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Nearly two years after acquisition, Kim Starbuck and Charles Erickson revealed their newly revived property across the street from Findlay Market. The Crown Building, which was scooped up by the pair in 2011, revealed itself to the community just days after construction resumed along the streetcar route. Track welding had ceased directly in front of the building, leaving a giant hole and makeshift footbridge along Elm Street.
A mixed-use development, The Crown will have a restaurant on the ground floor, commercial space on the second floor, and four residential apartments above. The storefront uses an innovative operable window system, the first of its kind certified by an Historic Tax Credit project.The project has also achieved LEED Silver Certification. This landmark building with a breathtaking view of Findlay Market is still looking for tenants who want to take advantage of the benefits of living near a prime streetcar stop. With the route underway, this will be the first of many new renovations of abandoned buildings north of Liberty Street.
In their monthly newsletter, Downtown Residents Council once again spoke out in support of the streetcar with the following proclamation:
Adopted September 11, 2007 without dissent, again in 2009 without dissent, and on December 10, 2013 with 90.4% voting in favor.
Be it therefore resolved:
The members of the Downtown Residents Council (DRC) support the implementation of a streetcar system for the urban core. We believe a fixed rail transportation network will enhance the experience of visiting, living and working in the core of our city. Other cities implementing streetcar systems have seen good to great returns on their investment through new construction, new jobs, new business opportunities, enhanced quality of life and a cleaner city environment due to lessened automobile traffic.
The DRC urges the City Council to support a program aimed at installing a fixed rail streetcar system within the boundaries of the Central Business District and Over the Rhine, which could possibly be expanded to the inner ring suburbs. Our members would greatly appreciate the ability to travel short distances from home and work on our lunch breaks, nights out, while running errands, shopping and entertaining friends. More transportation options will make it easier for modern families to live in the urban core by possibly removing the necessity of having multiple automobiles for personal mobility. This transportation option would also make the city more visitor-friendly by linking the many diverse shopping, dinning, entertainment, cultural and historic locations scattered throughout the valley.
Yesterday, Cincinnati City Council voted to restart streetcar construction after a three week pause to audit the project. Here’s what’s coming up over the next two weeks:
Thursday, Dec. 26
- Rail delivery on Elm Street (Findlay to McMicken). Elm Street will be closed from 11am-4pm.
Friday, Dec. 27 & Saturday, Dec. 28
- Rail installation resumes north of Findlay Market
Monday, Dec. 30
- Rebar installation resumes on Elm Street, north of Findlay Market.
- Building wood forms for trackwork resumes north of Findlay Market, with concrete placement expected Jan. 2-3.
- Work resumes on traffic signals and poles for overhead power.
- Water main work resumes on Walnut & Main streets.
Thursday, Jan. 2
- Excavation for trackwork resumes at Findlay & Elm streets.
As City Council prepares to make a crucial vote on whether to “pause” or continue the streetcar project, designer Giacomo Ciminello compiled a visual of the costs for both pausing and continuing with the project. The initial estimate shows a $400,000 difference between the two options. However with one option, $147 million will result in a streetcar and the other option would leave taxpayers footing a $147 million cancellation bill to have nothing built.
Council argues the $3-4 million annual operating costs of the streetcar rationalize their decision to spend the same amount of money to cancel the streetcar than to complete it, as they would be saving money in the long run. Earlier this week, project executives explained many options to pay for operating costs which would remove the burden from the city budget, and even allow the streetcar to operate “in the black,” turning a profit.
The vote on “pausing” the streetcar will not only define Cincinnati’s view on progress, but also on fiscal responsibility.