New Real Estate Realities: The Can-Do Urban Condo

Want to feel the city’s pulse? There’s plenty of opportunity.

Nationwide, people are moving back into cities—even our own. “Something unique is happening here,” says Seth Maney, Urban Sites project manager and vice president of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council. “It’s one of the largest intact historic districts in the country—bigger than the French Quarter—and has so many gems, from the Italianate architecture to pre-Prohibition breweries.” Not to mention Music Hall, Findlay Market, and many of the region’s best new restaurants, all within a few blocks walk.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

The market agrees: “Before, we would have units left on the market for years. Now we sell a building out in a couple of months,” says Holly Redmond, a Coldwell Banker West Shell agent who focuses on OTR. By July, CBWS had sold 40 condos—compared to 28 in all of 2013—a $3.6 million increase in sales in just six months. “Demand is out the roof in every sector of the market here,” says Maney. Most OTR homes are condos (3CDC alone has created 333), but single-family and row houses can also be found.

That it’s just for 20-somethings is a myth. Redmond says 25 to 30 percent of buyers are now empty nesters, and “the real surprise is the new babies,” says Ryan Messer, OTR resident and community council president. “In just the one block where I live, there are six babies here or on the way.” The historic Rothenberg Preparatory Academy at Main and McMicken Streets is being fully renovated—with a rooftop learning garden—where those kids may be found in a few years.

It took years of tough work to ignite this surge of interest, says Anastasia Mileham, VP of communications for 3CDC. “There’s a lot of passion in this city about OTR. I think it’s the history, architecture, and scale—and all the decades of what it has been in the past,” she says.

“It’s one of a kind. It’s a star,” says Maney. “And many vacant, abandoned buildings remain to be brought back to life. We have barely scratched the surface.”

In 2013, 44 condos sold at an average of $327,740 and current rental occupancy is 96 percent. The demand for downtown living is driving more development. On the way: the 580 Building’s 179 units (plus a yoga garden).

Cross the river for an urban life that’s still distinctly small town. Stroll through the Fairfield Avenue historic district and you’ll see the attraction: diverse housing stock, shops, restaurants, salons, and more. Plus a killer view of the skyline.

Want more New Real Estate Realities? The First-Time Buyer, The New Constructionists, The Luxury Renters, The Comeback, The Teardown

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