I can think of a few:
1. The economy tanked so not a lot of developers were interested
2. Unlike the levee the banks couldn't be built just on fill. A large underground parking structure (when completed one of the largest in the country) had to be built in the floodplain
3. The deal with the bengals. They used up a lot of money for the infrastructure but also has a clause that 5000 parking spots must be available west of suspension bridge. So you couldn't just rush in and build over the surface parkin.
4. Not as much money coming in for sales tax
5. It truly is a much more expansive project then the levee or a strip mall. Big projects like these take time.
Two stadiums, a coliseum, a world class museum, huge intercity park, many restaurants, and downtown residents in an area of town sure beats anything else in the tristate. And considering just 13 or so years ago it was mostly just warehouses and a highway ramps its remarkable we have what we do.
They're still on schedule to open by tomorrow:
As of a few days ago they still looked like they had a long way to go. We'll see how they do.
Smart to get it open for NCAA and Patty's Day. Will be checking it out next time I'm in Cincy.
"You're drunk again. No, I'm just exhausted 'cause I've been up all night drinking."
I love the idiot on the comments section on the WCPO link.
"Reds Hall of Fame?? Must be pretty empty."
Seriously? Get a clue.
Argument #2 is great, but it still doesn't explain why the Banks took so long to break ground. The project started planning in 1996 and didn't break ground until 2007. I agree that the task of building something in a flood plain and so close to the river is a daunting task, but it's a task that could've been started years ago.
Argument #3 speaks to my previous point about gross incompetence from elected officials. The lease with Bengals was bad business from top to bottom.
Argument #4 would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that the project was concieved during one of the biggest economic upswings in US history.
And, honestly, I don't buy Argument #5 at all. It really *isn't* all that amazing of a project. They built two sports facilities -- which has been done in any number of places over the last 20 years including places like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington. The museum they constructed is low-foot traffic and doesn't fit much with the "entertainment destination" vibe the rest of the Banks is going for.
And, on the retail/dining aspect, the project is woefully underwhelming. What we have, after years of planning, starts, and stops is basically a few bars, a couple places to eat, and some overpriced apartments. There is nothing by way of retail or things that would be a draw on weeknights when the Reds aren't playing. The museum isn't the type of thing that gets parents to load up the car for a fun day/night out like a COSI-type museum would have been.There's no movie theater / playhouse / concert hall / comedy club / etc. type of entertainment venue, there's no shopping -- hell, there isn't even a place to grab coffee and hang out if you don't want to get drunk on a work night. That's a massive failure of design, IMO -- and it'll be seen as such when the place is a ghost time during the winter and when the Reds are road-tripping.
When the Banks was planned, it was envisioned as something that could redefine downtown and provide people a reason to come back. As it stands, the Banks is really just a spot to watch a game and things to do right before or right after. That'll be fun this year, but it's sad considering what a missed opportunity it was.
Last edited by Caveat Emperor; 03-17-2011 at 09:28 AM.
23 Years and Counting...
I was downtown with my family to see Christmas lights and Santa jumping down a building at Fountain Square and afterwards we racked our brains about where to have dinner. Rock Bottom was packed; McCormick and Schmicks, the Brazilian place and Mortons were more than we wanted to spend so eventually we ended up leaving downtown and eating in Mt Adams. Now that's ashame. I would have liked to have stayed downtown. Perhaps this year we'll have the choice of the Lager House, Holy Grail or Toby Keith's Place.
As for your other ideas, we already have a Childrens Museum, a concert hall and a playhouse, movie theaters are a tough sell nowadays with Netflix and all, so I don't think they've grossly missed the boat. The apartment sales from what I'm hearing are going well. If I was single, I'd consider getting one. It'd be a blast to live in the middle of all that action.
Just fyi. Planning for the Easton Towne Center began in 1990. First phase which was a Target was oppened in 1996. The fashion district in 2001. It took time to plan and develop also and was built in better economic times and not in a flood plain.
Baltimore's inner harbor which is a good comparison began planning in 1963 with bonds being sold in 1964. The construction contract for the inner harbor wharf wasn't awarded until 1974.
The navy pier was rehabilitated in 1975 and plans were put in process to develop it. Constrction was 1992.
The first phase of the Banks openned in 2000 with the reconfiguaration of fort washington way and the openning of Paul Brown.
Large scale projects take time. Building the supporting infrastructure takes time. Newport on the Levee did not require as much infrastructure.
I just get tired of people saying how northern ky has more. Me I would gladly take fountain square, over the rhine district, the banks, contemporary arts center, aranoff center, the taft museum and many fine restaurants over anything in newport or covington.
I agree that large-scale projects take time -- the issue I have with the Banks is what Cincinnati got for the almost 2-decades of planning and construction:
1. A football stadium and baseball stadium
2. A redesigned road
3. A museum no one goes to
4. Apartments that price-out a large number of young professionals
5. 2 Bars and a Brewhaus
6. 3 restaurants and a Johnny Rockets Sports Bar
That's underwhelming. It's not unique or different and it lacks any kind of style. The Banks was an opportunity for Cincinnati to do something that would give itself a "showplace" location for tourist dollars and an attractive location to draw residents back to the city -- instead of knocking it out of the park, Cincinnati settled for bunt single down the line.
But really, that's what Cincinnati's been doing for decades. It took 15 years for the area right across the street from the Aronoff Center to finally start developing. The big plans for Fountain Square ended being a collection of chain restaurants, an ugly parking garage, and a random jumbotron, and now the Banks is just a vanilla spot on the on the map.
Nobody thinks big in this city, but that's part of it's charm I suppose.
23 Years and Counting...
I agree, though, that adding a few more restaurants and other things at the Banks will do a lot to keep people downtown who - like you and your family that day - are coming downtown anyway. It will do a lot to keep the people (and money) who are downtown for Reds games, Bengals games, and a few other festivals and events, as well as the 20 days or so before Christmas when people like to be downtown. I do agree with Caveat Emperor, though, and I worry about whether the Banks will do anything to bring MORE people downtown, and whether businesses will be able to do enough business on those 200+ days when there is no other event downtown.
It's actually looking like I am going to be living in one of the overpriced apartments starting in June, even though I do have some of the same doubts/concerns about the project that CE has. Given my current situation I think it will be a fun place to live for a year, and any downside will be more than compensated for by being able to walk to work. It will be very interesting to see whether the Banks are successful. I really hope they are; it would be great for the city.
I think Cincinnati will have a lot more than it's had in a long time with the Banks and the Casino. Anything bigger than that would probably fail due to entertainment dollars being tapped out. I'm wondering if it can support everything that's planned as it is. You can bet more restaurants will go in around the casino and definitely within the casino, plus the 7 planned for the Banks. Can Cincinnati support that much?
What are you going to do at the Banks on a Wednesday night in November? How about a Tuesday in July when the Reds are on the road?
Newport has the AMC theater (which is still a draw -- the only reliable draw in the building), the Aquarium, and a comedy club (Funnybone) that draws national touring acts.
What does the Banks have? They could've built a Bogarts-type place to bring in mid-range musical acts that otherwise end up in Kentucky at the Madison or in Oakley at the 20th Century. If they had been open for business 10 years ago (as planned), they might've been a candidate for the Apple store that went to Kenwood instead -- which brings in enormous foot traffic 7 days a week.
Zero retail, zero destination attractions outside of the two sports teams. What's bringing people down the other 274 days per year?
23 Years and Counting...