Saturday, August 10, 2002

Historic Hamilton buildings salvageable

By Steve Kemme,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The three vacant 19th-century Mercantile buildings in the heart of downtown Hamilton are in good enough condition to be salvaged, according to an architectural firm that recently completed a study of the buildings.

        “I feel very positive about keeping the buildings,” said Jonathan Sandvick, president of Sandvick Architects of Cleveland. “But that will be the city's final decision.”

        The three city-owned High Street buildings, which sit side by side, have been vacant for the past two years. The buildings have ornate stone facades, but their first-floor facades are covered with painted plywood storefronts.

        City officials, who spent $5.6 million on a face-lift for High Street three years ago, have been anxious to redevelop the buildings but needed to find out whether the deteriorating buildings could be saved.

        Wednesday, Mr. Sandvick will be presenting the results of his firm's three-month study to city officials and Hamilton's Vision Commission, an advisory group appointed to help the city achieve its long-term goals.

        Mr. Sandvick also will be discussing the study with potential developers and investors.

        The study, which will not be released until then, presents development options and their costs. They include renovating the buildings for offices, retail stores and loft apartments and a bed-and-breakfast.

        The buildings could house a mixture of uses, Mr. Sandvick said.

        City officials will consider using historic tax credits to help raise private financing for the project.


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