Friday, May 30, 2008

Over the Rhine Booming

There was an article today on Over the Rhine ,basically stating that there were huge leaps in business growth and new residences. That is all well and good but 12 new business and 100 condos is a drop in the bucket to whats needed.

Most of that new development has taken place along Vine, the Gateway QTR. I know 3CDC is concentrating on thsoe areas, but lets face it they own most of Over the Rhine and while Vine looks great Blocks of buildings are falling down. The biggest problem facing OTR is perception. It is hard to convince people that the neighborhood is turning around when there are 400 Boarded buildings on Elm , Pleasant and Race street.
What needs to happen. 3CDC needs to pick one side of one block in each of those streets and do "facade" restorations. By that I mean fix everything you see from the street. Paint them, replace windows, fix the wrought iron. In other words stabilize them. In fact you could do this in cooperation with a Local High school building trades program. We could be training young people about restoration and construction trades.
At that point they need to set up an Urban Pioneer Program and sell those to people willing to buy them and complete the interior restorations. The buildings could be sold with protective covenants and 3CDC could work with Local banks to arrange financing for new owers. These sould be sold at 3CDC cost+10 percent. Now why "give" these away? Well if you have one block that is "restored" then the other blocks 3CDC owns will be more valuable and more marketable.
3CDC by itself cannot restore OTR, the buildings will fall down long before that happens. They need to work with the preservation community to move the neighborhood forward.


Kevin LeMaster said...

12 new businesses and 100 new condos would never have happened without some major financial muscle. You should have been in that area three years ago. No one in their right mind would have invested there.

I would, though, like to see the City expand its RFP program for City-owned properties. I know that program has led to a future project that will bring several new units to Pleasant Street (just outside of Findlay Market) and up at the top of Hughes Street.

Paul Wilham said...

In order for OTR to "turn the corner" and I am speaking from 20 plus years in community and neighborhood redevelopment you have to bring single family housing bech to the area and that need to be market rate, non-subsidized. OTR needs 3,4,500K single family restored homes because as was found here in Indianapolis, many Urban Professionals will not satisfied with condominiums. We have a significant 'glut' of condominiums on the market here but limited single family homes and they are very expensive.

Jason said...

Another good post and I have to agree with what was said. Kevin has a point though. Vine street today is unbelievable compared to how it was just 2 years ago. Most people would have never even considered driving through that area, let alone investing, shopping, or living there.
However, I agree that there is A TON more work to be done.
You are right about the need for some single family dwellings. There are lots of them in the neighborhood already, but they are scattered and mostly centered around the SCPA and some in the West End.
Again, you have a great idea with the facade restorations. I think you need to seriously talk with people at 3CDC. They may be very open to your ideas and willing to listen.