Cincinnati Planning Commission approves key parts of FC Cincinnati mixed-use district
FC Cincinnati's $300 million mixed-use development took another step forward Friday when it secured key approvals from the Cincinnati Planning Commission.
Those approvals included some zoning changes and the sale of city-owned rights of way — parts of Bauer Avenue, Central Avenue, Wade Street, Bard Alley and Kuhfers Alley.
The approvals are the next step in a project FC Cincinnati says will bring an 18-23 story hotel and condo building; a market-rate apartment tower up to 22 stories tall; an entertainment venue; 90,000 square feet of office space; and 50,000 square feet of retail space to the land just north of TQL Stadium.
The city's planning staff recommended approval of the changes, saying the proposed development aligned well with city and neighborhood plans and promises to draw more people to the city and the West End.
FC Cincinnati Chief Development Officer Chad Munitz said the team has worked closely with the West End Community Council, which supports the development, and taken their feedback into account. He also pledged the project's lead developers, Messer and Triversity Construction, would work hard to exceed inclusion goals for minority and small-business contractors.
"The goal really on the contractors is to make sure they're prepared, and that the general contractors are prepared to be purposeful in how we break up the bid packages to make the greatest opportunity for small, minority and women-owned businesses to participate in the project," he told the commission.
While details are still being worked out, the team has released renderings showing the general shape, size and potential orientation of the proposed buildings in the project.
There are a few properties in the area north of TQL Stadium and south of Liberty Street the team doesn't own. Homeowners there are skeptical of the development, saying it will cause traffic, parking and quality of life issues.
Nikki Ramey has lived at her Bauer Avenue property for decades. She came to the planning commission meeting with Earl Brown, a neighboring homeowner, to ask questions. WVXU first talked to Ramey and Brown in March about their concerns.
Ramey said she's experienced a number of inconveniences and disruptions from the construction of the stadium, and watched neighbors leave because of the project. She's specifically concerned about getting to her house if the city sells the western portion of Bauer as the team has requested, saying it will leave only one street in and out of her property.
"If you guys rezone this area for them, which comes right to my door, where do we park? What does my family get on the street? To be truly honest about it, they say they've done a lot for this neighborhood but all I've seen is them displace the people who have been there."
Two other residents living nearby echoed Ramey's concerns.
Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney is a member of the planning commission. She said she's planning to meet with neighborhood residents next week to hear more about their concerns.
Cincinnati City Council will take up the right-of-way sale and zone changes in the coming weeks.