Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Hallelujah - We Have a Plan - Now Start Digging

I am sure everyone has likely seen the new renderings of Fountain square. The skywalk is still gone over the square, the fountain is still moving toward the center, and the stage is still a thing of the past. However, I hope and pray that these things are not argument points, because the new information is what is important. $40 million in re-investment in the city of which only 10% is city money! As a matter of fact, $15 million is via loan to 3CDC (to be paid using parking revenue... hey, can anyone see a new idea for getting those garages on the riverfront underneath the banks built???), $10 million is in federal tax credits, and $4 million comes from the Cincinnati Equity Fund. But in addtion to this and here is the kicker.... $30 million in addition would be spent by private property owners for improvements to businesses! Wow, something totally new and exciting for the city, private development for public space and retail!

Equally exciting, is discussions with local bookseller Joseph Beth, local restauranters Jeff Ruby and Jean Robert. Discussions with Cincinnati businesses like Simone's (for a blues club) and Dewey's pizza... The recruitment of local business instead of ESPNZone, Hard Rock, and House of Blues is VERY exciting to me. Almost unbelieveable that it's happening in the city!

I couldn't be more excited about the plan, and from quotes by council members it looks like the approval should be relatively easy, another piece of unbelievable news. I am going to the presentation by Stephen Leeper at McFadden's tomorrow night to see the renderings, models and presentation in person, but what I've seen today already is very exciting!

"As a matter of fact, $15 million is via loan to 3CDC (to be paid using parking revenue... hey, can anyone see a new idea for getting those garages on the riverfront underneath the banks built???)"

That is obviously a good idea because they are doing it, but they can't use the same plan for the Banks. This quote comes from the 3cdc website.

"Daily revenues and excess game day revenues from the parking spaces within the Riverfront District are being used to pay off current parking debt and reduce annual county operating deficits. County annual net parking revenues estimated at $875,000."
Yeah.. that's kind of the point Wilson for Cincy. You see the City also used the Fountain Square Revenue (roughly $500k) to pay off debt/repairs for the garage. But 3CDC is paying the city 7.5Million up front (to replace lost parking revenues), and then 3CDC is upgrading the garage, and making additional revenue.

Same thing would apply for the banks. Find a reasonable amount to pay the county upfront. Build garages and Banks above. The parking underneath becomes inherently worth more than the current surface lots in a barren riverfront. Therefore parking revenue increases allowing 3CDC to pay off the debt created to buy the parking area, build and operate the garages.

It's the EXACT same concept. The bigger stumbling block is the bengals/reds are gaurenteed a certain amount of parking within x distance for game days. To build the lots would require a temporary loss of parking. So 3CDC needs to convince the reds/bengals it's worth a temporary violation of the current contract for the long term plan.
It is easier said than done. You know how well the city, county, and the sports teams work together. I wish it could work, but until we get some cooperation between the city and county it won't happen. The idea is awesome. Its just not feasible at this time. There are too many entities with their own problems. It would take some great leadership that we simply do not have right now.
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