Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work on Elberon project officially begins

Although lead abatement work has already begun, the rehabilitation of the historic – and derelict – Elberon apartment building in East Price Hill officially kicked off with a reception Wednesday morning.

Price Hill Will is working with the Model Group on a $7.4 million rehabilitation the 26,526-square-foot building at Eighth Street and Elberon Avenue into the Elberon Senior Apartments, 37 one- and two-bedroom apartment units for seniors 55 and older. Two vacant buildings adjacent to the Elberon will be razed to create additional parking and green space.

Construction is expected to be completed in February 2012.

The community development corporation acquired the building in December, but it's been on Price Hill Will's radar for several years.

"From the first day I was in this neighborhood, this building is something that stood out to me," said Ken Smith, executive director of Price Hill Will.

In March 2008, Smith took Model Group president Steve Smith and senior vice president Bobby Maly on a tour of the neighborhood, exploring possible development opportunities.

"I think Bobby Maly and Steve Smith, and the other guys at Model saw the same thing I saw and the people in the neighborhood saw when they saw this building, which was a great opportunity," Smith said. "I was familiar with the great projects they've done in Over-the-Rhine, the Gateway Quarter, over in Covington and some of the other neighborhoods around Cincinnati. So that was just a no-brainer."

Maly said that his company feels "very fortunate" to be part of the historic building's rebirth.

"I think this project, more than many others that we're involved in, really defines our company's mission, which is to transform neighborhoods through redevelopment like this project," he said.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls said that the partnership behind the Elberon represents the key to redeveloping the City's neighborhoods: persistence, partnerships, and passion.

"I think Ken's talk actually reflects what we have learned about what it takes to make projects real in our neighborhoods," she said. "We're very fortunate as a City to have so many people passionately committed to doing the hard work and the hard lifting it takes to actually keep them – and sometimes make them – great communities."

In addition to Price Hill Will's significant work rehabbing single-family homes in the neighborhood's Incline District, two other significant development projects are underway – Incline Square, a mixed-use development including offices, apartments, and restaurants; and the Incline Business District development plan, the rejuvenation of Price Avenue, between Matson Place and Purcell Avenue, that seeks to tie Incline Square to the Warsaw Avenue business district.

"This building has always made a statement about our community," Smith said. "Unfortunately, in the last few years, it's made a statement about some of the challenges we've faced over the last couple of decades. But, starting today, it's going to be making a new statement. And that statement is that Price Hill's worth investing in, and that Price Hill has good housing stock, and good infrastructure, and Price Hill's a community on the rise."

Group photo courtesy of Price Hill Will

Previous reading on BC:
Incline District project wins $750K grant (7/7/10)
Price Hill, City celebrate first NSP rehab and sale (4/21/10)
Price Hill Will unveils latest successful rehab (9/2/09)
Reviving Cincinnati: 723 Mt. Hope Avenue, Part III (3/9/09)
Rezoning passes for Incline Square (6/11/08)