Displaced Tenants Seek Housing, Compensation from FC Cincinnati

As the West End stadium project unfolds, a group of tenants who have to leave buildings owned by FC Cincinnati are seeking new housing and compensation from the club.

Construction is currently underway on a new West End stadium for FC Cincinnati, the completion of which is being targeting for the start of the 2021 MLS season. Tenants in two buildings owned by the club near the stadium site were notified in February that they would have to relocate, and a deadline of May 31 is in place. While club representatives have said that no one will be forced out on that date, residents still need to secure new housing.

Tenants, under the name Wade Street & Central Avenue Tenants United, outlined their concerns in a letter sent Monday to the public by Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition Executive Director Josh Spring, calling for the completion of new housing and compensation from FC Cincinnati. In that letter, the residents stated “We should continue to live in 421 Wade and 1559 Central until this replacement housing is completed and each of us has suitable housing and FCC should pay all moving costs and proper compensation to tenants,” per the Cincinnati Enquirer.

FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding has indicated that the club is willing to help find housing for residents, but that the requests made in the letter are something the organization cannot fulfill. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“I was told via the building manager that tenants were waiting for a larger payout, an amount that was $40,000,” Berding said.

He accused Spring of organizing the tenants, who have short-term leases, and encouraging them to demand compensation before agreeing to move out, despite leases that will expire. The tenants, in the letter, said they are speaking for themselves.

“Legal counsel representing the tenants has also consistently asked for ‘appropriate compensation’ in numerous emails to the general counsel of FC Cincinnati dating back to April 30,” Berding said. “We respect the residents do not want to move, but as month-to-month tenants in buildings that have been sold, they can accept our offers of help, but legally they cannot choose to stay. Josh should publicly clarify what amount of money is appropriate compensation.”

Spring said $40,000 is not correct and that the group has not named a specific amount of compensation.

As part of a community benefits agreement related to the stadium project, FC Cincinnati did agree to donate $100,000 for an emergency housing fund along with paying $150,000 for a housing study on the neighborhood. However, the project has been prompting concerns about displacement of neighborhood residents, particularly amidst discussion over requested zoning changes from the club. FC Cincinnati will play at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium until moving into the new West End stadium.

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