Cincinnati Close to First New Masterplan in 32 Years

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, August 23, 2012
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Downtown Cincinnati. (Firesign/Flickr)

Downtown Cincinnati. (Firesign/Flickr)

Cincinnati, a city on the move, released a draft of its first master plan since 1980 in anticipation of approval by the planning commission August 30. The 222-page draft identifies five “initiative areas,” dubbed Compete, Connect, Live, Sustain, and Collaborate. Each contain tasks for growth over approximately ten years, according to the plan, although the document will receive annual budget reviews and will be officially updated every five years.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Life Comes With New Name for Purple Hotel

Midwest
Thursday, August 23, 2012
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Lincolnwood's Purple Hotel, celebrated in a mid-century postcard. (Courtesy Koo & Associates)

Lincolnwood’s Purple Hotel, celebrated in a mid-century postcard. (Courtesy Koo & Associates)

A rose by any other name may still smell as sweet, but what about a violet? Suburban Chicago’s Purple Hotel, rescued this Spring from dereliction and impending demolition, may change its name to complement its transformation under architects Koo and Associates. The firm solicited name suggestions via Facebook, looking for “something mid-century and fresh.” One early commenter declared, “Renaming the Purple Hotel will go over about as well as renaming the Sears Tower.”

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With New Rankings, Pedaling Cleveland Forward.  A bike rack in Cleveland. (Spacing Magazine/Flickr) Despite an increased focus on sustainable transportation, Cleveland lost its spot on Bicycling Magazine’s list of the 50 most bike-friendly cities. With New York’s bike share program delayed, DC reporting increased bike ownership, and Chicago rolling out new protected lanes, efforts to promote pedaling in Cleveland have not dominated national bike news. But after landing 39th on the magazine’s list in 2011, the city was not named this year. That prompted Rust Wire to rally for Cleveland to “boldly prioritize bicycle infrastructure,” building on a recent safety ordinance considered one of the most progressive in the state. (Photo: Spacing Magazine/Flickr)

 

Cleaning up an Arts District in Cincinnati

Midwest
Thursday, August 16, 2012
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Brownstones in Pendleton, a neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati. (Wikimedia Commons)

Brownstones in Pendleton, a neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati. (Wikimedia Commons)

In its ongoing march to reclaim downtown neighborhoods marred by blight and suburban exodus, Cincinnati this week added Pendleton to the Neighborhood Enhancement Program. The district is known for its art center, and was a natural choice for the program now in 14 areas of the city.

Like its neighbor to the west, Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton has struggled with crime. The “90-day blitz of city services” offered by NEP is designed to begin the process of long-term revitalization for the neighborhood by addressing that issue. Kennedy Heights saw a 16 percent drop in crime after it embarked on NEP earlier this year. The program will be reevaluated every 90 days, and again six months after completion.

Continue reading after the jump.

Spiritual Construction: Minneapolis Cemetery Blends Old and New

Midwest
Monday, August 13, 2012
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The Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery. (Image courtesy Paul Crosby.)

The Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery. (Image courtesy Paul Crosby.)

When a bucolic cemetery in Minneapolis began to near capacity, its owners worried a large expansion might dampen the landscape’s pastoral charm.

Despite its comparatively large footprint, the 24,500-square-foot Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis’ Lakewood Cemetery is in harmony with the existing mausoleum and chapel that it sits between, as if in meditation. The 141-year-old non-sectarian cemetery occupies 250 acres in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cleveland Scrubs Clean a Long-Blighted Park

Midwest
Friday, August 10, 2012
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Downtown Cleveland's Perk Park, post-renovation. (Scott Pease / Pease Photography)

Downtown Cleveland’s Perk Park, post-renovation. (Scott Pease / Pease Photography)

After nine years of fundraising, a transformed park in downtown Cleveland seems to personify the spirit of reinvention that has recently overtaken the city. Perk Park, originally built in 1972, was first conceived by I.M. Pei as a small piece of the 200-acre Urban Renewal District. It was once called Chester Commons (for its location at East 12th Street and Chester Avenue), but was renamed in 1996 for 1970s Mayor Ralph Perk.

Continue reading after the jump.

Detroit Riverfront Design Competition Nets Libeskind as Judge

Midwest
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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A pool in Daniel Libeskind's Westside retail center collapsed (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Daniel Libeskind’s Westside retail center. (Mike Bischoff/Flickr)

Starchitect Daniel Libeskind will help judge this year’s Detroit by Design competition to design public spaces along the Detroit River. AIA’s Detroit Chapter is a sponsor of the competition, which will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center, and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. The site includes an entrance to the tunnel to Canada, the Port Authority Building, and Hart Plaza—a 14-acre space at the heart of downtown.

Submissions are open through November 30. If Libeskind and the other jurors like your design, you could win $5,000 and a trip to the Motor City.

View the competition site after the jump.

Even More Protected Bike Lanes to Serve Downtown Chicago

Midwest
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Image courtesy Josh Koonce via Flickr.)

Protected bike lanes on Kinzie Street. (Josh Koonce/Flickr)

In a city where bicyclists may share a lane with Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein, last year’s promise by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of 100 miles of protected bike paths was cause for celebration. Chicago’s latest project, announced Sunday, will be a protected lane along Dearborn Street in the Loop that will run in both directions from Polk to Kinzie.

The new route connects the near north side with the south loop and is designed to appeal to young, tech-savvy commuters who work downtown.

Continue reading after the jump.

IIT Names Wiel Arets New Architecture Dean

Dean's List, Midwest
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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Wiel Arets. (Image courtesy The Illinois Institute of Technology.)

Wiel Arets. (Courtesy Illinois Institute of Technology)

The Illinois Institute of Technology named Dutch designer Wiel Arets as the new dean of its architecture school Tuesday. Currently a professor at the Berlin University for the Arts, Arets will replace Donna Robertson.

Arets is an acclaimed architect whose firm, WAA, has studios in Amsterdam, Berlin, Maastricht, and Zürich. His current projects include Amsterdam Central Station’s IJhal, Allianz Headquarters in Zürich, and the A’ House in Tokyo.

Mies van der Rohe chaired IIT’s architecture school for 20 years starting in 1938 and designed its main campus on Chicago’s South Side.

A Streetcar Named KC?

Midwest
Friday, August 3, 2012
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An old Kansas City streetcar rolls through San Francisco. (Image courtesy Jamison Wieser via Flickr.)

An old Kansas City streetcar rolls through San Francisco. (Jamison Wieser/Flickr.)

Kansas City, recently outfitted with superfast internet courtesy of Google, is on the move. And KC taxpayers voted to keep up the momentum this week, authorizing a special taxing district to help fund a downtown streetcar.

A transportation development district would cultivate the 2-mile, $101 million route from Union Station to the River Market. The line was shortened by 300 feet after a scramble to make up for $25 million in TIGER grants that the city applied for and was not awarded. Funding for the modified plan came from the Mid-America Regional Council.

Now efforts turn to finding an operator. Kansas City will work with the Port Authority to create a Streetcar Authority—a step which has become a hang-up for similar efforts in Detroit. But Wednesday’s vote is a clear signal of public and political support for expanded public transit in the city.

KC is also lining up funding for a second phase of streetcar lines, totaling 22 miles of track crisscrossing the city.

Northerly Island to Soon Become Lake Michigan Oasis

Midwest
Friday, August 3, 2012
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(Courtesy Studio Gang & Chicago Park District)

Northerly Island will soon begin to take shape as an oasis in Lake Michigan. (Courtesy Studio Gang & Chicago Park District)

Gazing at Chicago from the east, it’s impossible to ignore the city’s towering skyline. But the latest gem on the southwest shores of Lake Michigan won’t be made from glass and steel—it’s prairie grass and wetlands.

Northerly Island, a 91-acre peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan just south of the Loop, was promised a visionary makeover from Studio Gang and landscape architects JJR in 2010. Now the Chicago Park District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are preparing to break ground this fall.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Historic Tower in Downtown Cincinnati Gets New Life as Hotel

Midwest
Thursday, August 2, 2012
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The old Cincinnati enquirer building on Vine St. will get $27.3 million from Sree Hotels. (image courtesy of Ohio Office of Redevelopment.)

The old Cincinnati Enquirer building on Vine St. will get $27.3 million from Sree Hotels. (image courtesy of Ohio Office of Redevelopment.)

Seven years after the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation embarked on its resuscitation of downtown’s signature Fountain Square, a vacant 86-year-old tower one block away is getting a $27.3 million makeover.

The former home of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the 14-story building will now house 12,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 238-room hotel. Once slated for condos, the limestone tower will instead be downtown’s fifth largest hotel, bringing the total number of rooms downtown to more than 3,000.

Continue reading after the jump.

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