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Development boom 20 years in the making continues to reshape College Hill

Once a disinvested inner-ring suburb, College Hill has bounced back with jobs, housing and a thriving commercial corridor.
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - If you haven’t been to College Hill recently, you might find the stretch of Hamilton Avenue near North Bend Road unrecognizable.

The vacant lots are gone, replaced by mixed-use developments with flourishing ground-floor businesses.

“Those who are familiar with this area remember the little Kroger store and the iconic restaurant and banquet hall that used to stand on this corner,” Seth Walsh said. “Now look at it. Just a small piece of the revitalization here in College Hill.”

Walsh is with the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation which is behind much of the transformation.

It didn’t happen overnight.

“You see all this happening and you wonder what happened, and it’s because people got together 20 years ago and said, ‘We can make this happen if we just keep fighting,’” Walsh said.

The initial work was tough because the neighborhood suffered disinvestment in the decades preceding the new millennium.

“It was a lot of mom and pop shops that get to the second and third and fourth generation, and they’re ready to move on,” he said.

Now, Hamilton Avenue has turned into one of the region’s budding commercial avenues.

The momentum was cemented when Cincinnati Children’s Hospital announced a $90 million facility for the neighborhood. The new building is scheduled to open in 2023 at 5642 Hamilton Ave.

“It’s a huge boom for the College Hill Community, bringing so many new jobs as well as treatment that’s so critical for young children,” Walsh said.

That’s in addition to College Hill Station, a large apartment complex with street-level retail. More development is on the way as well.

If you haven’t ventured to take it all in recently, you’re not alone.

“We see people that haven’t come through in a long time, and they’re putting on the brakes, like, ‘What the heck happened?’” Tina Stoeberl, owner of College Hill Coffee Co., said. “Just watching it, hearing it daily, it’s very, very exciting, and it’s a game-changer for the neighborhood.”

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