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.
The most common misconceptions about the streetcar project involve concerns about return on the city’s $133 million investment. However, feasibility studies conducted by urban planning and risk assessment firms state that both the local economy and families can benefit financially from the streetcar.
SAVING FAMILIES MONEY
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) research explains that households located in transit-oriented communities (within a half-mile to a mile of a fixed rail station) save an average of $250 per month or $3,000 per year per household in auto-related costs as compared to households in auto-oriented areas. These savings are associated with the ability to walk to a wider range of destinations and to transit access itself.
EARNING MONEY FOR CINCINNATI’S 52 NEIGHBORHOODS
Benefits, costs, net present value, and benefit cost ratio were examined to calculate the risk of building a streetcar in Cincinnati. According to the Benefit-Cost Analysis conducted by HDR, a financial risk assessment company:
The value of total benefits for Cincinnati’s streetcar system is expected to be $430.9 million over 35 years between 2008 and 2042. Benefits are expected to exceed the total costs by $315.1 million. This represents a return on investment of 2.7 times, meaning for ever $1 that is invested, the streetcar will generate $2.70 for the City of Cincinnati.
The HDR analysis notes that there is a 90% probability that the Cincinnati streetcar will succeed. Once operational, it will earn more money to be shared throughout the city’s 52 neighborhoods than the costs needed to build and operate the route. The Benefit-Cost Analysis results recommend that investing in streetcar system is economically worthwhile with minimal risk of economic failure.
There have been numerous studies, presentations, and reports on the Cincinnati Streetcar that explain why streetcars are good investment for the City of Cincinnati. Here are the links to these documents: