A preservation-based redevelopment initiative to revitalize a historic downtown district

The Betts-Longworth Historic District in Cincinnati combines historic preservation and new development to successfully revitalize a small downtown neighborhood. Now a thriving low- and middle-income neighborhood, the project promotes socio-economic diversity and stability in an area once on the verge of complete demolition. By the end of 1993, the district included 240 rehabilitated apartment units; 77 single-family homes; 20,000 square feet of rehabilitated office space; 4,000 square feet of rehabilitated retail space; 370 parking spaces; and a park designed, constructed, and maintained by middle school students.

At Betts-Longworth, the community had been devastated, but the community refused to give up and helped to demonstrate the quality of neighborhood character that could be achieved through effective preservation.

1993 Selection Committee

The initiative has sparked economic growth by encouraging small-scale private development and the participation of minority developers and contractors, and economic and racial diversity in the area are increasing. The plan includes a marketing and public relations strategy to attract residents and investors and a financing strategy to reduce investment risk through a five-bank loan consortium. The project has succeeded in saving most of the district’s historic buildings, and new buildings are designed to fit the rich character of the neighborhood.