Innovation Hub to Begin Construction in Over-the-Rhine
City grants $4.5 million to Cintrifuse project
CINCINNATI (August, 5, 2013) – The Budget & Finance Committee of the Cincinnati City Council voted today to contribute $4.5 million in capital funding for the renovation of three historic Over-the-Rhine buildings into a new Cintrifuse headquarters.
The buildings, located at 1311-1315 Vine Street, will offer 30,000 SF of flexible office space and 7,000 SF of commercial/restaurant space. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) will serve as developer, retaining ownership of the commercial space, while Cintrifuse will own the office space. The $14.3 million project will be financed through a Cincinnati Equity Fund II loan, tax credit equity, private investment, and the City grant.
Cintrifuse, currently operating at 299 East Sixth Street in downtown, is a Cincinnati-based organization that proactively links entrepreneurs with research institutions, mentors and investors to help successfully launch high-growth startups. The idea to create a central hub for these elements grew out of the Regional Innovation Task Force formed by the Cincinnati Business Committee which included a wide range of community stakeholders. Its 2011 research findings indicated that the venture capital spend in Cincinnati is very low compared to that of peer cities.
“Bringing together three elements – entrepreneurs, capital, and ideas – to form new businesses will create an ecosystem to foster further investment in our own resources,” said Tom Williams, Cintrifuse and 3CDC board member. “Existing resources include tremendous research and development capabilities at our hospitals and universities and an incredible consumer products hub.”
According to Jeff Weedman , Cintrifuse CEO, word has already spread about the new headquarters for the innovation hub. “Cintrifuse’s temporary space already hosts 32 companies, numerous business meetings, and mentoring and educational activities. Also, a growing list of companies are interested in locating close to Cintrifuse’s ‘urban campus’ when completed.”
As start-up businesses grow and require their own space or more space, Over-the-Rhine’s building stock, livability, walkability, and strategic location between “Pill Hill” and the Central Business District offer endless opportunity. Investors believe the renovation of these three historic buildings into Cintrifuse paves the way for many new businesses to follow.
1313 Vine, the new address for Cintrifuse, has served as a center for commerce since 1855 when it was constructed as a beer hall. It was used for dances, concerts, athletic events, weddings, and drinking. Beer was actually brewed in its cavernous sub-basements, which later became a Prohibition-era speakeasy. A German newspaper named “Hochwaechter” was even edited there in 1861. And in 1897, six regulation-sized bowling alleys were constructed inside the building. Its latest use, from 1992 until 2004, was a rave club called the Warehouse, open until 4am on weekends.
Cintrifuse and 3CDC will begin the permitting process immediately and break ground on the project in September. The project has a 15 month construction timeline.