Thursday, April 12, 2012

Price Hill the driver for Elberon's rebirth

A festival atmosphere heralded the official ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the Elberon Senior Apartments, with bands, cheerleaders, food, and local dignitaries.

"We've never seen this level of community investment and excitement for any development we've done," said Model Group CEO and Principal Steve Smith.

Once considered "a symbol of neglect" for the neighborhood, the Model Group and Price Hill Will have renovated the 25,526-square-foot building at , built in 1905, into 37 one- and two-bedroom affordable apartments for seniors 55 and older. Rents will be between $420 and $550 a month.

The project is registered with U.S. Green Building Council and is pursuing LEED Gold certification.

Although construction took more than a year to complete, the idea for the building's rehabilitation took much longer – 1,261 days, to be exact – the result of a tour of prospective redevelopment sites by Price Hill Will Executive Director Ken Smith, Steve Smith, and Model Group COO and Principal Bobby Maly.

Nobody remembers how long the building had been vacant – perhaps a dozen years or more.

"The Elberon served as a constant reminder of the disinvestment in the neighborhood," Ken Smith said. "A lot of people kind of lost hope in East Price Hill's future. This project should serve as a lasting example of what can be accomplished in Price Hill."

"In my State of the City speech the other night, I talked a lot about pride," said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. "Neighborhood pride. How pride can be the driver of new development. This is an example, what has happened here. I want to see that pride instilled in every neighborhood throughout Cincinnati."

The neighborhood's revitalization got a major boost last year with the City's establishment of its third community entertainment district along Price Avenue, providing for additional, cheaper liquor licenses that could bring more dining establishments. And earlier this year, the neighborhood's Incline District was formally recognized on City maps as a sub-neighborhood of East Price Hill.

Development is already happening. Incline Village, a 15-unit condominium and restaurant development that's part of the larger $50 million Incline Square project, is under construction near Queens Tower. An upscale, five-unit residential redevelopment on Price Avenue, the Flats, sold out in less than two months. And the region's second Bayou Fish House location, also on Price Avenue, has been thriving.

"Within a mile of here are many amenities," Mallory said. "This area is lush with opportunities."

The $7.4 million project was funded with the help of a $3.3 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) loan, a $1.8 million Cincinnati Community Reinvestment Area LEED tax exemption, and a $1.7 million City HOME loan.

"When a building is brand new, it's really easy to be on board with that," said Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney. "But when it's boarded up, vacant, dilapidated, in foreclosure…there's a voice that says, 'Just tear it down.' But for some, there's a voice that says, 'This building has potential.' For the people who saw the potential – believing not just in the building, but in the neighborhood – I offer my profound thanks."

More photos of the Elberon Senior Apartments will be posted next week.

Previous reading on BC:
Incline District closer to formal recognition (4/4/11)
Model Group wins LEED tax exemptions for Elberon, Woodburn Pointe (3/21/11)
Work on Elberon project officially begins (2/24/11)
Incline District project wins $750K grant (7/7/10)
Price Hill, City celebrate first NSP rehab and sale (4/21/10)


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to extend my congratulations and thank you's for the success of this project.
A special thank you to Price Hill Will and the Model Group.

You have salvaged a Price Hill icon and converted it to much needed safe living space for seniors in the Price Hill community.

This Price Hill resident thanks you for your hard work and dedication.

Patti Hogan

Kevin LeMaster said...

Patti...are you still active with Price Hill Will or EPHIA?

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