EXCLUSIVE Inside new Downtown apartment project

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AT580 – formerly known as the 580 Building – will take Downtown to a new level with a hip combination of residential, office and restaurants previously only seen in major cities, according to its developer.

“This is something that is done in Chicago, Atlanta and New York,” said Anthony Birkla, principal of Anderson Birkla Investment Partners. “You don’t have anything like it in Cincinnati.”

The Indianapolis-based developer exclusively shared details and renderings of the $41 million AT580 redevelopment with the Enquirer in advance of a public announcement today.

AT580 occupies a prime location at Sixth and Walnut, within a block of the Contemporary Arts Center, Aronoff Center for the Arts, Fountain Square and numerous restaurants and bars. It’s also on track to be the first major project to come online Downtown in almost a year as demand grows for residential options in the heart of the city.

The 17-story office building will be converted into 179 apartments that are due to start opening by the end of this year, Birkla said. Thirteen two-story penthouses will have 20-foot, floor-to-ceiling views and private terraces. They will each be about 1,600 square feet with two bedrooms and a den.

The rest of the apartments will be in the tower, where balconies will be punched into the south side of the facade and on the second, or plaza, level. The tower apartments will average 1,200 square feet and the plaza suites 800 square feet.

Rent is expected to range from $1,000 to $3,000 a month, and the developer already has a waiting list of about a dozen people.

Unique amenities will include an outdoor yoga garden, private movie viewing room, wifi area, coffee bar and outdoor terrace with trees.

In addition to the apartments, AT580 will house 48,000 square feet of first- and second-floor retail and 181,000 square feet of office space.

Birkla anticipates filling out the street level with more restaurants and bars, and putting more service-oriented retail on the plaza level. He has already received more interest than he has space, Birkla said, and he’s trying to make sure he signs a good mix of tenants.

Most of the office space is already taken: Fifth Third Bank occupies 121,000 square feet on the third through sixth floors. An additional 60,000 square feet of office space will be available on the first and second, Birkla said.

The 500,000-square-foot 580 Building lost its largest tenant, Great American Insurance Group, to Great American’s own newly built tower in 2011. An apartment conversion takes advantage of the building’s good condition and location, as well as the existing 409-space garage.

“580 is a game changer for us,” said Odis Jones, the city’s economic development director. “It is taking the biggest block of vacant office space Downtown and injecting life into it, literally.”

Jones and Birkla have both seen market studies that show demand for at least 3,000 more apartments Downtown, whereas the opening of Great American Tower helped boost office vacancy rates to 22 percent.