Buildings coming down as part of FC Cincinnati development plans for area

FC Cincinnati will once again be transforming an entire city block of Central Parkway, beginning with demolishing several existing buildings, including the former home of the Cincinnati Ballet and a building that formerly housed a brewery.

On Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., Jeff Berding, co-CEO of FC Cincinnati, will climb into an excavator to kick off the demolition.

Ultimately, three buildings north of the existing TQL stadium will be torn down to make way for a $300 million mixed-use district, according to a press release from FC Cincinnati.

The plan for the buildings at Wade and Central Parkway is inspired by developments adjacent to sports stadiums in other cities, like Gallagher Way at Wrigleyville, The Wharf in Washington DC and Titletown in Green Bay, the announcement said.

FC Cincinnati plans to use the 8.5 acres to house “a hotel, apartments, office space, retail, restaurants and a privately-owned public green space,” said the press release.

Several of the buildings demolished to make way for TQL Stadium and its parking garages were low-income apartments, the last of which were vacated in January 2020 to make way for the stadium’s construction. FC Cincinnati was forced to make several deals to assuage displaced West End residents, including paying them undisclosed sums for relocation expenses, though many who spoke about being forced to move said they didn’t do so happily.

Before this can happen, the buildings standing on the block currently will be razed to the ground, FC Cincinnati said. That includes the former home of the Cincinnati Ballet, vacant since the ballet moved to a newly built location in Walnut Hills and the Tri-State Wholesale Building, which once was home to the second-largest brewery in the city, just after Christian Moerlein.

The Cincinnati Ballet also didn’t sell their home to FC Cincinnati without a fight; after a long dispute over parking, noise and other issues, FC Cincinnati put $1 million in escrow for the ballet — half to resolve litigation over noise problems and half to help the ballet move. The team reached the deal in February 2019, though the ballet didn’t cut the ribbon on their new facility until September 15, 2021.

One of the spaces FCC is modeling their development after, The Wharf in DC, is one mile from Audi Field, where D.C. United plays its MLS home games. FC Cincinnati’s development is much closer to the stadium’s location. The Wharf is a riverfront development with more than a dozen restaurants, multiple hotels, and several luxury apartment buildings.

In Chicago, Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville is the entertainment is integrated on half a city block right outside Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play baseball, with a ticket gate sharing the development’s name. A dozen bars and restaurants are built right next to brownstone townhomes that include rooftop viewing of the games.

Titletown in Green Bay takes up an entire city block, anchored by apartments, but features a fully-playable football field and ice skating rink surrounded by multiple bars/restaurants, all adjacent to Lambeau Field where the Green Bay Packers play.

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