Unique Partnership Crucial to Cincinnati Neighborhood's Renaissance

Craig Chester describes the "unique partnership" between city leaders, local corporations and private developers that has helped transform Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood into "one of America’s greatest smart growth success stories."
February 7, 2013, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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While Over-The-Rhine's (OTR) transformation from impoverished former industrial hub to thriving locus of redevelopment may be a common storyline among America’s urban neighborhoods, the partnership that helped spur the area's turnaround is quite unique, says Chester. 

Despite decades of disinvestment and population loss, "Redevelopment visionaries saw the potential for revitalizing the neighborhood based around the existing historic buildings and the increasing demand for walkable urban neighborhoods close to job centers and entertainment," explains Chester. "The only thing missing was the organization and financial infrastructure on the ground to make it happen."

"That changed in 2003 with the founding of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), a uniquely structured non-profit development corporation that works in close collaboration with both public officials and major area employers including Kroger, Procter & Gamble and PNC Bank, among others. All the parties share a collective vision for a safe, vibrant, economically resilient OTR neighborhood as a catalyst for civic improvement in downtown Cincinnati."

"What sets 3CDC apart from traditional developers are the unique financing mechanisms available due to the close collaboration with corporate leaders and local officials."

"Since 2004, 3CDC has invested over $255 million in the OTR neighborhood. That includes about $64 million in public support from the City of Cincinnati, which aids in ‘gap financing’ of loans for development. According to 3CDC, these projects have:

  • Restored or in process of restoring 107 historic buildings
  • Developed or in process of developing 496 new and rehabbed residential units
  • Developed or in process of developing approximately 127,000 SF of new and renovated commercial space
  • Developed or in process of developing 869 public parking spaces in lots and garages
  • Improved streetscapes
  • Created an eight acre civic green space"


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Published on Monday, February 4, 2013 in Smart Growth America
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