Thursday, March 10, 2011

Saturday protest planned for Corryville redevelopment site

Concerned residents and preservationists have scheduled a protest for Saturday at 11 A.M. on Euclid Avenue, near the site of a proposed 72-unit student apartment project in Corryville.

Protesters, organized by the "No More Demolitions in Over-the-Rhine and West End" Facebook group, hope to kill a plan by Uptown Rental Properties to raze most of the block bounded by E University Avenue, Euclid Avenue, E Daniels Street, and Van Street.

The block contains a mixture of multi-family and single-family residential Queen Anne Victorians built between 1885 and 1905.

"Losing these buildings would be tragic, and a wasted opportunity for Corryville," says Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) Preservation Director Margo Warminski. "It is the last intact block of Victorian middle-class architecture in the neighborhood and was recommended for historic district designation by the Cincinnati Historic Inventory."

"Lacey Dresses", who created the Facebook group, says she believes that Corryville has some of the finest architecture in the nation.

"Cities that are renowned for their historic architecture such as Boston and San Francisco are the only places that compare," she says.

Loss of urbanity?

Uptown Rental Properties partnered with North American Properties to develop 65 West, a 129-unit apartment community currently under construction on the site of the old Friars Club building in Clifton Heights. It has also started construction on the Jefferson/Glendora Apartments, at 16-unit project at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and W Charlton Street.

Neil Clingerman, a 2007 University of Cincinnati graduate, was dismayed to see so many buildings come down before his very eyes.

He says the potential of Corryville is "slowly being sucked dry" by developers who want to turn the area into a warehouse for hospital workers and students, completely disregarding the kind of old world, intense urbanity that should make Cincinnati known on a national scale.

"This frustration with the complete disrespect by Cincinnatians for their own best asset, their built environment, was a factor in me choosing to leave Cincinnati and find work in Chicago," Clingerman says. "Part of me still wants to love Cincinnati, and with new faces in the preservation movement and new ideas things are looking brighter than ever. I hope that this protest will make an impact and help to raise awareness with Cincinnatians of just how special their city's old buildings really are."

Rezoning hearing Tuesday

To allow for the project's density, a rezoning from RMX Residential Mixed District to RM-0.7 Residential Multi-Family District will be required.

City Council's Livable Communities Committee will consider the rezoning at its meeting on March 15.

Representatives from CPA plan to attend, Warminski says.

"Imagine a different scenario: the buildings restored as graduate student or even faculty housing using historic tax credits, with appropriate, contextual, green infill on the vacant lots," she says. "Which do you think would look better in ten years?"

Dresses hopes that the protest shows the City that citizens won't continue to let historic fabric be destroyed.

"Urban renewal is not going to happen on our watch," she says. "If you have any sort of interest in making Cincinnati a unique highly desirable place to live, please attend this protest and stop the developers from ruining the character of one of Cincinnati's and this country's most beautiful neighborhoods."

Photos courtesy of Cincinnati Preservation Association

Previous reading on BC:
Uptown Rental Properties plans 72 more units (2/7/11)