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Anna Louise Inn Faces Setback

By Hannah McCartney · May 9th, 2012 · City Desk

The women’s shelter that has called downtown’s 300 Lytle St. home since 1909 last week faced another hitch in moving forward with its $12.6 million expansion. 

Hamilton County Judge Norbert Nadel on May 4 ruled that the Anna Louise Inn’s zoning was incorrectly done in its application for a building permit last year for its planned renovations. Now, the application must go back to the city for review again. 

Western & Southern Financial Group filed a lawsuit last year against Cincinnati Union Bethel, which owns the Inn, arguing the Inn hadn’t conformed to zoning requirements.

Western & Southern has continued to attempt to halt the renovations, expressing plans to launch a high-end redevelopment project that would convert the Inn space into luxury condominiums. 

Western & Southern has already invested millions of dollars to acquire property around the area and has offered to help Anna Louise Inn relocate, a bid the Inn has refused. 

“We’re going to pursue this until there’s a positive result,” says Steve MacConnell, president and CEO of Cincinnati Union Bethel. “We owe that to the women of the Anna Louise Inn. They (the women) want to remain in Lytle Park — there’s work opportunities, buslines and it’s a beautiful area ... they (Western & Southern) just want the land. It’s an inflated sense of entitlement,” MacConnell says. 

Cincinnati Union Bethel’s Anna Louise Inn provides safe and affordable housing for at-risk homeless women as well as support and rehabilitation services for prostituted women.  

The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition scheduled a rally to be held Wednesday, May 9 in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse to protest Nadel’s findings.