GBBN Architects Inc. has a scale model in its lobby that shows how a Kroger-anchored residential tower will fit into the Court Street Historic District. The 18-story building will use modular components that step back from the street and materials that resemble but do not replicate the surrounding brick and limestone facades.
"We didn't use brick because we wanted something unique," said GBBN principal Steve Kenat. "We thought the presence of the tile gives it a nice elegant feel that frames the store."
Court and Walnut's roof is about 200 feet above sea level. That's 125 feet lower than the Kroger headquarters building (top of photo) and 65 feet higher than the Hamilton County Administration building (lower left corner).
Loading docks are tricky for any urban store. This one requires trucks to back their way in from Central Parkway.
A living wall of bamboo plants - measuring about 100 by 15 feet - will block pedestrian views of the parking garage along Court Street and call to mind the fresh produce that can be found in the store.
The bamboo exterior gives way to reclaimed wood inside. "When you come into the Kroger lobby and you see this reclaimed wood, you get this connection back to nature and freshness and the fresh produce they’re going to be bringing in the store," Kenat said.
Forget the penthouse suite. The coolest apartments at Court and Walnut will be these 11th floor units, with 10-by-20 foot terraces that overlook Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.
In the 18th floor common areas, "We’re going to have outdoor grill, outdoor seating area, a party room, exercise room," said GBBN principal Chad Burke. "You’ll see parts of downtown, Over-the- Rhine and Mt Adams."