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FC Cincinnati begins demolition for mixed-use development north of TQL Stadium

Demolition begins on the former home of the Cincinnati Ballet, which is on the site of a coming $300 million, 8.5 acre district next to TQL Stadium in Cincinnati's West End.
Nick Swartsell
Demolition begins on the former home of the Cincinnati Ballet, which is on the site of a coming $300 million, 8.5-acre district next to TQL Stadium in Cincinnati's West End.

Almost two years after the completion of TQL Stadium, FC Cincinnati is again moving earth in the West End. This time, it's just north of the stadium, where three buildings will be demolished as the team begins work on a $300 million, 8.5-acre mixed-use district.

The team compares the coming development to Gallagher Way in Chicago's Wrigleyville, Titletown in Green Bay and The Wharf in Washington, D.C. It will include a hotel designed by Josh Heuser of Cincinnati marketing firm AGAR, restaurants, apartments, offices, retail space and "privately owned public green space," according to a release from the team. FC Cincinnati hasn't selected an architect or master developer for the work.

The project will take place in stages. In stage one, three buildings near the corners of Central Parkway, Wade Street and Liberty Street are being torn down. Those include structures that previously housed the Cincinnati Ballet, a window manufacturer and, at one time, a brewery. The Ballet moved to a new facility in Walnut Hills with the help of $1 million from FC Cincinnati in 2021. Another structure to be demolished was home to Tri State Wholesale Building Supplies, which sold its facility to FC Cincinnati in 2019 for $25 million.

From the archives:FC Cincinnati unveils stadium design, saying it will 'reclaim vigor and glory' in the West End

Other team-owned buildings in the area have already been demolished for a parking garage, including one previously inhabited by several rental residents of the West End. FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding says the team's interest in property is limited to what it calls the "supersite" next to the stadium between John Street, Liberty Street and Central Parkway. That site currently includes a number of team-owned properties, a couple owner-occupied homes and at least one tire business. A team representative says those property owners can opt to sell or stay in the district.

"All the property that either we own or that we would some point have an interest (in), we've had very ongoing and open conversations with property owners," Berding said. "Our interest is really limited to this supersite."

O'Rourke Wrecking Company will be bringing the three buildings currently under demolition down to grade. Berding says the team and contractors have already completed needed environmental remediation work on those buildings. Demolition work is expected to take about four months.

Berding said he hopes the project sets the tone for Central Parkway moving forward. Conversations about how to remake that thoroughfare — once the city's canal — have been ongoing for years.

RELATED: A college bowl game could be coming to Cincinnati's TQL Stadium

"I'm excited that we have worked very closely with a lot of the property owners here along Central Parkway," Berding says. "We have an exciting vision of what a new Central Parkway should look like — getting back to the beautiful boulevard that Central Parkway used to be."

Cincinnati City Council passed zoning changes needed for the development in 2019. The team promises it will conduct a community engagement process as it undertakes the design phase of the project. The first structures are expected to be finished by 2025.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.