Cincinnati Preservation Board Says Historic Building Needs More Parking

An office developer wants to rehab a derelict 88,000-square-foot historic building right along Cincinnati’s almost-finished streetcar line. This is exactly what should happen, right?

The Strietmann Biscuit Co. Building in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood has a developer lined up but the city may send them packing. Photo: John Yung, Urban Cincy
The Strietmann Biscuit Co. Building in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is in line for a rehab, but the city’s marking requirements might stand in the way. Photo: John Yung

Except the agency charged with protecting the city’s historic structures might actually sink the project. Guess why? Parking, of course! John Yung at Urban Cincy reports:

An Over-the-Rhine development has hit a potential challenge after a 3-3 vote at last month’s Historic Conservation Board meeting.

Grandin Properties had been planning to convert the historic Strietmann Biscuit Company building, located at 221 W. Twelfth Street, to an 88,000-square-foot office building, but must now request a zone change since it does not meeting the city’s mandatory minimum parking requirements.

In a strange twist, the vote from the Historic Conservation Board actually threatens the historic nature of the building and the surrounding neighborhood, as providing the parking being requested would necessitate that a portion of the building be converted to parking, or a nearby historic structure be demolished to make room for a parking structure.

In a letter submitted to City Council, the developer indicated that despite entering into agreements with 3CDC to secure 175 parking spaces for the development, which is a five-minute walk from the Washington Park Garage and City Center Garage, a split vote for a parking variance may imperil the project if the zone change is not secured.

Further supporting the developer’s case is the fact that the 126-year-old structure is located within a short walk to numerous Red Bike and Cincinnati Streetcar stations; and the location’s Walk Score is 94 out of 100 points.

Because it’s too much to expect people to walk or ride transit to the restored office building in a walkable neighborhood next to a transit line.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Walk Lee gives an update on Florida’s horrendous hit-and-run problem. And Seattle Bike Blog considers what it will take for the city’s Pronto bike-share to really succeed.

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Alan Durning is the executive director and founder of Sightline Institute, a think tank on sustainability issues in the Pacific Northwest. This article, originally posted on Sightline’s blog, is #9 in their series, “Parking? Lots!” Have you ever watched the excavation that precedes a tall building? It seems to take forever. Then, when the digging […]