UC Plans To Sell Emery Center To Developers

Sep 3, 2019

Long-time local developers Dave Neyer and Chris Frutkin have signed a contract to buy an Over-the-Rhine property, the Emery Center, from the University of Cincinnati for $8.55 million.

The Emery Center includes 59 apartments, the Emery Theatre, Coffee Emporium and business offices. As part of Neyer and Frutkin's development partnership, 100 Central Parkway, LLC submitted a letter of support from The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) as the potential end user of the historic Emergy Theatre.

The deal follows years of wrangling over whether to restore the theatre that was home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1912-1936.

A news release says UC acquired the building in 1969 due to a merger between the university and the OMI/College of Applied Sciences. It subsequently leased it to Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnerships (ECALP). The State of Ohio gave UC permission to sell Emery in December 2018.

UC says the property does not fit with its core mission of education and research.

The release says after obligations are repaid from the proceeds, it's expected the university will net $2 million.

"We are very excited to begin exploring the development possibilities of the Emergy Center and Theatre. We look forward to determining the possibilities for one of Cincinnati's crown jewels," said Neyer.

Says Frutkin, "This is a win for everyone. It's a win for those of us who love architectural history and want to engage with Cincinnati's unique heritage in its built environment."

Managing Director and CEO of The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati Kim Kern says "While there is a lot of work to be done and many unknowns, we look forward to furthering the discussions to see if we can return TCT to its original home from 100 years ago."