Meeting held Monday to save Goetz House from demolition - News, Weather & Sports

Meeting held to save Goetz House from demolition


A fight is brewing over the fate of historical house with ties to local legend Christian Moerlein.

The CUF Neighborhood Association (CUFNA) applied for a Local Historic Landmark and Historic Site Designation for the Goetz House, located on West McMillan.

Christian Moerlein gifted the house to his daughter and son-in-law, Lizzie and John Goetz in 1891. It is one of several homes built by the Christian Moerlein family in Clifton Heights.

Recently, the owners of the house have announced an agreement with a developer who intends to demolish the house to build additional student housing.

The house, also known as Lenhardt's and Christy's Restaurants, has been a favorite of multiple generations of Cincinnatians and University of Cincinnati students as a link to the City's Germanic identity.

Residents of CUFNA, UC students and friends from across Cincinnati have joined together in support of the Local Historic Landmark and Historic Site Designation for the Goetz House. On Monday, a hearing before the City of Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board was held.

Erika Windholtz and her family own the property, and they want to sell it. It's set to be torn down to make way for new student housing.

"Why are you doing this to me?  I can't believe this," asked Windholtz to a packed house at the meeting.

On the other side, several argued for the property's significance in the neighborhood.

"The Goetz House is a landmark in it's stature, and it's significance. People say we'd like to have some pieces of our history saved," said Kevin Pape, who is in favor of a local historic designation for the building.

"If you tear it down and replace it with another sequestered student housing development, it's just another loss in the history of Clifton," added another woman in favor.

There still needs to be a report drafted on the issue before going through Cincinnati Planning Commission and then on to City Council who has the final say.

On Friday, the Windholtz family released a statement in response to the meeting, which reads in part:

"My family has considered closing for quite some time.  The business was not making money, and we could not afford to keep the business open.  After 60 years of hard work, Erika and Joe need to enjoy their retirement, and the best way to do that was to close the business... 

The Lenhardt building, at 151 W. McMillan Street, is in severe disrepair.  We have put over $150,000 into repairs and improvements over the last 10 years.  This does not include the incidental plumbing, electric and general repairs that go with an old building. We cannot afford to put any more money into this crumbling building...

We will continue to respect the process into which we have been involuntarily placed, but will continue to oppose the application by CUFNA... The restrictions which could be imposed will cause a severe economic hardship and may prevent my family from realizing its investment in this and other property it freely owns... It would cost well over $1.5 million to repair and restore the property, even more if you factor in the costs of ADA requirements."

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