Earlier this week, we learned that 313 W. 5th St., which is a 24,000 square foot building built around 1860, is proposed to be demolished due to a partial collapse that the building experienced.
We’ve since found out that the damage to the building appears to have been done by the building owner or a person leasing the building and that the proposed demolition would make way for a parking lot. This would be a huge loss for our downtown historic fabric and a result of damage that was self-inflicted to the building.
Also of note is that this building is directly adjacent to a current parking lot created by demolishing a building. This previous demolition was conducted by Historic Conservation Board Member Shree Kulkarni and would create a huge tract of parking where there was once a dense, historic downtown strip.
The owner of 313 W. 5th is currently in a lot of hot water. Not only has this building been sitting vacant for some time, the current partial collapse poses a safety risk to emergency personnel who may have to enter the building and it would seem that the building is now enough of a risk that an emergency demolition has been ordered.
We have however identified a very capable developer who would like to buy and renovate this building in a timely manner. In his own words, the building is “as solid as a fortress.” A building of this size on a prominent downtown street is very attractive to a potential developer and will be of much greater economic and social good if it becomes housing rather than parking.
What you can do
The building may still be saved if additional qualified developers can make an offer to rehab this building and provide alternatives to demolition. If interested, please let us know.
We also ask that you please contact Art Dahlberg, the Director of Buildings and Inspections for the City of Cincinnati, asking that he halt this demolition and allow the building to be sold to a developer.
Art Dahlberg – Director of Buildings and Inspections
Proposed language (modify as you see fit):
As a concerned citizen, I understand that the owner of 313. W. 5th St. in downtown Cincinnati has applied for a permit to demolish this building. I also understand that the owner has proven negligent in the past and, in the case of the recent partial collapse, could be pursued legally for causing apparent intentional damage to the building. I ask that the owner be alleviated of any repercussions only if he sells the building to a qualified developer for the rehabilitation of the building. In this way we can win on all fronts: removing the negligent owner, saving the building and removing any hazard the building currently poses.
I feel that the actions of the owners of 313 W. 5th were conducted at the extreme detriment to historic preservation, public safety and civic growth. I believe that the damage caused to the building was self-inflicted and not a cause for emergency demolition. This building should be processed through the historic conservation board and it is your right as Director to pursue this matter fully. I offer to support you in any way I can.
If we can all band together and make this situation known and our voices heard, we may save an important part of Cincinnati’s historic infrastructure.
Questions? Further information? Please comment below or email email@example.com
Update 01/28 – This post has been updated: Though the damage to the building was caused by the building owner, and it allowed for emergency demolition status, it cannot be said that the damage was caused to allow for demolition. Also, further potential developers are a possible solution to save the building.