Posts tagged with "Ohio":

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Ohio’s famous basket building finally sold

A developer who specializes in historic restoration is planning to breathe life into Ohio’s famous but vacant “Big Basket.” Ohio developer Steve Coon heads a development firm that purchased the 20-year-old building in Newark, Ohio, at the end of December and plans to renovate it for new uses. The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building opened in 1997 as the headquarters of the Longaberger Co., which makes baskets and pottery. It was designed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering to resemble the company’s biggest seller, the Longaberger Medium Market Basket. Known locally as the “Big Basket” and highly visible from State Route 16, the former Longaberger building has been vacant since the summer of 2016, when the company moved its headquarters to its manufacturing plant in Frazeyburg, Ohio. Founder Dave Longaberger, who had the vision for a basket-shaped building, died in 1999, and the company has had financial difficulties and layoffs in recent years due to decreased sales. It is now owned by Dallas-based JRJR Networks. Recognizing the building’s value as a local landmark, public officials have worked to get the basket building reoccupied and to get back taxes paid off. Coon, who heads Coon Restoration and Sealants, is working with Sandvick Architects of Cleveland to restore the building and find new occupants. He has not disclosed specific details of his project but indicated he plans to keep the basket-shaped exterior. “The Longaberger Basket Building is known all over the world, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to preserve and renovate this building and put it back into use,” he said in a statement. “I have a big vision in mind to bring it back to life and keep the Longaberger story alive.” According to Newark Development Partners, a business organization, a group of community members contributed to a fund to keep the utilities on after Longaberger moved out of the building so it wouldn’t deteriorate and a sale could take place. Its executive director, Fred Ernest, said the money raised was almost gone when the sale was completed. “We are very excited to help facilitate this transaction and make the Longaberger Basket Building a viable economic development asset again,” said Newark Mayor Steve Hall. According to Columbus Business First, the building and surrounding 21 acres sold for $1.2 million, a fraction of its appraised value. The buyer was Historic Newark Basket LLC. Based in Louisville, Ohio, the buyer has restored a variety of historic structures in Ohio, including the McKinley National Memorial in Canton and the Old Historic Jail in Newark. Last year he received the Preservation Hero award from Heritage Ohio, a statewide preservation advocacy organization. Peter Ketter, Director of Historic Preservation for Stanvick Architects, said, “It’s going to continue to look like a basket. The owner is excited about the iconic nature of the building and sees it as a positive.”  This includes the handle on top and the basket weave skin, which is an EIFS veneer. He added that the development team plans to nominate the building for listing on the National Register of Historic Places so the renovation could qualify for preservation tax credits. The team also wants to preserve a large interior atrium and possibly much of the cherry wood used inside, he said. Ketter said the new owner is exploring a variety of redevelopment options, including multi-tenant office use, a hotel or a mixture of uses.  “All options are on the table at this point,” he said. There is no firm timetable for construction but Ketter estimates it will take a couple of years to complete. “It is in good condition, so maybe it will move more quickly” than other restoration projects, he said. Sandvick specializes in unconventional restoration projects, and the Longaberger building is no exception, he added. “It’s one building you can define as one-of-a-kind.”
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Pro Football Hall of Fame debuts new stadium and latest renderings

 

The second phase of the Pro Football Hall of Fame project—namely, Tom Benson Stadium—is now complete. New renderings have also been released for the rest of the HKS Architects–designed venue, revealing what it could look like to be in this football-centric, “live-work-play” scheme.

The 23,000-seat Tom Benson Stadium, part of the $700 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio, opened to the public this month. The football stadium features a stage that's permanently embedded within the seating bowl as well as event terraces and luxury suites. In accordance to the “live-work-play” theme, the stadium will be not just be confined to sports events; it will host entertainment events and regional universities and high schools will also be able to use the venue.

The village is being heralded as the first-ever sports and entertainment “smart city,” according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website. The “smart city” element will come from building systems being managed through advanced data analytics and from having infrastructure integration for maximum efficiency. A quarter of the project's budget will be spent on developing technology, according to Forbes. This includes the ability to geotag family members so visitors can find each other and wearable technology that tells you when to queue for a specific experience.

Other components for the 300-acre site include a National Football and Youth Sports Complex that has eight multi-purpose turf fields, a 345,400-square-foot hotel, a senior center for retired members of the NFL community, and an education-based "Center for EXCELLENCE." The existing Hall of Fame Museum will undergo improvements as part of the project. A main corridor with retail, restaurants, and office space will bring the village together.

"Our goal is to create the most intimate, immersive and connected fan experience in all of sports. We are extending the Pro Football Hall of Fame into a true live-work-play destination," Mark Williams, HKS principal, said to Forbes.

The rest of construction will be carried out in phases. The final phase of the venue will coincide with the NFL’s 100th season and subsequent Centennial celebration in 2019.

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Firefighters skeptical of Ohio plywood board up ban

The State of Ohio has officially instituted a ban on using plywood to board up vacant or abandoned properties. Proponents say the new law, officially House Bill 463, will help fight blight in areas with many abandoned structures, but firefighters believe the ban may create unwanted challenges for putting out fires. In lieu of plywood, many properties will now be secured with see-through polycarbonate panels, a practice known as clear boarding. Polycarbonate is the same material used for commercial airplane windows. Properties that are required to abide by this new law are those that are being sent through a new foreclosure process, recently initiated in Ohio. The federal government-sponsored mortgage association, Fannie Mae, has also been using the panels for several years. The clear polycarbonate panels are less unsightly and allow for views into abandoned buildings. They are also much more durable than plywood. They are said to be resistant to graffiti and are much more difficult to break through. This is where the fire department sees a problem. While the panels may help keep out unwanted guests, fire departments are worried that they might inadvertently keep firefighters in harm’s way during a fire. While plywood can be broken through with an axe, the circular saw with the carbide blade is needed to effectively cut through the polycarbonate. And while the mounting hardware for the panels can include interior quick releases, not all firefighters are convinced. “How long does it take us to deploy that saw to cut through that plastic? In the fire service, time is of essence for us. Life and death, not to be dramatic, comes down to minutes,” Lieutenant Matthew Herzfeld of the Toledo Fire Department told NPR in a January interview. “Imagine yourself with 70 pounds of firefighting gear on and you have zero visibility.” Another concern of opponents is the price. While a four-by-eight-foot sheet of plywood costs around $20, a similar size sheet of polycarbonate with mounting hardware can cost $120. Yet in towns like Youngtown and Dayton, plywood has become one of the most visible symbols of blight. Dayton alone has over 6,000 vacant structures. While these structures wait to be demolished or bought out of foreclosure they are often secured using plywood, effectively marking them as empty. While the polycarbonate will also mark vacancy, its impact is clearly less than plywood. Other cities, across the U.S., including Chicago and New York, are also considering adopting similar bans.
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WEISS/MANFREDI’s “Design Loft” connects the university to the city of Kent

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New York City–based WEISS/MANFREDI has designed a new center for Kent State University’s design disciplines. The project was inspired by strong urbanist principles, beginning with the desire to connect the university with nearby downtown Kent. Marion Weiss, co-founder of WEISS/MANFREDI, said of the connection, "The city and the university have gotten together with a revolutionary plan to make a strong link between these two destinations." To achieve this, the architects located the 117,000-square-foot structure along a primary east-west pedestrian esplanade, subtly canting the orientation of the building to maximize a perspectival effect of the corridor.
  • Facade Manufacturer Belden Brick Company (brick); National Enclosure Company (windows, curtainwalls, doors)
  • Architects WEISS/MANFREDI; Richard L. Bowen & Associates (Architect of Record and MEP/FP Engineer of Record)
  • Facade Installer Foti Construction (exterior wall systems); Gilbane Building Company (construction manager)
  • Facade Consultants Weidlinger Associates International (Structural Engineer of Record)
  • Location Kent, OH
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Concrete superstructure; curtain wall of insulated glass and aluminum frame; iron-spot brick with custom fin shape; green roof; exposed concrete walls; polished concrete floor; interior glazing; reconstituted oak-veneer millwork
  • Products Ironspot norman brick and custom shapes by Belden; Curtain wall glazing system by National Enclosure Company; Daylighting shade by Mechoshade
A continuous gallery anchors the building’s ground floor, along with a café, gallery, library, 200-seat multi-purpose lecture room, and classrooms to support a broad range of activities on the main level. Above, an expansive 650-seat “design loft” forms the heart of the building’s program alongside an ascending sequence of critique spaces. This open studio concept encourages the mixing of classes, where various disciplines and experience levels can brush up against one another. Michael Manfredi, co-founder of WEISS/MANFREDI, said that establishing an open space where students could see their peers was crucial to the success of the project: "Both Kent [State] and ourselves believe that students learn laterally. You always learn from your colleagues or those just ahead of you. So the openness of this building was really crucial to the ethos of this building. Marion and I both teach, and we've always been surprised at how important this idea of peripheral vision is." The architects' efforts to produce an open learning environment were realized through a reinforced concrete structural system that maximized floor to ceiling heights, long spans, and a durable exposed concrete slab ideal for a workshop environment. The facade is composed of full-size norman bricks installed as a single-wythe brick veneer. This assembly is constructed as a cavity wall on metal studs with brick anchors coordinated with the coursing. Manfredi said their office was inspired by the industrial history of northern Ohio, which is home to a number of brick kilns. “We loved the idea of using brick, which is a very traditional material, but bringing it through the paces of design and thinking about it as a contemporary material.” The ironspot brick units were manufactured locally by the Belden Brick Company which used traditional beehive kilns for the firing process. These types of kilns produce bricks in a range of colors dependent on their location relative to the heat source. “Belden was very open to creating a custom shape with us that would take the tactile expression of the ironspot brick and push it one step further.” Weiss also praised the qualities of this traditional material. “In many contemporary materials, their uniformity isn't tactile. However, the iron spots on these bricks are never in the same place, and they have a slight textural quality to them, which invites touch. At the ground level, we've seen people running their hands along the wall to get the true tactile dimension of it." A predominant feature of the facade is the use of custom, asymmetrically bull-nosed bricks that establish a rhythm along the lengthy building. The fins project a maximum of 4-inches from the facade, a dimension regulated by the structural coursing of the brick units. Anything greater than this would have required additional metal angles. Where these fins pass over window openings, a custom aluminum extrusion with a specular resin finish was specified. This allowed the composition of the facade patterning to operate irrespective of punched ribbon window openings. The spacing of these fin elements are compositional and coordinate with designed control joints and required weeps in the brick facade. The overall pattern and scheme was designed to respond to the building’s glass curtainwall and cantilever conditions. An example of this can be seen on the south and north façades where the pattern is densified in proximity to the most extreme cantilevers to gain an added shadow/light effect. The architects said it was important to the design to slip the fins at floor levels to indicate a scale to the building and to provide a level of animation to the facade. WEISS/MANFREDI also said that using brick was a way for the project to be symbolically and performatively environmental, because the material was sourced locally and literally from the ground. Beyond the facade, the building taps into a geothermal well field and incorporates green roof strategies. The project, which was completed on time for a Fall 2016 opening, is on tract for LEED Platinum certification. Exposing CAED’s efficient building systems was a focus of the project. A central mechanical room remains open for observation by students, and the reinforced concrete structure of the building is exposed. Even the construction process was a learning experience. “The college deserves credit for making the whole construction process visible and transparent,” said Manfredi. “There was a small viewing platform built outside, so that you could always look through the construction fence and see the excavation, the subsurface infrastructure, the pipes for the geothermal field, and then slowly see the building rise.” Weiss says the best time to see this building is from the town of Kent just as the sun is starting to set. With its orientation set slightly askew, the western sun grazes the facades projecting fins, and the building “glows like a lantern.... There's a certain moment where the building dematerializes—where the transparency of glass and solidity of brick becomes illegible.”
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In Dayton, Ohio, a struggle to save the Wright brothers’ aviation factory

In the birthplace of aviation, local preservationists and one famous historian are trying to get an airplane museum concept off the ground. The nonprofit National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA), a National Park Service–affiliated nonprofit, manages an eight-county, aviation heritage area centered around the City of Dayton, Ohio. The area's attractions celebrate the legacy of the Wright brothers, the pioneering fliers of one of the first working planes. Now, the group is pushing to turn Orville and Wilbur Wright's Dayton factory into a museum. In a video, below, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and author David McCullough puts out the call to save the factory, where that famous plane was assembled.
The $4 million initiative seeks to preserve and transform the 54-acre area for airplane production, now abandoned, into a historical site where visitors can see how aircraft were built in the early 20th century. NAHA plans to acquire the property before the year's end: So far, the group has raised around $2 million, the Dayton Daily News reports, with the city putting down $500,000 and the state, double that. Like nearly every Rust Belt city, Dayton was hit hard by deindustrialization and harder still by the 2008 recession. With major employers like National Cash Register (NCR), the Mead Paper Company, and General Motors downsizing or gone altogether, the city's population has declined by 100,000 since the 1960s. Yet city leaders believe that aviation tourism, bolstered by strong transportation links to Indianapolis, Columbus, and Cincinnati, will draw visitors to Dayton to learn about airplanes and you know, spend some money, although the economic impact of heritage tourism is unclear. For more details, see the National Aviation Heritage Alliance's website here.
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Pro Football Hall of Fame expanding with a massive 300-acre lifestyle center

Are you ready for some football? The Pro Football Hall of Fame will soon be big enough that you can live in it 24/7. The Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio will expand to include a 300-acre lifestyle center that will include everything from a stadium to assisted living housing for senior football Hall of Famers. The $500 million project is being carried out under the guidance of Dallas-based HKS Architects. Construction started in September 2015 and is scheduled to continue in phases through 2019. The first major addition is the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. With construction well under way, the small stadium will provide an intimate experience for fans more akin to classic stadiums. “Although the scale... of this venue is not as large as some of our more recent football stadiums, the quality of fan experience and overall intimacy within the venue will be unmatched in sports,” remarked Mark Williams, principal and director of business development for HKS. A National Football and Youth Sports Complex will provide eight multi-purpose turf fields. Outfitted with the latest in lighting and video technology, the complex will seat 3,000. A new hotel and conference center is also set to begin construction in September 2016. The football-themed hotel will include 25,000 square feet of conference space. A “Main Street” of retail, restaurants, and office space will run through the village. The project also has an education component in the form of the Center for EXCELLENCE. Focused on athletic performance and safety, the center will be home to a Coaches University, the Institute for the Integrity of Officiating, and the Academy of Corporate Excellence. The center will also include a 9,000 seat indoor football and basketball arena, along with 80,000 square feet of convention space. The Legend Landing will be an independent and assisted living senior care center for retired Hall of Famers and other members of the NFL community. For younger visitors, the Hall of Fame itself will incorporate an immersive virtual reality experience, putting fans as close to the game as possible. The Hall of Fame village is expected to be completed by 2019, to coincide with the National Football League’s centennial season.
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Frederick and Harriet Rauh Residence wins Residential Design Award of Excellence from Docomomo

A modernist dwelling in the leafy village of Woodlawn near Cincinnati has picked up the Residential Design Award of Excellence from the Docomomo 2016 Modernism in America Awards. Less than a decade ago, the house—formerly owned by Frederick and Harriet Rauh—was in a mire of dereliction and decay. Located on 10068 Leacrest Road and originally built in 1938, the Rauh residency was designed by architect John H. Becker but had fallen victim to vandalism and neglect. In 2010, daughter of the original owners, Emily Rauh Pulitzer (an in-law of Joseph Pulitzer) donated the house, and funds to return it to its former glory, to the Cincinnati Preservation Association. Carrying out the restoration process was construction firm of Crapsey and Giles. Such was the success of their work, the house has also won a Preservation Merit Award by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO). "Preservation of modern architecture is not always an obvious choice," said Paul Muller, executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, to The Architect's Newspaper. "Since modernist buildings are close in time to us, and have not taken the glow of the distance past, many are in danger of just looking wore out, or worse, out-of-date, but not yet historic. One of the most rewarding aspects of the restoration of the Rauh house was that, because it was such an innovative design when built in 1938, the building still has a powerful impact on visitors. It has an exceptional ability to show how the modern style incorporated flowing space, connected the inside to the exterior, used abstract shapes to make intriguing compositions and celebrated industrial materials. We are lucky to have such an important example of modernism the restored to its original glory."
Jury Chair, Frederick A. Bland, FAIA, AICP meanwhile said: “An unusual example of the International Style of modernism in Ohio, this scholarly and holistic approach to the preservation of this severely deteriorated house and site will provide future generations a rich example of the full spectrum of many components of modernism. Not only will the building itself be preserved but also the landscape, furnishings, and art. A laudable added feature, a public outreach program including tours and symposia, is intended to engage and instruct the public.”
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Basket builders vacate Ohio’s famous basket building

After nearly twenty years, the Longaberger Company, makers of wooden baskets, will be moving out of its trademark Longaberger "Medium Market Basket" shaped building in Newark, Ohio. Designed by the Longaberger Company, with NBBJ as architects of record, the corporate headquarters sits just about 40 miles north of Columbus. At 160 times larger than the basket it is based on, the seven-story building has 180,000 square feet of office. Longaberger will be moving its workers to its nearby manufacturing facility in Frazeysburg, OH. The Big Basket, as it is referred to, is an example of novelty, or programmatic architecture. Though built in the 1990s, examples of novelty buildings stretch back more than 100 years, and include the Tail o’the Pup hot dog stand in Los Angeles and Lucy the Elephant in Somers, New York. Another example is the Big Duck of Flanders, New York, made infamous by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi’s theories on the “duck,” describing buildings which combine their function with their shape as a symbol of that function. As such, ducks and duck eggs are sold in the Big Duck. As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, the basket company has a back tax debt of $570,000. If that amount is not eventually paid, the county could repossess the property and sell it in a sheriff’s auction. The starting bid would be set at the tax amount plus court costs. At around $600,000, that would make the building possibly the most expensive picnic basket ever sold, but an excellent bargain for an office building.
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With a Knight Foundation grant, the Better Block Foundation aims to make your city even better

In over 100 projects, Team Better Block (TBB), the organization that works directly with cities to realize large-scale placemaking initiatives, helps make your great city even better. Now, thanks to a $775,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Dallas-based organization will be better able to serve cities and the people who make them. The January grant, meted out in installments, allowed TBB to create the Better Block Foundation (BBF), a nonprofit arm of for-profit TBB. Founder Jason Roberts explained that the grant will help both entities grow and support each other mutually. Roberts clarified that, while Better Block solutions like bike lane, plaza, and pop-up business recipes are "an open-source operating system, like Linux," free and open for all to use, TBB installs Better Block solutions for a fee. He and co-founder Andrew Howard realized a need for the foundation when TBB went worldwide. "We didn't have the bandwidth, so we needed the non-profit model. The nonprofit will help other folks do these things," he told AN. Things like transforming underutilized spaces, building workforce capacity, and cultivating vacant land. The program is expanding its staff to include a managing director, architect, project manager, and creating an internship program. Howard will manage TBB, while Roberts, who enjoys research and development, is directing the foundation. The BBF includes a human capacity-building component, as well. Civic leaders, elected officials, developers, and others "passionate about the built environment" will be able to meet architects, planners, and designers to discuss solutions for their cities' public spaces. Additionally, the foundation will build capacity to collect data and performance metrics before and after a Better Block project is installed. "We haven't had a chance to document that piece," Roberts reflected. "The foundation can focus on impact." This year, the BBF and TBB are planning the WikiBlocks project for the city of St. Paul. In collaboration with neighborhood groups, they'll install parklets, flowerbeds, and cafe seating from cutout designs whose plans are free to download and assemble. TBB is teaming up with the digital fabrication studio at Kent State University to create the prototypes for the project: In about three months, the early models will be developed. TBB knows how local culture manifests itself in and through the built environment, and that drawing on that ethos is key to building strong neighborhoods. Right now, TBB is using one site to turn around a struggling neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, and posing the question in reverse: how could culture express itself in an individual house? Working with refugees from Bhutan, in collaboration with the International Institute, the Bhutan Cultural Association, and a Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Akron, the team is transforming a dilapidated house in the North Hill neighborhood into The Exchange House, an Airbnb youth hostel managed by the émigrés. Refugees sponsored by the State Department are indebted to the government: refugees have to pay back their plane ticket. Consequently, they're expected to find work, but language and cultural barriers can make that difficult. Running the hostel will provide an opportunity for cultural exchange, help refugees earn money, and build English language skills, as well as revitalize a neighborhood that has excess housing and infrastructural capacity. The partners hope to "stamp North Hill as an international neighborhood." There's 11 months left on the project, and demolition on the interior is progressing apace. Sai Sinbondit (of Cleveland-based Bialosky + Partners Architects) is the lead architect. A market, garden, and community resource center will round out the hostel's program.
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Henning Larsen selected to design University of Cincinnati business school

The team of Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects and Cincinnati-based KZF Design have been selected by University of Cincinnati to design and construct the new $100 million Carl H. Lindner College of Business. The project will consist of 250,000 square foot of class rooms and facilities and will sit on the site of the current Russel C. Myers Alumni Center. The team was selected from a shortlist of three offices that also included London’s Foster+Partners and Bath, U.K.–based FCB Studios International. The process of picking international firms for the project is part of the University’s Signature Architecture Program, a campus planning program which has brought world renounced architects to the University of Cincinnati to design campus buildings for the past 15 years. Henning Larsen will join Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Thom Mayne, among others, in having a project on the Uptown campus. KZF Design will act as the local architect of record on the project. The interdisciplinary firm provides architecture, engineering, interiors, and planning, throughout the United States, and has worked on the University of Cincinnati campus in the past. Previously KZF worked with Thom Mayne as part of the Signature Architecture Program on the UC Campus Recreation Center. Founded in 1959, Henning Larsen Architects is known for its civic and cultural work, including the crystalline Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland and the more recent Kolding Campus at the University of Southern Denmark. With work throughout Europe and the Middle East, this project will be Henning Larsen’s first major project in the United States. Drawing on the traditions of Scandinavian design, their work often focuses on the control of natural light and the making of central communal spaces.
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Over a quarter of the streetcar systems taking shape in the U.S. are in Midwest cities

According to the American Public Transportation Association, a public transit advocacy group, there are more than 90 cities in the United States that are actively considering implementing streetcar systems. Of those 90, over a quarter are in the Midwest. Though all in different stages of planning, development, and construction, a handful are well underway, with service beginning as early as 2016. Kansas City and Cincinnati are both in the process of live testing their newly manufactured cars, while Milwaukee debates expanding its current plans. Though hundreds of cities across the country once had streetcars, by the 1960s most had been dismantled with the rise of the private automobile and public bus systems. The current renaissance of streetcar construction is often attributed to cities interested in bolstering downtown transit options, and encouraging more ecologically sustainable modes of transportation. Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, may be the first of the new Midwest streetcar lines to open in early 2016. Dubbed the RideKC Streetcar, the light blue electric trolleys will services a 2.2-mile street along Main St. The system will have four cars running between 16 stops for 18 hours a day. Similarly to streetcars of the past, electricity will be drawn from overhead wires. Unlike past services, the new cars will be wi-fi enabled and free to ride. This first leg of construction is being positioned as a first step in a much larger plan to link the entire Kansas City region with multi-model integrated transit system. Detroit’s new streetcar system will be unique in that it was masterminded by a private non-profit organization. The M-1 Rail, to open by 2017, draws on the economic power of small and large businesses along its route, philanthropic institutions, and a close tie with city government to realize a complex funding and administrative system for the public-private venture. At one point the project was envisioned to expand to a 9 mile route, with more involvement from regional transit partnerships. After multiple feasibility studies it was found that, for economic reason, the 3.3 mile current route was more viable, with possibilities of expansion in the near future. The path to building streetcar systems is often far from smooth. With resistance from state and local governments, it took Cincinnati voters electing new city councilors and rejecting multiple anti-rail ballot initiatives to realize their new transit system. With discussions starting in earnest in 2007 and construction starting in 2012, it will be nine years in the coming when the system finally opens in September 2016. The 3.6 mile loop will service the Over the Rhine neighborhood and the downtown, highlighting the original intent of the system to encourage development in both districts. The Over the Rhine neighborhood, a member of the National Register of Historic Places, has been experiencing a renaissance in the last 10 years, after decades of struggles with crime and declining population. In the case of Milwaukee’s streetcar project, set to open in 2018, the resistance has not been coming from the government as much as from a small group of vocal opponents, who have taken issue with the $124 million project. Though, with a recent failure of a petition to stop further expansion of the already approved first leg of the system, the opposition seems to have dried up. The majority of the funding for the Milwaukee Streetcar is coming from U.S. Department of Transportation grants and Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts. The city and the federal government are betting on the street car to relieve vehicle congestion and pollution while raising property values along the route. Anticipating the rail’s impact on downtown Milwaukee, a 44-story residential tower by local architects Rinka Chung is planned to begin construction in 2016. The base of the project will integrate a streetcar stop along with shopping and office programs. Though it may have been 50 years since many U.S. cities have had street cars, the next five years will see large moves to reverse that situation. Along with KC, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, MO, and St.Paul, MN, are making moves to implement their own streetcar systems. With the rise of the suburbs and automobile travel often being blamed for the decline of the streetcar, it would seem that this new trend might be pointing towards yet another indicator of the tendencies of contemporary city dwellers. A greater environmental consciousness, neighborhood investment, and a shifted understanding of economic stability, define the values of a young population that streetcar systems across the Midwest, and the entire country, hope to leverage into success.
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Cincinnati Music Hall renovation to begin next year, for late 2017 reopening

After nearly a decade in the works, the renovation of Cincinnati's grand Music Hall has a construction timeline. The $129 million construction project crept along for years, the building languishing while preservationists sought to raise funds for its restoration—even as the fortunes of the surrounding neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine surged. Music Hall landed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of endangered historic places just months prior to receiving a critical $25 million Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit last year. Now, officials say, the 1878 landmark will shut down in June for renovations and reopen to the public in fall 2017. The Music Hall Revitalization Company still needs $6 million by January to close a lingering budget gap for the project, but MHRC board chair Otto M. Budig tells the Cincinnati Enquirer that a new wave of donors has him “confident that we’re not only going to raise that last $6 million, but maybe a few million more for an endowment.” Architects on the project include Washington, D.C.–based Martinez + Johnson Architecture, and Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel of Pittsburgh. Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) is the lead developer.