Thursday, March 3, 2011

United Way completes $16M renovation, conference center

The United Way of Greater Cincinnati celebrated the completion of its $16 million building renovation and new conference center with a grand opening ribbon cutting and reception at its headquarters, 2400 Reading Road, on Tuesday evening.

The 18-month project involved the replacement of the 1915-built building's antiquated mechanical systems with new, sustainable systems such as building insulation, high-efficiency windows, automated lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and rooftop solar photovoltaic panels.

The upgrades are expected to increase the building's efficiency and reduce its energy usage, saving $150,000 in annual operating and maintenance costs. The United Way will seek LEED certification for the work.

The non-profit also debuted its new 5,600-square-foot Fifth Third Convening Center, a conference and training center that can accommodate up to 280 visitors. The new building features a reception area, meeting space, kitchen facilities, full digital capabilities, and ADA-accessible restrooms.

The renovation was made possible through federal a New Markets Tax Credit loan, which will be repaid through cash reserves and a capital campaign. Nearly a dozen donors have already pledged $100,000 or more.

The building had not been renovated since 1933.

"While United Way considered various moves to rent, buy and build options, the decision of the Board was clear: we wanted to continue our commitment to the community as an anchor between Downtown and Uptown," said United Way board chair Michael J. Graham, S.J. in a prepared release. "It was also the most cost-effective decision we could make."

United Way President and CEO Robert C. Reifsnyder said that the completed project aids the organization fulfill its increased role as a community convener.

"This renovation will enable us to better serve the community in the future," he said. "We are committed to Greater Cincinnati and intend on being here for many years to come. This renovation will allow us to operate in a safe, modern office space and continue offering service to people seeking human services."

GBBN Architects served as project architect, with TriVersity Construction Group, LLC managing the construction.

Photos courtesy of Katy Crossen, United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Previous reading on BC:
Qualls presents Homeless to Homes plan to council (4/23/09)
Second community forum for 'Homeless to Homes' this Wednesday (2/23/09)
Cincinnati approves addition to LISC grant pool (6/26/08)
LISC grant could fund market-rate housing (6/17/08)
Rothenberg meeting Thursday (3/12/08)