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3CDC announces ‘Fountain District’ rebrand for downtown area will highlight local businesses

Last Updated 2 weeks by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

Cincinnati’s iconic Fountain Square will undergo a re-brand intended to expand the concept of the square into an entire district that encompasses locally-owned businesses that inhabit surrounding buildings, according to an announcement from 3CDC.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, the developer for Fountain Square and many of its surrounding buildings, revealed new branding that hopes to paint the square and its surrounding area as “Fountain District” instead.

The rebrand aims to replicate other cities with more clearly defined “entertainment districts” and bring attention to the multitude of local businesses that exist within the blocks that surround Fountain Square, 3CDC said.

“3CDC wants patrons to think of the Fountain District in the same light as other well-known entertainment areas, associating the collection of unique Cincinnati establishments, such as Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Mita’s, Boca, Via Vite, The Davidson and more with an exciting district rather than a loose collection of neighboring businesses,” reads a press release sent Monday by 3CDC.

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A map provided by 3CDC shows the new “Fountain District” would roughly stretch from Race Street in the west to Main Street in the east, then from 7th Street in the north to 4th Street in the south. In all, the rebrand expands the district around two blocks in all directions.

The map highlights options for dining, retail and services, venues, hotels, art and parking.

In the press release, 3CDC said the new name is a nod to the heart of downtown and the Central Business District, while maintaining the identity of Fountain Square as Cincinnati’s long-recognized gathering and event space.

Expanding the branding to encompass the blocks surrounding Fountain Square will support and promote the nearby businesses, especially to out-of-town visitors who may not know the area as well.

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3CDC said it chose to make the rebrand because, unlike some entertainment districts in other cities, Fountain Square’s nearby areas boast specifically local companies, restaurants and shops.

“When thinking about entertainment districts in other cities, most are comprised primarily of national chains, while the Fountain District is made up of mostly local businesses, a trait that is not only worth calling out but celebrating,” reads the press release from 3CDC.

The entire Central Business District is too broad to help with wayfinding, in many instances, 3CDC said. The entire rebrand was determined after months of engagement with stakeholders and leaders at 3CDC and with the City of Cincinnati; OTR-based agency goDutch was hired to help develop the new district’s brand identity and its ultimate rollout.

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Focus groups that included 17 area stakeholders, including representatives from bars, restaurants, hotels, the arts, corporate businesses and civic organizations were held in early 2024, and input was also gathered throughout the process, 3CDC said.

The Fountain District rebrand also comes with a new website that hosts a comprehensive listing of all the places to eat, drink, stay or enjoy entertainment options in the district.

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