Monday, December 16, 2013

Gas, Electric, Horses and Lofts - 304 McFarland Street

This is another commissioned project for Cranewoods Development, LLC, who wanted to know the history of their project, McFarland Lofts. The information was so interesting, I decided to share it on the blog as well!
304 McFarland Street - Source: Cranewoods Development, LLC
This building was not the first on this lot, which sits behind the old Cincinnati Gas, Light & Coke building, now the part of the Fourth & Plum Apartments. Originally, it was the location of the New England Straw Works, making primarily hats. 
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
However, in 1901, the Cincinnati Gas Company purchased these buildings in preparation for constructing two new buildings:
The Cincinnati Enquirer; Nov 13, 1901; pg. 5

The Cincinnati Enquirer; Nov 13, 1901; pg. 5
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
 The property was sold to the City of Cincinnati in 1952 and soon after, the offices of the City Income Tax Bureau and the Citizens Committee on Youth were located here until 1975. In 1977, plans were made to convert the buildings at Fourth and Plum into apartments, completed in the early 1980's, but 304 McFarland Street was not included in those plans. 
It seems the McFarland building was vacant until 1995, when Gary Even, Miami Valley Paper Hanging and Bambeck & Vest, general contractors, took up offices here until 2005, when plans turned to converting the building into loft spaces. In 2007, architect Conrad Oppt bought the building, but cash ran out before he could complete the project. Andrew Howe, of Cranewoods Development, LLC, purchased the building in 2010, and completed the renovation, keeping the former hayloft/loading doors as balconies. The original hoist beam can still be seen on the building today.


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