Cincinnati: A Learning Experience

Six MPC Commissioners and two staff members traveled to Cincinnati in April to learn about the city’s development.

Maribel Koella, working on behalf of ULI Knoxville, made arrangements and coordinated with the ULI Cincinnati office to schedule meetings with representatives of the city’s development agencies.

The learning experience began with a meeting with Steve Leeper, President and CEO of 3CDC (Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation). Founded in 2003 and working as the master developer in the Over the Rhine neighborhood, 3CDC has transformed the neighborhood into a vibrant area with public spaces, housing at a range of prices, and locally owned businesses. A tour of the Over the Rhine neighborhood was then given, with a focus on completed and on-going projects.

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After seeing examples of their work, Commissioners were particularly interested in the role of 3CDC in acquiring, planning, developing, and managing numerous properties in the neighborhood. As a non-governmental entity working with the City of Cincinnati and other partners to revive the neighborhood, 3CDC has advantages that are not available to most local governments or to private developers.

Following lunch at a neighborhood café, the group went downtown for a meeting with the development team and legal counsel that is managing the development of the area around the Cincinnati Bengals stadium and the Cincinnati Reds ballpark. The feel of this area was much different than the Over the Rhine neighborhood, but there were common elements in the development approach. Key among those elements was the management of the development by a master developer following a single vision for the area. Another common element was the goal of providing a mix of uses, from commercial to residential, to provide a 24 hour presence in the area. Also evident in both was the approach of building on success and realizing that the transformation of these areas takes time. The day wrapped up with a tour of the area, including the ballpark.

The trip to Cincinnati provided the opportunity for Commissioners and staff to see how another city undertakes redevelopment of large areas and learn about approaches that could be used in projects of any size. Everyone considered the trip a success and talk is underway about another learning excursion for the Commissioners in the spring of 2019.