A little help, please: Cincinnati's abated office towers

I’m working on The cincyopolis Guide to Building a Better City, a picture book that tries to explain the very complicated world of taxpayer-subsidized economic development in Cincinnati without giving everybody a giant headache.  It’s a collection of lists, charts and pictures.

Since there is no easy, central source to verify the information and I’m piecing together 50 years of history, I need to use the collective knowledge base of the community to crowd-source the fact-checking.  We want this information to be of real value in helping us make better decisions about where we invest our development resources.

Does anybody see any factual errors or omissions in this list of taxpayer subsidized office towers?

As always, thanks for any and all help.

For the last 30 years a lot of our economic development has focused on “jobs” through abated property taxes on office towers.

  1. PNC Center  201 E. Fifth  (1979)
  2. Atrium I  201 E. Fourth  (1981)
  3. Center at 600 Vine  (1984)
  4. Chiquita Center  250 E. Fifth  (1984)
  5. Atrium II   221 E. Fourth  (1984)
  6. 525 Vine Center  (1985)
  7. Scripps Center  312 Walnut  (1990)
  8. 1st Financial Center Chemed   255 E. Fifth  (1991)
  9. 312 Elm   (1992)
  10. Queen City Square   301 E. Fourth  (2011)

Current vacancy for office space in the Central Business District is over 20% versus a 12% national average.

9 thoughts on “A little help, please: Cincinnati's abated office towers

  1. Marie Gemelli-Carroll

    525 Vine is currently known as Huntington Center–since you list Chemed Center with current First Financial, I thought you’d want to update 525 Vine too

    Thanks, and looking forward to the publication

    A question–were the Central Avenue buildings 805-895 Central known once as City Hall Annex tax abated at any point when they were built or sold? Not sure but thought I’d raise the question


    Sent from my iPhone

    Marie Gemelli-Carroll Starboard Strategy 513-703-8495 mgc@starboardstrategy.com

    1. executivedreamer Post author

      At least one of those Annex buildings is being developed by Neyer Properties (not to be confused with Al Neyer LLC). It was the subject of a controversial vote last December on a new TIF District: (we succeeded in getting public hearing added to the process before development begins)

      ORDINANCE (EMERGENCY) submitted by Harry Black, City Manager, on 12/15/2014, declaring improvements to certain real property located on Central Avenue, Seventh Street, Ninth Street and John Street in Cincinnati to be a public purpose and exempt from real property taxation for a period of time. Centennial Project, Neyer Properties, new TIF District

      I’ll add it to the list. I probably also need to add a description of CRA abatement to my picture book and the different types we use so as to distinguish those from TIFs… aaggggghhhh.

  2. Blue Ash Mom

    Interesting to see the vacancy rates but I’m not too surprised. I used to find myself visiting professionals in smaller offices — thinking here particularly of my eye doctor, whom I used to take the bus to see (at Seventh and Vine, in an older building). She decamped for Kenwood probably 15-20 years ago. Now the only service provider I can think of that we have to go downtown to see is our attorney and that is only for a once-every-great-while will updating session (which is mainly the result of having a special needs kid and needing to make sure we don’t muck up his finances, otherwise we’d see her even less).

    A different topic but I am also curious about the hotel vacancy rates. I have trouble believing we need so many luxury rooms — are there really so many people with that much money who are so eager to visit the Queen City? — but I would be happy to be wrong.

    1. executivedreamer Post author

      How did you guess what one of my next posts is going to be? The list of hotels just in downtown Cincinnati. — You’ve got good common sense. I, too, agree that factors other than market demand are driving the building of all these new hotels.

  3. Bill Collins

    Hi Kathy:

    Good morning. Thanks for your posting.

    There is a building, 22 stories or so, at the northeast corner of 7th and Vine, that was new in 1988 when I moved to Cincinnati and worked in that building briefly. At one time Cincinnati Bell Information Systems (CBIS) was housed there, with Fidelity Investments occupying the storefront facing Vine Street on the first floor.

    I suspect that the building developer (don’t know who it is or was) received some big incentives at that time, but am not sure. You might want to look into it. At that time (1988) it was the slickest, newest office building Downtown, and about 75% of the building was occupied (I know because a friend of mine and I used to take breaks together in the unoccupied floors which then offered a quiet space where we could get away from our bosses, talk and peer down on the City).

    1. Blue Ash Mom

      Do you mean the northeast corner of Sixth, not Seventh, and Vine? That is, the building that sits on a diagonal to its front plaza? Kinda pinkish-gray wide horizontal stripes? My late father-in-law worked in that building. It would be believable if it’s developers got a deal.

      Because I’m pretty sure the northeast corner of Seventh and Vine is a surface parking lot.

  4. Marie Gemelli-Carroll

    Another thought….what about 303 Broadway (Western Southern)…it is separate from Queen City Square (Great American Tower) (built a few years prior to the Fourth St. building



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s