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Thread: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

  1. #46
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    What exactly are the cross streets of that Queen City Tower? It looks quite far east. I drive Eastern Avenue to work every day, and a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, whatever was just east of the Midland building was razed practically overnight -- so fast that I, embarrassingly, cannot remember whether it was a building or a small parking lot there before. Is that where this tower is due to go? But I don't think the Western Southern building is that far east, is it?
    3rd and Sycamore. The current W&S garage is to be razed and the tower built in its place. The first phase is on the corner of 3rd and Broadway.

    It is the new Western and Southern (et. al.) building and the first phase was completed about two years ago. If you'll notice, the first 8 floors or so of the first phase is parking garage to accommodate the parking capacity lost from the old garage. Through my perusings online, I've heard it mentioned that this tower is the real reason why the GABP "gap" was so architecturally featured. Most of the tower should be visible through the gap.

    Here's a really good thread to read up on the developments. http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=3170.0

    There are also lengthy threads on pretty much every proposed and ongoing Cincinnati development there (The Banks and streetcars included).
    Last edited by paintmered; 08-20-2007 at 08:29 PM.
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  3. #47
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    That's a great resource, thanks paint.
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  4. #48
    Porkchop Sandwiches DoogMinAmo's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    What exactly are the cross streets of that Queen City Tower? It looks quite far east. I drive Eastern Avenue to work every day, and a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, whatever was just east of the Midland building was razed practically overnight -- so fast that I, embarrassingly, cannot remember whether it was a building or a small parking lot there before. Is that where this tower is due to go? But I don't think the Western Southern building is that far east, is it?

    Pretty building; thanks for the tidbits on its design, Doog.

    On a side note, hey Doog, current expert, can you tell me what was originally housed in the building on Fourth Street west of Vine that now has a TJ Maxx on the bottom? It's just south of the Carew Tower and has all of this incredible colored art deco fruit carved into the facade. Nobody has been able to tell me what that used to be; in fact most people I've asked haven't even noticed it (the carving starts on the second floor).
    I remember having a similar conversation with a friend, and I am not sure if it was BS, but I was told it used to be a grocery. Dont quote me on that, but it is better than nothing.
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  5. #49
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    Trouble with that logic is that it seems to me that the trend is that most companies now are fleeing the big cities and setting up shop in the suburbs, where they can have greater flexibility and pay less money in rent.
    That's been a huge problem for the inner core of cities across the country for the last 15 years or so. Some cities are fighting back with huge tax breaks and abatements for companies that either move back downtown or stay there in lieu of moving elsewhere. Columbus is doing that, and New York City has really been pushing that strategy (the Goldman Sachs headquarters in lower Manhattan being but one example). I have serious mixed feelings about such programs--I fully understand the importance of having a vibrant, viable central core (and the resultant benefits it typically provides throughout the city), but luring businesses downtown through the use of exhorbitant tax abatements seems akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. I suppose the hope is that the presence of several large employers in the central business district encourages others to follow suit sans enticements--but its far too premature to label such strategies as long term successes.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  6. #50
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Found this article on the Banks very interesting in that taxpayers will fund 18.3% of it and that the Bengals have considerable say in it...

    http://citybeat.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A141091

    News: The Banks: Bigger, More Costly
    Changes in long-delayed project likely to be approved

    BY Kevin Osborne | Posted 08/22/2007

    Taxpayers likely will foot more of the bill to build the long-stalled Banks housing and shopping district along Cincinnati's riverfront. In return, local officials and developers want to build a much larger project than originally envisioned.

    The Cincinnati Planning Commission last week recommended approval for several changes sought by developers in the master plan for The Banks. They include doubling the development space allowed at the 17-acre site from 1.4 million square feet to 2.8 million square feet.

    To achieve that goal, height restrictions on buildings in most of the riverfront area would be increased from 16 stories to 30 stories.

    Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Commissioners will make the final decision on the proposed changes. Both groups have indicated their support, and a vote is likely by Sept. 12.

    "I definitely think the heights need to be increased," says County Commissioner David Pepper. "Without the right density, the project won't work. At the end, this thing has to make sense financially, or it won't get done."

    Higher subsidy
    The proposed changes include divvying up the extra space by increasing the amount of residential space from 745,000 square feet to 1.8 million square feet, increasing retail space from 300,000 square feet to 400,000 square feet, increasing office space from 200,000 square feet to 1 million square feet and increasing hotel space from 200,000 square feet to 400,000 square feet.

    As part of the county's lease with the Bengals for Paul Brown Stadium, the team controls building heights for structures built near the football stadium, in an effort to preserve view corridors. County officials will have to persuade team executives to allow changes there, Pepper concedes.

    "Obviously, that will have to be something that will be negotiated with the Bengals," Pepper says.

    He says he believes the team will be more amenable now that the county's anti-trust lawsuit against the Bengals is dropped. Those negotiations don't have to be completed before the project is begun, he says.

    "The first phase doesn't include those buildings," Pepper says.

    The changes to the master plan give some insight into the deal being privately negotiated between the Banks Working Group, a county advisory panel, and the two developers selected for the project.

    The latest deadline for agreeing to a contract between the developers -- Carter & Associates Commercial Services and Harold A. Dawson Inc., both of Atlanta -- and Hamilton County expired Aug. 13 without a document finalized. This is the second deadline that the Banks Working Group has missed this year.

    The panel, formed by Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials last year, initially set a Feb. 15 deadline for completing contract negotiations. When it became obvious last winter that goal wouldn't be met, the panel granted a six-month extension.

    But the Banks Working Group issued a press release last week stating that, although progress was occurring, a final agreement hadn't yet been reached. Perhaps wisely, the panel avoided setting a new deadline this time.

    Besides doubling the project's size, the amount of public subsidies proposed for The Banks has increased by more than $42 million, up to nearly $110 million from the previously announced total of $65 million.

    With officials now touting The Banks' price tag as roughly $600 million, that means taxpayers will foot about 18.3 percent of the project's cost -- excluding money already spent to build new Reds and Bengals stadiums, redesign Fort Washington Way and install infrastructure such as sewers and new roads along the riverfront.

    "My sense is, given the project's costs, that subsidy is what ultimately is needed to make the project happen," Pepper says. "Hopefully, it won't turn out to be that much. That's the upper limit."

    To garner public support throughout the mid- and late 1990s, when The Banks proposal was being drafted, bombastic area officials regularly called the riverfront site the most prime piece of undeveloped commercial real estate in the nation. At the time they said the parcel would be highly attractive to developers, who would put up much of the money needed.

    Hamilton County officials now say the additional subsidies are needed to get the project moving forward.

    Profit sharing
    Once the Banks Working Group began examining the project closely, it became clear that earlier figures were unrealistic, Pepper says. Construction costs in the past were too low, and the amount expected to be generated through tax increment financing -- using taxes generated by the completed project to help pay debt -- were too high.

    Under the latest deal, the county could recoup some of its investment in the future. Developers will offer Hamilton County a 15 percent share of profits if the project is successful and certain goals are met after investors are paid off.

    In fact, the doubling of the project's size is mostly an effort to increase the profit margin. In addition to allowing taller buildings, in order to increase developable space the latest proposal would add an extra block to the project that originally was slated to be part of a park.

    Also, the deal being negotiated allows the developers to build The Banks over a 22-year period, if necessary. Carter and Dawson have indicated it can be completed in about 15 years but want the extra time as a precaution. That's also a shift from original plans, which called for The Banks to be built in phases over a decade.

    First proposed in 1999, The Banks project is a multi-use project that would be built between the Reds and Bengals stadiums. It's planned to include a mix of condos, offices, shops and a hotel next to a large riverfront park.

    The project was delayed during the past few years due to funding and jurisdictional issues, particularly who will pay for up to $81 million in parking garages and other improvements needed to lift the development above the Ohio River flood plain. County sales tax revenues were supposed to pay for the garages but are far below initial projections.

    Initially, officials predicted that portions of The Banks likely would be completed in 2004 and 2007, then later revised that timetable to 2005 and 2008. Later still, officials pledged that dirt would be turned at the site beginning in spring 2006.

    Now construction is slated to begin in April.

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  7. #51
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Initially, officials predicted that portions of The Banks likely would be completed in 2004 and 2007, then later revised that timetable to 2005 and 2008. Later still, officials pledged that dirt would be turned at the site beginning in spring 2006.

    Now construction is slated to begin in April.
    I don't know why they just don't give up and make it a green space or a parking lot.
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  8. #52
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    I don't know why they just don't give up and make it a green space or a parking lot.
    No kidding. Seed it in. Make it a huge "mall" for people to congregate and have different vendors for food, crafts, etc.

    At the rate the idiots in the city/county government move they will be lucky to have a snow cone stand, a bike rack and a bail bonds office open down there by 2057.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    In 20 years if that space is still open the Reds and Bengals will start making noise about needing new stadiums on the river to "compete",
    Go Gators!

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    There are a lot of people, including those involved in local government, who are working incredibly hard to make this project happen. Some of them are devoting their lives to it at present. All of these charges of apathy I see directed to the powers-that-be at every turn and every joke's opportunity only ever seem truly applicable to the public to me.
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  11. #55
    Porkchop Sandwiches DoogMinAmo's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    There are a lot of people, including those involved in local government, who are working incredibly hard to make this project happen. Some of them are devoting their lives to it at present. All of these charges of apathy I see directed to the powers-that-be at every turn and every joke's opportunity only ever seem truly applicable to the public to me.
    "I'm a Cucumber, I'm a cucumber. I'm a cucumber, I'm a cucumber. I'm a cucumber, I'm a cucumber. Please don't send me to the pickle farm, bum." - Brak

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  12. #56
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    There are a lot of people, including those involved in local government, who are working incredibly hard to make this project happen. Some of them are devoting their lives to it at present. All of these charges of apathy I see directed to the powers-that-be at every turn and every joke's opportunity only ever seem truly applicable to the public to me.
    Yep. Appethetic that they'll get anything done. Appethetic, that based on the track record down there, that they will pull it off without frittering away millions and making poor decisions that prevent the area from being utilized well. Apethetic that they are still working on acomplishing something more than some spiffy artist renderings. So far they haven't given me much reason to have googly-eyed optimisim about the project.

    There have been people "working incredibly hard" and "devoting their lives" to county and city govenerments for years. While they might get an A for effort and dedication, and I'm sure they are really nice people, they have to receive a solid F for overall results county/city wide (ok, a genrous D since there have been some signs of improvements in some various areas latley). And that track record doesn't give one much hope for future sucess with respect to the Banks. Of course I'm apathetic. But it's on them to win me back. There isn't a kabuki-feel good-support your local gunslinger onus on me to be their chearleader. It's the other way round.

    It's very telling that what appears to be the first real steps forward have been accomplished after BCast and his working group took the bull by the horns. I don't think he's a "Banks-Mesiah" but he's and his group are from outside and county/city governement establishment which says a lot.
    Last edited by Ltlabner; 08-29-2007 at 07:21 AM.
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

  13. #57
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    Yep. Appethetic that they'll get anything done. Appethetic, that based on the track record down there, that they will pull it off without frittering away millions and making poor decisions that prevent the area from being utilized well. Apethetic that they are still working on acomplishing something more than some spiffy artist renderings. So far they haven't given me much reason to have googly-eyed optimisim about the project.

    There have been people "working incredibly hard" and "devoting their lives" to county and city govenerments for years. While they might get an A for effort and dedication, and I'm sure they are really nice people, they have to receive a solid F for overall results county/city wide (ok, a genrous D since there have been some signs of improvements in some various areas latley). And that track record doesn't give one much hope for future sucess with respect to the Banks. Of course I'm apathetic. But it's on them to win me back. There isn't a kabuki-feel good-support your local gunslinger onus on me to be their chearleader. It's the other way round.

    It's very telling that what appears to be the first real steps forward have been accomplished after BCast and his working group took the bull by the horns. I don't think he's a "Banks-Mesiah" but he's and his group are from outside and county/city governement establishment which says a lot.
    Bob Castellini most certainly has a lot to do with it. He's one of the people to whom I'm referring.

    Cincinnati city council is incompetent in a lot of ways and I'm not making excuses for them. If you're someone who's really willing to be swayed by action, then I think you're of a great mindset, exactly as you should be: wanting action to prove things to you, but willing to be open to that possibility. I just run into a lot of people who pass things off as "never happening" and don't give it a second thought. City council approves the plans and figures out the money, but the general tenre of the public has a lot to do with what happens to a developing city. And the public tenre here is far worse than those in charge. At some point, the citizens of Cincinnati have to accept that they too hold some reponsibility toward the attitude and actual physical changes of their own downtown.
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  14. #58
    Porkchop Sandwiches DoogMinAmo's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Alas...

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.d...WS01/710230339

    Master deal on Banks reached
    Step forward leaves money questions
    BY JESSICA BROWN | JLBROWN@ENQUIRER.COM
    E-mail | Print | digg us! | del.icio.us!


    After months of delays to iron out the legal details, a master development agreement for the Banks riverfront project - the document that will dictate how the project will work - is done.

    The documents are to be unveiled at a Banks Working Group meeting at 9 a.m. today at Great American Ball Park.

    The announcement will set the stage for city and county votes on the project, perhaps as early as next week, and means that the Banks could still be on track for an end-of-year groundbreaking - that is, if the city and county can figure out where their shares of the financing will come from.


    "There are a lot of details to be worked out," said Councilman Chris Bortz, head of the city's economic development committee.

    The Banks is a proposed 18-acre, mixed-use neighborhood district on the Ohio River between the Great American Ball Park and the Paul Brown Stadium.

    The master development agreement with Atlanta developers Carter Real Estate and the Harold Dawson Co. will detail every aspect of how the project will work, Carter's Trent Germano said. It will outline who is financing what - but not necessarily where that money will come from. The county and city must together come up with almost $200 million in public money to build parking garages to lift the project out of the flood plain, fund utilities and a build a riverfront park, among other things.

    The financing has for years been a sticking point among some city and county officials.

    Both governments must approve the development agreement before the project can move forward.

    Commissioner Todd Portune said he expects to schedule a joint city/county meeting with Mayor Mark Mallory next week for a vote.

    "I can speak on behalf of everyone in the region when I say its about time and thank goodness and interject a note of caution of don't screw it up," Portune said. "That's to all of us involved in the process. Let's not let this slip through anyone's fingertips at this point. It's time to seal the deal."

    The city additionally must vote on amendments to the concept plans that would allow the development to be much larger than initially proposed.

    The Cincinnati Planning Commission this summer approved the developers' request to double the density of the project to 2.8 million square feet and allow buildings to be up to 30 stories tall. Previous plans capped building heights at 15 stories.

    A group of influential downtown business owners is protesting the project because of its size. The business owners fear that the project will compete with downtown, rather than complement it.

    The city's economic development committee is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. today to discuss those issues, among other things.

    But Bortz said the committee needs a chance to digest today's master development agreement before making any decisions.

    "At this point, there's no way we're acting on anything tomorrow," Bortz said Monday. "They told us they'd have the documents to us a week ahead of time."

    The master development agreement has been in the works for months. Several self-imposed deadlines by the Banks Working Group have been missed.

    Germano declined Monday to give specifics of the agreement or why the process took so long.

    "It's a very complicated agreement - somewhat of a matrix," he said. "And lots of aspects of the agreement have many parts. It's not an easy thing, structurally or legally."

    "I'm a Cucumber, I'm a cucumber. I'm a cucumber, I'm a cucumber. I'm a cucumber, I'm a cucumber. Please don't send me to the pickle farm, bum." - Brak

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  15. #59
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Years of squabbling between Cincinnati and Hamilton county came to an end today. This thing might actually happen after all. Better five years late than never at all, right?


    Banks approved; 'An incredible thing'
    BY JESSICA BROWN | JLBROWN@ENQUIRER.COM


    Cincinnati and Hamilton County governments have approved the Banks agreements, paving the way for the project to begin.

    The voting —which took several minutes due to the multiple pieces of legislation —were greeted by a hearty round of applause. The votes were unanimous. Commissioner Pat DeWine was unable to participate because of a potential conflict of interest involving his law firm.

    Elected officials termed it a historic occasion. Each took several moments to thank the Banks Working Group, the city-county body charged with jump-starting the project-- for getting things done. They also thanked each other for their roles, and the community for their patience.

    “We’ve stared problems speed bumps and all manner of difficulty in the face and we’ve decided that in spite of it all we’ll find a way around it and we’re going to move on and we’re going to do it together,” said Commission President Todd Portune at the ceremony at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

    “That’s an incredible thing for a community to realize.”

    Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory echoed those remarks, calling the Banks “the biggest development deal in the history of Cincinnati."

    He said it shows a new era is dawning in city-county cooperation.

    “Cooperation has never been the issue. But we’ve built a relationship. This is how we’re going to develop things in the future.”

    The Banks is a proposed 18-acre neighborhood district on the Cincinnati riverfront between the Paul Brown Stadium and the Great American Ball Park. Developers hope to break ground early next year.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Banks project to be open by end of 2009

    Where's our resident naysayer, Mr. Krono?? (I'll admit to being quite skeptical as well!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
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