Monday, May 20, 2013

Two key College Hill redevelopment projects moving forward

The redevelopment of two key areas took another step forward on Friday afternoon in College Hill with the beginning of the demolition of six blighted and outdated buildings on the 6000 block of Hamilton Avenue, in the middle of the neighborhood's business district.

The neighborhood's 2000 Strategic Urban Design Plan and its 2009 Market Feasibility Study concluded that its business district was far too long and recommended the replacement of the "Mid-Block" with mixed-use buildings, infill housing, and community green space.

"Tearing down these buildings creates new opportunities for redevelopment so we can keep the momentum going in College Hill," said Mike Cappel, president of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, in a prepared release.

The City invested $1.5 million to acquire and demolish the properties, and the site will be marketed for redevelopment next year.

And at the northern gateway into the business district, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls has announced that the long-vacant Kroger property at Hamilton Avenue and W North Bend Road has been purchased using $700,000 in Focus 52 program funding.

The property will be added to the former Shuller's Wigwam and Masonic Eastern Star properties, creating an 8-acre redevelopment opportunity at College Hill's main intersection.

The 8 acres were once part of a development plan called Linden Park, which was scheduled to include condominiums, retail and townhomes. In late 2008, preferred developer Al. Neyer, Inc. backed out of the project, citing poor condominium pre-sales and Midland Retail's inability to pre-lease the commercial spaces.

College Hill has since stopped two proposals for affordable housing development on the site – a 50-unit project by Alpha Phi Alpha Homes late last year and Cary Court, a 40-unit project by Episcopal Retirement Homes in 2009.

When marketed to developers later this year, the site will become the first true test of the neighborhood's form-based code.

"The College Hill community participated through numerous hours of presentations, meetings, discussion and collaboration so they could choose for themselves what kind of development they wanted to see here," Qualls said. "Form-based codes give neighbors a voice so they can dream big and expect better."

State historical marker dedicated

A new Ohio Historical Marker was placed at John T. Crawford Commons on Saturday afternoon.

The marker, at 1400 W North Bend Road, honors Crawford, a Union soldier who was aided by southern slaves and African American laborers on his long walk home after escaping Richmond's infamous Libby Prison.

Following the war, bitter over the government's treatment of African Americans – many of whom died for the Union cause, he willed his 18.5-acre farm for the establishment of a home for "aged, indigent worthy colored men, preference to be given to those who have suffered the miseries of American Slavery".

The Crawford Old Men's Home opened in 1888 and operated until 1964, when it merged with the Progressive Benefit Society's Home for Colored Women to become the Lincoln Crawford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and relocated to Walnut Hills.

The site of Crawford's farm is now occupied by Crawford Commons, Pleasant Hill Academy, and the College Hill library branch.

Previous reading on BC:
College Hill, Walnut Hills win $2.5M for redevelopment (2/26/13)
Controversial College Hill project withdrawn (1/9/13)
College Hill: Affordable development not 'highest and best use' (12/11/12)
College Hill dedicates walking paths, celebrates history (10/30/12)
College Hill residents reject senior housing (9/30/09)