Friday, August 2, 2013

4-unit Hummel Building Grandin's entry into OTR

One week ago today, the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), and Grandin Properties celebrated the rehabilitation of the Hummel Building, which is located at 1401 Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine.

The $1.6 million project adds four condominiums and 1,900 square feet of commercial space to the 3CDC portfolio. The condominiums range in price from $270,000 to $375,000, and the commercial space is expected to house a restaurant this November.

The Hummel Building was built between 1875 and 1880, around the same time as Music Hall, and was the brainchild of stonemason George Hummel, renowned architect Samuel Hannaford, and political boss George B. Cox. The ground floor of the mixed-use building contained the Hummel Family Market and the Hummel Saloon.

The project is Grandin Properties' first in the historic neighborhood. It also plans to redevelop the Emanuel Community Center on Race Street into space for a small business incubator and for Emanuel Squash, an education and mentoring program for low income children centered around the game of squash.

Peg Wyant, president and CEO of Grandin Properties, said that at the time the Hummel Building was built, the City was a center of innovation – and it has begun to reinvent itself again as a hub of influence.

"This place once again bustles with sights and sounds – although not the smells – of a City on the move," she said. "We see forklifts, children dancing in the fountains, young entrepreneurs on iPhones. We hear the sound of hammers, the 'cha-ching' of money being invested in new inventions, and the clink of beer mugs. Once again, people separated by vast differences in income, education, and dialect walk the streets and say hello to each other."

"She [Wyant] is representative of exactly what we have hoped for from the very beginning of the partnership that brought investment into Over-the-Rhine, and that is that we would see independent developers on their own begin to look at buildings, buy them, take them over and invest their own money – as well as the money of a few other people – into these projects," said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls.

The Hummel Building is the second of seven projects to be completed as part of 3CDC's $29.7 million fifth phase of development in Over-the-Rhine, joining Bakery Lofts, which opened in April. Still to be completed are the B-Side Apartments, Nicolay, Republic Street Lofts, Tea Company Townhomes, and Westfalen II.

To date, 3CDC has invested more than $315 million in the neighborhood. The City of Cincinnati invested $416,000 in the project.

"The transformation that we have seen over the last few years is a result of the vision, hard work, as well as the willingness to put money into one of Cincinnati's jewels of a neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine," Qualls said. "The success we celebrate here really teaches us, and shows us, that we can have success in other communities throughout the City of Cincinnati."

City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. called the project the latest in the City's "wave of momentum".

"What we have demonstrated in Cincinnati is that we do have the wherewithal, we have the sophistication and the capacity to deliver multiple projects all around the City simultaneously," he said. "We need to be accustomed to that. We need to expect that. That is going to continue."

Previous reading on BC:
Bakery Lofts adds 9 homeownership units to OTR (4/8/13)
Council supports state tax credits for SCPA, OTR projects (4/1/13)
City supports tax credits for Emanuel; Startups, squash planned (3/27/13)
6 Cincinnati projects awarded nearly $8M in state historic tax credits (12/28/12)
More than $14M approved for Gateway's fifth phase (10/30/12)