The fight over the 124-year-old Dennison Hotel building on Main Street will continue a little longer after the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board today tabled a vote on an application to tear down the Dennison brought by its owners, Columbia REI, LLC. The vote was rescheduled for 1 p.m. May 26.
Columbia’s attorneys say the group needs time to respond to a report issued by Cincinnati Urban Conservator Beth Johnson, who was highly skeptical of their demolition application.
“The applicant has not provided credible evidence that they cannot reuse the building nor can reasonable economic return be gained from the use of all or part of the building proposed for demolition,” Johnson wrote in that report, released April 14.
The conservation board has the final vote on the demolition, however. The board set filing deadlines for various new documents in relation to the case for May 2, May 11 and May 18.
Attorney Sean Suder, who is representing the Cincinnati Preservation Association and the Cincinnati Preservation Collective in the opposition to the demolition, said those groups welcome the extra time and hope it will lead to a change of heart for Columbia and a deal to save the building.
That would be a big change in direction for the developer. Attorneys for Columbia, which is run by influential auto dealership magnates the Joseph family, say the building is outdated, crumbling and dangerous.
The Historic Conservation Board had planned to vote today on whether the Josephs could tear the Dennison down, potentially to develop a new corporate campus for a Fortune 500 company, though no company has signed onto that plan yet.
Columbia's attorneys on Friday asked the Board to delay the vote in order to have a hearing on the matter. Their request came the day after Johnson's recommendation not to OK Columbia's plan.
CityBeat reported on Friday’s request here, Thursday’s urban conservator recommendation here and details of documents showing that the Joseph family bought the building to block low-income housing from being developed here.