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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Crosley Building

The Crosley Building is a ten story light industrial facility located in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. Throughout it's long history, it has been home to the design and manufacture of Crosley cars, radios, and refrigerators (amongst other things). The studios of WLW and a handful of other broadcasting stations owned by the Crosley Corp. were also housed on the top floors of this building. Throughout the last half of the past century the Crosley Corporation has dissipated, and so too has their flagship facility.

Built to house the headquarters of the Crosley Corporation in 1928, the Crosley Building was a state-of-the-art facility. Samuel Hannaford and Sons were responsible for the design of the building. The famous architect had retired in 1904 and passed away in 1911, leaving the firm behind to his sons. They carried on his legacy, and adapted their style to fit the popular trends of the time and requests of the clients. The ornamentation of the Crosley Building is based upon the art deco style, a very new and trendy style in the late 1920's; this detailing is visible on what is left of the street level facade, as well as on the tower.

The lower floors of the building originally served as manufacturing and production facilities for Crosley radios and other appliances. Aside from this building, an adjacent structure now owned by Reliable Castings was part of the Crosley facility. A large warehouse across the street was built and operated by Crosley as well, and originally connected via an enclosed bridge two stories above the ground. The entire facility was served by rail sidings, allowing quick access to the warehouse and production centers. The rails are still partially visible today, after decades of disuse and covered in layers of pavement. There are several smaller buildings scattered throughout Camp Washington that were at one time or another owned and utilized by the Crosley Corporation.

The Crosley Corporation still partially exists, in the Crosley Radio Corporation and the Crosley Corporation (which makes appliances), although neither has a presence in Cincinnati. Most of the companies assets were sold to AVCO Electronics, and in 1960 the Crosley Building was taken over by AVCO which continued to use the facility for its original use - manufacturing radios. In the late 1970's the building was sold, and began to pass through a series of owners. The building was used primarily as a printing facility, but several floors were used as offices and storage. Today, the building is littered with left behind printed materials and various other stored and forgotten goods. The current owner, David Hosea of Hosea Worldwide (a storage and moving company), has been contacted a number of times by the City of Cincinnati for allowing the building to exist in a state of nuisance (example). The current intentions of the owners are unknown, but little to no activity takes place on the site. Environmental assessments have been undertaken, and all utilities are avialable to the 290,000 square foot facility (source).

state of the art circa 1928

The City of Cincinnati has plans to redevelop the building as a research/technical facility. They have previously applied for funding from the state, and are currently seeking federal funding for the project. The total estimated cost is $47,266,775, with $4,266,775 being sought from federal funds. The city description of the project is as follows:

"The Crosley Towers Site located in Cincinnati's Camp Washington neighborhood is an excellent location ready for rebirth as an office or/and light industrial development. Conveniently located less than one mile from Interstate-75,74 and the University of Cincinnati, the Crosley Towers site is seven minutes from the Downtown Central Business District and twenty minutes from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. Built in 1929, the facility was headquarters of the Powel Crosley Jr. empire and produced the first mass-produced table top radio, the first non-electric refridgerator, and the first mass-produced economy car. The City seeks to redevelop the building as a research/technical facility that will continue the legacy of the Crosley family and shift the local economy as he once did."

Keep an eye open for updates to this project. The website will be updated as any new information becomes available.

More Historic Photos and Drawings:

For more information on the Crosley Corporation, and the two brothers who founded it, check out the book: Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation, just $10.00 at Amazon.

Links and sources:

For more information about this project and many others in the Camp Washington neighborhood, visit Camp-Washington.org.


Randy Simes said...

This building has been my dream building for some time. It has such a prominent spot in the I-75 corridor with tons of visibility, the building is wonderful, and the possibilities are endless for what you could do here.

Hopefully we see this building renovated and returned to its former luster. If I won the lottery this would be the second item on my list right after funding whatever else is needed to make the streetcar happen.

Venkman said...

It turns out the visibility that would make it such prime real estate also makes it a prime target of tagging.

WCPO-Camp Washington Gets Tagged

It's sad, but unavoidable when a building sits vacant and neglected for so long. I hope this building is renovated sometime soon, the conditions inside aren't terrible, and it could make for some excellent high-tech industrial space.

Anonymous said...
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wdanielbern said...

i park my car for work about three feet from this building it is a real cool place but due to no one taking care of it thives and homeless people have taken over.yes to the rebirth of this building and a big no on your idea of the streetcar.


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