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Creating A Sense Of Community Downtown

Ann Thompson
Hundreds of new apartments and condos are going up in the Central Business District and OTR.

Empty-nesters, out-of-towners, and young professionals are moving to downtown Cincinnati at an increasing rate. Hundreds of apartments and condominiums are finished and many more are under construction. But is there a sense of community?

Downtown organizations say yes and that's echoed by a couple of people both in the Central Business District and OTR.

At the Iris Book Cafe, a hangout for Over-the-Rhine residents, Bob Sehlhorst felt like he belonged from the beginning. He moved from Green Township four years ago. "I always say it's an urban area but it's got a small town feel."

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Former Green Township resident Bob Sehlhorst now lives in OTR and says it's easy to get involved in neighborhood activities. He hangs out at the Iris Book Cafe.

Sehlhorst, former Oak Hills Assistant Superintendent, and his wife bought an old bank building and rehabbed it into what is now their home. He's in the process of refurbishing other OTR buildings.

The former west sider says he got to know a lot of people through the OTR Brewery District. He's on the board of the OTR Community Council, a historian at Old St. Mary's Church, and is on the leadership team at Rothenburg School.

For Sue Byrom, making friends could have been more challenging because she was an out-of-towner. The Downtown resident lived in New York for almost thirty years and also spent time in Miami, FL and Santa Fe, NM. Once in Cincinnati she quickly joined the Downtown Residents Council (DRC).

"It's a great way to meet people and to be introduced to every bar and restaurant in the city," she says. The group holds a monthly meeting followed by a social event.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Sue Byrom lives across from the Montgomery Inn Boathouse. She moved here after having spent nearly 30 years in New York because she says she heard Cincinnati was undergoing a renaissance.

"It really does become a community, which does sound kind of hokey but it is. I really think I've got a bigger family because of the DRC than I would have because so many Cincinnatians are born and bred."

Both Selhorst and Byrom say they meet even more people by walking everywhere.

Expect more people to move Downtown with these apartments and condominiums under construction:

  • City Club Apartments-309 Vine St.
  • 8th and Sycamore-Sycamore between Seventh and Eighth
  • 28-32 Court St. Apartments-2832 W. Court St.
  • Garfield Suites Conversion-2 Garfield Place
  • The Nielen-223 W. 4th St.
  • Eight One Three-813 Broadway
  • Fourth and Race-118 W. Fourth St.

And these proposed apartments and condominiums:

  • Board of Elections Building Apartments-824 Broadway
  • House of Adam-620-622 Vine St.
  • Sky House Tower-601 E. Pete Rose Way
  • Textile Building-205 W. Fourth St.
  • Second National Bank Building-830 Main St.
  • Hartford Insurance Building-630 Main St.
  • The Exchange-128 and 130 E. Sixth St.
  • Tri-State Building-432 Walnut St.
  • Eighth & Main St.-719 and 721 Main St.

(Information on apartments and condos from DCI.)

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.