No closer to renovation, Crosley factory in Cincinnati put up for sale again

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Photo by Nyttend.

Abandoned more than a decade ago, the once-condemned former Crosley headquarters and factory in Cincinnati is headed for an uncertain future now that a developer has scuttled its $35 million plan to clean up the factory and convert it into apartments.

“We’ve decided we can’t get this done at this time,” Eric Seal, a partner at Core Redevelopment, told Cincinnati.com, citing timing, construction costs, and changes in state tax credit policy as impediments to the company’s plans. Core officials proposed the plans to renovate the site in 2014, aiming to transform it into 238 market-rate apartments, and bought the property two years later in anticipation of that project.

With the cancellation of those plans, Cincinnati.com reported that the factory has been listed for sale. CBRE, the listing agent, does not yet have the property listed on its website.

Built in 1929 for Powel Crosley Jr.’s Crosley Radio Corporation, the factory at 1329 Arlington Street served as the company’s headquarters, one of its radio factories, and the place where Crosley assigned his engineers to begin work on a light automobile in the late 1930s. Prototype development and some early construction took place in the factory before the company transferred all automobile production to the company’s plant on Spring Grove Avenue in Cincinnati and to its Shelvador factory in Richmond, Indiana.

When Crosley decided in 1946 to focus on automobiles rather than appliances, he sold the latter half of the company as well as the 10-story, 300,000-square-foot headquarters building to Avco, which kept the factory open until 1960. Throughout the next few decades the building hosted a series of radio stations, a printer, an office furniture retailer, and several smaller manufacturers. In 1998 the property sold for $1.8 million, but eight years later its owners vacated it; not long after vandals and graffiti artists found their way inside.

Though the city of Cincinnati reportedly looked for stimulus funding to revitalize the building as early as 2009, by 2012 city officials had enough of the decaying building and the then-owner’s burgeoning back taxes and condemned the building, demanding that the owner either tear it down or clean it up. Two years later, Core – which would eventually renovate a couple other historic Cincinnati buildings into apartments – stepped in with its redevelopment plans and shortly after applied to have the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Though city ordered the owners of the property to secure it against further vandalism and graffiti, YouTube videos show urban explorers gaining entry to the building as late as last year. A CBRE spokesperson said no significant work has been done on the property under Core’s ownership, though Core did secure $5 million in state historic preservation tax credits for the property in 2016. No listing price has been set.

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