Clifton Market Closes on Loans, Sets Construction Timeline

A longtime anchor in the Clifton business district will get new life starting in February. Clifton Market announced Dec. 23 that it has closed on nearly $3 million in loans to open up a cooperatively owned grocery store at 319 Ludlow Ave.

A longtime anchor in the Clifton business district will get new life starting in February.

Clifton Market announced Dec. 23 that it has closed on nearly $3 million in loans to open up a cooperatively owned grocery store at 319 Ludlow Ave. National Cooperative Bank will provide a $1.9 million construction loan and the Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund will loan the grocery another $1.1 million for equipment.

More than 1,000 shareholders each holding $200 shares and nearly 200 shareholder loans to the coop are also funding the more than $5 million project. The market will also get a 12-year tax exemption passed by Cincinnati City Council earlier this month.

The grocery will occupy the former Keller’s IGA building, which was home to the neighborhood’s grocery store since the 1930s. Keller’s closed in 2011 after tax difficulties. The Clifton Market group purchased the building in April for $1 million.

Clifton Market spokesperson Marilyn Hyland says construction will start Feb. 1 and that the store should be open by next summer.

The market’s plan to form a cooperative has met with a mix of both strong support and skepticism.

During June’s dramatic city budget fight, Cincinnati City Council voted 5-4 to give Clifton Market funding in the form of a $400,000 grant. But Mayor John Cranley vetoed the move, citing advice given to City Manager Harry Black by the city administration and outside experts. 

The group has enlisted experienced grocery industry professionals, it says, including leading grocery consultant Keith Wicks, to win over doubters and make sure everything is done correctly.

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