FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                              

November 30, 2017


Gail Paul, VP Communication Strategy

Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority




Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority hires O’Rourke Wrecking for environmental remediation and building demolition at former Cincinnati Gardens venue

$3,000,000 demolition and site redevelopment project will take approximately eight months


CINCINNATI – The Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority (GCRA) is announcing the start of work at a 19.5 acre site in Cincinnati’s Bond Hill neighborhood that will prepare it to be marketed nationally for advanced manufacturing.

On Thursday, November 30, the project team will fence the site off in preparation of the demolition of the former Cincinnati Gardens sports and entertainment venue, and restoration of the site for redevelopment.

Total cost for the site redevelopment is more than $3,000,000, with funding primarily from the City of Cincinnati district tax increment financing and a state redevelopment grant. The property, located at the intersection of Seymour Avenue and Langdon Farm Road, includes the arena, an annex building and several parking lots.

The Redevelopment Authority sent letters to Bond Hill neighborhood residents and business owners last week notifying them of the start of work at the site and the anticipated schedule. Cincinnati-based O’Rourke Wrecking is lead contractor of the redevelopment work.

“We are excited to get this project off the ground and sincerely appreciate the collaboration with the City of Cincinnati and regional economic development partners needed to repurpose this prominent property for future jobs,” according to Laura Brunner, President and CEO of the Redevelopment Authority.  “Without each one of these partners moving the project forward, this property could not serve its highest and best use to the community.”

Built in 1949, the Cincinnati Gardens operated as a popular venue for professional, college and amateur sporting events, and hosted hundreds of concerts. Members of the Robinson family listed it for sale in 2016.  According to documents chronicling its history, the Cincinnati Gardens was the seventh-largest indoor arena in the United States when it opened, with a seating capacity of 11,000.

The Redevelopment Authority purchased 2250 Seymour Avenue in July 2016 as part of its Site Readiness initiative that repurposes commercial tracts in Hamilton County with the goal of producing development ready sites that will attract investments in advanced manufacturing, create jobs, and enhance the local real estate tax base.

“Manufacturing has had a far-reaching impact on the prosperity of our region,” Ms. Brunner said.  “We believe this attraction strategy for advanced manufacturing will yield technical positions that pay well and are able to replace some of the 100,000 manufacturing jobs lost post-1969 as factories shut down or moved out.” She said the region remains a competitive choice for next-generation manufacturers because of our location in the U.S., the ease of shipping products in and out of the region, and the number of skilled workers already here.

Regional economic development organization REDI Cincinnati receives numerous requests each year for regional sites that are at least 20 acres in size – and within the Interstate 275 beltway in Hamilton County, sites like these are in short supply. According to REDI, ensuring the region has ready sites will allow growing companies an opportunity to make their mark in Greater Cincinnati.

Bond Hill and Roselawn are among the Redevelopment Authority’s target neighborhoods, receiving focused investment into real estate projects that will transform the neighborhoods. Nearby, the Redevelopment Authority owns and is redeveloping part of the neighborhood business district along Reading Road, and has successfully transformed a blighted commercial center into TechSolve II business park.


Donation agreements to preserve Gardens artifacts

Before the start of building demolition, several of its iconic features will be hand-removed and donated to area non-profits. The Cincinnati Gardens sign, comprised of individually mounted letters on the building’s front awning, will be removed and donated to the American Sign Museum, located in Cincinnati’s Camp Washington neighborhood, where they will be displayed.

The six 8-foot limestone sculptures on the building’s front exterior will be hand removed and donated to a family member of the original artist, Henry Mott. The designs of the sculptures resulted from a 1948 competition held by the Art Academy of Cincinnati and A.M. Kinney, the Gardens’ architect/engineering firm. Henry Mott, a student at the Art Academy, was the winner. The Mott family intends to find new locations for the artwork, where they can continue to be viewed by the public.

In December 2016, the Redevelopment Authority held a public sale of Gardens seats.



About the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority:

The Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority is the new name of the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority – changed in August 2017 by its Board of Directors to better reflect the 17-year-old agency’s revitalization mission and role in regional economic development. The Redevelopment Authority is a public, mission-driven development finance agency focused on revitalizing Hamilton County, Ohio, neighborhoods and legacy urban industrial sites. A port authority under Ohio Revised Code 4582, our diverse suite of programs and initiatives are structured to make significant impact to improve our region in ways that reduce poverty, improve land value and create well-paying jobs. The agency is governed by a board of directors appointed in equal number by the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. More information at