Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Funding transfer could prepare Evanston site for King Studios

The City of Cincinnati would like to transfer funds from one Evanston project account to another to help jumpstart the King Studios project on Montgomery Road.

Just three blocks from the original Brewster Avenue site of the historic King Records, the $12.5 million, 30,000-square-foot King Studios, is envisioned to include:

  • King Records Memorial Hall, providing visitors with an interactive history of King Records and Cincinnati's musical roots
  • King Recording Studio
  • Flavor of Art Studio, which will help community residents discover the power of making visual art, and also will train and develop arts educators to serve at schools and other community facilities throughout the area
"The new King Studios will serve as a catalyst for revitalization in the Montgomery Road corridor and will complement other improvements underway in the area including the new Keystone Parke office development, Xavier University’s Hoff Academic Quad and Xavier Commons," Dohoney said.

The community focal point will be owned and operated by a limited partnership including the Evanston Community Council, Ultrasuede Studio, Flavor of Art Studio, and Xavier University.

SHP Leading Design will serve as the project architect.

In 2005, council established a capital improvement program project account, funded with $2 million, that has been used to provide deferred loans of up to $5,000 to residents of owner-occupied structures in the neighborhood for exterior improvements to their properties.

As of this month, more than $723,000 has been spent from that account.

$950,000 of the remaining funds would be used to acquire three properties on Montgomery Road, demolish them, and perform environmental assessments on the site.

Before the funds can be used for this purpose, council must pass an ordinance transferring the requested funding from the capital improvement program project account and into another account, called Income Tax Permanent Improvement Fund 758.

Launched by Syd Nathan in 1943 as a country label, King Records eventually got in on the ground floor of the burgeoning rhythm and blues market.

The company soon grew into the nation's sixth-largest label, and was ahead of its time in putting African Americans into positions of leadership in recording, pressing, designing, warehousing and shipping – all of which was done on site.

King Records was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum during a historical marker unveiling and ceremony last November.

Previous reading on BC:
King Records renderings (12/10/08)