely" to obtain permission to demolish, C. Francis Barrett, an attorney representing Columbia REI, said.

"We have already initiated the process and we intend to eliminate this blighted condition from the property," Barrett said.

Some have suggested the building could be restored instead of torn down, but the owners say it's not economically feasible.

There is no exact timeline for when the demolition will be complete. The owners are considering plans to redevelop it as a mixed-use site.