Tuesday, March 27, 2001

McAlpin's site in line for $8.5M subsidy

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        With $8.5 million from Cincinnati, developers say the closed downtown McAlpin's Department store and two other vacant buildings will be renovated into shops, restaurants and offices by the end of next year.

Plans are to carve shops, restaurants and offices from the former McAlpin's abd other vacant buildings.
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        The latest plan was unveiled Monday by Madison Marquette Development Co. and replaces earlier ideas to demolish the three buildings on Fourth Street.

        It got unanimous support from the City Council's community development com mittee, which credited developers for saving existing buildings despite the cost to taxpayers. “It always costs more than I would like to see,” said Councilman Pat DeWine, chairman of the committee. “But this does seem more reasonable than others we have subsidized.”

        The $27 million project stretches from the southeast corner of Race and Fourth streets, where Frisch's Restaurant used to be located, through the former Newstedt-Loring-Andrews building and McAlpin's, which closed in 1996.

        “Our plan is for a mixture of small to medium-size retailers,” said Robert Acker, Madison development director, “certainly not a department store.”

        The five- and six-story buildings would house about 65,000 square feet of retail space, about 80,000 square feet of office space and 30 basement parking spaces.

        Stores and restaurants would take up the first two floors — with renderings showing a skywalk link to the Tower Place Mall — and offices stacked above.

        Mr. Acker would not say which tenants have been lined up. But he said other similar-sized Madison projects feature stores such as Ann Taylor and Williams-Sonoma and restaurants such as P.F. Chang's along with local eateries.

        As part of its contract, Madison will buy all three properties and sell them to the city, which will lease them back for $1 per year and 5 percent of all gross rents more than $3 million. The lease-back allows the city control of the property, Deputy City Manager Richard Mendes said.

        City Council will likely vote Wednesday on the subsidy.


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