The Walnut Hills neighborhood is one of the oldest and most historic areas in Cincinnati. At one point in time, this was a diverse and thriving community, but over the last century it has seen its share of dilapidation and neglect as people fled to the suburbs. A prime example of this is when the historic firehouse burned down in 1977. While we recognize the irony of a firehouse catching fire, it was tragically abandoned and left to deteriorate and die.
That is, until developer Kent Hardman struck a deal with the city to purchase the building for $1. That’s right, 100 pennies. Judging by the lack of a roof on the back-end and the tree growing on the first floor, it’s fair to say the condition of the building was far from ideal upon purchase. After investing copious amounts of time and money, Kent has turned the top floor into a loft in which he now resides, and the bottom floor into a pizzeria aptly named “Fireside Pizza Walnut Hills.” He kept a few of the original beams and old fireman lockers in place, which beautifully juxtaposes the building’s storied history with its newfound modernity. While Kent doesn’t anticipate his investment to yield a large profit, he does hope that it is the catalyst to reviving a once-thriving community in desperate need of a turnaround.