CINCINNATI BUISINESS COURIER REPORTS:
A development team is looking to transform the intersection of Eighth and Main streets in downtown Cincinnati by building two, mid-rise luxury condominium towers.
Greiwe Development Group and Terrex LLC have two sites under contract with plans to build about 90 condos in the next four to five years, according to a letter to Beth Johnson, urban conservator at the city of Cincinnati. Phase I would include a new condo tower built on the parking lot at the northwest corner of Eighth and Main streets. Phase II would involve the demolition of existing buildings at 719-721 Main St. to be replaced with a second condo tower.
Greiwe Development and Terrex plan to invest a total of $50 million at the intersection.
Tom Rowe, principal of Oakley-based Terrex, said this is the ideal location downtown to add residential units.
“There are tons of apartments built there and more are being built; it has a strong residential feel,” Rowe told me. “It’s also directly on the streetcar line, which is a huge benefit to these condo projects.”
The properties are located along the streetcar line, with a northbound stop directly in front of the properties and a southbound stop a block away.
The developers are requesting a conditional approval for demolition at the Historic Conservation Board meeting on March 21 for the existing buildings at 719-721 Main St. A final demolition permit will be requested at the time the developers apply for building permits. In Rick Greiwe’s letter to Johnson he said they decided to split the process because they don’t want to close on the building until they have a decision from the board.
“Our goal is to complement the historic district with two signature buildings adjacent to each other on Eighth and Main,” Greiwe wrote in his letter to Johnson.
Each condo tower is expected to have about 45 condo units. These would be the first for-sale product built in the Central Business District since the Great Recession, according to documents from the development team.
Rowe said the developers determined condos would be the best fit for these sites.
“There is a huge number of people who want to be part of re-urbanization,” Rowe said. “A lot of empty nesters prefer to own versus rent – people who own tend to be more vested and more active in the community.”
The details of the condo towers are still being determined, but Rowe said they will likely have about 45 units each with one parking space per unit in garages above street-level retail and amenity space but below the first floor of condos.
The north tower will consist of a first floor retain and common area with 10 stories of condos. The retail space will be about 2,900 square feet,
The south tower would be the same size with the same number of units. However, this building would have about 4,100 square feet of retail space at street level.
The building at 721 Main St. was built in 1875 as a warehouse and housed a distributor, J. Cooper Rubber Co., and several furniture companies, according to documents submitted to the Historic Conservation Board.
The property at 719-721 N. Main St. is under contract for purchase by Terrex for $860,500. Terrex is currently in its due diligence. The current owner of the building is ELKA Real Estate Co. If Terrex decided to go forward, the closing would occur in April 2016.
Donato’s Pizza has a lease for about 3,700 square feet of space on the ground floor that ends in July 2017.
According to the documents, Terrex looked extensively at renovating the existing building, either for conversion to apartments or office space. Neither use would have resulted in a positive return on investment. Even with state and federal historic tax credits, Terrex determined those incentives would still result in a $1 million deficit.
The current owners purchased the building in 1952 and were not aware of any landmark designations at that time. Terrex is aware the building sits in the Main Street Historic District and is working to understand whether its intended use will be permitted.
To make the substantial investment in the area, the development team writes that demolition of the existing building is required.
Rowe said the development team has a lot of steps to take before the projects begin, but they are focused on clearing the demolition hurdle for the time being.
“We need to get over the biggest hurdle first,” Rowe said.