Duke Energy announces 2014 Urban Revitalization Grant recipients

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CINCINNATI, OHIO - Duke Energy today announced the 2014 grant recipients for the Urban Revitalization Program.

This year pushes Duke Energy'’s donations to the $1 million mark since the program was established in 2011. Awards were presented to the 10 recipients during a news conference this morning at Duke Energy'’s Regional Headquarters.

"“Duke Energy is recognizing the pride and vision of 10 wonderful organizations in our community that all share a common vision of reinventing the region’s urban cores,"” said Jim Henning, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “"The use and reuse of urban properties is a reflection of both the pride a community has in its heritage and its strategic vision for growth and vitality.”"

2014 Grant Recipients:

  • The Catalytic Fund – Braxton Brewing Project 
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $25,000

The 22,000-square-foot architecturally significant two-story structure was built in 1937 at 25¬27 West Seventh St. It is one of Covington'’s prominent buildings. It is located in the city'’s most historic area right in the center of the re-emerging Madison Avenue and Pike Street corridors. The adaptive re-use of this building, along with other projects currently under development, will catalyze the return of this location as Covington'’s hub of new business activity and entertainment. The redevelopment plan for the project is to restore the upstairs of the building into a contributing use as an expanded office space for the MKSK architectural firm and other office users. The plan also includes renovating the entire downstairs into a fully functioning microbrewery called Braxton Brewery. The microbrewery will include a multi-use taproom, co-working office space and high-¬speed gigabyte fiber internet service.

Duke Energy'’s grant will assist with architectural and engineering services for the redevelopment of this former Albers Supermarket in Covington, a property that has sat unfinished, partially vacant and in a blighted state for years. The space is within walking distance of Covington’'s Roebling Row Entertainment and restaurant area, as well as downtown Cincinnati.

  • The Catalytic Fund – Schott Grocery Building Renovation
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $22,500

The 4,500 square-foot Schott Grocery Building is located on one of Covington'’s most prominent corners in the heart of the MainStrasse Village. The development plan for this historic structure is to renovate the building into a full-service, upscale restaurant, with a cuisine and setting that are unique in the district. The MainStrasse Village is a business and entertainment district that celebrates Covington'’s historic German heritage. The property owners and developers, Paul Weckman and Emily Wolff of Lucky Twins LLC, have successfully restored several buildings in the MainStrasse Village. Examples include the building that currently houses Otto’'s Restaurant and the former St. Aloysius Rectory (where they reside with their four young children). Both of these projects helped attract additional investment into the MainStrasse Village and illustrate their dedication to the success of the neighborhood and to Covington.

Duke Energy’'s grant will assist with architectural and structural engineering services and historic tax credit consultation for the renovation of this blighted property that has been vacant for seven years.

  • Center for Great Neighborhoods – Hellmann Lumber Mill Conversion
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $35,000

The Hellmann Lumber Mill Building project is a historic renovation of a vacant, 14,000-square-foot former lumber mill into a creative commercial center that will include artist/maker’'s studios, event space, and new offices for the Center for Great Neighborhoods (CGN).

This building will be CGN'’s first entirely commercial/non-residential development.

The property is located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (formerly 12th Street) and Fisk Street in Covington’s Westside neighborhood, and will serve as the symbolic hub of CGN’'s creative development efforts in the Westside community.

Duke Energy'’s grant will assist with architectural and engineering services/historic tax credit consultation. The site will also include a woodshop for the Carnegie.

  • Center for Great Neighborhoods – Pike Star Phase II Renovation
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $9,250

The development of the Tannino'’s building at 114-116 W. Pike St. is a historic renovation and will act as Phase II of the Pike Star project at 108-112 W. Pike St. Once completed, there will be an additional 1,700 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, with four rental units on the upper floors, for a total of approximately 5,100 square feet of developed space. The property, which will be owned by Pike Star, LLC (CGN is 20 percent owner of that LLC), currently sits empty and is the only building on the north side of Pike Street between Russell and Washington that is vacant and undeveloped.

The development of this building will help to continue the momentum of revitalization that catalyzed the completion of Phase I of Pike Star (Phase I enjoyed support from the Duke Energy Urban Revitalization Initiative in November 2011).

Duke Energy'’s grant will assist with architectural and engineering services, building code evaluation and an Environmental Phase I update. The proposed tenant is an organization that provides startup guidance and capital access to female entrepreneurs, which is a good fit with UpTech’'s work in the Pike Star building.

  • Cincinnati State Community & Technical College Foundation – Downtown Middletown Urban Campus
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $68,500

This project will help the region to create and retain jobs, reduce building vacancies and urban blight, and deliver workforce retraining that supports business retention and expansion.

Through this project, Cincinnati State will accomplish a key step in the expansion of its new Middletown campus -- developing plans for renovating a building the college owns at 1021 Central Ave.

Cincinnati State Middletown'’s enrollment has more than doubled to 700 students since it opened in the fall of 2012. To meet regional needs, the college plans to increase enrollment to 3,000 within five years. To do so, however, the college must expand beyond the one building it currently occupies at One North Main St.

Once renovated, the one-story building at 1021 Central Ave. will serve as a welcoming gateway for the college, and will house multiple services that connect the college with new students, the community, and employers.

Duke Energy'’s grant will assist with architectural and engineering services for renovation of the building donated by Butler County for Cincinnati State’s downtown Middletown Urban Campus. This will be the second building in their new Middletown footprint. The project represents an important economic development driver to revitalize downtown Middletown.

  • College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. – Mid-Business District Revitalization Project
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $35,000

The revitalization of the Dow Corner Buildings and the Doll House located in College Hill’'s Mid-Business District, will be an integral part of the redevelopment of College Hill and will spur additional economic development activities in the community. Between these four buildings, there are nine commercial spaces and five residential units. This grant from Duke Energy’'s Urban Revitalization Initiative will provide the funding necessary to obtain architectural drawings and engineering plans for the completion of the buildings.

The redevelopment of the Dow Corner Buildings and the Doll House will create spaces for additional businesses to open or expand in the business district. This will create revenue for CHCURC which will lead to the purchase and redevelopment of additional properties in College Hill.

  • Madcap Productions – The Madcap Center
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $25,000 Challenge Grant

The Madcap Center will be a unique family and cultural arts center destination in the historic business district of Westwood. Puppet theater has long been considered the crossroads of the arts. The Madcap Center would attract families, professionals and an exceptionally diverse audience from the region.

The Madcap Center will be a place for families to gather, with classrooms for community and school workshops, a theater for live performances and an exhibition hall that will be used for both display of puppet collections and other events.

Duke Energy'’s grant will assist with architectural and engineering services for this anchor development of the historic Bell Building in Westwood. This is the first time in many years for Westwood to develop a master community development plan, with this renovation playing a major role in that plan. Madcap estimates that 50,000 individuals will visit this venue annually and there will also be increased outreach throughout the entire Tri-state area.

  • SQUARE1, Inc. – bioLOGIC Warehouse/Additional Incubator Space
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $20,000

Inspired Partners plans to develop the vacant warehouse space at 632 Russell St. in Covington into an open workspace to accommodate scientists, entrepreneurs, and other creative individuals. The vision is similar to a WeWorks site (https://www.wework.com). The design will feature several closed office and meeting spaces including a conference room on a mezzanine level. Additionally, several flexible lab spaces will be included on the south wall that will tie-in to the existing lab facilities in the adjacent space at the bioLOGIC Incubator.

This development may become a small retail center for tenant companies that have a completed product to sell. The open area at the center of the plan will be flexible workspace that can be moved to accommodate events and training sessions.

Duke Energy’'s grant will assist with architectural and engineering services for this renovation. After bioLOGIC'’s successful expansion in the last couple of years, space is now needed to accommodate the startup companies as they participate in or graduate from the accelerator programs. Current tenant companies in the bioLOGIC space have grown to nearly two-dozen, with more than 60 employees utilizing workspace. The focus of the new space will be on health technology companies.

  • Hamilton Co. Development Corp. (HCDC) – Business District Retention Services and Business Coaching
  • Duke Energy Foundation Grant Amount: $40,000 for two communities ($20,000 each)

Duke Energy piloted this opportunity with HCDC in 2013 with four Cincinnati communities (Price Hill, Northside, College Hill and E. Walnut Hills). With the success of the program, this grant provides an opportunity to continue this model, now expanding it into Pleasant Ridge and North College Hill.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.