The new commercial area at the Avondale Town Center. Herald photo
By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
City leaders join project partners Tuesday to formally cut the ribbon on the redeveloped Avondale Town Center at Forest Avenue and Reading Road. Located on more than 10 acres in the heart of Avondale, this $43 million project is preserving and enhancing much needed affordable and market-rate rental housing and stimulating economic growth throughout the neighborhood. This project consisted of rehabbing existing commercial space as well as the construction of two new, mixed-use buildings. The redevelopment includes 119 residential units (55 market-rate and 64 affordable rental units) as well as 75,000 square feet of commercial space that will have 18 tenants. It is also the site of the new UC Health medical services buildings. In total, more than $115 million has been invested in the site.
Speakers included Mayor John Cranley; Pastor K.Z. Smith, senior pastor, Corinthian Baptist Church and president of the Coalition of Churches; Jeff Beam, director of development, Cincinnati, The Community Builders; Bev Bates, senior vice president of development, The Community Builders; Thomas Leach, HUD field office director, Columbus; Nan Cahill, Office of Senator Rob Portman; and Dr. Jamilia Maddox, owner, Cincinnati Healing Arts that opens in the center in December.
About $19 million was spent with local and minority businesses in construction of the project, which took seven years in planning and financing involving 20 partners. Already, 18 Avondale residents are employed there as the center begins to ramp up. New is a laundromat, something that was requested by residents in planning sessions.
“Unbelievable!’’ said Mayor John Cranley. “For years this corner was a symbol of pessimism in he heart of Avondale that people had given up on. Now the neighborhood has a beautiful square, and what a grand story in that we get hospital services here, also.