Preserving history in Cincinnati with AHP

The brick facade standing at 1004 Chapel Street has fallen into a state of disrepair, but soon, the building once known as the Manse Hotel will get a second chance at life thanks to a grant from FHLB Cincinnati’s Affordable Housing Program, FHLB member KeyBank and the property owner, The Model Group.

On July 15, The Model Group broke ground on The Manse Apartments, low-income housing units for seniors in the Walnut Hills community.

It’s a property that’s rich in history.

Beginning in the 1930s, the Manse Hotel provided a safe place for African American travelers to stay during the era of segregation. Over the years, legends like Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, Count Basie, Frank Robinson and James Brown all crossed over the threshold into that historic hotel in Walnut Hills.

It was a landmark in Cincinnati, but business declined as downtown Cincinnati hotels became integrated. The Manse was sold and was eventually converted into an apartment building, but has since been vacant for a year.

Now, in just a few months’ time, this historic campus will be converted into The Manse Apartments which will provide 60 affordable housing units for low-income seniors in Walnut Hills.

When The Model Group first mapped out the project, they contemplated tearing down the existing infrastructure and starting fresh, but the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and local community quickly expressed the importance of preserving the hotel and its vibrant history.

Their plan for the property now combines the restoration of the historic buildings that comprised the Manse Hotel and Annex along with new construction on an adjacent lot. The city of Cincinnati has even designated the hotel as a local historical landmark.

"We get to preserve the Manse Hotel which is a really important part of Cincinnati's history, but we get to do it in a way, I think, that honors the past," said Bobby Maly, COO of The Model Group.

Construction is set to wrap up by the spring of 2020 and The Manse Apartments will be ready for residents beginning in the fall.

View more information about the project [ PDF ].