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The Changing Look and Feel of Calhoun

Date: Oct. 30, 2001
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photo by Aaron Ott
Archive: General News

Years of preparation and cooperation by UC and the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC) promise to begin delivering tangible progress along Calhoun Street in the coming months. Plans and players are now in place for a $100 million mixed-use development along the north and south sides of Calhoun Street in Clifton Heights. Cincinnati City Council approved an urban renewal plan for the district in June, a developer was selected in August and construction may begin as soon as March of 2002. Completion of the project is expected in the summer of 2004.

"We dreamed of transforming ourselves from the drive-through, fast-food strip that we had become into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use regional destination that emphasized our multi-culturalism, ethnicity and unique history," says Dan Deering, director of CHCURC and an active member in Clifton Heights affairs for more than 20 years.

Those dreams took shape over a three-year period of cooperation between UC and its neighbors to the south. The resulting plan calls for exciting development all along Calhoun Street, including 65,000 square feet of retail space, 70,000 square feet of institutional space for UC, parking garages with approximately 1,100 spaces, 500 beds of student housing and 150 market rate housing units. Plans also call for a consolidation of "fast food row" into a centrally located fast food marketplace, freeing up space for a central, park-like green space in the heart of the business district. The developer for the project is Higgins Development Partners, which previously oversaw development of the $70 million University Center project for UC. Urban Outfitters An initial burst of success for CHCURC came this year, with the rebirth of the former Third Protestant Memorial Church building on Ohio Avenue into Greater Cincinnati's first location of the popular clothing chain, Urban Outfitters.

Deering says a cooperative effort with UC was a key into saving and transforming the church building. He looks forward to seeing the same power applied to the coming new development.

"In the past three years, I've seen what it takes to form consensus, the effort required to collaborate and what it takes to unite a community," he says. "It has been a very rewarding and at times, very tiring experience, but I believe in the power of people's dreams and the power of positive thoughts and the power of good plans and the energy that arises from the practice of inclusion.

"It has been a pleasure and my privilege to work with this great university and within the heart of our great city, and I can think of no better place in which to demonstrate new and creative partnerships than from this institution of higher learning."

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