Court: Anna Louise Inn must resubmit zoning application

CINCINNATI - A decision on the future of the Anna Louise Inn was put on hold Friday after an appeals court ruled the inn's owner submitted an incomplete zoning application for the building's renovation.

The decision means Cincinnati Union Bethel, the owner of the property, has to resubmit its zoning application and include all of its plans for the $13 million renovation of the low-income housing option for women in downtown Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Union Bethel posted a response to the ruling on its website.

"(Friday), the First District Court of Appeals issued a decision in our appeal of the lower court's decision in the case filed by Western & Southern against the Anna Louise Inn and the City of Cincinnati. We strongly believe this is a favorable ruling for us. We will be consulting with our attorneys about the details and next steps."

Western & Southern Financial Group has opposed the facility's renovation because it says the inn wasn't properly zoned and shouldn't be allowed to renovate.

The company wants to buy the women's facility and convert it into upscale condominiums or a boutique hotel. In the past, Western & Southern reportedly offered Cincinnati Union Bethel either $3 million to purchase the property or the greater of two independent appraisals.

Cincinnati Union Bethel has rejected all offers in the past, stating it doesn't want to move the facility, which has operated at the site since it opened on Memorial Day 1909.

Both Western & Southern and the Anna Louise Inn are located near Third and Lytle streets.

The facility was founded when the brother of former President William Howard Taft, attorney Charles P. Taft, donated the site and helped provide funding to erect a five-story building to accommodate 120 women in single rooms. The inn was named after Taft's daughter, Anna Louise Taft Semple.

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