The Moline Court renovation lasted a little more than eighteen months. The total cost of the project, including street repairs by the City of Cincinnati, was half a million dollars. The project involved the management of more than 20 contractors. A great deal of personal time and energy, not included on the balance sheets, was also devoted to this effort. And of course there were many champions behind the scenes of this project, both in Northside and in the City of Cincinnati.
Moline Court, LLC was founded in September 2004 with expressed purpose of renovating the historic shotgun houses on Moline Court Avenue in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood. Created as a partnership between Brian Mueller and Michael Wizer, the project was completed successfully in May 2006. During the renovation process, the project increased in size and scope when the City of Cincinnati became involved by repairing the curbs and restoring the cobblestone street.
This story of urban renewal begins in the year 2000 when Michael Wizer, an architect, purchased two of the homes. After updating them, he lived in one and rented the other. At that time the remaining four houses on Moline Court Avenue were owned by landlords and rented as low-income housing. In September 2004, Michael recruited Brian Mueller upon learning that three of the rental homes were available for sale. Together they formed Moline Court, LLC and purchased those homes. Demolition began almost immediately, as well as efforts to acquire the fourth house, mired in foreclosure proceedings.
Over the remaining months of 2004 and throughout 2005, the painstaking process of gutting and updating the houses was the main focus for Brian and Michael. Brian handled the business operations as well as finances. His role included purchasing, payroll, community relations, legal concerns, taxes, and advertising. Michael focused on the architectural plans and the day-to-day management of the construction. Together, Michael and Brian collaborated on many of the challenges facing an urban renovation project, from dealing with worker issues, to securing the construction site after break-ins.
The obvious result of the Moline Court renovation is the restoration of the beautiful historic houses, all dating from 1890. Beyond this, the project brought three new home owners to Northside, helping to contribute to the stability and the vitality of the neighborhood. Over time the fourth house was acquired and also renovated. In addition, Steve Bloomfield and Ken Schon, two of the partners at Bloomfield/Schon + Partners, stated that the project on Moline Court was a considerable factor in their decision to acquire the American Can Building, which today is the American Can Lofts.
Brian and Michael’s partnership ended in 2006 after the last of the renovated homes were sold. Still the legacy of the project lives on. Moline Court continues to thrive. Today Northside is a bustling urban neighborhood attractive to families, students, and business alike. Despite the very real challenges facing this diverse community, the future looks bright.
A video slideshow featuring the Moline Court Renovation.