There have been a few different projects in my hometown of Cincinnati to improve an area called Over-the-Rhine. Growing up, we were told to stay away from OTR because of its reputation as an unsafe, crime-filled neighborhood, despite its historic importance to the city. However, in the past 10 to 15 years the city has put a lot of money and time into revamping the historical district, which is now the cool place to go for drinks or good food, shop for unique clothes and especially live.
Last May, a new apartment complex project was approved for OTR on the corner of Elm and Liberty. The residents, architects and multiple groups in the district were unhappy with the decision, including Vice Mayor David Mann. These groups aren’t confident that the new building fits the same style OTR currently has, and won’t offer affordable housing. The plan was paused in late August because of the outrage of residents. Since then there hasn’t been any news coverage on it. My uncle is the current mayor of Cincinnati, and said the project is currently stalled for lack of financing.
The company Source 3 is leading the project, and has had to compromise since the community expressed concern with the original design. For example, the height of the building was decreased. The project was projected to cost $26 million, which is another reason it spent so much time being passed around city hall. The company was criticized of not involving the community in its decisions when designing the building.
From what we’ve learned about project management, Source 3 was unsuccessful in the early stages of planning and approving this project for OTR. The steps in project management are to define, organize, plan, monitor and control. S3 defined and organized the project, but the planning fell short. Technically the customers for this project included the residence of not only OTR but also of the entire city of Cincinnati, since the historical value is on interest to the whole city and surrounding suburbs. S3 failed to plan in accordance with the expectations and desires of the customers. The price of the project was another obstacle encountered during the planning phase. These problems not only lead to the project being halted, but if the project had been passed the would have caused risks. One concern was the building not being affordable for the demographic that already lives in OTR. If this is true, S3 and OTR risk losing money if the apartments are not purchased.
A different new apartment complex opened up last month just three blocks from the location S3 wanted to put its new apartments. It would be interested to find out how the planning process for this project differed from the process S3 used.