Thursday, June 22, 2000

UC approves garage plans

950-car structure would conform to historic area

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        University of Cincinnati trustees on Wednesday approved the concept of a 950-car garage across Clifton Avenue from the main campus.

        If city approval is forthcoming and UC signs a management contract with developer David Hummel's Hummel Properties, the garage could open in less than two years.

        Key to the trustees' decision was University Architect Ron Kull's assurance that the private development would conform to the street's historic appearance.

Architect's idea of proposed UC/Clifton garage, as seen from Clinton Avenue.
        A concrete block would not do.

        “We told them, "If UC is to be involved, we could not lend our support to it until the urban design issues were resolved,'” Mr. Kull said.

        Working with Mr. Hummel, UC hired a local architect, Glaser Associates, to resolve those issues.

        Mr. Hummel plans to demolish eight rental properties and Mr. Kull told Glaser to help him “put it back together as it was as much as possible.”

        The residences have alternating styles; townhouses proposed for the Clifton side of the garage do the same. Glaser also adopted the brick and timber of existing buildings and designed the townhouses with roughly the same height and spacing as structures they'd replace. Even setbacks from the street and lawns are to be the same.

        All six townhouses will be rental properties, Mr. Kull said. Towers with stairways at each end of the garage would replace the remaining two buildings being demolished.

        Devotie Avenue on the north side of the garage is to be widened and become the main access road from Clif ton Avenue.

        Access also will be on Devotie from Stratford Avenue, parallel to Clifton and one block west.

        Cash and card exits would be to Clifton with a stoplight to ease congestion, Mr. Kull said, but a card-only exit is being considered for Stratford, a narrow residential street with parking on one side.

        The garage will add more than 300 spaces in addition to on-campus spots being

        lost to other construction. The new garage does not replace UC's Stratford parking lot. It remains as is.

        Paying for an architect to help on the private development made sense, Mr. Kull said. Mr. Hummel needed UC cooperation and UC wanted more parking if someone else would foot the bill.

        “He came to us and said "I'd like to do this garage',” Mr. Kull recalled. “They wanted the project but they did not know how to solve it architecturally.”

        UC paid only to design the Clifton Avenue face of the garage. Mr. Hummel paid the architectur al fees for the rest of the facility.

        If any opponents attended Wednesday's public trustees' meeting, they were silent.

        However, Marjorie Klusmeyer later said many neighbors oppose the garage because it will create additional traffic where it already is heavy.

        Ms. Klusmeyer, president of the Clifton Heights-University Heights-Fairview Neighborhood Association, also objected to what she said was UC “dumping their parking into the neighborhood” to create more green space on campus.

        So far, she added, the neighborhood association hasn't filed formal objections with anyone, but that could come if there are city hearings on permits for the work.


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