Historic Woodward Theater Ramps Up Renovation in OTR


The revitalization of an Over-the-Rhine theater is in full production mode after the owners of MOTR Pub inked the last of the financial paperwork to bring the Woodward Theater back to life as a live music venue and events hall. Construction is ramping up inside the 101-year-old theater now that financing from HCDC and the Cincinnati Development Fund is in place.

Today, owners Dan McCabe, Christopher Schadler, Chris Varias and Matt Barth closed on the loan that completes funding for the $1,250,000 renovation project. The loan is a combination of SBA 504 loan financing from HCDC Business Lending and a loan from the Cincinnati Development Fund. With the building plan and permits recently approved, the Woodward’s development and timetable now accelerates.

“Today the MOTR ownership group expands our efforts to represent Cincinnati’s storied live music culture within our city’s Arts & Cultural breadbasket of Over-the-Rhine,” said McCabe. “Both the Woodward’s non-profit lenders were quick to recognize and partner in support of our vision. This new partnership will put the Woodward Theater back to work as a catalyst for Main Street, the regional gateway to Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine.”

“It can be challenging for growing small businesses to access the capital to expand particularly in redeveloping areas,” said David K. Main, President of HCDC.  “We are proud to partner on the Woodward Theater and provide the long-term, fixed rate financing needed to make this project work.”

“The Woodward Theater complements the entertainment and arts district while rescuing a rich piece of Cincinnati history,” said Jeanne Golliher. “We’re proud to be a part of this project and look forward to seeing what kind of great musical acts – and their fans – come to this great, renewed Over-the-Rhine venue as a result.”

The SBA approved the project last month after the Ohio Historical Society signed off as meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. This is the second deal between HCDC and the owners, having financed MOTR Pub located across from the Woodward on Main Street.

About HCDC

HCDC is a not-for-profit economic development company that supports business growth and job creation through three award-winning programs:
1. Business Incubation- HCDC’s top-rated business incubator helps entrepreneurs launch innovative and scalable businesses through business coaching, programming, connections, and flexible work environments.
2. Business Lending- HCDC provides growing businesses access to the SBA 504 loan program and other long-term, fixed rate financing tools to purchase real estate and equipment while retaining critical working capital.
3. Economic Development- HCDC strengthens communities by retaining, expanding, and attracting businesses to Hamilton County, Ohio with financing, incentives, and expert technical assistance.

HCDC has been growing the local economy since 1983.

About Cincinnati Development Fund

CDF is a nonprofit lending institution established in 1988 to finance affordable housing development and community revitalization in the Greater Cincinnati area. CDF fills a critical niche not pursued by traditional lenders, such as small projects, new developers and complex financing structures. The organization’s primary business is to underwrite and service community development real estate loans resulting in the creation or preservation of affordable housing, or revitalization of urban communities.