Hamilton County Landbank seeks development proposals for mixed-use properties in Evanston

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 6, 2020

CONTACT: Tom Millikin, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

The Port – Cincinnati, Ohio

(513) 632-3835, tmillikin@cincinnatiport.org

Development opportunity supports neighborhood’s commercial strategy for “new investment and new life in the business districts.”

CINCINNATI, OH, AUGUST 6, 2020 – The Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation (Landbank) announced today it has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase and redevelopment of one or more properties located in Cincinnati’s Evanston neighborhood to create multi-family, mixed-use, and commercial development. The four properties included in the RFP are owned by the Hamilton County Landbank, a public entity that fosters equitable growth in neighborhoods by transforming vacant, abandoned and blighted properties into productive assets, aligned with the neighborhood’s goals. The properties, all located in Evanston’s Northern Business District just south of Xavier University along Montgomery Road, include three mixed-use structures and one vacant land parcel.

“Building on the momentum we have seen with new investment in residential properties in Evanston, we are focusing our attention on development in Evanston’s business districts. We’re looking for proposals that will help realize the community’s vision of a thriving, revitalized business district with neighborhood-serving amenities,” said Bill Fischer, Vice President of Community Development for The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (The Port).

The Evanston Community Council recently completed a new 10-year plan, approved by Cincinnati City Council in 2019. One of the five main goals detailed in the report is “Bringing Life Back to Business Districts.” Residents want to see revitalized business districts that reflect the neighborhood’s rich history in education and the arts and provide a “diversity of locally and corporately owned businesses.” Evanston community residents and the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation will be part of the project developer selection committee.

The Landbank developed the Evanston Northern Business District Proposal with the Evanston Business Association.

“I've based my business in Evanston for 33 years, and over the course of those years, I've seen the business district go through some tough times," says Drew Asimus, Chair of the Evanston Business Association. "But, we're excited to see new momentum with the coffee shop reopening and thriving and a full-service restaurant opening soon. With this RFP, we are looking forward to building on that momentum to bring new life into what once was a vital and thriving business district. We're hopeful for mixed-use development providing commercial spaces that fill a need for Evanston residents and bringing the residential component back to the business district, which is going to be critical for long-term success."

Three of the parcels include multi-story, mixed-use properties built between 1885 and 1927. The Port, Evanston Business Association, and the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation partnered to secure funding through the City of Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program (NBDIP), supporting acquisition and initial stabilization of these buildings. The fourth property is vacant land, primed for mixed-use, multi-family development. All are in an Opportunity Zone and are located in Evanston’s Northern Business District, adjacent to University Station at Xavier University and Keystone Parke.

Questions about the RFP can be directed to Michael Golden, Residential Development Associate, at (513) 621-3000. The RFP documents are also available online at www.cincinnatiport.org.

The Evanston Northern Business District Proposal due date is September 4, 2020 and should be submitted to mgolden@cincinnatiport.org with the subject line “Evanston Northern Business District Proposal” with hard copies delivered to The Port offices at 3 E. Fourth Street, Suite 300, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202.

THE PORT – A DEVELOPMENT PARTNER SINCE 2013

Since 2013, The Port has been working in Evanston to help it recover from blight and vacancy resulting from the Great Recession and housing crisis. In response to the neighborhood’s 2012 Housing Strategy, Evanston became The Port’s first neighborhood of focus. The Port acquired vacant, blighted single-family homes and rehabbed and sold them in a program named “REACH Evanston.”  Since REACH began in 2013, The Port has completed 30 homes in the area surrounding Walnut Hills High School. Since the REACH program began, other homes on the streets with REACH homes have on average sold for a price that is 36.5% higher than their 2008 value. Through the Homesteading & Urban Redevelopment Corporation (HURC), also managed by The Port, six vacant Evanston homes were acquired and are being rehabbed and offered for sale to buyers who fall within the program income restriction parameters. HURC has rehabbed 5 homes to date and has one more underway.

Redevelopment of Evanston’s commercial business districts with a focus on attracting Black business owners and entrepreneurs for commercial spaces is part of The Port’s holistic approach and strategy.

About The Port

The Port was formed in 2000 to stimulate growth of the regional economy. Partnering with the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Port works to redevelop manufacturing and residential communities to build the foundation of job creation and livable, viable communities where residents have the opportunity to participate in economic prosperity. For additional information, please visit http://www.cincinnatiport.org.

About Hamilton County Landbank

The Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation (Landbank) was established in 2012 and is managed by The Port. The Port and Landbank work collaboratively to revitalize neighborhoods, such as Evanston, where the tools of the Landbank can be utilized to assist with property acquisition, disposition, removing blight and holding properties until development is identified by the community. More information is available at www.hamiltoncountylandbank.org.

About Evanston Community Council

The Evanston Community Council is a volunteer, community-based organization dedicated to serving the Evanston area neighborhood in Cincinnati. Our mission is “Dedicated to the well-being of all residents and to the development of the community through education, business, and spirituality.” Founded in 1968 the Council has been an active participant in the City-Neighborhood decision-making process and has been an active proponent for our community. More information is available at www.evanstoncinci.org.