Important Council Vote On Banks Music Venue Could Come Wednesday

Sep 30, 2019

After weeks of contentious negotiations and heated public hearings, Cincinnati council could make a decision Wednesday on moving a concrete plant to Queensgate to allow a music venue at The Banks.  

There's no deal yet to relocate Hilltop Basic Resources, but council could decide if it's interested in selling riverfront land the city owns that's needed for the move.  

If council says no sale, the company has said it won't accept a lease.

Council Member Chris Seelbach plans to vote no, comparing it to playing poker.

"So why would we be showing our cards saying that yes, we will sell the land when no one else seems to be dealing, letting us know what they'd be willing to do?" Seelbach said. "So to me, it's just a bad negotiation tactic."

A council committee Monday heard from more than two dozen opponents of a plan to relocate Hilltop Basic Resources to Queensgate. The committee did not vote on any issue.

Mayor John Cranley opposes selling city land to Hilltop, and he told the committee he's working on another motion with Council Member Greg Landsman. That motion would primarily be directed toward the Cincinnati Bengals, and make several asks of the team.

"Allow for the music venue to continue on lot 24 or 27 without requiring the removal of Hilltop, without requiring surface parking lots to be permanently set aside for tailgating 10 days a year, and without requiring that city money be taken away from the city," Cranley said.

The team is involved because it has veto rights over development plans on lots at The Banks next to Paul Brown Stadium where the music venue would be built. Hamilton County has an agreement with the Bengals for the county to buy the current Hilltop location (west of the stadium) and turn it into surface parking for tailgating on game days. Right now, that's happening on Lot 27 (east of the stadium) where the proposed music venue would be built.

In order to relocate, Hilltop has proposed purchasing about four acres of city-owned land on the east side of Mill Creek in Queensgate for its barge unloading operations. In exchange, the company would transfer land it has an option to buy to the city. That land is west of the Mill Creek in Lower Price Hill. Community residents have an interest in that land for a park.