Strengthening Cincinnati Communities Together

Strengthening Cincinnati Communities Together is a blog providing updates on real estate development and neighborhood transformation initiatives by The Community Builders and its partners. TCB has been in Cincinnati since 1998 when construction of City West, a master planned mixed-income community in the West End, began. TCB continues to own and manage City West – which recently received $6 million in new investment – and in November of 2012 TCB acquired 19 distressed multifamily properties in various Cincinnati neighborhoods from the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA).  Some of those properties in Avondale are part of a community transformation driven by a TCB-led 2012 HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant.

As one of the largest and most accomplished mission-driven, non-profit housing developers in the United States, TCB works to build strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential.

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Enquirer Story: ‘Avondale Rising’

The Cincinnati Enquirer posted an article highlighting a few of TCB’s core efforts and those of our community partners in the revitalization of Avondale.  In journalist Mark Curnutte’s Avondale rising: Makeover finally gets start, five current projects in the neighborhood are highlighted with “the potential to energize” Avondale.

Among them:

Avondale Choice Neighborhoods phases I and II

The Choice Neighborhoods grant is the single biggest project of the five, and it is considered the most transformational. Not long after winning the federal grant, the Community Builders bought four apartment houses to add to the five it already owned. In all, the nine buildings contain 200 apartment units that will be renovated, brought up to code and rented out.

Two vacant buildings, the Commodore at 3639 Reading Road and the Ambassador around the corner at 722 Gholson Ave., are almost completely gutted. Those two buildings are less than two blocks from Crescent Court, one of the two occupied buildings that the Community Builders plans to rehab first. The other is the Poinciana at 3522 Reading.

On Maple Avenue, 631 and 615 will be razed, and seven townhouses will be built along the south side of Maple. A vacant three-story house across the street, at 610 Maple, will be converted into four apartments.

“We are now mobilizing,” said Jeff Beam, Community Builders’ director of development in Ohio and Kentucky.

A vacant apartment building on Gholson Ave that TCB is rehabilitating under Avondale Choice Neighborhoods

A vacant apartment building on Gholson Ave that TCB is rehabilitating under Avondale Choice Neighborhoods

Avondale Choice Neighborhoods phase III, including the potential to create a new grocery store in Avondale, a documented food desert for access to fresh and healthy options.

In addition to housing, a goal is to build a new grocery at the corner of Reading and Forest Avenue, across from the proposed Lincoln statue park.

The IGA was in the Avondale Town Center, which sits far off the street.

In September, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley went on record with his support for a full-service grocery in the city’s black community in his state-of-the-city address.

Along with the Avondale Community Council, Avondale Community Development Corp., City Food Access Taskforce, Avondale Comprehensive Development Corp., the Coalition of Pastors and the Community Builders, work has begun to build a mixed-use development on that corner – which would include 60 units of mixed-income housing and a new grocery store.

The revitalization of Lincoln Park, among the “critical community investments” proposed to be partially supported by Choice funds.

To the south of the Abraham Lincoln statue at Reading and Rockdale sits an unused plot of green space that Davis and other community leaders envision as a scaled-down version of Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park.

Designs, complete with amenities such as a children’s water park and performance stage, are being collected.

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Spring Cleanup Event on Hale Avenue

Warmer weather, baseball’s Opening Day and signs of spring are (finally) here!  Join TCB, our Avondale neighbors and community partners for a Community Unity spring cleanup event on Hale Avenue on April 12.  Details in the flyer below.

Community Unity Cleanup HALE

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Information on Construction Contracting Opportunities

Following the great turnout for our first contractor outreach event, we have posted some important follow up information and resources here on the blog. Please see the new tab above called “Construction Opportunities“.

As it becomes available, more information and resources will be posted there. Additionally, materials will be made available at the TCB Avondale Choice Neighborhoods office at 3494 Reading Road.

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More Than 150 Attend Contractor Outreach Event for Avondale Construction

Contractors eager to learn about the $17 to 20 million in construction projects planned for Avondale turned out to an open house on Monday, Nov. 18th that The Community Builders (TCB) hosted with the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber.

The project, made possible by a $29.5 million federal Choice Neighborhoods grant received last year, will include rehabilitation and construction of a number of properties along the Reading Road corridor in Avondale. More than 150 contractors listened as TCB’s Lou Mitsch discussed the project goals and requirements, plus the detailed work planned for each property.

Contractor Outreach_111813
General contractors that bid on the Avondale project are required to include a plan for utilizing MBE, WBE and DBE subcontractors. Sean Rugless, president and CEO of the African American Chamber, encouraged the crowd to take advantage of resources available from the Chamber to help meet these requirements.

Contractors in attendance also heard a powerful message from Ozie Davis III, executive director of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation (ACDC). Davis (pictured below with Lou Mitsch) encouraged the contractors to hire locally for these jobs to help us turn Avondale into “an oasis.”

Contractor Outreach 2_111813
The open house was the first in a series of outreach events that we will co-host with the African American Chamber. Businesses that would like more information about general contracting and sub-contracting opportunities can contact TCB at (513) 977-4006 and follow strengthencincinnati.com for more details.

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Contractor Outreach Event on Monday

Cincinnati media are helping spread the word for Monday’s Contractor Outreach Event, co-hosted by The Community Builders and the African American Chamber.  See some fantastic coverage from this week:

Vacant building on Gholson Ave to be renovated beginning in 2014

Vacant building on Gholson Ave to be renovated beginning in 2014

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Contractor Outreach Event on November 18th

Please join us next Monday for a Contractor Outreach event, co-hosted by the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, November 18th
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Cincinnati Childrens MERC Auditorium
620 Oak Street
Cincinnati, OH  45220

This event will inform interested general contractors and subcontractors of new opportunities created by TCB’s redevelopment efforts in Cincinnati, beginning with the first phases of housing development in the Avondale Choice Neighborhoods initiative. Attendees will get information on the scope and timing of contracting opportunities, as well as capacity-building programming offered by the Chamber.

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Information on bid opportunities and supplemental documentation will be posted to this blog and other outlets as it becomes available.

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Choice Launches in Avondale

On Saturday, hundreds gathered to mark the end of a momentous week and to formally launch the Avondale Choice Neighborhood initiative as a community.  The 10th Avondale Festival and Health Fair provided a celebratory setting for the launch, with hundreds gathering at the Hirsch Rec Center to participate in outdoor games; to learn about health, education, and work opportunities; to take advantage of free, onsite health screenings, and to enjoy a cookout as a community.

Avondale Choice will build on these activities, transforming the lives of our residents and positively impacting the broader community.  Follow this link to learn more about Avondale Choice and get involved!

Click any image to view the gallery.

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