A great city has great public places. This is my proposal for a new public square at 12th and Vine.
The existing surface parking lot at 12th and Vine already has the feel of being at the center of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. There is a lot of activity there- a Redbike station, bus stop, valet parking, ATM, and of course a streetcar stop. Vine Street and 12th Street are two of the main corridors through the neighborhood with thriving businesses along each. There is a steady stream of pedestrians passing by this location throughout the daytime and evening hours.
My vision would develop half of this parking lot into a mixed use building or hotel, and make the other half into a plaza with benches and trees. The plaza would give people a place to meet up before going out to OTR’s bars and restaurants, or give people a place to pause and rest as they go about their business in the neighborhood. Portions of the plaza could be set aside for outdoor dining, for a restaurant in the new building and/or an outdoor extension of Senate restaurant.
While it’s true that Washington Park is a great public space one block to the west, the uses of this square would be different. Washington Park is a place to attend events, hear concerts, or appreciate nature under the big trees. This square would be more commercially oriented, like the center of a shopping mall.
I also think, because of the aforementioned activity and development centered around this location, that this location would be best suited for a hotel out of any location in OTR. That would give tourists a chance to stay in Cincinnati’s most famous neighborhood or suburbanites a chance at a weekend in the city.
Perhaps this new public space could be called “Bremen Square” in a nod to the neighborhood’s history. (Before the anti-German hysteria of World War 1, nearby Republic Street was known as Bremen Street.)
12th and Vine lot on a Sunday morning before the action starts