The Flatiron Building

Building Architecture- Small Scale (<10,000 sf)

Project Narrative

The Flatiron building in Cincinnati’s Mt. Auburn Historic District was constructed circa 1895 in the Romanesque style as a stacked mixed-use building typical of Cincinnati in the 1890's. The building does not appear on the 1884 Robinson Atlas but does appear on the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance maps at the intersection of Sycamore St., Dorchester Ave., and Auburn Ave. The late 19th century construction date corresponds with mixed-use occupancy of the building (the ground floor was originally a drug store) and the installation of the incline rail bringing more people to the neighborhood, which in turn required the need for more retail shops in the primarily residential zone.

The building is three stories high, 26’ wide at its widest, 9’ wide at its narrowest, 67’ long and is 7,700 SF total. Features include rounded arched windows, a heavy stone base, punched rectangular bay windows, and the rounded front.

The Flatiron Building is the only surviving building from a row of 19th century tenement buildings terraced into the hillside. Although it remained intact, it was nearly gutted and in bad condition. The building was structurally stabilized in 2017 -2018 after the Cincinnati Port Authority acquired it for the Land Bank. Federal and state Historic Tax Credits were sought and obtained to make the rehabilitation feasible.

The $1,000,000 historic rehabilitation of the Flatiron building is an anchor rehabilitation project and is designed to ignite the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the surrounding Mt. Auburn Historic District. The vision for the project was to renovate the ground floor into commercial space for a café (with space for an outdoor terrace at the rear of the building) and the upper two floors into residential units. Substantial stone wing walls at the foundation level provided ample basement space to be used for storage and additional café seating space with a street level entrance on Sycamore St. Today the Flatiron building is home to the Flatiron Café and two bespoke rental units upstairs.

As part of the project, the following actions were taken:
o Exterior / Structural: building stabilization, structural repair and demolition of non-historic interior partitions; deck addition on the ground floor level; new ingress / egress on ground floor to rear outdoor terrace; basement speakeasy-style seating with a glass entry at street level and storage; two parking spaces under the deck between existing buttresses; exterior paint color selection; installation of historically appropriate windows (including custom arched windows); design of two upstairs residential units; and new HVAC / electrical / sprinkler systems approved by SHPO.
o Interior: design of ground floor café / coffee shop; new LVT in cafe and refinished hardwood floors in residential units; custom milled cabinets and casework; and finish selections (counters, plumbing fixtures, paint colors, light fixtures).


Project Details

Submission Category

Building Architecture- Small Scale (<10,000 sf)

Date of Completion

April, 2022

Submitting Firm Name

New Republic Architecture

Project Cost


Project Team

Urban Planner

New Republic Design Team

Landscape Architect



New Republic Architecture

Interior Designer

Interiors by Owner

Environmental Designer



MEP: EBS, Civil: Kliengers: Structural: Advantage Group

Innovation Alley Installation Designer