The Warehouse Is Getting An Upgrade

The site of the old Warehouse nightclub in OTR is getting a make over. Here’s the story for Fox 19′s website.

An OTR building with a lot of history will get to write a new chapter when it becomes a tech campus for a Cincinnati business.

In an effort to put Cincinnati on par in the future with cities like Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina, known for attracting high-tech companies and jobs, city council members voted this morning to spend millions of dollars buying real estate for a new tech campus in Over-the-Rhine.

The project is being spearheaded by a group called Cintrifuse, which brings in technology startups into its business incubator and introduces them to companies and investors who might finance their growth. But Cintrifuse says it’s outgrown its current space.

An Italian company has expressed interest in possibly locating here due to the groundwork laid by local business leaders in generating technology business and innovation, a Cintrifuse executive told city council members before this morning’s vote.

The tech campus will be located along 1311-1315 Vine Street across from the Mercer Commons project. Pictures of the building and drawings of future plans for it, show space where technology entrepreneurs can meet with others in the industry to fully develop their ideas and spark new ones. In addition, there is space on the first floor for a restaurant. It’s also connected to a parking garage.

“This is a slam dunk for Cincinnati,” said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who noted CNBC recently ran a story about a “tech boom” here.

The money approved for the project today, including a $4.5 million grant, will be used to purchase the property.

3CDC will serve as developer, retaining ownership of the commercial space, while Cintrifuse will own the office space. The $14.3 million project will be financed through a Cincinnati Equity Fund II loan, tax credit equity, private investment, and the City grant.

1313 Vine, the new address for Cintrifuse, has served as a center for commerce since 1855 when it was constructed as a beer hall.

It was used for dances, concerts, athletic events, weddings, and drinking. Beer was actually brewed in its cavernous sub-basements, which later became a Prohibition-era speakeasy.

A German newspaper named “Hochwaechter” was even edited there in 1861.

And in 1897, six regulation-sized bowling alleys were constructed inside the building. Its latest use, from 1992 until 2004, was a rave club called the Warehouse.

The votes on the project came during a session where the city council was acting as the budget and finance committee. Each council member is a member of the committee.

Even so, these items usually require formal approval at a future city council meeting.

Cintrifuse and 3CDC will begin the permitting process immediately and break ground on the project in September. The project has a 15 month construction timeline.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

Cosmopolitan Hall (The Warehouse Nightclub)

   Located at 1313 Vine street in Over the Rhine, Cosmopolitan Hall, which was most recently known as the Warehouse nightclub, has pretty much sat empty since that club closed in 2004. You can’t really tell from the outside, but this is a huge building. It stretches from Vine Street to Republic, and is estimated to have a total of around 27,000 square feet, which includes two sub basements.

   It was built in 1855 as a beer garden and dance hall, replacing a brewery that originally existed on the site. From 1878 to 1882 it was called the “Tivoli Beer Garden.” In the 1880s, it became a dance hall, and, in the 1890s,was renamed Cosmopolitan Hall. Over the decades, it was used for several different things, including a Prohibition-era speakeasy, an indoor golf complex, insurance offices, a lighting retailer, a wallpaper store, and, of course, The Warehouse. In the early 1990s, the second floor dance hall was renovated for scenes in the movie A Rage in Harlem.

   Below all this sits the 2 sub basements. These are massive, but it’s the lower level that is something to see. It’s a 4,400 square foot, two-chambered vault running the length of the building, with 20 foot, barrel-vaulted stone ceilings. A remnant of the brewery that was here originally, the wood plank floor is rotted and basically destroyed.

   Of course, as with any abandoned building this old, there are stories of ghosts and such. Haunted or not, it’s worth checking out if you ever get the chance. But personally, I think it was creepier when it was known as The Warehouse….seriously, did you ever go in that place?