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Politics

Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board votes on Terrace Plaza Hotel landmark designation

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WCPO
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The Terrace Plaza Hotel is one step closer to being designated as a landmark.

On Monday, the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board voted 5-1 to send the proposal to the City Planning Commission. Board vice chair Tom Sundermann cast the lone 'no' vote. The board voted on the issue in 2019, however the efforts stalled.

Mostly vacant since 2008, the building goes up for auction on this May. Sean Suder represents the Cincinnati Preservation Association and says Terrace Plaza has been neglected by an "absentee, out of town" owner who the city's being fighting with for years.

"Designation keeps the control local, it keeps the control with the city and the people of Cincinnati and it ensures that this building will not be demolished," Suder said.

Doug Moormann represents Birkla Investment Group. He says the group is the only one that has expressed an interest in purchasing the property. However, it disagrees with the guidelines set within the proposed landmark designation.

"In not designating this building, you would provide the developer, Birkla, or perhaps anyone else, the opportunity to try and actually save this structure and the building itself would not be lost," Moormann said. "We believe that designation would handcuff developers to the point where that's no longer financially possible."

Guidelines could limit what developers do to Terrace Plaza's doors and windows, signs, and even what sections of the building can be painted. Renovations would have to abide by preservation methods in order to qualify for historic tax credits. In 2019, the building's owners at the time, JNY Capital, opposed the designation.

In 2020, the building was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. It's already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Terrace Plaza opened in 1948 and was the first hotel to have a television in every room, and the first to have a fully automated elevator.

It was built in the International style with designs by Natalie de Blois, a young member of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.