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Officials celebrate Union Central Tower's conversion from office space to apartments

two men and a woman stand on an empty concrete floor of a building. some are wearing hard hats
Nick Swartsell
City Club Apartments CEO Jonathan Holtzman shows attendees at a topping-off ceremony renderings of the rehabbed Union Central Tower.

An iconic part of Cincinnati's skyline will soon get new life.

Developers and city officials on Friday gathered for a topping-off ceremony on the 17th floor of the Union Central Tower on Vine. It was the fifth tallest building in the world when completed in 1913. It most recently served as office space, but Mayor Aftab Pureval says the conversion to 281 housing units is a promising sign for the future of Downtown.

"A huge part of our work at City Hall is envisioning action we can take to help our city thrive and win the next generation," Pureval said. "Progress like this — creating nearly 300 homes to attract diverse talent Downtown — it's exactly what we're talking about."

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Union Central is just one example of Downtown buildings transitioning to residential use as the market for office space shrinks. 

In addition to the 281 units of housing, the redevelopment will include a restaurant, a market, a health club and other amenities. Developer City Club Apartments CEO Jonathan Holtzman says former office buildings are prime for new life.

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"Cities have this great opportunity. [Empty office buildings] can be elderly housing; they could be condominiums; they could be hotels; they can be low-income housing; they could be luxury housing — but housing, housing, housing," he said. "Let's fill these cities up with people."

City Club developed 294 apartments in the tower's neighboring annex building in 2018.

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