The project that many thought would never get out of the mud just kicked into second gear.
Construction is underway to add more apartments on the western half of the site. Phase II will sit on top of the existing parking garages just west of the Freedom Center.
The project continues to climb from the mud pit it once was, to the finished development it will become.
Mayor John Cranley told a crowd at the ceremony that “Cincinnati is on the rise.”
Bob Castellini is the owner of the Reds, and he’s played a key role on the Joint Banks Steering committee too.
Cranley praised him for helping to bring the parties together to make the project happen. Castellini called the Banks site a dust bin that was ugly and barren.
“The Banks was an embarrassment, and it became a symbol of how Cincinnati couldn’t get anything done right,” Castellini said, but he added that the city is well beyond that point now.
The first concrete pillars were poured today, with Mayor John Cranley and County Commission President Chris Monzel climbing onto a scissor lift to take part. The pillars will form the underpinnings of the new nine story building on the site.
The building will house about 300 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail between Paul Brown Stadium and the Freedom Center.
Living at the Banks has been popular. Already people are on a wait list to move into the Phase I apartments currently at the Banks. The new apartments at the Banks could open up by late next year.
There is no word yet on what tenants might be moving into the retails space that will be part of Phase II.
For a project that really started just as the economy was collapsing back in 2008, it’s a big climb from years of frustration to here.
“It was an eyesore that we didn’t have this complete, now we’re feeling good about ourselves, GE’s coming to town, we’ve got a lot of great things happening in Cincinnati,” Cranley said.
As for the effort to bring the new General Electric offices to the Banks, Cranley says work is going on every day to make a successful bid. GE would sit on one of the other blocks between the Freedom Center and Paul Brown Stadium, meaning more construction could be coming soon.