Thursday, October 8, 2015

Exterior doors are in...

...but we also were tagged with graffiti. Cleaning the graffiti off the unpainted brick has proved challenging. The silver spray paint came off after an afternoon of scrubbing with graffiti remover/paint stripper/mastic remover, but the black paint has proved difficult to remove. Does anyone have any recommendations? We've heard that Dietrich 606 might help...


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring is here

And we're back to work, if only to wrap up the project that was started over a year ago. City Lofts is bricking up the side of the addition with our reclaimed bricks. It feels good to be back on the project and moving forward.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The Viroc siding is starting to be placed. It's a beautiful product made of cement & compressed pine wood. You may have seen it before as the wainscoting on the walls in A Tavola.

Priming the wall of the back building

Reid & I had to get this done - kind of emergently - yesterday, since snow is in the forecast for the rest of this week. We would have loved to finish priming and get a coat of paint on over the primer before the crew gets the finishes in place, but it may not be in the cards. Maybe the weather will improve next week...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The Trex decking (Spiced Rum) is in and the crew is planning to lay it within the next week. Meanwhile, we're waiting on an appraisal of the property to determine whether or not we'll get a loan that will cover the contractor's bid to finish this project once and for all (yeah right! old buildings are never really finished, are they?). The waiting is stressful so hopefully it won't take longer than another week and a half.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Official Loan Offer

Cheviot Building & Loan has offered Reid and I a loan to finish the project.  We couldn't be more pleased with the bank and the people we have worked with at the bank. For 5 & 1/2 years, we have pieced together bits of this project, doing much of the work ourselves, paying a neighborhood guy to work alongside us during really laborious jobs, and hiring City Lofts for the big projects. And now we'll be able to hire a contractor to finish the entire project - our living space, the rental unit on Hamer Street, and to white box the storefront. We still have some paperwork to complete, need a final budget from the contractor, the bank needs to do an appraisal (the loan maximum is 70% of the appraised value) and then we start! But the numbers finally add up (thanks to comp homes around Washington Park!) and we should be living at 1700 Vine Street in approximately 18 months. Which is especially timely, since we recently found out we're having a baby in March 2014.

Look for updates in the near future. Once construction starts, there will be a lot to post!

-Patty and Reid 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's Go Streetcar Update from City Manager's Office

So exciting! Reid and I chose to rehab 1700 Vine Street because of it's proximity to the proposed Streetcar line and because we believed in the project (that it would happen) and in the rehab of OTR (that it would happen to a larger scale than ever before - and it has!)

June 24, 2013

Dear Streetcar Supporter:
Today, a majority of City Council voted to approve $17.4 million in the Budget & Finance Committee to keep the streetcar project moving forward. The full Council will vote on Wednesday, June 26 at 2 p.m.

Also, the federal government has provided an additional $5 million for the project. In the award letter, U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “The DOT continues to support your bold vision for economic development and enhanced transportation choices for the city of Cincinnati, and we believe that this project is a significant component of that vision.”

After the vote on Wednesday, the Streetcar project team will continue discussions with Messer/Prus/Delta, the joint-venture low bidder for the construction contract, to finalize next steps in awarding the contract.

Greater Cincinnati Water Works has completed its work in Over-the-Rhine, while Cincinnati Bell has begun moving manholes along the route.

Duke Energy has begun electric work in the Central Business District (along Walnut Street), while communications provider Level 3 has also begun moving its lines.

The City and Time Warner Cable are finalizing the agreements for its work to begin, and the Metropolitan Sewer District is putting out to bid the work to line its infrastructure to protect it under the rail slab.
Streetcar Project Manager Chris Eilerman and other members of the project team met with the vehicle manufacturer in Spain in mid-June to review technical specifications, engineering and safety measures for the vehicles.
SORTA, the City’s operations partner in the streetcar project, has executed a contract with Transportation Resource Associates (TRA), a rail transit consulting firm based in Philadelphia. TRA will help to revise and refine the existing operations and maintenance plan with associated strategies, budget, and timeline. This will help to distill the current plan into a working roadmap for such operational needs as the management model, staffing, and start up needs.
Running up to 18 hours a day and 365 days a year, the streetcar will be a vital complement to the city's existing Metro and other transportation systems.

The streetcar is projected to generate a 3:1 return on our investment.

The vision remains to create a streetcar system that spurs development and is part of a larger multimodal transportation system that links areas outside the downtown core and throughout the region.

The streetcar system is envisioned to go from the River to the Zoo, University, and hospital area in Uptown.

Each streetcar will hold about 148 passengers and will easily accommodate wheelchairs and bicycles.

More than 300 workers also will be needed to build the first segment of the streetcar system alone.

There are more than 500 vacant buildings in Over-the- Rhine. A streetcar line will help attract residents and businesses to these rehabbed buildings.

In its first year of operation, the streetcar is expected to generate 3,700 trips per day, and it will provide residents using the bus system with more accessibility options.

Thank you for your patience during construction for the Cincinnati Streetcar. We’re doing our best to minimize impacts to residents, businesses and workers, but we understand this work can be an inconvenience from time to time. Once complete, the streetcar will help bring more jobs, more development, and more people to the city of Cincinnati!

As a reminder, please help keep workers safe: Use caution and drive safely through work areas.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Great job Kim and Kevin! Beautiful renovation in OTR!

The Crown Building on Findlay Market in OTR

So, I stand corrected. 3CDC is not the only developer who can get things done in OTR...Kim Starbuck and Kevin Pape have nailed it on this renovation. Located right on Findlay Market, this is going to be a gorgeous renovation of a once-run down, dilapidated building.
Great Job Kim & Kevin. Love it! Click on the link to read the story...

Does anyone else realize that 1700 Vine is only 100 yards away from the coolest spot in Cincinnati?

So Reid and I are starting to feel tight in our 2-bedroom condo now that the baby is a toddler. I want nothing more than to finish the work at 1700 Vine Street, move in, and enjoy our small patch of urban greenspace! However, we cannot seem to find a bank that is willing to finance the project. So far, we've talked to and been turned down by First Financial, 5/3 (although this was a couple years ago now), US Bank, and First Safety. We're still in communication with Cheviot Building and Loan (who just did the Rhinehaus project, so we're hopeful they'll see the potential in our project too!) and Cincinnati Development Fund. If neither of these pan out, we have a contact at Huntington that we'll try. Does anyone else have any suggestions? We keep hearing that our project is unconventional (residential and commercial space in one property) but I have to imagine a bank has seen this before. After all, this building is 140 years old - how have people been finding these projects for the past 140 years?  If all conventional loan products fail us, I may have to get creative - could this be a kickstarter project?

More evidence of the building's history

Reid and I spent Sunday afternoon working on the building. This week was very frustrating as US Bank told us they won't give us a loan 3 days after we were supposed to close on it. US Bank appraised the finished property at $500,000, which is what we needed in order to take out a loan to finish the project. Unfortunately, the loan's underwriters decided against funding the project because there is a commercial space involved (the storefront). Never mind that the storefront is only 3 blocks away from a multitude of bars and restaurants currently comprising the hottest nightlife in Cincinnati! It makes me wonder how anyone can rehab old buildings in business districts and it reinforces the need for 3CDC. They're getting the work done when we cannot.
Stairwell perspective
On a more positive note, I uncovered this remnant of ceiling painting/mural in the stairwell of what will become our living space. The most interesting part of this find is that it confirms the previous architecture of the building. We had found this same ceiling detail in the storefront - and since it is also in our stairwell, it confirms that - at one time in the past - the storefront comprised the entire first floor and the residential entrance was actually elsewhere (most likely from the back of the building through the breezeway). This is what we had suspected, since the ceiling clearance is unusually low in the residential entrance (especially given that the living spaces have 11' ceilings), but it is nice to have some confirmation.
ceiling detail

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We passed the plumbing inspection

The water retention tanks are in and collecting rainwater from the downspouts! Come spring next year we'll have a heck of a hops garden.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Patching some floors

Reid has spent a few hours over the past few weeks patching some spots in the floor that weren't looking too hot. The third floor front room (to become the master bedroom) had been damaged by fire and then subsequent water damage. You can see the waves in the original floorboards. Most of the flooring is still in decent shape. Reid just had to replace a few boards that were particularly damaged. When we purchased the property, these original floors were covered over with linoleum. I can live with the wavy floors, as long as they sand down and maintain the patina of time. The waves tell a good story.
The head of the building department also tells a good story about this space. Apparently, this space used to house quite the prostitution ring a little over a decade ago. I'm glad we got rid of the linoleum and carpet.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1700 Vine has a new facade

The 2nd and 3rd floor windows are in and have really changed the way our building looks from Vine street.

The garage is nearly finished

Building the garage has turned out to be a green project. We reused the brick that we salvaged from the demolition of the condemned 1890s addition and reused the stone roof caps that we salvaged from the Hamer Street building when the roof was replaced/rebuilt 4 years ago.

 This is where these bricks started:

Thanks Andy & Ryan for helping us clean the brick!

New old windows from the interior view

The windows are not only beautiful from the exterior. The molding surrounding the second floor windows is complete, electric boxes for sconces between the windows are in place, and the plaster has been patched and primed. This one finished wall is a glimpse of the whole finished project. It's becoming easier to believe that this will be my living room in the relatively near future.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Old Windows

In April 2011, I posted the schematic showing what our old (1870s), weathered, rotted windows would be transformed into by Max Altman of De is that schematic.
 And here is the before and after transformation....
The windows are so grand at 8' tall and surrounded with molding. We couldn't have gotten this kind of detail with replacement windows. The blue trim in the picture below is the exterior rounded molding. The 2nd floor windows were rebuilt using both new lumber and wood from our original 1870s windows. 

The third floor windows will be going in today and next week. The third floor windows had to be built from scratch as the originals were lost to a fire that occurred before we acquired the property.
I am just amazed at what these windows do to the facade of the building! What a transformation...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Garage doors are in

The deck is looking good

The deck above the new addition has its bones in place. Unfortunately, we have to leave it without the finished trex decking in place, a necessary cost-cutting measure so that we could complete the work within budget. Since Reid & I laid the trex on the roof deck, we feel confident we'll be able to finish this deck out ourselves when we've saved up a bit more money.

Concrete steps

The concrete steps leading into the basement of our back building are in!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The start of the basement stair

Into an eventual wine cellar (I hope)!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Parapet wall going up

Parapet for the deck is shaping up

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Now there's a structure to step onto when I open the door from the kitchen on the 2nd floor of 1700 Vine St! When all is said & done, this will have a roof deck & be immediately accessible from my kitchen.

The new addition

The new addition between the two buildings is really taking shape! This will hold a new staircase for the Hamer St building, storage, house 2 rain water retention tanks and enable us to interface with our green space. Is a roof deck on top of thus structure.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Many trucks = lots happening!

Two crews are working today, masonry & carpentry.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

South wall is going up

This will end up about 3' above the 2nd floor so that it acts as a railing on the new deck.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Building the new addition

The footers are poured and the concrete block is going up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pouring the footers for the new building & staircase

Clearing the way for the garage

The concrete pad on the Hamer Street side of the lot has been torn out. This is where the new 2-car garage will be built. The granite curbs were sunk deeper so that we can pull cars in.

Thanks Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

KCB is beautifying the plywood on our storefront today. Much appreciated!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Phase 1 Contruction Begins

Last Wednesday, June 27th, we started digging out for the new foundation that will be built between the 2 existing structures. There used to be a structure in this area - it was actively falling down when we purchased the property and is largely the reason for condemnation orders. Here's a picture of it from 4 years ago:

                       The before picture - South Wall. The exterior steps were obviously rotted.
The before picture - North Wall. The wooden area is the exterior stair for the Hamer St building. It's easy to see how the addition - built in the 1890s - is peeling off the original 1700 Vine Street building. The water pouring through the structure didn't help matters.

We demolished this structure shortly after purchasing the property. The plan for this space is to rebuild both the exterior steps for the Hamer St building and a one-story structure attached to the back of the 1700 Vine St building. This will allow for storage for both the storefront and our home and for a deck for our home, adding approx 400 sq ft of outdoor living space adjacent to the kitchen.

City Lofts is managing the construction. The final product will include a garage, new entrances to both basements, new stairwell, new one-story structure with water retention tanks underneath and deck on top.

Because it has taken us 4 years to get to this point, I'm wondering if I can really call this new construction "Phase 1", although that is what the architectural plans call it. Either way, construction has started and it's very exciting to see progress.