The Cincinnati Preservation Revolving Fund
The Cincinnati Preservation Revolving Fund (CPRF) is an historic properties redevelopment program, commonly known as a revolving fund. It is an active real estate-based program for protecting endangered properties using techniques such as: options, purchase/resale, easements and tax credits.
We utilize a range of methods from loans to support redevelopment of historic properties to direct investment by purchasing endangered buildings.
The primary focus of the Cincinnati Preservation Revolving Fund (CPRF) is to offer loans to end users that are supported and enhanced by escrow deposits we make to the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF), a nonprofit lending institution that fills a gap not covered by traditional lenders. We currently have two projects underway. Our first project was in support of work at 1725 Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine. The second supported our purchase of an 1833 Greek Revival house in Batavia that was under orders for demolition.
Project #1 – 1725 Elm Street has been stabilized due to the funding we enabled. The project has been awarded federal and Ohio historic tax credits and has moved into the next phase of rehabilitation. The Italianate building was vacant and the rear portion was slated for demolition. CPA helped fund the stabilization work in partnership with CDF. The stabilization funds helped this important building in the historic Findlay Market area retain the rear section and move forward with a complete rehabilitation project. The funding we provided has now been returned and is available to support other preservation related loans.
Project #2 – The second CPA Revolving Fund project is the purchase of 225 Wood Street in Batavia, Ohio. This highly significant 1833 Greek Revival house is vacant and has been declared a public nuisance. The Batavia Village Council reluctantly ordered demolition. After months of negotiations ahd title work, we completed the purchase of the property in March 2021. We have preformed maintenance since October and are currently doing minor repairs. The house will have a historic conservation easement attached to the title and be sold to a preservation minded buyer later in 2021.
The Revolving Fund has received several grants the 1772 Foundation located in Providence, Rhode Island. That support has been transformational for our
organization. While we continue to do our work in education and advocacy, we are now providing direct support for preservation projects and even taking ownership of endangered sites when necessary.
The Cincinnati Preservation Revolving Fund has expanded our ability to save historic property in many ways. In addition to the work within our revolving fund we are also assisting with efforts to save the iconic bell tower of an 1895 church on Washington Park. The bell tower is under demolition orders from the city due to structural concerns. Our intervention has convinced the parish to delay demolition while we jointly seek funding for a stabilization project. Cincinnati Preservation Association’s board authorized a $50,000 grant and a local foundation is considering a $50,000 grant. While our funding of the bell tower project is separate from the Revolving Fund capital, the decision to take such direct action was in part shaped by our new, more action oriented approach the Revolving Fund has engendered.
Let us know if you have a project that is a candidate for the Cincinnati Preservation Revolving Fund. Just send us an email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CPA Statement on the Demolition of the Mount Auburn Cable Railway’s Powerhouse and Carbarn
For Immediate Release – February 27, 2021
We are sad to note that an important piece of Cincinnati history is being lost today. The historic Mt. Auburn Cable Car Building at the corner of Dorchester St. and Highland Ave. will be demolished over the weekend. As reported on the news, this emergency demolition is a result of a partial and severe collapse of the structure after heavy snow and ice. Cincinnati Preservation Association had hoped that the vacant Cable Car Building could find a new use, but we recognize that the Hamilton County Landbank had to make a tough decision to protect surrounding buildings.
The Landbank acquired the building last summer and had recently begun stabilization work. While an effort to stabilize the building was not in time, Cincinnati Preservation Association appreciates the work the Landbank does to retain historic structures. Their Historic Building Stabilization program is unique in the nation and has helped save many at-risk historic buildings. The Regal Theater, townhouses in the West End, and the Flat Iron Building on Mt. Auburn Avenue are just a few of buildings that would have been lost without the Landbank’s intervention.
“It is especially painful when a building of such historic significance is lost. The buildings and systems connected to transportation tell us a great deal about how people lived and about how our communities developed. We should use this loss to find ways to avoid future losses,” said Paul Muller, Executive Director of Cincinnati Preservation Association.
Many historic buildings have viable reuse potential right now while others will be viable in the future. In those cases, it makes sense to secure and care for them until new uses can be found. When we adapt and reuse historic buildings, they benefit the community, the economy and the environment. “Evidence of the benefits of reuse are seen throughout Cincinnati. It’s time to increase our commitment to retaining our exceptional historic building stock. We look forward to working with communities and the Landbank to create a systematic, proactive method to prevent future losses,” said Muller.
About the Cable Car Building: The building was originally constructed in the early 1870’s as a powerhouse for the cable cars transporting passengers from downtown up to suburban Mt. Auburn. In 1892, the original stone cable car building was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt with a mixture of brick and the original stone. For over 125 years, the cable car building has been a unique landmark in the Mt. Auburn neighborhood.