Cincinnati Channel 12 NEWS Angela Ingram's interview with Martha Schickel Dorff



New houses going up in Over-the-Rhine are part of project designed to draw in new homeowners. The City Homes project is on Pleasant Street, near Washington Park. and the cost of the new homes - may surprise you. Local 12's Angela Ingram looks at how the people behind the project are hoping to help revitalize the neighborhood.

"You can see the hillside across the way, it's really pretty neat." Architect Martha Dorff had a vision of pleasant street turning from a blighting block into something exciting."I moved here because I love Over-The-Rhine. I was introduced to it in my 20's I loved it then."

After partnering with Eber Development and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Martha came up with a concept. The townhomes are mixed in with renovated buildings which are now condos. "The idea of interspersing these new townhomes in among the existing historic buildings."

The homes have kitchens with granite counter tops, gas fire places, hardwood floors, and inner courtyards. Phase two of the project isn't even finished, but all of the houses are sold. "We love it, there's so much going on you can walk anywhere you want there's lots of restaurants or bars. You can walk to Reds games and it's just neat to see all the restaurants and different things."

Findlay Market is just north of the homes. Washington Park - undergoing its renovation - is across the street and Music Hall is directly west. Dorff says initially some people didn't believe in the project. but, she's moved her company from Loveland to OTR because she believes in the neighborhood. "I have a family history of German immigrants who moved from Germany, had their shop on the first floor and lived above the shop and that's kind of the vocabulary that exists here."

The first five townhomes in phase one of the project sold at an average of $265,000. The newer townhomes sold in the low $300,000'S. Dorff says the hope is to eventually build homes on Pleasant from 14th street as far north as Findlay Market. 3CDC is providing funding for the project.