Denis L. Back
Architect
Denis L. Back & Associates


ASIDE FROM THE RIVERFRONT, WHICH URBAN AREAS HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME POPULAR FOR CONDO LIVING?

The greater downtown area: Mt. Adams, Eden Park area, Walnut Hills, Price Hill, Clifton and areas in Northern Kentucky that are in close proximity to the riverfront and downtown. Many of these areas have views, and all of them have great architectural stock and are reasonably close to Downtown and the riverfront.

WHAT DO PEOPLE FIND APPEALING ABOUT CONVERTED CONDOS, COMPARED TO NEW UNITS?

A lot of the older buildings that are being converted to condos such as the Cooper and Verona were built at the turn of the 20th century for the wealthy. As a result, the architectural style detailing and quality is timeless and sometimes priceless. Most of these older buildings in addition to having extensive architectural detailing on the exterior, have wide stairways, high ceilings, large windows, beautiful wood trim, and hardwood floors. These are features that people find very appealing and are not available in many of the new condos.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE PRESERVING BUILDING FEATURES, ADDING MODERN AMENITIES AND THE COST CONCERNS OF BUYERS?

You restore the grounds, exterior and common areas to their original architectural grandeur. You save the high ceilings, large windows, hardwood floors, trim and moldings. While trying to save as many of these original elements as possible, you design a more open floor plan with the kitchen as a design centerpiece, upscale bathrooms, walk-in closets, washer/dryer and separate utilities. The key is to add these new design elements while minimizing the alteration to the existing structure. This helps to keep the construction costs lower and allows for the condos to be sold at marketable prices.

CAN YOU APPLY “LEED” ENERGY CONSERVATION TO OLDER BUILDINGS, AND IS IT WORTH THE ADDED EXPENSE?

Yes. LEED addresses renovation of existing buildings similar to the construction of new buildings. An example is the Edge condominiums downtown, where six floors are being added on top of an existing five-story building. LEED uses the same scoring system for the existing building as the addition. On many projects it would be worth the added expense to do the project as a LEED Certified project for both the energy savings and to qualify for the city of Cincinnati LEED Tax Exemption Program.