Place-Based Strategy Empowers McMillan Business District Revitalization
Paramount Building the Nexus of Business District Revitalization
Neighborhood business districts in targeted neighborhoods can be rejuvenated through an actively managed combination of place-based neighborhood-serving businesses, local micro-entrepreneurs, and creative enterprises.
That is the premise of the McMillan Avenue renaissance in Cincinnati’s historic Walnut Hills neighborhood. The community-driven redevelopment of the historic landmark Paramount building and the revitalization of buildings and sites around it comprise an emerging commercial district punctuated by minority-owned microenterprise. The $40 million mixed-use, mixed-income district includes nine historic buildings; 121 residential units; and 65,000 square feet of commercial space. Tenants like Just Q’in and Video Archive bar enrich the diversity of ownership and experience.
How the Redevelopment Authority Helped
Stabilized Trevarren Flats historic property through a Land Bank program;
Land Bank acquisition of Paramount Building cleared the title and paved the way for ownership by Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, a community partner;
Redevelopment Authority ownership will bring savings from sales-tax exemption on construction materials;
Using the Redevelopment Authority’s DREAM commercial real estate loan for the buildout of Esoteric Brewery — the first African American owned brewery in the history of Cincinnati. Esoteric Brewery will occupy about 10,000 square feet and cost $2 million to build. Seeded by a $5 million loan from Kresge Foundation, DREAM (Driving Real Estate to Accelerate Microenterprise) is a revolving loan fund that finances the build out / tenant improvements of storefronts for local micro-entrepreneurs.
Background & Context
Walnut Hills is gaining momentum. Located two miles northeast of downtown and Over-the-Rhine and just east of the University of Cincinnati, the neighborhood is home to Eden Park, Harriet Beecher Stowe House, a re-energizing business district and blocks of solidly built residences. The neighborhood has seen significant investments of resources in recent years. The Redevelopment Authority is making targeted improvements in Walnut Hills based on local opportunities and challenges. The McMillan Avenue investment supports a business district in close proximity to residential areas, a strong point for a walkable community.
"Because of Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority’s involvement, we are getting the first African American brewery in Cincinnati’s history."
Bobby Maly, COO, Model Group