The biggest progress this past week was the demolition kickoff for the Streetcar’s Maintenance & Operations Facility (MOF).
This week’s progress:
- Began demolition of two buildings at the MOF site
- Exploratory digging for utilities on Elm Street near Findlay Market
- Underground excavation for traffic signals near the intersection of 12th and Elm streets
- Underground gas work on Elm (from 15th to Liberty streets)
- Underground electrical work on Walnut (from 5th to 7th) and on Walnut (from 3rd to 4th streets)
Planned for next week:
- Continued demolition at the MOF site
- Water main installation on Central Parkway between Vine and Walnut streets. Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times.
- Traffic signal conduit installation near the corner of 12th & Elm Streets, on Elm Street near Findlay Street, and on Race between Elder & Henry streets. Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times
- New sanitary and storm installation on Elm (between 12th and 15th). Traffic will be minimally restricted at all times
- Underground gas work on Elm between 15th and Liberty streets
- Underground electrical work on Walnut between 3rd and 8th streets
City and project leaders were joined by construction workers and members of the media yesterday for the demolition/groundbreaking ceremony for the Cincinnati Streetcar’s $11.9 million Maintenance & Operations Facility (MOF) in northern Over-the-Rhine.
The new facility will be built at the corner of Race Street and Henry Street, at the northern terminus of the phase one route, and will take the place of an existing surface parking lot and two vacant structures, which were approved for demolition by the City of Cincinnati’s Historic Conservation Board.
There will be an actual building where work can take place and house the system’s original five trains, but the facility will be able to accommodate up to 12 trains as additional sets are purchased for system expansions.
City officials say that the demolition work is scheduled to take approximately six weeks, with construction on the actual building commencing immediately thereafter.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Is the Streetcar happening?'” Mayor Mark Mallory told the audience at the ceremony. “Let me be clear: The streetcar is happening. You can see it happening here today.”
In addition to the maintenance areas, the 12,500-square-foot MOF will also include operational staff offices.
The MOF is expected to be completed by March 2015, with the phase one route beginning passenger service in spring 2016.
“They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls emphasized. “The Cincinnati Streetcar, connecting the Riverfront and Findlay Market, will be that single step that will connect the city’s two largest employment centers and spur development along the route.”
While much economic development and private investment has been anticipated for Over-the-Rhine, Main Street through the Central Business District also poses a huge opportunity for growth along the phase one route of the Cincinnati Streetcar.
The $400,000 redevelopment will create 20 apartments on the building’s upper floors, and will renovate the 92-year-old structure’s 6,705 square feet of street-level retail. The project will also be built to LEED certification standards.
On Monday, August 5, City Council approved an ordinance authorizing a 12-year tax exemption for 100% of the value of the improvements made to the property as part of this agreement.
Sitting at the northeast corner of 9th and Main Streets, the building has long housed B/G Diner, which is a staple among those working at the Hamilton County Courthouse. There is no word as to what will happen with the B/G Diner itself, but rumors indicate that the owners may be interested in moving on.
Main Street is one of the few streets through the Central Business District that still boasts its historic character, while also being the home of many long-time family businesses. It will be interesting to see what happens with all the structures along this stretch, as many have upper floors that are not utilized at the moment and could become residences or office space.
More growth. More progress.