Tuesday, March 30, 2010

21c capital account created, tax credits supported

Last Wednesday, Cincinnati City Council passed an emergency ordinance establishing a new capital improvement program project account for the redevelopment of the Metropole Apartments into a luxury hotel.

Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels LLC is working with Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) on the $48 million project to convert the 10-story building at 609 Walnut Street into 160 guest rooms and a contemporary art museum with more than 8,000 square feet of exhibition space, a restaurant, and meeting space.

The new account will hold project-based tax increment financing funds for the project's predevelopment. Two emergency ordinances allowing for the issuance of up to a total of $7.1 million in economic development bonds were also approved.

A $2.5 million grant for the project was approved by City Council on March 3, and a development and loan agreement was approved on March 13.

Built in 1912 as a luxury hotel, the Neoclassical style Metropole was added to the National Register of Historic Places last June.

Since 1971, the building has served as a low-income, single-room occupancy hotel.

In its March update, 3CDC reports that Model Group subsidiary Brickstone Properties has met with 155 of the building's 194 residents regarding relocation assistance.

A fair housing complaint filed to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by the Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio on behalf of the Metropole Tenant Association and two of the building's residents was rejected earlier this month.
Legal Aid has said that it may pursue a federal lawsuit against the project.

Also last Wednesday, City Council passed unanimously a resolution supporting 3CDC's efforts to obtain Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits (OHPTC) for the project.

A resolution of support from the local jurisdiction provides extra points in the OHPTC scoring process.

Previous reading on BC:
3CDC buys Metropole, plans 21c luxury hotel (11/9/09)
Hotel Metropole recommended for National Register (4/29/09)