In 1850, Cincinnati was the second densest city in the country, but in the last century as residents began their flight to the suburbs neighborhoods lost population and in some spots buildings were abandoned.
Walnut Hills was once considered Cincinnati’s second downtown, but in the last century the area fell on hard times. When the historic firehouse burnt down in 1977, it was left to crumble for over 3 decades. A couple years ago developer Kent Hardman bought the building from the city for $1.
Hardman spent heavily to bring the building back to life- it’s now his loft apartment upstairs and a pizzeria downstairs- and he says he’ll only “break even” with his investment, but he’s more interested in helping turn the entire neighborhood around. He invested in the building next door and vacant buildings across the street and hopes that traffic to the pizza parlor will bring some life back to these blocks.
Johnny Sanphillippo of http://granolashotgun.com filmed this story. On his blog, he writes about shoestring pre-vitalization: “a new generation is now beginning to rediscover neighborhoods like Walnut Hills and the city of Cincinnati understands that market demand is aligned with the existing building stock and historic urban fabric. ”
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/before-19th-century-1-building-now-luxury-housepizzeria/