Short Vine Project Includes Neighboring UC
Date: Oct. 30, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photo by Andrew Higley
Archive: General News
When the old Turner Hall at Vine and Daniels Streets was erected in the 1880s, by today's standards, you might have called it the German version of the Bally Total Fitness spa. The difference was the people who came here - Cincinnati's German immigrants - weren't pumping iron just to trim their waistlines, but rather to build their bodies and their minds, and maybe make some new friends who shared common interests. A different twist to that philosophy surrounds a new vision to breathe vibrancy into this once-bustling section of town.
The Corryville Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), funded in part by loans from UC, envisions Turner Hall as the cornerstone of a new arts and entertainment district on Short Vine. Maureen Mello, CEDC director, says the district could have sort of an off-Broadway flavor. The CEDC purchased Turner Hall in August and plans to develop it into space suitable for live theater.
The Short Vine project, combined with the Calhoun Street development project, fall under the umbrella name of University Village, Mello says. "We needed an identity for the entire area that included Calhoun Street, Short Vine and the University of Cincinnati, so everyone would know what was in that area, yet within that boundary, and we could create individual elements."
Scott Enns, UC coordinator of community development, says the idea to bring an arts and entertainment focus to the area evolved from the special events that currently bring in the crowds. He says Clear Channel Entertainment has over 200 events a year in Bogart's on Short Vine and CCM has approximately 800 events on campus, while Old St. George on Calhoun adjacent to campus showcases over 600 events.
Mello explains the Turner project actually involves four buildings housed in one. CCM scenic designer Paul Shortt has developed a conceptual scheme for the buildings that would make them suitable for theater performances and related activities.
"The gymnasium, which is the bulk of Turner Hall, could serve as the main theater," Mello continues. "The Hannaford building that faces Vine (and named after its designer, Samuel Hannaford) has three floors with each floor providing a very large, open space. In envisioning a theater, we weren't just thinking about designing a performance venue, but a comprehensive facility with a costume shop, rehearsal halls and dressing room space."
The CEDC has been seeking tenants for Turner Hall with a goal of seeing the converted space in frequent use for performances and related activities. Mello says the Turner Hall plans make a good anchor for creating a cultural center at the top of the hill, especially with its neighbors, the newly restored Carnegie Library and the Schiel Primary School for Arts Enrichment.