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Monday, December 31, 2007

Enough with the negativity

There is one thing that I really wish would change in Cincinnati, and it is something that many people around here notice. It is that so many locals are so negative about our city. When you go out and see other places and then compare them to Cincinnati our city fares quite well, and many outsiders would tell you that this is quite a nice place.

Our Downtown has more activity than most, we have two professional sports teams, Broadway shows, Opera/Ballet/Orchestra, great museums, great neighborhoods, good schools, relatively low crime, fantastic scenery and it is all very affordable.

But it seems as though people go out of their way to put down our city/region. As a wise man once said, if we start thinking we're a world-class city we'll soon be one. Don't trash the 'Nati.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I've got your Downtown grocery right here

With the growing residential population Downtown and the new activity being seen on a daily basis...the talks of a full-scale grocery store for Downtown have heated up again. I think it is BS when people say the demographics aren't right, or that a location isn't there that meets their needs. I won't bore you with demographic talk, but I will dive into the location part of the discussion.

I've got a couple locations that I think would be great for a nice full-scale grocery Downtown. The first one is 7th & Vine. This is about as close to the center of the population (for the center city) as you can get. There are currently two surface lots there and is located 2 blocks from Fountain Square and 1 block from the proposed streetcar line.

Sunflower Market a natural foods grocery in Columbus -

My second option would be at Tower Place Mall along 4th Street. The street-level would have to be completely reworked to have direct access, but this could prove to be the rejuvenation that Tower Place needs. This is just 1 block from Fountain Square and about 1.5 blocks from the proposed streetcar line.

Finally there is always the massive surface lots near St. Xavier Church at 7th/8th & Sycamore. This location is in a rapidly growing residential area, and offers lots of readily available land just waiting to be built on. This location though is slightly further away from being central, but is smack dab on the streetcar line.

Friday, December 21, 2007

CoolTown Studios on the 'Q'

CoolTown Studios has done an excellent write up on the ever emerging Gateway Quarter in Over-the-Rhine. This particular write up highlights the focus on contemporary urban living with the businesses that have opened up in the district.

The Gateway Quarter already has a host of great businesses that have opened up including Park + Vine, Mica 12/v, Metronation, CityRoots, and Jean Robert's newest restaurant that is on the way. In addition to this there are a few more great spaces that are bound to be filled with more fantastic businesses very soon.

So go check out CoolTown Studios and go check out these cool new businesses in the 'Q'.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Downtown Office Trends

QCS II will pour 825,000 square-feet of new Class A office space into the Downtown office market. That's great only if the market can handle it, and some think that the relocation of one company Downtown (AFG) into it isn't necessarily the best scenario. Well to some extent they're right, but the whole issue isn't a negative thing either.

AFG currently occupies office space in a variety of older office buildings Downtown (580 Building, 525 Vine), and will be occupying 22 floors of QCS II for a total of 530,000 square-feet. By leaving these spaces and consolidating into one newer space it allows for those older and thus more affordable spaces to be freed up for smaller companies that can not afford the leases at a building like QCS II.

It is essentially all part of a larger office market cycle that occurs. Older spaces become less desirable and are either replaced by newer spaces and taken off the market (via apartment conversions and what not) or are then filled by smaller companies that can not afford the Class A office space.

So while it isn't great news to hear that QCS II won't be filled by a new company to the certainly isn't bad news that the Downtown market is able to fill another 800,000+ square-feet of office space. On a side note, the most recent State of Downtown quarterly report says that Downtown Cincinnati actually lowered its vacancy rate by nearly 3% in the 3Q.

Cincinnati sleepy no more

Many have often criticized this city for being slow to act, and essentially being unable to do big things. All of these naysayers have had the necessary fodder for some time now, but are now at a point of starvation.

They said The Banks wouldn't happen, that the streetcar works in a place like Portland not Cincinnati, they also said that QCS II wouldn't happen, and that Fountain Square would be a disaster and a waste of money. Well those naysayers couldn't be more wrong.

The Banks will be breaking ground on phase 1 this coming Spring, research/reports have indeed suggested that streetcars can work here, QCS II will be breaking ground this coming Summer, and Fountain Square has proven to be a smashing success that has lured tons of new investment and businesses to the center city.

Still think big things can't happen in Cincinnati? City leaders are essentially doing everything in their power to prove you wrong, and to be honest I think they're doing a darn good job.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Go Bearcats!

The Bearcats are hot off of the news of going to their 6th bowl game in 8 years. They also have announced that roughly 8,500 Bearcat fans will be making the trip to Birmingham for the Bowl. Brian Kelly has been named Big East Coach of the Year, Mike Mickens (CB) and Kevin Huber (P) have been named All-Americans. Oh and don't forget the second-team All-American honors for Terrill Byrd (DT). These honors go along with a host of conference honors that a number of Bearcats have received.

If all this is exciting enough for Bearcat fans, then how about a brand new 5-year contract extension for head coach Brian Kelly. This new contract gives some more money to Kelly, but most importantly gives a lot more money for assistant coaches and new facilities. Essentially assuring that this program continues its growth and maturation as a BCS contender.

The contract extension is already making an impact with St. Xavier's standout offensive player, Danny Milligan, orally committing to UC just last night. St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said this is in part due to the contract extension for Kelly and the spread offense that he runs.

If you're not making the trip to Birmingham, AL for the bowl game...then be sure to catch the Bearcats on ESPN2 Saturday, December 22nd at 1pm. GO BEARCATS!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Streetcars/Transit should be #1 priority for Cincinnati - Reader's Choice

Your votes have been cast and have spoken loud and clear. By a wide margin the readers of UrbanCincy have stated that streetcars and/or other rail transit should be the #1 priority for Cincinnati.

The poll had a 162 total votes with 50% (81) voting for the rail transit option. Redevelopment of OTR and completion of The Banks finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Interestingly enough public education received the least amount of votes (even behind public safety). So anyone want to elaborate on why they voted for what they did?

BTW, if you would like to receive regular emails regarding what's happening with rail transit in Cincinnati sign up for the listserv. All you have to do is send an email HERE expressing your interest to be included on the listserv, and presto magico you've got hot off the presses emails regarding transit in Cincinnati.

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