Monday, January 20, 2014

BC takes the crowdfunding plunge


After a months-long hiatus during which I did a lot of soul searching, took a lot of meetings, and explored various options for this website's future, I've decided to go the crowdfunding route and launch a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo. The details of the campaign are below. And please, if you can't provide a monetary contribution at this time, please share this link with your friends, family, business associates, and anyone else you think would be interested.

The link for the campaign is (or just click on the widget to the right):

What You'll Get

Building Cincinnati covers news relevant to the built environment in the region's urban core, including the City of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky's river cities, and the region's first suburbs.
Among the content you will find:
  • Coverage of development projects, including renderings, groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings, and dedications;
  • Photo updates of construction projects and urban photography essays;
  • Coverage of transportation projects, including highway, transit, freight, and port activity;
  • Coverage of public meetings, such as City and community councils, the Cincinnati City Planning Commission and the Historic Conservation Board;
  • Commentary and opinion from people working in relevant disciplines;
  • Requests for proposals (RFP), requests for qualifications (RFQ), and invitations to bid (ITB);
  • Events and exhibits related to architecture and the built environment; and
  • Access to exclusive real estate listing information and market trends.
When launched this spring, Building Cincinnati will be a subscription service priced at $8 a month.

Between five and ten articles a month will be available for non-subscribers, free of charge. To view the products offered as perks, please visit:

What I'll Get

Funding raised through this campaign will go to:
  • A redesigned website, content management system, and web hosting;
  • LLC filing materials and a state filing fee;
  • Photo hosting
  • An upgraded cell phone and plan for live tweeting, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and instant updates;
  • A new camera to replace my six-year-old dinosaur with numerous "dead spots";
  • A new voice recorder and microphone;
  • Membership in the Online News Association;
  • Payment to freelance contributors;
  • Future sponsorships;
  • Business cards, travel expenses, and other incidentals;
  • Taxes; and
  • Indiegogo fees and gifts.
Any remaining funds will be used to support me while I perform the arduous task of transferring every page from Blogger to my new host/CMS, fix all of the broken links, and test everything out before going live.  It will also help me through the first couple of months after launch, due to all of the free months of subscriptions racked up by you contributors!

The Impact

A September 2013 survey revealed that 34 percent of Building Cincinnati readers use the website for professional purposes.

These readers come from a variety of disciplines, including:
  • State and local politicians;
  • Urban planners and engineers;
  • Architects;
  • Residential and commercial developers;
  • Residential and commercial real estate agents;
  • Contractors and members of the building trades;
  • Funders;
  • Community development corporations;
  • Peers in print journalism, radio, and television;
  • Environmental and sustainability organizations;
  • Transportation advocacy groups;
  • Arts groups;
  • Affordable/fair housing advocacy and development organizations;
  • Chambers of commerce and business associations;
  • Preservation advocates; and

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can't contribute at this time, I completely understand.  But you can still help!  If you have a few seconds, please feel free to share this campaign with the people you think might be interested in this service.

Building Cincinnati has long been a labor of love.  Now is the time to make it financially viable.  I thank you for your readership and your contribution.

Kevin LeMasterEditor and PublisherBuilding Cincinnati

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Building Cincinnati status update

"Building Cincinnati isn't a job, it's a lifestyle."

So reads the tag line on my . I wish I could take full credit for the line, because it sums up my relationship with the website so succinctly. Since late 2006, I have worked to develop the site and brand into an informative, accurate, and timely alternative and independent news source covering the urban built environment and the policies that shape it.

But serving that mission requires a full-time commitment, and, in my honest opinion, full-time work deserves full-time pay.

For the past couple of months, I've been working with a consultant on a business plan that would not only cover business costs (such as a much-needed site upgrade, travel, etc.), but also provide a sustainable financing stream that could continue to fund my work and allow me to make a real living. I remain optimistic, but crunch time is quickly approaching and it's time for me to step things up.

A September survey of hundreds of Building Cincinnati readers revealed that nearly one-third of all respondents use some portion of the website for professional purposes. This is encouraging, as it's likely that sponsorships from local firms will be one of the ways, if not the only way, to fund the site.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be reaching out to you professional contacts whom I have met personally to find out how you use the site in your day-to-day operations and to discuss possible sponsorship opportunities.

In the meantime, I urge both professional and non-professional readers to contact me with any feedback, ideas, or offers at . Thank you for your loyal readership and your continued patience.

Now, let's make this happen!

Kevin LeMaster
Editor and Publisher
Building Cincinnati

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Please take this short BC survey!

If you're a regular reader and you haven't done so already, please take this two-question Building Cincinnati survey. Easy! Please respond if you care about the website, your input is vital: .

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

$640K will fix long-standing Mt. Auburn landslide problem

At its meeting on August 7, Cincinnati City Council approved $640,000 from its wall stabilization and landslide correction capital improvement program project account to stabilize a Mount Auburn hillside that has been giving residents problems for more than four years.

The money will be spent to build a retaining wall behind the residences , which began slipping due to an absentee landlord's burst water pipe and a --> --> --> project on the adjacent Alma Street, causing damage to sewer lines, decks, and backyards of multiple properties.

$400K grant could help Cincinnati buildings become more energy-efficient

City Council on August 7 authorized an application for a grant of approximately $400,000 to help develop energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, specifically for private sector buildings.

The grants are available through the City Energy Project, a joint venture between the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation that seeks to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in 10 American cities.

Appropriation of 5 acres for $11.3M W MLK project official

In May, Cincinnati City Council announced its intent to appropriate 75 parcels – or nearly five acres – of property for the , and on August 7 they made it official.

Council's emergency ordinance allows the City to begin acquiring property and temporary easements for the $11.3 million project, which will smooth the S-curve and improve sight lines between McMicken and Dixmyth avenues and will add additional center-turn capability. Other improvements will include wider lanes, a bicycle side path, new pedestrian islands at Clifton Avenue, and upgraded traffic signals.

Wrecking Cincinnati: 1218 Quebec Rd

USE: Two-family dwelling
OWNER: Asset Management Directors LLC (Chico, CA)
CONDEMNED: July 2009, for a rotten roof structure, defective guardrails, deteriorated foundation, missing siding, broken and missing windows, gutters, disconnected electrical, and litter. A civil fine was issued in October 26. At a hearing one month later, the owner's attorney claimed he was trying to get the bank to take back the property, and that it might be going to sheriff's sale.
HAZARD: November 2012, adding missing rake boards and damage from fallen trees. Tax delinquent.
REASON RAZED: Declared a public nuisance and entered into the City's hazard abatement program. Demolished using Moving Ohio Forward program funding.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Resolution supports federal tax credits for low income development

Cincinnati City Council has passed a resolution expressing its support for the federal Low Income Housing and New Markets tax credits, which are currently under threat of elimination as Congress considers changes to the tax code.

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have recently asked all senators to identify which tax breaks, deductions, and credits should be retained – and which ones should be dropped.

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