Thursday, September 18, 2008

Downtown Living -- The Momentum Keeps Building

Today, Mayor Mallory and I helped open a new residential building downtown--The Lofts at Fountain Square. With 18 new loft and condo units in the heart of downtown (many are already sold, even in this tough market), it's just another sign that our long-term goal of creating a 24/7, living, breathing downtown is succeeding.

For those newer to Cincinnati, it may be hard to imagine how far we have come in just six years. When I got to Council in 2001, there was little activity downtown except typical, 9 to 5 business. The place cleared out as work ended.

Specifically, Fountain Square was the geographic center of downtown, but with little activity and little excitement surrounding it. It was better known as a source of political controversy than it was a destination. Maybe a place to bring a brown-bag lunch on a nice day, but that was about it. There was no long-term plan to revitalize either Fountain Square, or downtown.

How all that has changed! Fountain Square is packed night after night, with a variety of activity. (Tonight, for example, the Bacchanalian Society will bring more than 1,000 people down there for its regular wine-tasting event). New restaurants and bars occupy the surrounding blocks. Now we have new residential units opening up and selling right nearby. And if something really big is happening, people rush to Fountain Square to watch it on the big screen, as a community.

This was the theory behind the Fountain Square revitalization project those of us at City Hall initiated with 3CDC five or so years ago, and lo and behold, it's working. A cycle of new development, new entertainment, and new living space, each feeding off the other in an upward spiral.

Big picture, we're creating the kind of exciting downtown atmosphere that, for too long, has been pulling our best and brightest to other cities. Today, it's Fountain Square, but long-term, it's the whole basin, from the riverfront (and Banks) to Over the Rhine and Clifton.

(To look at the new lofts, go to http://www.loftsatfountainsquare.com/)

3 comments:

Brad said...

The best way to spread the development throughout the whole basin from Clifton to the Ohio River is by building the Cincinnati Streetcar.

CityKin said...

I agree with Brad.

Anonymous said...

How about bike racks? Europe has them everywhere. What about plug in stations for electric cars?
What about free passes every 10 times you use the metro? What about adding passenger trains to existing train routes? We could get around everywhere.

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