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USPCC Factory Redevelopment

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For PLK Communities, Shook Kelley assisted in the planning process of crafting a new living and gathering place on the former factory site of the United States Playing Card Company.

The United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) facility was a cornerstone of Norwood, Ohio in its heyday. Many memories were created there, with the buildings standing as sentinels of a long gone past. The challenge in moving forward into the future, for each of us as individuals, and for our communities, is deciding what to take forward and what to leave behind. We at Shook Kelley, and our client, PLK Communities, have taken this fact seriously in our process of crafting a new living and gathering place for Norwood—one that has the quality and gravity to spark other great acts of selective preservation and redevelopment within the community.

The former site of the USPCC is loaded with history and iconic architecture. Russell Morgan & Co. printing started in 1867, printing labels and theatrical/circus posters. It first released the iconic Bicycle playing cards in 1885. In 1894, after mergers and renaming, the outfit became known as the United States Playing Card Company. The company built the Norwood headquarters and factory in 1900. After many decades operating in Norwood, the USPCC moved its operations to Boone County, KY, before being purchased by others in 2019. The sprawling Norwood factory site had been vacant since the move over 12 years ago, sitting mostly in disrepair.

Shook Kelley engaged in development studies and public engagement for the purpose of creating a master plan to redevelop the site into a mix of new uses. Even though some of the older structures on the site were deemed not suitable for reuse and had to be torn down, many other historic buildings and building elements will be incorporated into this new place. When we say new community, we do mean it. Thanks to the many hundreds of people who participated in public outreach efforts, the team gathered a lot of great ideas and in fact incorporated most all of the frequent ideas into the master plan. Family Parks, check. Dog Park, check. The same goes for breweries, coffee shops, rocking chairs, water features, a public market, and so on. It was noted that more than 80% of the participants wanted to see some form of public art. That is a high number in this category, and speaks well to Norwood's desire for a high quality of public life. And a celebration of public life, primarily at the street, in the market hall, along the sidewalks, and the variety of parks is at the core of PLK's development goals.

The majestic clock tower will once again light up the night, bringing the community together, this time not to work, but to celebrate a public life in a rising Norwood.

The remainder of spaces will support a truly rich and varied life. The market hall, and historic dining hall building promises to live up to the standards set by many great places around the country, with food offerings that are both regional and from afar, and fresh produce for sale when in season. Whether one is seeking to gather with friends to listen to music or grab a beer, or to seek quieter, reflective moments, they can find it here. The primary park in the center of the development will be flanked by restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and residential units. At the end of the day, this new gathering place, one that will be home to many who wish to live here, will bring history forward into a new and exciting future for Norwood.

The United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) facility was a cornerstone of Norwood, Ohio in its heyday. Many memories were created there, with the buildings standing as sentinels of a long gone past. The challenge in moving forward into the future, for each of us as individuals, and for our communities, is deciding what to take forward and what to leave behind. We at Shook Kelley, and our client, PLK Communities, have taken this fact seriously in our process of crafting a new living and gathering place for Norwood—one that has the quality and gravity to spark other great acts of selective preservation and redevelopment within the community.

The former site of the USPCC is loaded with history and iconic architecture. Russell Morgan & Co. printing started in 1867, printing labels and theatrical/circus posters. It first released the iconic Bicycle playing cards in 1885. In 1894, after mergers and renaming, the outfit became known as the United States Playing Card Company. The company built the Norwood headquarters and factory in 1900. After many decades operating in Norwood, the USPCC moved its operations to Boone County, KY, before being purchased by others in 2019. The sprawling Norwood factory site had been vacant since the move over 12 years ago, sitting mostly in disrepair.

Shook Kelley engaged in development studies and public engagement for the purpose of creating a master plan to redevelop the site into a mix of new uses. Even though some of the older structures on the site were deemed not suitable for reuse and had to be torn down, many other historic buildings and building elements will be incorporated into this new place. When we say new community, we do mean it. Thanks to the many hundreds of people who participated in public outreach efforts, the team gathered a lot of great ideas and in fact incorporated most all of the frequent ideas into the master plan. Family Parks, check. Dog Park, check. The same goes for breweries, coffee shops, rocking chairs, water features, a public market, and so on. It was noted that more than 80% of the participants wanted to see some form of public art. That is a high number in this category, and speaks well to Norwood's desire for a high quality of public life. And a celebration of public life, primarily at the street, in the market hall, along the sidewalks, and the variety of parks is at the core of PLK's development goals.

The majestic clock tower will once again light up the night, bringing the community together, this time not to work, but to celebrate a public life in a rising Norwood.

The remainder of spaces will support a truly rich and varied life. The market hall, and historic dining hall building promises to live up to the standards set by many great places around the country, with food offerings that are both regional and from afar, and fresh produce for sale when in season. Whether one is seeking to gather with friends to listen to music or grab a beer, or to seek quieter, reflective moments, they can find it here. The primary park in the center of the development will be flanked by restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and residential units. At the end of the day, this new gathering place, one that will be home to many who wish to live here, will bring history forward into a new and exciting future for Norwood.

USPCC Factory Redevelopment
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