The historic Glencoe-Auburn Place and Hotel in the Mount Auburn neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio is being demolished after spending years in redevelopment limbo.
Noted for their pastel facades and a Gothic-styled hotel, Glencoe-Auburn was the city’s first suburb and contained six row house complexes and the Glencoe-Auburn Hotel. The majority of the structures within Glencoe-Auburn were constructed between 1884 and 1891 by Jethrow Mitchell and the pocket neighborhood was given the nickname “Little Bethlehem” as it resided within the shadow of Christ Hospital.
But by the 1960’s, Glencoe-Auburn had become predominately lower-income and was referred to as “The Hole,” owing to its location a deep valley and along a steep incline. The properties had deteriorated and were in unsatisfactory condition. In 1964, residents of “The Hole” staged Cincinnati’s first rent strike.
The Glencoe Place Redevelopment Project, a wholesale renovation of Glencoe-Auburn in the 1970s, reduced the number of residential units and added new sidewalks, street lamps, courtyards and playgrounds. Each unit received new linoleum and carpeting, appliances, fixtures and drywall, along with new electrical wiring and plumbing. The project received several local, state and national awards for revitalization, and the 1988 The Bicentennial Guide to Greater Cincinnati noted that the redevelopment had been a success.
During the 1990s, Glencoe-Auburn once again declined. Many of the units had been neglected and crime had spiked, leading to a high vacancy rate within. The remaining renters were evicted in 2002 and the buildings were boarded up and secured.
In 2002, Pauline Van der Haer of Dorian Development purchased the Glencoe-Alburn and proposed the $18 million Inwood Village redevelopment project. Over the next nine years, Van der Haer proposed plan after plan, some incomplete, others unrealistic, that ultimately led to only one model unit being developed. To voice her disgust with the city and its processes that she believed were unfair, she launched Was Mark Twain Right?.
Van der Haer received a letter from Christ Hospital in May 2010, which outlined their proposal to expand its adjoining hospital campus and invest more than $300 million. The project would include a 1,000-vehicle parking garage and new centers for women’s oncology and musculoskeletal disorders. The hospital outlined terms under which it was prepared to purchase her property.
Details of the redevelopment plan were disclosed after Van der Haer filed suit in June against the city for $15.5 million. In the suit, Van der Haer alleged that the city failed to honor contracts to subsidize Inwood Village and that Christ Hospital was trying to purchase her development at “a fire sale price.” The lawsuit detailed an April 8 meeting between Christ Hospital’s chief operating officer, Victor DiPilla, city officials and Van der Haer where she first learned of the development proposal. The hospital offered $1.25 million for Glencoe-Auburn; Van der Haer wanted $7.7 million.
Van der Haer filed suit against Christ Hospital for more than $28 million in damages in April 2011, alleging that the hospital was tortious, deliberate, intentional and malicious with her plans to build Inwood Village and later Glencoe Hotel and Condominiums. In addition, she sought $10 million in punitive damages from the hospital and more than $7 million from the city. In the suit, Van der Haer stated that the hospital sabotaged her deal with the city for Inwood Village.
Eagle Realty Group, a unit of Western & Southern Financial Group, foreclosed on Van der Haer holdings and they went to sheriff’s sale in mid-April. On October 25, Van der Haer sold the Glencoe-Auburn properties to Leroy Glen Investment LLC, a subsidiary of Eagle Realty Group.
A Wrecking Combo Permit, 008800090085, for 2 Glencoe Place was filed on December 20, 2012 and was issued on March 13, 2013. Demolition began on March 18.