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Monday, July 9, 2007

The NEW Downtown Cincinnati

Downtown has managed to turn the corner relatively quickly. People who once used to think of downtown as a tired/boring place are now frequenting the new restaurants, clubs, bars and events. New residents are everywhere and visitors are welcomed by something new almost every other week. It's just past the half way point in 2007 and Downtown Cincinnati has seen the opening of 4 new bars/clubs, 3 restaurants and more events on Fountain Square than you can count.

It's wonderful to see everything coming together and this is just the beginning. The majority of the tenants in the redone 5/3 building have yet to open, another few restaurants will be opening shortly, and another couple bars/clubs are on the way. This is all before the ball drops for 2008. If you want to think about 3-4 years down the road, then you'll really be blown away with what Downtown Cincinnati will be like.

3-4 years puts the streetcar in place and the first phase of The Banks. The Banks will most likely attract tenants like ESPN Zone, Hard Rock Cafe, House of Blues, countless restaurants, bars/clubs. Combine that with the activity that the streetcar system will be shuffling around and you have yourself a VERY strong/vibrant urban core. Thousands of new residents and tons of new attractions. The streetcar system will most likely help give the retail scene downtown a kick in the pants...if that doesn't do it, the thousands of new residents should.

Check out what's going on in the NEW Downtown Cincinnati!
Bang Nightclub
Cadillac Ranch
Lodge Bar
McCormick & Schmick's
Boi Na Braza
Fountain Square Events
Oceanaire Seafood Room
JeanRo Bistro
Jean-Robert at Pigall's
Bootsy Ruby's
Aronoff Theatre
Morton's Steakhouse
Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse
The Blue Wisp
Havana Martini Club
Rock Bottom Brewery
Contemporary Arts Center
Saks Fifth Avenue
Brooks Brothers
Tiffany's and Co.
Taft Museum of Art
Joseph A. Banks

Need more to eat...
Like to shop...
Want to be entertained...

Some more developments (just to name a few):
The Banks
Parker Flats
The McAlpin
The Edge Condominiums
One River Plaza
Cincinnati Streetcar
Queen City Square

Now, downtown hasn't gotten 'there' yet, but it is certainly on its way...and picking up speed.


Anonymous said...

Very well put, Rando! To build on that, see the exerpt from my blog ( <-shameless plug:

It looks like Downtown has five 'districts' emerging within the CBD. As sociology enthusiasts know, providing a 'sense of place' is a large part of a successful neighborhood and successful Downtown. With the rise of these districts, a sense of place is instilled by providing identity and relativity. The five districts (and defining projects)

1) Lytle Park (Park Place, the Edge, One River Plaza)
2) Fountain Square (McAlpin, Lofts @ Fountain Square, Fountain Square and retail, Walnut St/Backstage entertainment 5th & Race)
3) West Fourth (Fourth & Plum, Parker Flats, Kinsey Flats, retail)
4) Garfield Park (Enquirer bldg, existing residential)
5) St. Xavier Park (Power Bldg, Lofts @ St. Xavier Park, nameless rental units above garage across from the Lofts)

5chw4r7z said...

Hit Fountain Square any non-90 degree evening now and there are tons of people and things to do. I totaly agree with you on the streetcar, downtown will benifit and OTR will be be off the hook when thats built.

Unknown said...

You can add Nada to your list...

Ryan R. Dlugosz said...

Randy - great compilation. This will be a useful list for people to check out when looking for something to do! I'll be sending it around.

Unknown said...

And that list doesn't even include all of the new development going on in Over-the-Rhine, which, given the proximity and walkability, should reasonably be considered part of a broader basin revitalization.

Randy Simes said...

Yeah, I thought I would leave OTR out of this equation. There is so much going on in the core CBD that I thought it would be more than enough to look at. If you add in what's going on in the Gateway Quarter, Main Street and around Music Hall/Findlay Market...then you've got tons more stuff!

Anonymous said...

Problem is, stuff like the street car (great idea, I've been to Portland many times), light rail, and The Banks will never get done in Cincinnati. It's really unfortunate because I love being downtown. Also, the bike path from the surrounding neigborhoods into downtowns needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand when people say "things x,y,z will never get done in Cincinnati" without any explanation. Both the streetcar and the Banks are moving foward at a pretty good pace.

Cathie said...

I moved away from Ohio in 2000 and haven't lived their since (grew up in the Dayton area). However, I just went to Cincy last week and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw and am even considering moving back there (as I've been wanting to move from DC for awhile.) The thing I want to know is about jobs - are there going to be enough jobs to support this development (and not just restaurant jobs, etc.)?

Interesting blog. I've been interested in Cincy development for awhile now. The city has great potential and I'd love to see it develop into a "cool" place to be (for lack of a better term.)

I have another question. What is the bicycle environment like there? Do people bike? Are there good paths aside from Bicentennial Park? Are there good bicycle shops around? A good bike environment would help me make a decision about moving there.

Randy Simes said...

I don't know a whole lot about the bicycle scene other than I know a lot of people who bike for both rec and transportation. There is a group of young people that get together monthly and ride the streets of downtown (and nearby) with the point of congesting the road with bicycles. Their goal is to emphasize the need for a more bike friendly environment. They call it "Critical Mass Bike Rides"...they have a facebook page:

There is also an interesting "MoBo Bicycle Co-op" out of Northside. You can find out more information about them on their MySpace Page:

One more thing...the path through Bicentennial Commons connects with two other parks (seamlessly) and will soon also connect with the new Central Riverfront Park. Creating about a 5 mile stretch of bike/walking path. There is also talk of linking this with the Nky trail plans along the riverfront and connecting the two via the Purple People Bridge. The Central Riverfront Park will also most likely have a large bike facility with parking, rentals, repair, etc. Much like the facility locating in Millennium Park in Chicago (that is what the park board is modeling the riverfront park after).

Anonymous said...

Hey the bike atmosphere in Cincinnati is improving. With the additions of the bike racks on all metro buses and the possibility of connecting the loveland bike trail to downtown Cincinnati it looks as if things might improve. I am an avid biker and when i lived on the east side of town i biked to and from school (University of Cincinnati) every single day and it is not too bad biking around town. Cars are pretty considerate and dont usually give much grief. As compared to Philadelphia, which is where i am temporarilly living, drivers and pedestrians are not that kind to bikers. Mainly because they provide bike lanes and if you are not in one eveyone else gets pissed. There is one thing i would like to see more of in Cincinnati which are bike shops. The co op in Northside is awesome and i hope to see more of them some day.

Anonymous said...

one problem with bicycling in cincinnati is topography, there really isn't a good way to bike out of the basin back into uptown

Randy Simes said...

Very true...that's where Metro and/or the future streetcar system comes into play. It's got to improve to making bicycling a really viable option. But if you stay in the basin you're just fine.

Matt said...

I've been hearing that the crime issue has been reduced, and Downtown is being brought back to life. I'm interested in looking at the Downtown/Gateway Condos area to live. What organization would be best to contact on crime statistics?

Randy Simes said...

Downtown Cincinnati Inc. has good information. They are the driving force behind the Downtown Cincinnati Ambassadors. Check out their website, and try to contact someone from there.

Also, don't be shy to contact the Cincinnati Police Department. They are typically quite helpful when it comes to sharing that type of information...especially to prospective residents.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear from all the cyclists out there. I'm part of a group called Trail Yeah! Our mission is "A people-friendly connection between Downtown and its neighborhoods". If you're interested in updates or progress (or would like to help make pedestrian trails a reality), check us out at I also echo the sentiment about all the great stuff happening downtown. Banks, streetcar, and walkable downtown ARE coming to life right before our eyes!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one disappointed by Fountain Square's revitalization? Ok, sure there are a lot of events and lots of people and the big tv and cool lighting installations BUT Cincinnatians have overlooked one fundamental flaw in this whole thing. 3CDC has claimed Fountain Square as part of their privately owned property. FOUNTAIN SQUARE IS NOT PUBLIC SPACE!!! Read between the lines and you'll discover Constitutional Rights have been abused here. This is a very severe issue and I do not think it should go unnoticed. A place that was once called America's best example of public space is now privately owned and operated thanks to corporate America. Down with the privatization of our public space in this city! Claim back what is rightfully ours!

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome list! Thank you very much for sharing it!

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