the quorum

Getting together with a group of bloggers is a strange thing. Most of the time, we’re relegated to our notebooks. Huddled behind computer screens, freely writing about other people. So to be faced with meeting a group of my Cincinnati-area blogger peers was kind of a daunting prospect.

Recently, I received an invite to tour the new Q, along with a group of other regional bloggers. The Q is the new Gateway Quarter residential and commercial property and condo development in downtown Cincinnati’s OTR. It’s an urban renewal project that’s getting a lot of attention- and for good reason. We were asked to tour new, still under construction areas of the downtown loft condo development portion of the project before anyone else, including Cincinnati mainstream media. Cool. Kevin LeMaster, over at Building Cincinnati, was, of course, the one who masterminded the insider’s tour.

The homes in Cincinnati’s Gateway Quarter are astonishing. They’re charming, old vintage buildings in downtown Cincinnati’s OTR that were refurbished and turned into condos. Lovely, loft-style condo homes have plenty of exposed brick, and lots of stand-out features like refurbished wood moldings and floors. The sun-filled homes showcase the vintage characteristics of the buildings that city dwellers (like moi) crave. Some of the lofts had awesome rooftop decks, and all of them had huge, oversized windows, secured parking and a great deal of charm.

And in a time when the condo market is taking a beating, the Gateway Quarter homes in downtown Cincinnati are selling like crazy. Even during our tour of the Cincinnati Q neighborhood, prospective homeowners kept popping up to join in and to take a peek at the new vintage loft condos.

Clearly, Cincinnati has been waiting for the Gateway Quarter. Everywhere we walked, people in the downtown OTR neighborhood waved and smiled, happy to see a new influx of potential buyers visiting the vintage condos. And other updates are happening too- from the addition of the Art Academy to old lotto and liquor carry-out stores leaving and a downtown park receiving an overhaul, the face of the neighborhood is changing. The Gateway Quarter has unlimited built-in PR opportunities, resting square in the middle of the Cincinnati arts district.

Inevitably, I was faced with a number of worries when it came time to go to the Cincinnati blogger meet-up. For one thing, when I’m downtown, I tend to get turned around a lot. Like a big black hole in space, I can never find free parking and I always find myself driving up and down, up and down, refusing to pay for a lot, looking for broken meters on the street and chanting my mantra for the street names and their placement- Big Strong Men Will Very Rarely Eat Purple Cherries (Broadway, Sycamore, Main, Walnut, Vine, Race, Elm, Plum and Central).

But most of all, it was being confronted with people who may have read this blog that unnerved me. That almost never happens. See, I know a couple of people in my family read the blog. And a few friends will stop by once in a while to check things out. But for the most part, I’m writing for people who don’t know me at all. And whom I’ve never met. So in meeting other Cincinnati-area bloggers for the first time, I was understandably a little... twitchy.

I held my own pretty well. One of the developers gave an introductory speech explaining “I know Lisa doesn’t know anything about it” (hey!) and I did get separated from my group… a couple of times (lo, the easily distracted). Also, as one of only two female Cincinnati bloggers in attendance, people kept mixing me up with Jackie Danicki, whose lovely glamour rubbed off on me a bit (“So, how do you like living in this country?”), ha.

The blogs of the elite group of Cincinnati-area bloggers who attended include:

Building Cincinnati

Buy Cincy

Cincy Images

CityKin

ekalb

GetCincy

Jackie Danicki

Joe Wessels

RRD Photo

Queen City Survey

The 'Nati Life

UrbanCincy

Many of them have posted or will be posting blogs about the tour and many, many more photos of the new Gateway Quarter in Cincinnati. Check ‘em out.