The Avondale Town Center has long been a focus for the community and Cincinnati City Hall to re-energize the community torn apart by the riots of the 1960s.
If the new program proposed by Cincinnati City Council Member Dwight Tillery and a coalition of six Avondale churches is going to work, the city of Cincinnati will have to acquire the town center.
The city would then turn the center over to a new organization the churches hope to form for the center's management and renovation.
That, though, may be a long way off. Cincinnati city officials say the future of the shopping center is still in question.
Since 1992, city officials have been talking with the owners of the shopping center about its future. The current talks focus on a possible operating agreement which would deal with occupancy, security and recruitment of new businesses.
Deputy City Solicitor Pete Heile said the city will make a final effort to reach an accord with the owner. Previous attempts have failed. If the city cannot reach an accord, Cincinnati City Council could request the solicitor's office go to court against the Town Center, which could result in ownership being transferred back to the city.
The current joint venture which owns the center has not filed all the legal paperwork required by the city's loan agreement.
That breach of contract could become the focus of the legal challenge.
As of 1992, the joint venture which owns the center included Cincinnati basketball legend Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati lawyer Robert S. Brown, James Cummins (Brown's law partner) and the New York City architectural firm of Hardy, Holzman and Pfeiffer, as well as George Makrauer, Don Mendelsohn and Robert Leschner.
Brown and Robertson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The center cost $2.75 million to build in 1983. The city's share included $150,000 which was to be repaid over 30 years at 6 percent interest and another $750,000 which was to be repaid over 30 years at no interest.
The 40,000-square-foot center has been plagued with bad management and a persistent drug and crime problem.