Making Glenway Work
IAN VANNESS & CASEY WHITE
Making Glenway Work re-imagines West Price Hill’s Glenway Avenue and the Price Hill Will owned properties for a post-retail future by exploring different non-retail work scenarios. The social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light retail commerce’s shortcomings in real-time. The ensuing economic fallout has already influenced the discourse around the way we produce, consume and work. However, retail’s fragile business model is nothing new. In fact, retail storefronts have been declining since the Great Depression, and Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Business Districts like West Price Hill’s Glenway Avenue, have experienced this firsthand. The result has left urban business corridors lifeless and its storefronts empty. Recognizing retail limitations free communities to explore non-retail uses that promote community, production, visibility, and flexibility in urban spaces that can bring back life to business district streets. Making Glenway Work provides West Price Hill's Glenway Neighborhood Business District (B) recommendations on street design, vacant parcel build-out, and vacant parcel site development for the work scenarios of office, co-working, and live/workspaces.
CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
Over a quarter of the buildings along West Price Hill's Glenway Avenue contain retail. Some Glenway retailers, like Rockin’ Rooster Comics & Games and Price Hill Chili, have been able to remain neighborhood anchors, however, vacant storefronts and vacant land are on the rise. Retail long term successes along Glenway, and throughout America, have been few and far between. Retail's continued decline may make Glenway Avenue increasingly fragmented, underutilized, and dysfunctional. The over-reliance on automobiles has only exacerbated the problem.
Meanwhile, the nature of work in the United States is changing, as more people seek places to create closer to home. Can we leverage this transformation to re-envision Glenway Avenue as a corridor for new production, rather than just consumption? How can we make Glenway work?
Post-retail work scenarios
Cincinnati’s downtown total office space is declining and consequently creating a market void for smaller office tenants. As businesses adapt to economic, cultural, and technological changes, the nature of employment and work is evolving as well. While empty downtown office buildings are being converted into residential units, first-ring neighborhoods like those of Price Hill have the opportunity to capture both displaced and small office tenants. Glenway Avenue offers office tenants an urban setting, cheaper rent, all while reaching an underserved market.
Co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular in Cincinnati and throughout the country. They provide users with shared and private workspaces, office equipment, and amenities for a monthly or yearly fee. Co-working offices serve a wide range of users including start-ups, freelancers, and telecommuters. As many industries increasingly begin to offer employees remote working options, workers will look for productive environments. Co-working spaces allow for flexible working schedules and styles, ample office amenities and supplies, and opportunities to connect and collaborate with peers.
Live/Workspaces are slowly becoming more popular throughout America. This arrangement allows for an individual to permanently reside where they also work. Live/Workspaces are great for small businesses that aren’t over reliant on retail in their business model. Live/Workspaces are more affordable for tenants by combining retail and residential spaces’ monthly rents or mortgages into one expense. Additionally, having the tenants present 24/7 provides continuous activity in the space, which helps the community grow closer because there are more opportunities for existing residents to meet the tenants.
For the past two years Ian has worked as a community development intern with Price Hill Will. During his 2019 summer co-op he worked as a city planning intern with the City of Cincinnati’s Department of City Planning. His planning interests are in traditional city planning and community development.
Casey is an urban planner and designer with experience in construction project management and budgeting, including an extended internship with the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC). Her practical and academic interests lie in urban design, economic development, and sustainability.