Proposed $80M project would create 30-story tower downtown

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati's downtown skyline could be changing in the near future.

A proposed project would create a 30-story high-rise at the corner of Fourth and Race Street.  It would include 300 apartments, parking and a grocery store.

Funding for that grocery store was proposed to come from the city's parking plan, which is now on hold.

The project is being funded by the prospective developer, but the money for the grocery store is coming from another city fund.  It'll be a forgivable loan, as long as the developer, Flaherty and Collins Properties, holds onto their end of the deal and builds what they have pledged to do.

On the proposed construction site sits Pogue's Garage.  However, maybe not for much longer.

The proposed development for the site is slated to cost around $80 million.

"The city is ready for, and needs, more downtown high-rise living.  They really don't have much in the high-rise category.  This will kind of take Cincinnati to a whole new level," said David Flaherty, CEO of Flaherty and Collins Properties.

Flaherty and Collins Properties is putting up $68 million to build the structure, but, $12 million is needed for a grocery store in the building.  That money could come from the city in the form of a forgivable loan over five years.

"What we intend to do is use our Urban Renewal District to finance the $12 million loan, and that would be provided to the developer," said Odis Jones, Director of Economic Development.

One project supporter told the city's Budget and Finance Committee on Monday that this project will keep the city moving forward.

"This is a very important corner of the city, and this redevelopment plan brings a lot of aspects that will help continue the growth of the city," said the supporter.

Development leaders planning the project say a downtown grocery store is something Cincinnati has been missing and very much needs.

"A city of this size, and with the downtown population, it's a shame that it doesn't have one.  So, we're going very confident in the success, and that's why we're willing to put all of our money behind making sure it's a high quality grocery store," added Flaherty.

"Adding this grocer adds to the quality of life.  It adds to the sense of vibrancy, and we believe it'll enhance the overall value of staying downtown," Jones told FOX19.

Council still needs to approve the plan, which could come in a vote on Wednesday.

If the project does move forward, developers expect there to be 650 non-permanent construction jobs over the 2 ½ year job.  They expect 35 long-term jobs because of the project.

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