Best Of 2021

Best Up-and-Coming Downtown District: Historic West Fourth

Historic West Fourth

Developers hope Cincinnati’s West Fourth Street Historic District will soon parallel its former glory. The corridor was established in the early 19th century with hotels, mansions and luxurious entertainment sites housed in Italianate and Renaissance-style architecture. It landed a rank on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Since its prestigious inception, the area has shifted in and out of hot spot status. High-end shopping destinations such as McAlpin’s and Tower Place Mall came and went, parking garages and hotels have been erected and dismantled. Beloved businesses like Koch Sporting Goods, Bromwell’s and Main Auction Galleries continue to thrive, but a focus on creating more residential space never trended down, distorting the neighborhood’s sense of place and direction. Recent developments led by The Loring Group aim to reverse the distortion. The local real estate company seized properties in and around Fourth Street with over 30,000 square feet of vacant retail space. This purchase solidified 17 to 20 new and pre-existing storefronts in the district. The project, called Historic West Fourth, was officially launched in October 2019. Since then, a quiet reawakening has ensued from Plum Street, wrapping west around Central Avenue, ushering in the opening of plant store Forage, sustainability shop Koko, the second locations of Covington’s Handzy and Gumdrop, Deeper Roots coffee shop and Rebel Mettle Brewery, among others. “Fourth Street used to be this grandiose corridor that had retail and shopping. It had some of the old homes and mansions — the first apartment for William Howard Taft — it had this burgeoning history and now, as we are in 2019-2020, we’ve realized it’s making a comeback again,” says Andrew Naab, director of commercial development at the Loring Group.