Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cleveland, redefined

Out-of-state license plates are everywhere in Greater Cleveland these days, especially in hot neighborhoods of Cleveland as well as inner-ring suburbs like Lakewood and Cleveland Heights. These photos were captured outside an apartment building in Ohio City where the number of cars bearing out-of-state plates equaled those with Ohio plates. (Tom Moran photo)

Perhaps you've noticed it on the license plates of cars in your neighborhood. Perhaps you've noticed it while shopping for a new house. Perhaps you've noticed it in the new faces at your child's school. Perhaps you've noticed it on local dating apps.

Something is happening in Greater Cleveland that we're not accustomed to. They're coming. Many are already here. Lots of them. Lots of what?

People. Relocated, transplanted, moved.

If it is big enough to measure, we probably won't get a better feel for this population shift until the next Census count in 2020. But numerous unscientific sources of information are revealing that a recognizable change is happening in Greater Cleveland.

First, the license plates. If you live in some of the hot neighborhoods of Cleveland -- Downtown, Detroit-Shoreway, Little Italy, Ohio City, Tremont, University Circle -- or in inner-ring suburbs like Lakewood or Cleveland Heights, you have new, out-of-state neighbors. Parked in these areas are lots of cars with license plates from eastern states, especially New York, Pennsylvania or Maryland. Or you'll even see a few Illinois, Michigan and Texas plates.

The out-of-state plates are more numerous in neighborhoods with plenty of apartments -- a favorite among new arrivals who aren't ready to buy in an unfamiliar city. At some larger apartment complexes or on streets with many smaller apartment buildings, up to half of the parked cars are from out of state.

Second, my younger friends have noticed on dating apps lots of Clevelanders looking for love or friendship, and starting out with "I'm new in town..." They couldn't cite numbers but said there were enough of them to be noticeable and to cause my friends to wonder "What is going on?"

Third, for those already married with children, they're probably noticing new faces at their child's day care. For example, at Lakewood Child Care Center, they're coming from New York, other eastern states as well as from Chicago, said Director Holle Brambrick.

"Our (facility) tours of potential new customers coming from out-of-state has definitely increased in the past year," she said.

And then there's the real estate. If you haven't checked the prices lately of homes in the above-mentioned neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs, you are in for a shock. Until the last year or two, a home shopper could easily find a nice house in Cleveland or Lakewood away from the lake for under $200,000. Not anymore.

Thousands of residences are under construction in Greater
Cleveland, with many rising near the region's rail and bus
rapid transit rapid transit stations to offer links to downtown,
airport and more. Here, Centric apartments rise next to the
 Little Italy Red Line station that opened in in 2015.
 (Ken Prendergast photo)
Consider the story of the Hann family of Lakewood. They live in a second-floor apartment in a ubiquitous Lakewood double. This is one is located on Rosewood Avenue, near the intersection of Hilliard Road and Madison Avenue. The Hanns wanted to stay in their apartment, but the double was sold to a real estate developer for $170,000. The developer will do to this double what he has done to other Lakewood doubles -- gut it and convert it into a single-family home for sale. They are asking and getting sales upwards of $300,000.

So the Hanns looked to buy new homes anywhere north of Lorain Avenue, whether it is in Cleveland, Lakewood, Rocky River or Fairview Park. As a young couple, they wanted to be close to the city and their jobs. Finding an affordable home is proving to be difficult. They thought they found the perfect home in Kamms Corners near the Metroparks, but they were outbid by $5,000 by someone offering all cash.

Howard Hanna realtor Emmanuel "Mike" Skantzos, based out of the agency's Rocky River office, says experiences like the Hanns' are becoming more common. When a renovated historic house with quality finishes goes on the market, it may not last a week before a buyer snaps it up. And the asking price often doesn't get negotiated downward; instead it gets bid upwards by competing buyers.

Furthermore, Skantzos estimates that about 20 to 25 percent of the work at Howard Hanna's Rocky River office is handling relocations to the Cleveland area. While only about 5 percent of his business is relocations, there are realtors at his office who handle nothing but relocations and they are busy, he says.

Cars with New York license plates are parked in January next
to the 15-story Lakewood Center North  building that was
recently converted to apartments. (Ken Prendergast photo)

The change in the market is being noticed in Downtown Cleveland too. There, Greg Deming, property manager at the new Worthington Yards apartments in the Warehouse District, said he's surprised by the number of people relocating to Cleveland for new jobs this winter.

"Usually, December through February are slow," Deming said in Crain's Cleveland Business. "I've never seen it like this. We'll be filled by springtime."

Anyone driving around the hot real estate areas noted earlier will see apartments, townhouses and new businesses popping up like daisies. And that's just what they can see. What they can't see are real estate developments moving more quickly from the drawing board, through financing and city approvals processes to the cusp of construction. The reason is because rents are rising to levels where few if any subsidies are needed due to the as-yet insatiable demand.

Most parcels of land along and north of Detroit Avenue in Cleveland in Ohio City and Gordon Square have a new real estate development on them or a real estate developer inquiring about them. Just about every under-utilized piece of land in Tremont has been or is being developed. Housing prices in Duck Island are bound to eclipse downtown's as large swaths of vacant land are giving way to large swaths of swanky new townhomes, some priced above $1 million.

Three apartment towers of 20-34 stories are under construction along Euclid Avenue between downtown and University Circle, with several more planned in the Flats and several more planned in University Circle. And if you wanted to get a house in Little Italy or Uptown for under $200,000, you've missed the train. Townhouses in the $300,000 to $800,000 range don't stay on the market for long, and hundreds of apartments rising near rail and bus stations in the area are leasing out before the paint dries on them.

So what's driving this change?

One economic shift is the amazing growth of "eds and meds" jobs, officially known in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data sets as the Education & Health Services sector. In the past decade, this sector has added more than 20,000 jobs in the Cleveland market. Year-over-year growth rates of 4 percent or greater in the past three years are comparable to the growth rates of the tech sector in Austin, TX and Silicon Valley.

Roughly the same vantage points in University Circle, which has become
Cleveland's boomtown. The scene at left is from 1978 and the view at right
is from 2016. With upwards of 60,000 jobs, this area is now Ohio's fourth-
largest employment center, behind only the downtowns in Cleveland,
Columbus and Cincinnati. (Scott Muscatello graphic)

And it's not just growth at the Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals pushing these numbers. Nor is it limited to their biotech spinoffs, although they're a significant driver. Regional employment has finally returned to where it was before the Great Recession but still 80,000 off from where it was in 2001.

One of the most exciting business announcements in a long time is the new biotech partnership between the Cleveland Clinic, JumpStart, and Plug and Play, one of the world's leading startup accelerators. Silicon Valley's Plug and Play Tech Center has moved into the Global Center of Health Innovation, now more than 80 percent full. One of the biggest fool's errands of economic development is to try to convince others to relocate their businesses to your city. Most economic growth is homegrown. Instead, bring the venture capitalists to Cleveland. Plug and Play will do that.

Other financiers are noticing Cleveland. Consider San Francisco's 10,500-employee Bank of the West which is adding commercial banking hubs in only two metro areas this year -- Atlanta and Cleveland. NexTier Bank, a roughly $1.2 billion-asset bank based in Kittanning, PA, is opening a new commercial loan production office in Cleveland. It's NexTier's first foray into Ohio where it will help finance multi-family residential developments in downtown Cleveland.

Another San Francisco firm has chosen Cleveland and Atlanta as its two expansion markets this year. Divvy Homes, a new, tech-based real estate firm, provides creative financing so renters can buy their homes.

Real estate giant Marcus & Millichap's Institutional Property Advisors created a new operation to assist the development of multi-family residential buildings in the Midwest. It didn't locate its IPA Midwest-Multifamily headquarters in Chicago or any of the other major cities in the Midwest. Instead, it chose Cleveland.

More financial institutions opening up commercial loan operations in Cleveland include SunTrust Bank, Sandusky's Civista Bank, and Citizens Bank, one of the largest banks in Northeast Ohio, which acquired Cleveland M&A firm Western Reserve Partners to expand its presence in commercial lending. All of this will help homegrown employers grow.

Everything listed thus far has occurred just in the past year.

From Hingetown (foreground) to Downtown and beyond,
business and public investment in Cleveland is accelerating,
attracting new jobs and residents (Aerial Agents photo).
Also in the past year, many companies are relocating here. Some are moving their back-office operations from eastern states, including more expensive locales like the New York City metro area. Most of these don't individually involve large numbers of jobs. But there are many of them which makes the shift all the more organic and sustainable.

"People don't realize Cleveland has a lot of money in it -- who would've thought so, right?" said DynamicVentures LLC CEO Brandon Short in Crain's. Short recently returned to Cleveland from Manhattan.

"But as more and more dust gets kicked up, you're seeing more eyes turned toward Cleveland" Short added. "I think that's part of why you're seeing the deal flow out here."

His story was similar to those of many other capital investors who have either returned, relocated to or expanded in Cleveland in the past year or so. Those stories were outlined in a comprehensive article in Crain's Cleveland Business. Investors said they were drawn, in part, by city's new image, unleashed upon the nation and the world after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship and the Republican National Convention was held here, both in 2016.

One of the largest corporate relocations was actually due to an acquisition. KeyBank acquired First Niagara Bank for $4.1 billion in 2016, quietly making it the nation's 13th largest bank. It has been adding jobs and moving positions from its former Buffalo headquarters to Cleveland -- to both its downtown and Brooklyn locations.

Fund That Flip, a New York City real estate services company, has moved its back-office and sales operations to downtown Cleveland. The company which provides financing to "flip" or redevelop historic homes, is still small as it was founded in 2014. But the company is growing quickly.

"Cleveland offers a broad base of high-quality talent in a much more cost-efficient environment than New York City," said CEO Matt Rodak in Crain's Cleveland Business.

Old and new mix at University Circle, a setting offering
the extent of amenities found in bigger East Coast cities
but without the big prices. It's a big reason why some
are relocating to Cleveland. (UrbanOhio photo)
South Burlington, VT-based regional airline carrier CommutAir announced it is moving its headquarters to the Cleveland suburb of North Olmsted where it already has some sales and back offices. CommutAir, which recently entered into new agreements with United Airlines, expects to triple its operations here by 2020.

Health care technology company CoverMyMeds is bringing hundreds of new jobs to Cleveland after it was acquired last year for $1.1 billion by San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. The firm's software allows physicians issuing prescriptions to quickly check with insurance companies to learn if a patient's medication is covered.

When aggregates company Fairmount Santrol, based in Chardon, merged with Unimin of New Canaan, CT (located in the New York metro area), the board of directors decided to relocate the headquarters of the newly combined company in the Cleveland suburb of Independence. Lower costs and high-quality regional amenities were cited as the reason.

Yet another corporate combination between a New York City-based company and a Cleveland company is benefiting Cleveland. ABM Industries Inc, an international provider of building maintenance and operational services, acquired Cleveland-based GCA Services Group for $1.25 billion. GCA, with 37,000 employees, is a relatively small version of ABM. While ABM's headquarters will remain in the Big Apple, many back-office functions and workers are being relocated to Cleveland to save money.

There are several thousand new jobs coming to Greater Cleveland this year and next with the opening of Amazon's two Fulfillment Centers -- massive distribution hubs for Northeast Ohio's 4 million people. The Fulfillment Centers are taking the places of failed shopping malls in North Randall and Euclid.

Huge Amazon Fulfillment Centers are under construction in
Greater Cleveland. This one, on the site of the former Randall
Park Mall, is farther along. The other is being built where
Euclid Square Mall stood. (Aerial Agents photo)
But there are plenty of homegrown expansions, not the least of which are the 1,300 new jobs that Mayfield Village-based Progressive Insurance plans to fill in Northeast Ohio this year.

Tech-startup BoxCast, which delivers high-definition streaming services, outgrew its offices at Burke Lakefront Airport and is moving to Ohio City. There, its new headquarters will add 71 new jobs.

Another is the growth of information technology firm MCPc Inc. It has outgrown its headquarters space on Superior Avenue downtown and is moving to the Link59 development on Euclid Avenue at East 55th Street. Perhaps just as exciting, it bought the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's 117,000-square-foot bus garage in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood. MCPc will redevelop it into an electronics recycling hub, adding 150 jobs.

There are many more success stories like these happening throughout Greater Cleveland or are about to. Many of them are either directly relocating jobs to Cleveland or are causing people to relocate to the metro area in search of affordable opportunities. Cleveland has the infrastructure and amenities of cities with far larger populations.

The reason is because it had a far larger population not long ago. Yet even after it shrank, Cleveland maintained and improved its world-class museums, orchestra, sports, theater district, libraries, Federal Reserve Bank, city/metro/state/national parks, ethnic cultural offerings, restaurant scene and more. Those things are helping the city reshape its industrial past into a new, more diverse future. Based on the out-of-state license plates and other indicators, people elsewhere are noticing.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Could the Western Reserve return to Connecticut, please?

Today's Northeast Ohio was part of a state 15 years before it
was recast into the state of Ohio. It became so through an odd
 process that was at best ambiguous and at worst illegal as no
public vote was held by citizens of the state of Connecticut
to shed its Western Reserve. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

No one in Cleveland or Akron or Ashtabula complains to or congratulates Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. No one in Warren, Medina or Sandusky cares if U.S. Senator Chris Murphy should be re-elected in 2018. There is no sharing of state offices between Cleveland and Hartford and thus, only one direct flight between Cleveland Hopkins and Hartford Bradley. And we sure don't call ourselves the Nutmeg State, or even the exclave of same.

Perhaps we should have been. For more than 200 years, people living in cities like Cleveland, Akron, Ashtabula, Warren, northern Youngstown, Medina, Lorain, Elyria, Norwalk, Sandusky and Put-In-Bay have lived in the state of Ohio. What if Connecticut relinquished these lands, called the Connecticut Western Reserve or New Connecticut without following proper procedure?

There is no question that Northeast Ohio is different from the rest of the Ohio. Its politics are more liberal. It's more urban. Its culture is faster-paced than the rest of Ohio. Its architecture is different, with old and modern buildings alike copying the white-trimmed, brick, colonial structures 400 miles farther east.

"If you drive through the area of Ohio still called the Western Reserve today, you will find towns named Norwich, Saybrook, New London, Litchfield, Mansfield, and Plymouth," wrote Barbara Austen, the Florence S. Marcy Crofut Archivist at the Connecticut Historical Society. "Many of these communities have a town green or square and the ubiquitous white-steepled church common to Connecticut."

Built in the early 1800s, Western Reserve Academy in Hudson,
Ohio was called the "Yale of the West." Its architecture is straight
of out of Connecticut too, featuring white-steepled churches,
white trim on light-brick buildings, and all surrounding a public
commons of greenspace. Many towns in the 5,280-square-mile
Western Reserve were built with the same land use theme.

There is also no question that Connecticut removed all public governance over this 3,366,921 acres (5,280 square miles) in 1795 without a vote by the citizens of its state -- including in the Western Reserve. This great expanse of land was left in limbo, perhaps illegally. Connecticut's haste in ridding itself of its Western Reserve was due to its desperate need of money.

In 1787, four years after the Revolutionary War officially ended, states began entering the United States of America. But some eastern states originally were much larger than they are today. For example, Georgia (entered USA in 1788), Virginia (1788) and North Carolina (1789) extended west all the way to the Mississippi River. New states were carved from their western expanses, including Kentucky (1792), Tennessee (1796), Mississippi (1817), Alabama (1819) and West Virginia (1863). All of the eastern states handed over governance of their western lands either to another, new state or to the federal government and they did so either by a vote of the state legislature, Congress, the people in the western lands -- or all three.

Connecticut was the exception. As a British colony, its land rights included a 70-mile-wide strip north of latitude 41 across what is now northern Pennsylvania, northern Ohio and beyond. This 1662 Charter of Conveyance by King Charles II theoretically extended across uncharted lands to the Pacific Ocean. It was considered a "sea to sea" charter. This document, called the Charter Oak, was deemed to be so valuable that it was hidden in 1685 inside a 1,000-year-old white oak tree in Hartford during a fierce dispute with King James II over the revocation of royal charters that allowed the colonies to govern themselves. Its value didn't last.

Two years before it entered the USA as a state on Jan. 9, 1788, Connecticut gave up all of its western land to the federal government in exchange for wiping its Revolutionary War debts clean. But it didn't give up its Western Reserve. Connecticut’s claim to all other western lands was ceded to the Unites States by a deed dated September 13, 1786 and signed for the state by its delegates in Congress.

Despite being a part of Ohio for 23 years already, the makers
of this 1826 map fondly recalled the Connecticut Western
Reserve in great detail, including its towns, roads and history.
CLICK it to view the map in a larger, more detailed format.

This instrument conveyed to the United States: "All right, title, interest, jurisdiction and claim which the said State of Connecticut hath in and to certain western lands (all lands lying west of a line beginning at the completion of the forty-first degree of north latitude, 120 miles west of the western boundary of Pennsylvania and from thence by a line drawn north parallel to and 120 miles west of the said west line of Pennsylvania and to continue north until it comes to 42o 02' north latitude.)" 

So when Old Connecticut became a state, so did the Western Reserve, also known as New Connecticut. The Western Reserve enjoyed sovereign jurisdiction, including legal and military protections, as part of the state of Connecticut. It was also granted those by its new nation. The frontier wilderness that today is heavily urbanized by 3.3 million people was a part of the state of Connecticut for seven years.

How did it cease being a state? At best, ambiguously. At worst, illegally.

The reason, as one might expect, was due to money. Like other former colonies, Connecticut relinquished its western claims (except the Western Reserve) to the federal government to wipe clean its debt from the Revolutionary War. Connecticut also needed cash to rebuild after the war.

The British had burned many of Connecticut's cities and towns and, with them, its schools and universities. If this fledgling state was going to survive and grow again, it needed an educated populace. So it sold for $1.2 million the eastern 2.867 million acres of the Western Reserve to the Connecticut Land Company, newly formed by 35 investors. The western portion remained with Connecticut and, after 1792, was offered to suffering citizens who were burned out of their homes and businesses by the British. That western portion, measuring 500,000 acres, was appropriately named The Firelands.

By selling the Western Reserve to the Connecticut Land Co. in 1795, Connecticut ceased to govern the land. It was no longer a state. No one else governed it either. Most of it wasn't even Indian land as the Treaty of Greenville extinguished Indian rights to land east of the Cuyahoga River in 1795. The land remained in limbo until 1800 when the federal government absorbed the former Western Reserve into the Northwest Territory which had covered the rest of the Ohio Country as well as today's Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota since 1787.

Connecticut did not amend its state Constitution or pass any statutes to cede the Western Reserve. It relinquished governance of this area, larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, by deed.

After the original Connecticut Land Co. failed in 1809, a new
one was formed and established this land office in 1817 on
East Main Street (Ohio Route 84) in Unionville, Ohio, in Lake
County east of Cleveland. Note the text in the decorative oval. 

"The (Connecticut Land) company issued to the state of Connecticut a mortgage on the land as security for the purchase price. From time to time as payments were made on this obligation, the state gave its deed of release and discharged the mortgage. Copies of such deeds are still on hand in the Recorder’s office in Cleveland," according to the Web site of the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer.

No legal documents mentioned inclusion of the Western Reserve in the Northwest Territory until a year after Connecticut sold it, according to The Corporate Birth and Growth of the City of Cleveland: An Address to the Early Settlers' Association of Cleveland, Delivered July 22nd, 1884 by S.O. Griswold.

Settlers were reluctant to purchase Connecticut Land Co. properties because the title to the land and the right to govern it were unclear, according to Case Western Reserve University historical records. Settlers did not recognize the authority of the governor of the Northwest Territory while Connecticut refused company pleas that the state exercise the territorial rights it had already ceded.

This "ambiguity" lasted until 1800 when Congress passed the Quieting Act. In it, the U.S. restored Connecticut's claim to the Western Reserve so that the company's land titles would be quieted and guaranteed. Connecticut then granted the U.S. jurisdiction over the Western Reserve on July 10, 1800. The Western Reserve became a sprawling Trumbull County, seated at Warren, and a part of the Northwest Territory. 
Although the Connecticut Western Reserve was extinguished
in the Quieting Act of 1800, its legacy remains in this 1802
map of Ohio in the Northwest Territory. This may have been
the last map before the creation of the state of Ohio in 1803.

But the Western Reserve was in fact a state or, more accurately, part of a state. Its cessation as a state and reversion to territorial status was done without a popular vote. It's true that the Constitution gives Congress power to determine the process for creating states out of lands that were U.S. territories.

"The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States…" — U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 3, clause 2.

The Constitution and federal statutes are silent on how a region loses its status as a state.

"As far as I can tell, the only way that a state can cease to exist is for that state to adopt, according to its own law, a binding resolution that it has ceased to exist," wrote Forbes journalist Kelly Kinkade at quote.com. "As far as I know, this would require the State to adopt an amendment to its Constitution, as no State has any provision for declaring its own dissolution within its present Constitution."

So, logic suggests that for a region to lose statehood, it would have to undergo the same process of territories seeking statehood -- only in reverse. Historically, Congress has applied the following general procedure when granting territories statehood:

  • The territory holds a referendum vote to determine the people's desire for or against statehood.
  • Should a majority vote to seek statehood, the territory petitions the U.S. Congress for statehood.
  • The territory, if it has not already done so, is required to adopt a form of government and constitution that are in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.
  • The U.S. Congress — both House and Senate — pass, by a simple majority vote, a joint resolution accepting the territory as a state.
  • The President of the United States signs the joint resolution and the territory is acknowledged as a U.S. state.

The Western Reserve was absorbed into the state of Ohio in 1803 and the Connecticut Land Co. was finally dissolved in 1809 as a financial failure. But is Connecticut's cessation of governance what the citizens and investors of the Western Reserve wanted?

Architecture and history aren't the only differences between
Northeast Ohio and the rest of the state. It's electorate is more
balanced among Democrats (blue districts) and Republicans
(red districts). It's another legacy from the Western Reserve's
Connecticut origins that remains more than 200 years later.

One could argue that, following successful litigation, the former lands of the Connecticut Western Reserve should revert to the governance of its eastern counterpart so that it could be properly ceded to an interested governing authority. If no popular vote is taken, the Western Reserve should remain a part of Connecticut until people in the enclave of Connecticut and in the exclave of the Western Reserve both say otherwise. Or, perhaps a vote should be taken in both old and new Connecticut to determine the wishes of its electorate?

The key here is "an interested governing authority." Earlier this year, the Cleveland Plain Dealer argued in a series of articles, driven in part by humor but also by serious concern, that red-state Ohio is disinterested in providing governmental services and investment in the more liberal, urbanized lands of the Western Reserve. The PD postulated what the Western Reserve would look like as a separate state.

But no additional state is necessary if the ambiguities if not illegalities outlined in this blog means that the Western Reserve should revert to Connecticut. It would become part of Connecticut again and governed by its Governor, state legislature (without gerrymandering) and two U.S. Senators. Our Congresspersons would likely remain, but again without all of the Republican gerrymandering to divide up and weaken Democratic constituencies.

Might Connecticut be interested in having the Western Reserve back? Possibly, since it would nearly double the state's population and give it a larger Congressional voting block with at least three more Congresspersons. But it would be a bit difficult to govern since the Western Reserve and Connecticut are separated by two states and 400 miles. Then again, these aren't the early days of the Republic when small states were favored to make access by horse-power to state capitals easier. One can fly back and forth between the Western Reserve and Connecticut at 500 mph.

The Western Reserve might also be interested in having Connecticut govern it again. After years of losing population, Connecticut is engaged in an aggressive urban redevelopment strategy to attract creative young people, boost investment in older urban cores, as well as revitalize public transportation to improve job access for all. These are all things that Ohio is neglecting in its governance of the urbanized Western Reserve.

The Quieting Act probably resolved the fate of the Western Reserve to the satisfaction of Congress. But shouldn't a state's citizens have the right to vote on whether it will no longer be a state? If not, who wants to file a lawsuit to test this theory?


Here are the 14 Ohio counties (or parts thereof) which are part of the former Western Reserve and their 2016 populations:

Ashtabula - 98,231
Ashland (northern 1/6th) - 8,942
Cuyahoga - 1,249,352
Erie - 75,107
Geauga - 94,060 
Huron - 58,439
Lake - 228,614
Lorain - 306,365
Mahoning (northern half) - 130,004
Medina - 177,221
Ottawa (eastern 1/6th - 6,773
Portage - 161,921
Summit - (northern 5/6th) 535,798
Trumbull - 201,825


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Downtown Cleveland's next big building may surprise

The existing Cleveland Police headquarters at 1300 Ontario St.
is an eight-story structure with large floorplates. The police HQ
needs to move to a new site, as does a police garage/storage and
employee/public parking. Such a large structure(s), measuring
more than 500,000 square feet, may require new construction
downtown. And given recent events, that may be exactly
what's being considered by the public and private sectors.

Among three or four residential towers and a new skyscraper for a Fortune 500 headquarters, the next big building to rise in downtown Cleveland may surprise many. It grew out of a learning process by city officials that downtown didn't have more than 500,000 square feet of office and garage space ready-made for the needs of its police department. And a single real estate company holds the key to making a new building happen.

Early in spring 2017, the city agreed to sell to Cuyahoga County its police HQ and garage (for police and visitor's vehicles) at 1300 Ontario St. for $9.25 million. The county wanted to move departments (adult probation, corrections planning, substance abuse and other programs) from the Marion Building, 1276 W. 3rd St., to a vacated police HQ by Oct. 31. The reason is the county sold the Marion Building to Weston Inc. The 1913-built, seven-story, 100,000-square-foot building is ideal for conversion to housing using historic tax credits.

The county had hoped to move out of the Marion Building by Oct. 31 when its lease with Weston expires. So it pushed the city to find a new home for its police HQ and garage. The city issued a request for proposals last spring, hoping that owners of downtown buildings would jump at the chance to land a huge tenant like the Cleveland Police Department. But none could meet the city's requirements, including:

  • Both facilities located east of the Cuyahoga River, west of East 55th Street and north of I-490;
  • 180,000 square feet of office space for HQ operations;
  • 115,000 square feet of separate space for storage, garage and supportive offices;
  • Secure parking for 400 passenger cars separate from public parking (equal to a 160,000-square-foot parking garage);
  • Private elevators and secured stairwells if multiple floors in a shared building;
  • Ability to separate staff from the public portions of the operations;
  • Ability to install high-technology and work in an efficient, high-quality, healthy environment;
  • Occupancy by Dec. 31, 2017 or March 31, 2018 at the latest.

Those were the requirements. Its preferences were to find leased space for up to 20 years near the municipal and county courts as well as the city's Emergency Operations Center at the Justice Center. It also preferred lots of public parking, flexible office floor plans, plus back-up communications, power, water and heating systems. And if both the HQ and garage/storage could be co-located, so much the better.

Some real estate market observers speculated that the 55 Public Square building across St. Clair Avenue from the police HQ was the city's preferred site, but neither side could make that building fit the city's needs. In fact, no existing building did in the timeframe the city specified. So the city ended up hiring Colliers International to help it find a new police HQ and garage.

Weston graciously extended the county's lease at the Marion Building, even though it slows and complicates Weston's plans for converting the building into residential. The county has agreed to shift its offices to the lower floors while Weston rehabilitates the building's upper floors. The city, having already sold its police HQ, subsequently extended its stay at its current location for at least another two years for $1 per year.

The irony and coincidence in all of this is remarkable. Weston controls the clock for this game of real estate hop-scotch. Of course Weston was happy to extend the county's lease at its Marion Building. Why?

The reason is because the site that could best meet the city's requirements for a new, consolidated police HQ and storage/garage is at the NE corner of the Weston-owned Superblock in the Warehouse District, bounded by West 3rd, St. Clair, West 6th Street and Superior Avenue. The city's two-year-plus lease extension (in turn enabled by the county's extended lease at the Marion Building) buys Weston the time to develop a great proposal to the city.

Weston Inc. and Citymark Capital plan a massive development
of offices, residential and possibly a hotel on the Warehouse
District's Superblock, now just surface parking lots. This is a
view from the northwest of the Superblock masterplan. The
Justice Center complex is just out of view to the left.
What makes it so great? It can meet all of city's the requirements AND all of its preferences for a new, consolidated police HQ, garage, storage and parking facility. All of those features taken together require a structure of some 535,000 square feet (180,000-sf police HQ, 115,000-sf police garage/storage/office, 160,000-sf employee parking, and roughly 80,000-sf public parking). At $200 per square foot, a new building of this scale could cost $107 million, although given the building's need for extra security and communications technology, a higher cost wouldn't be surprising.

Guess what? The city already has most of the money to afford a new-build, consolidated police HQ-storage facility. Consider that the city now has $9.25 million from the sale of its police HQ and will save $5.1 million per year by closing the downtown municipal jail and paying the county to house its prisoners. That $9.25 million can be part of the upfront lease payment to a private developer (like Weston) to construct the building, with payments of $5 million per year over a term of 20 years, which is what the city is willing to do, per its RFP (noted above).

With separated public parking and employee parking/storage, a garage with up to 50,000 square feet per level is reasonable. That might mean that the parking structure could be about 6-7 stories tall. An ideal floorplate for offices for efficient heating, cooling and natural lighting is between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet. With about 200,000 square feet of offices for the HQ and storage administration, that would involve an office structure about 7-8 stories tall. If the offices were built atop the parking structure, the consolidated police HQ/storage/parking could measure about 15 stories high.

Site plan for the Weston/Citymark Superblock.
An ideal location for the consolidated Cleveland
Police HQ/storage/parking structure could be at
the northeast corner of the site (circled), closest
to the existing Justice Center complex.
The other benefit of building this structure on the NE corner of the Weston Superblock is that it could jump-start development on the rest of the Superblock. If the city expanded its public parking structure so it could also create a pedestal for another tower (ala 515 Euclid serving as a pedestal for The Beacon apartment tower), it could spur further Superblock development as Weston has envisioned.

Or, the consolidated police HQ/storage/parking could even set the stage for relocating the entire Justice Center complex to the Superblock, possibly in a trade with Weston to redevelop the old 26-story Justice Center tower and demolishing the jails for redevelopment or green space.

Who would have thought a consolidated police HQ facility could be so catalytic for downtown Cleveland's continued development? Based on circumstantial evidence, it appears that Weston did.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Zombies say: start building a downtown Cleveland office tower soon

Based on market trends, including a big chunk of zombie
office space, it's time to build a large amount of new office
inventory in downtown Cleveland. The new inventory could
be anchored by a major tenant such as with the $450 million,
1.1 million-square-foot, 32-story Northwestern Mutual Life
tower now  under construction in downtown Milwaukee.
(PHOTO: Milwaukee Business News)
In the movies, zombies can't put two words together. In Cleveland real estate development, they are sharing a subtle yet compelling message of encouragement.

Zombies in downtown Cleveland are former office buildings awaiting renovation with significant portions of them due to be converted to non-office uses, usually residential and occasionally hotel. Some of them will retain some office uses. But the portion of these buildings due to be converted is the zombie portion. It's a zombie because it's no longer being marketed as an office property. It's dead as an office building, but won't be demolished. It's coming back to life.

So what are these zombies saying? "Start building a large amount of new office inventory in downtown Cleveland."

Why? Because the rule of thumb in real estate development is that, when an office market's vacancy drops below 10 percent and rents are rising, it can support a speculative new office building.

Downtown Cleveland (referred to as the Central Business District or "CBD" in real estate reports) in 2017 has more than 19 million square feet of office space, according to major real estate firms Colliers International and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF). That 19+ million square feet is the total among all office classes -- Class A (highest quality spaces with above-average rents), Class B (average office space with average rents) and Class C (lowest quality spaces with below-average rents).

By the way, the Cleveland CBD office inventory exceeds the total suburban office inventory of 17 million square feet, a fact that many people may not realize.

NGKF Vice Chairman Terry Coyne said the zombie office inventory in the CBD is huge, measuring more than 1.28 million square feet, with 827,553 square feet in Class B and 452,692 in Class C. Downtown Cleveland’s zombie properties include some or all space within each of the following:

  • Standard Building
  • Leader Building
  • 75 Public Square
  • Garfield Building
  • Halle Building
  • Former Cleveland Athletic Club
  • 925 Euclid Avenue
  • Superior Lofts
  • Tower at Erieview
  • Terminal Tower
  • 3101 Euclid Avenue

"Zombie space adversely impacts the vacancy rate of the Class B and Class C CBD markets," Coyne wrote in a recent document he calls his Zombie Placemat. "The amount of vacant and available space in the CBD is overstated when the zombie properties are included."

The Class B CBD market has 24 percent vacancy. But when the zombie property space is removed from the data, the Class B vacancy rate declines to 18.2 percent. Similarly, Class C CBD market vacancy drops from 22.4 percent to 15.4 percent when the zombie properties are removed, the report notes.

And when figured into the total downtown office inventory -- including all three classes -- the overall CBD market vacancy drops from 17.5 percent to 12.6 percent.

NGKF wrote in its most recent report that, year over year, the overall Cleveland (CBD and suburban) "office market vacancy was down a hefty 140 basis points from 17.8 percent in second-quarter 2016. In fact, second-quarter 2017's 16.4 percent vacancy rate marked the lowest vacancy percentage the office market has seen since third-quarter 2001, when it dipped to 15.6 percent."

Furthermore, NGKF notes the CBD once again paced the market in terms of rental rate, both in terms of increases and highest rent. In the Greater Cleveland market, average asking rent rose $0.18 per square foot from $17.88/SF in first-quarter 2017 to $18.06/SF. Downtown, the average rent now sits at $19.20/SF, up $0.37/SF from first-quarter 2017. The Class A average asking rent in the CBD increased by $0.50/SF, coming in at $22.50/SF.

If the office market continues to support growing rents and available space tightens at current rates, CBD vacancy could drop to or below 10 percent in just two years. Considering it takes 18-24 months to build a significant new office building in downtown Cleveland, now would be a good time for a real estate developer or two to get a project or two rolling.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Transit station-area development activity paces region-Part 2

For those who keep track of new real estate developments in Greater Cleveland, they might be noticing something about the location of these developments. Where are most of the planned, proposed, under-construction and recently completed developments? If you said "within walking distance of a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority rapid transit line" you'd be right!

This is even more impressive considering that GCRTA's rail and bus rapid transit network isn't that extensive. There are only three rail lines (Red, Blue and Green) totaling 37 route miles and two BRT lines (HealthLine, Cleveland State Line) that have only about 10 route miles of dedicated bus lanes. But that rail/BRT service represents a potentially productive resource for connecting job-seekers to jobs with frequent, fast, convenient, affordable and easy-to-recognize transit services. That will help tap Greater Cleveland's huge untapped labor force and address excessive concentrations of poverty, as discussed in Part One of this series.

Below is a sampling, starting with the station-area developments common to the HealthLine bus rapid transit and the Red Line rail (Airport-Windermere). There are more developments that are near Red Line-only stations and HealthLine-only stations, shown later. The shared developments are mostly in the University Circle area. This area has seen extensive transit investment in the last decade, including the opening of the $200 million HealthLine BRT in the Fall of 2008 and three new Red Line rail stations totaling $38.9 million. The three rail stations were the $1.3 million reconstruction of the East 105th-Quincy station in 2005 (to be expanded for $5 million in 2018), the $15.1 million reconstruction of the Cedar-University station in 2014, and the $17.5 million relocation of the Euclid-East 120th station to Mayfield-Little Italy in 2015 (including railroad pedestrian underpass enhancements in 2017).


There are six Red Line rail stations that share a ridership hinterland with the new HealthLine BRT. The first of these, Tower City/Public Square, also is the rail station for the Blue and Green lines between the downtown Waterfront and Shaker Heights. Why have these three Red Line rail stations and their nearby HealthLine BRT stations seen an exceptional amount of station-area development?

The answer is in the "eds and meds" sector of Greater Cleveland's economy, centered in University Circle. That sector is gaining employment at a nearly 5 percent clip, rivaling tech sectors in growing cities like Austin, TX and San Jose, CA. University Circle also is the fourth-largest employment hub in Ohio, trailing only the central business districts of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Here is the station-area development occurring within a 5-minute walk of these Red Line/HealthLine stations...

Tower City Center/Public Square stations: Public Square; renovation of the 10-acre central town square from a four-quadrant park and through roadways into a two-quadrant park with transitway; City of Cleveland; $50 million; construction was completed in 2016.

Terminal Tower; 50 Public Square; conversion of 12 stories in the low-rise portion of the 52-story office tower into 308 apartments; $100 million; K&D Group; construction to be completed by 2020.

Jack Casino Cleveland; 100 Public Square; conversion of 1931-built Higbee department store into a casino; Jack Entertainment; $350 million; construction was completed in 2012.

Renovation of Cleveland Public Square, the hub of the city's
transit system for more than 150 years, was completed in 2016.

East 105th HealthLine & East 105th-Quincy Red Line stations: Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center; 10000 Cedar Ave.; 50,000 square foot cardiovascular healthcare focused incubator; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; $19.3 million; construction was completed about 2013.

Upper Chester is one of the new developments turning the
huge Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals campuses
from car-dominant to pedestrian-oriented employment
centers. And any pedestrian-oriented development is by
its very nature transit-supportive, as two-thirds of all trips
on urban trains and buses begin/end as pedestrian trips.

Upper Chester; 10001 Chester Ave; mixed-use development featuring 248 Innova market rate apartments, 60 elderly resident apartments, 175-room Residence Inn hotel, ground-floor retail, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) dental school and future 9-story residential building on East 101st; Finch Group; $175 million; construction due to be completed by 2019.

Nord Family Greenway; Located from the north end of Upper Chester at East 101st, crossing in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art and ending at CWRU's Tinkham Veale University Center; Cleveland Museum of Art/CWRU; $21 million; Construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Park Lane Villa; 10510 Park Lane; restoration of 1922-built prestigious hotel into 96 luxury apartments; Finch Group; $30 million; construction was completed in 2009.

Tudor Arms/Doubletree Hotel; 10660 Carnegie Ave.; renovated 12-story Gothic tower into 154-room hotel; MRN Ltd.; $22 million; construction was completed in 2011.

Fairfax's New Economy District, looking south along East
105th Street from Cedar Avenue toward the Red Line's East
105th/Quincy rail station. The district's plan has offices/labs
on the east side of East 105th and residential on the west side.

Innovation Square; west of East 105th Street between Cedar and the East 105th-Quincy Red Line station; construction 500 new residences (apartments and townhomes) plus renovation of 100 existing homes; Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp.; about $60 million; construction is starting by the end of 2017.

New Economy District; east of East 105th Street between Cedar and the East 105th-Quincy Red Line station; new biotech-based offices, labs and support facilities starting with the 300-employee office building for IBM Explorys/Watson Health; Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp.; $11 million (first phase); construction of first phase due to be completed in 2018.

Robert J. Tomsich Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Institute; 10300 Carnegie Ave.; expanded 135,500-square-foot office building for the institute; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; about $30 million; construction was completed about 2014.

With One University Circle rising to 20 stories and University
Circle City Center (UC3) in planning, a true downtown for
Cleveland's second-largest employment district is in the cards
for this traffic-congested area. The addition of mixed-use and
density makes transit, walking and biking more attractive.

Stokes Blvd. & Adelbert Road HeatlhLine stations/Cedar-University Red Line station: One University Circle; new 20-story, 280-unit residential tower under construction between the HealthLine and Red Line; First Interstate Properties, Ltd., and Petros Development Corp.; $116 million; construction due to be completed in 2018.

Circle Square (formerly University Circle City Center or UC3); bounded by Euclid Ave., East 105th St., Chester Ave. and MLK Blvd.; construction of 700 apartments and townhomes in multiple buildings; Midwest Development Partners; $280 million; construction of first phase due to be completed by 2020.

Cleveland School of the Arts; 2064 Stearns Rd.; a 126,000-square-foot, 775-student magnet high school; Cleveland Metropolitan School District; $36.5 million; construction was completed in 2015.

Centers for Dialysis Care; 2131-2143 Stokes Blvd.; Relocation of CDC from 11717 Euclid Ave. to a new two-story office building; CDC; about $10 million; construction to be completed by 2019.

Construction was well underway in 2014 on converting a
seven-story cold storage warehouse into a new home for the
think[box] program next to the Red Line's Cedar-University
 rail station.

Richey Mixon Building aka think[box]; 11201 Cedar Rd.; conversion of a 50,000-square-foot, seven-story, former cold storage warehouse into one of the world's largest university-based innovation and entrepreneurship centers; Case Western Reserve University; $35 million; construction was completed in 2015.

Cornell Road, East 115th & East 118th HeatlhLine stations/Mayfield-Little Italy Red Line station: Tinkham Veale University Center; 11038 Bellflower Rd.; 82,000-square-foot student center; Case Western Reserve University; $50-million; construction was completed in 2014.

University Hospitals Health System's Seidman Cancer Center
is the largest single real estate development by that health
system in the University Circle area since the 2008 opening
of the HealthLine BRT.

University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Hospital; 11100 Euclid Ave.; 375,000-square-foot, 150-bed cancer hospital; University Hospitals Health System; $260 million; construction was completed in 2015.

Marriott hotel; 2021 Cornell Rd.; 153-room, eight-story hotel; SDC University Circle Developer LLC; $27 million; construction was completed in 2013.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA); 11400 Euclid Ave.; four-level, obsidian-like, octagonal-to-square museum for visiting art exhibits; MOCA Cleveland; $150 million; construction was completed in 2012.

The amount of development in the Uptown-Little Italy area
since the HealthLine on Euclid Avenue began in 2008 is
remarkable. It has accelerated since the 2015 opening of
the brand-new Mayfield-Little Italy Red Line rail station.

Uptown; Euclid Ave. from Mayfield/Ford Rds. to East 115th St.; this block-long development on both sides of Euclid features 275 apartments over multiple stores, cafes, restaurants and a bowling alley; MRN Ltd.; $65.5 million; two phases of construction were completed in 2015.

Cleveland Institute of Art expansion; 11610 Euclid Ave.; a four-story, 79,000-square-foot addition to the McCullough Art Center (built in 1916 as a Ford Model T factory); Cleveland Institute of Art; $63.5 million; construction was completed in 2016.

Residence Hall-Cleveland Institute of Art; 11702 Euclid Ave.; four-story, 53-unit, 203-bed dormitory for CIA students; NewBrook Partners; about $10 million; construction to be completed in 2018.

Construction of Centric as seen from the platform of the
new Mayfield-Little Italy Red Line station.

Centric (formerly Intesa, formerly Lot 45 TOD); along Mayfield Road between Circle Drive and the new Little Italy Red Line station; 272 apartments, 27,000 square feet of commercial space, a 360-space parking garage and two-thirds of an acre of public green space with Circle Drive to be rerouted; Midwest Development Partners et al; $70 million; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Circle Vistas; Euclid Ave. at East 115th St.; renovation of an aging, six-story brick building into 34 apartments for Cleveland Institute of Art upperclassmen with ground-floor retail; Berusch Development Partners LLC; $3.5 million; construction was completed in 2016.

Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center; 11635 Euclid Ave., new 48,000-square-foot building; Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center; $17.8 million; construction was completed in 2009.

Cotman Vistas, 1725 East 115th St.; four-story, 36-unit disabled-accessible Section 8 apartment complex; Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio; $6 million; construction was completed in 2013.

Circle 118 Townhomes; Euclid Ave. at East 118th St.; 17 new market-rate townhouses;  WXZ Development Inc.; $8 million; construction completed by 2012.

Euclid-116; 11611 Euclid Ave.; 31 apartments in a new four-story building for area college students replacing Mi Pueblo restaurant; Berusch Development Partners LLC; about $6 million; construction completed in 2017.

Although it preceded the construction of the HealthLine and
the new Mayfield-Little Italy Red Line, the location of Case
Western Reserve University's Village at 115 creates ridership
for the new BRT and rail transit services.

Case Western Reserve University Village at 115/North Residential Village; north of Euclid Ave. between East 115th and 118th Sts.; six buildings with 746 bedrooms in 175 apartments plus a Starbucks, convenience store, laundry facilities, plus the Wyant Athletic & Wellness Center surrounding Disanto Field; CWRU; $130 million; most of the village was completed in 2005 but the first phase of the Wyant center was finished in 2014.

Hazel 8 apartments; Hazel Dr. at Lenore Ct.; 59 apartments spread among eight buildings; WXZ Development Inc.; $10 million; construction was completed in 2013.

118 Flats Square/Circle/Oval apartments; along East 118th Street north of Euclid Ave.; 10 buildings with 79 apartments constructed in three phases with Oval being the latest; WXZ Development Inc.; $15 million; latest phase of construction was completed in 2016.

University Place Townhomes; 1500 block of East 118th St.; 20 attached three-story townhouses; Bluewater Capital Partners; about $8 million; construction was completed by 2015.

27 Coltman townhouses; along Coltman Rd. and East 119th St.; 27 attached townhouses; Little Italy Preservation Partners; $10 million; construction was completed in about 2011.

Mayfield Station apartments is proposed with a reduced
number of parking spaces as it is immediately adjacent to
the new Mayfield-Little Italy Red Line rail station (at left).

Mayfield Station; 11913 Mayfield Rd.; a 40-unit, six-story apartment building; Perotti LLC; $7 million; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Quattro condominiums; 2044 Random Rd.; 26-unit, five-story condominium building next to Tony Brush Park; Bluewater Capital Partners; $13 million; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Visconsi apartments; between East 123rd St., and Coltman Rd.; roughly 150 apartments in several 5-story buildings on the abandoned Woodhill Supply site; Visconsi Companies Ltd.; perhaps $30 million; construction is due to be completed by 2020.

Casa d'Angolo; 12511 Mayfield Rd.; a new Italian-American Cultural Heritage Center and museum, cafe and garden terrace, support offices, three condominiums and parking; Robert Fatica and Carmen Armenti; perhaps $4 million; construction could be completed by 2019.

Little Italy Apartments; 12302-04 Mayfield Rd.; five-story, 32-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail planned for the Golden Bowl site; Hemingway Development; $12 million; construction is due to be completed by 2019.


Cleveland never imagined merely building a dedicated transit line along Euclid Avenue. Civic leaders sought a whole new street corridor from the sewers on up to modernize a 200-year-old thoroughfare. It included burying power lines, rebuilding out-of-date sewer and water lines, and adding street-level amenities such as bicycle lanes, improved sidewalks, and public art along the route.

The city also coordinated land use planning, starting with the 2007 update to Cleveland’s comprehensive plan called the Cleveland 2020 Citywide Plan. It directed TOD to be built “in proximity to transit stations and major bus stops in order to support public transit and strengthen the competitiveness of urban neighborhoods.” The city also focused existing and new financial incentives -- New Market Tax Credits, Federal Supplemental Empowerment Zone loans and tax credits, the city’s Vacant Property Initiative, brownfields clean-up grants, and transportation grants -- to attract private investment into older industrial and vacant sites.

The result can be seen in the long list of developments shown below:

East 2nd Station: May Company; 158-214 Euclid Ave; conversion of the historic 8-story department store into 400 apartments and ground-floor retail; $110 million; Landmark RE Management LLC; construction to be completed by 2021.

East 4th District: Euclid at East 4th St.; conversion of 600,000 square feet of buildings along a narrow alley into 322 apartments, multiple restaurants, bowling alley, theaters and shops; $115 million; MRN Ltd.; construction was completed by 2009.

The Beacon apartment tower, as
proposed, at 515 Euclid Ave.

East 6th station: The Beacon apartments; 515 Euclid Ave.; 19-story addition above a 9-level parking deck featuring 187 market-rate apartments; $62 million; Stark Enterprises; construction to be completed by 2019.

The Garfield apartments; 623 Euclid Ave.; renovation of 1895-built 11-story office building into 125 market-rate apartments; $40 million; Millennia Cos.; construction to be completed in 2017.

Residences at Six Six Eight; 668 Euclid Ave., renovation and conversion of the old Atrium office building into 236 apartments; $65 million; K&D Group; construction work was completed in 2009.

East 9th station: The Schofield; 2000 East 9th St.; renovation of 1902-built office building into 55 market-rate apartments and 122-room Kimpton Hotel; $50 million; CRM Companies; construction was completed in March 2016.

Former Ameritrust complex rehabbed
with 29-story apartment/hotel tower,
grocery store in historic bank rotunda,
county administrative offices, and 13-
story retail/office/apartment building.

Former Ameritrust complex; 900 Euclid Ave.; renovation of former bank headquarters dating from 1908-2015 into The 9 156-room rise Metropolitan hotel and 194 market-rate apartment tower (29 stories), Cuyahoga County administration building, Heinen's grocery store in historic bank rotunda and in ground floor of 13-story Swetland Building that features offices and apartments in its upper floors, $170 million; Geis Companies; construction was completed in 2015.

Former Huntington Building; 925 Euclid Ave.; renovation of former 21-story, 1.45-million-square-foot bank headquarters dating from 1924 into 550 apartments, a 300-room high-end hotel, 400,000 square feet of offices and 200,000 square feet of retail; $280 million; Hudson Holdings LLC; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

John Hartness Brown buildings; 1001-1101 Euclid Ave.; renovation of four buildings, 5- to 6-stories tall, into 154 apartments, 140 hotel rooms, 20,000 square feet of retail and parking; Alto Partners; $60 million?; construction is due to be completed in 2019.

The Ivory; 1030 Euclid Ave.; renovation of former Truman Building offices into 29 apartments and ground-floor retail; CRM Companies; $9 million; construction was completed in 2015.

Security Federal Building; 1110 Euclid Ave.; 3-story office building renovated as offices with ground-floor retail; CRM Companies; project cost included with The Ivory above; construction was completed in 2015.

East 14th station: Former Cleveland Athletic Club; 1118 Euclid Ave., conversion of 15-story, 225,000-square-foot office and professional club building into 177 apartments; $60 million; GL Housing; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Halle Building;1228 Euclid Ave., renovation and partial conversion of 12-story, 383,000-square-foot office building into 120 apartments on top six floors; $20+ million; K&D Group; construction is due to be completed by 2019.

Allen Theater; 1407 Euclid Ave., renovation of 1921-built, 2,500-seat theater into three-theater venue for the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University and Playhouse Square; $30 million; Playhouse Square Foundation; construction was completed in 2011.

Hanna Building/Theater; 1400-1438 Euclid Ave.; renovation of 1921-built, 16-story office building and theater for the Great Lakes Theater Festival; $19.2 million; Playhouse Square Foundation; construction was completed in 2008.

Residences At Hanna; 1401 Prospect; renovation of Hanna Annex office building into 102 apartments; $24 million; K&D Group; construction was completed in 2013.

Playhouse Square Foundation, which
already manages 1 million square feet
of real estate downtown, has secured
most of its financing to build this 34-
story apartment tower on Euclid Ave.

Playhouse Square Tower; 1520 Euclid Ave., construction of a 34-story tower with 319 apartments; $135 million; Playhouse Square Foundation; construction is due to be completed by 2020.

East 19th Station: The Edge On Euclid; 1750 Euclid Ave., construction of an 11-story apartment building with 240 residential units; Clayco Realty Group; construction was completed in 2017.

Collegetown; 2010-2030 Euclid Ave., renovation/construction of five mid-rise buildings into 373 residential units; $50 million; Kaufman brothers, Coral Company, Somerville Development Co., et al; construction was completed in 2010.

Student Center; 2121 Euclid Ave., construction of a 138,000-square-foot student center; $55 million; Cleveland State University; construction was completed in 2010.

Euclid Avenue has seen substantial investment in the 21st
Century starting with the opening of the Greater Cleveland
Regional Transit Authority's HealthLine bus rapid transit in
2008. But it certainly did't end there as this scene looking
west from near the East 24th Station attests. It bears little
resemblance to the blight that had preceded it for decades.

East 24th Station: Euclid Commons; Euclid Ave. at East 24th St., construction of five buildings totaling 600 college dorm units; $65 million; Cleveland State University; construction was completed in 2011.

Julka Hall; 2485 Euclid Ave,; construction of 100,000-square-foot facility for the College of Education and Human Services; $40 million; Cleveland State University; construction was completed in 2010.

East 30th Station: Innerbelt Buildings; 2728-2800 Euclid Ave., renovation of two adjoining 1960s-era office buildings into modern office and educational spaces for business and culinary incubators; $5 million?; J&M Real Estate Advisors; construction was substantially completed about 2010.

Innerbelt Lofts; 2828 Euclid Ave., renovation of former 58,000-square-foot office building into 50 apartments; $5 million?; Innerbelt Lofts LLC; construction due to be completed in 2018.

University Studios; 2901 Euclid Ave., renovation of 8-story office building into about 130 micro-apartments; $1.7 million; NM Residential; construction was completed in about 2011.

This 1959-built office building is due to be converted to
apartments in the next year. It will join several other nearby
mid-rise, former office buildings from the same era to be
converted into housing. The HealthLine and access to
Cleveland State University, downtown and University
Circle are factors in these investments.

The Midtown; 3101 Euclid Ave., renovation of 8-story office building into 80 apartments with a 9th-floor penthouse and ground-floor retail/restaurant; $12 million; Inspiron Group; construction due to be completed in 2018.

East 36th Station: Midtown Corporate Center; 3636 Euclid Ave., new office building; $7.5 million; Roulston & Co.; construction was completed in 2004.

East 40th Station: Children's Museum of Cleveland; 3813 Euclid Ave., renovation of historic Stager-Beckwith mansion into new home for the museum; $8 million; Children's Museum of Cleveland; first phase of construction is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

When the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District considered
a new headquarters in 2000, it decided to stay on Euclid
Avenue as funding was already coming together to build
the HealthLine bus rapid transit line. And it decided to
build its new HQ "on the sidewalk" to improve pedestrian
access to/from the East 40th BRT station.
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District HQ; 3900 Euclid Ave., construction of new office building; $22 million; NEORSD; construction completed in 2003.

East 51st Station: 4600 Euclid Ave.; renovation of 1925-built 65,000-square-foot automobile assembly building into five-story office building; $6 million; JM Real Estate Advisors; construction completed in 2008.

The East 51st HealthLine Station is surrounded by historic
office buildings that are being renovated into new working
spaces for small, innovative companies and organizations.

Offices at Penn Square (formerly Agora Building); renovation of the 1913-built 54,000-square-foot opera house and WHK auditorium; $7.5 million; AEG Presents; construction of the first phase is due to be completed by 2018.

East 59th Station: University Hospitals Rainbow Center for Women and Children; Euclid Ave.; construction of three-story medical center; $15 million; University Hospitals Health System; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Construction is nearly complete on this office building, the
first structure to rise at Hemingway Development's Link 59
campus. University Hospitals' Rainbow Center has started
construction and work is due to begin this fall on a new
Dave's Supermarket at the 12-acre campus.

Link 59; Euclid Ave. and East 59th St.; 12-acre campus with 140,000 square feet of offices; $50 million; Hemingway Development; first phase of construction consisting of a three-story, 20,544-square-foot office building is due to be completed in 2017.

Dave's Supermarket; Chester Ave. at East 61st St.; construction of a 52,962-square-foot grocery store; about $5 million; Hemingway Development; construction is due to be completed by 2019.

East 66th Station: MidTown Tech Park; 6700-7000 Euclid Ave. and 6555 Carnegie Ave.; construction of a 128,000-square-foot office/lab/manufacturing center, renovation of two older office buildings; $20+ million; Geis Companies; construction was completed in all phases by 2013.

Midtown Tech Hive; 6815 Euclid Ave., renovation of the 3-story, 15,000-square-foot Frost Building for a blended digital coworking site; DigitalC; $1.5 milion; will open by the end of 2017.

With all of the new technology companies moving into the
Midtown Corridor, Tru by Hilton wanted to be in the middle
of it and have easy access to downtown and University Circle
via the HealthLine BRT.

East 71st Station: Tru by Hilton hotel; 6975 Euclid Ave.; Health Tech Hospitality LLC; $12 million; construction is due to be completed by 2019.

Dealer Tire headquarters; 7012 Euclid Ave.; renovation of the 166,000-square-foot Victory Center into a corporate headquarters for 530 employees and addition of a parking garage off Carnegie Avenue; $25 million; construction completed in 2017.

Baker Electric Building; 7100 Euclid Ave.; renovation of the former Baker Electric Motor Car Co. plant and showroom; Cumberland Real Estate Development; $7 million; construction completed in 2008.

Church Square Commons Apartments; 7338 Euclid Ave.; construction of 48 senior apartments; PIRHL, LLC; $9.8 million; construction completed in 2012.

Euclid Midtown Townhouses Euclid Ave. at East 73rd St.; construction of 23 townhomes; Vazza Real Estate Group; $5 million; construction to be completed in 2019.

Buses, bikes, pedestrians and cars pass Greenbridge Commons
apartments on a section of Euclid Avenue that was abandoned
through decades of neglect. Since the Euclid Corridor project
(later dubbed the HealthLine after naming rights were sold to
medical institutions) was completed in 2008, billions of dollars
of private and public investment flowed into the corridor.

East 79th Station: Greenbridge Commons; 7515 Euclid Ave.; Construction of a 70-unit permanent supportive housing apartment building; Project Emerald Development & Economic Network; $11 million; construction completed in 2011.

Erie Square Apartments; 7621-7711 Euclid Ave.; renovation of west and east wings of the 90-unit complex in 2006 and fire-damage renovations of west wing by 2012; Cleveland Housing Network; $2? million; construction completed by 2012.

Rainbow Place apartments; 7829 Euclid Ave.; modernization of 181-unit low-income, assisted living apartment complex; Millennia Housing Management Ltd.; $7 million; construction completed by 2012.

The amount of vacant land that existed in this section of
Midtown was extensive. But it allowed for the neighborhood
to start over and in a grand manner, including with large-
scale developments such as the 150-home development of
Woodhaven/Beacon Place townhouses, now fully built-out.

East 83rd Station: Woodhaven/Beacon Place townhomes; Euclid Ave. between East 81st-86th streets; final phase of Woodhaven has six units and completes the 150-some unit development started in 2000; Zaremba Cleveland Communities; $22.5 million; final phase of construction to be completed in 2017.

East 89th Station: Holiday Inn Cleveland Clinic; 8650 Euclid Ave.; nine-story, 276-room hotel; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; $40 million; construction completed in 2016.

The HealthLine's East 93rd station is right in the middle of
the action of the Cleveland Clinic's main campus where
nearly 30,000 people work. Next to the station is the new 1-
million-square-foot Sydell & Arnold Miller Family Pavilion.

East 93rd Station: Sydell & Arnold Miller Family Pavilion; 9500 Euclid Ave.; 1 million square feet, 10-story facility houses Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; $506 million; construction was completed in 2008.

Glickman Tower; 2050 East 96th St.; 330,000-square-foot, 12-story Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute; Cleveland Clinic Foundation; $128 million; construction was completed in 2008.

Health Education Campus; 9700 Euclid Ave.; joint use medical education facility measuring 485,000 square feet; Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Case Western Reserve University; $515 million; construction due to be completed by 2018.

For the rest of the station-area developments along the HealthLine, see the list of shared developments along the Red Line/HealthLine at Public Square and near University Circle.


One of the drawbacks of the Red Line is that it was built alongside mainline railroads that offer a less expensive routing into downtown Cleveland. Yet there are new opportunities today. In the 1920s, the Red Line was originally designed, and some non-operational parts of it were built as a fast route for electric interurban trains from Lorain, Medina, Akron, Chagrin Falls, Gates Mills and Painesville to enter Cleveland. For decades interurbans creeped their way into central Cleveland on streetcar tracks in increasingly congested city streets. But Red Line construction stopped during the Great Depression and no Cleveland-area interurban survived the depression.

It wasn't until after World War II that federal postwar reconstruction loans were issued to build the Red Line. In 1944, the rapid transit line was re-envisioned to get streetcars from Lakewood, Parma, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and Euclid into downtown Cleveland quickly. But by 1954, the year before the Red Line opened, all of the streetcars were gone too. The streetcar epitaph was already being written by 1950, so the Red Line was built as a route of independent utility. It would have to earn its ridership from along the newly built route, as well as from connecting transit buses. Less than a decade after the Red Line was extended into Cleveland Hopkin Airport (in 1969, it was the first downtown-airport rail line in the USA), aging factories along the rail line began closing and neighborhoods were being abandoned.

Today, portions of the Red Line are downright rural, especially on the East Side. Urban prairies are common especially in the Forgotten Triangle, a once heavily-industrialized portion between East 55th Station and University Circle. But this also offers a fresh start, pending a catalyst. Ironically a road project, the Opportunity Corridor boulevard, combined with transit-friendly land use planning around rail stations offers promise for cleaning vacated properties, attracting new commercial and residential investment and stimulating new ridership.

Passenger facilities for the Red Line rail station inside Cleveland
Hopkins International Airport were renovated in the mid-1990s.
But tracks into this station were rebuilt in 2013 and the station
was thoroughly cleaned afterwards. It retains its bright and
inviting appearance to arriving and departing passengers alike.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Station: Airport terminal; 5300 Riverside Dr.; renovations and facade enhancements; City of Cleveland; $36 million; construction was completed in early 2016.

Rail tunnel reconstruction; Under Route 237 and the airport terminal grounds; restore and improve the drainage, track, structure and safety systems of the 1,628-foot-long tunnel; GCRTA; $10.1 million; construction was completed in 2013.

Brookpark Station:  Rapid Transit Station;18010 Brookpark Rd.; replacement of aging rail and bus station at the Cleveland-Brook Park border and sale of 177,000-square-feet of land for development at the east end of the station; GCRTA; $12.6 million; construction was completed in 2017.

No station-area development since the train station was replaced. However a 4-acre parcel at 17510 Brookpark Rd. at the east end of the station parking lot is listed for sale in Summer 2017. The property is zoned industrial.

Puritas-West 150th Station: Rapid Transit Station; 4200 W. 150th St.; replacement of aging rail and bus station; GCRTA; $9.54 million; construction was completed in 2011.

Cleveland Airport Marriott; 4277 W. 150th St.; renovation of 10-story, 372-room hotel; Marriott; $20 million; construction was completed in 2010.

La Quinta Inn Cleveland Airport North; 4222 W. 150th St.; renovation of four-story,116-room hotel; La Quinta Inns; $5 million?; construction is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

Kamms Corners Community Development Corp. hired City
Architecture in 2011 to craft the West Park/Lorain Avenue
Transportation and Redevelopment Plan. Cleveland City
Planning Commission approved it to guide development
in the neighborhood. While no development has occurred,
that could change with the recent closure of a motorcycle

West Park Station: 14510 Lorain Ave.; No station-area development since the train station was replaced in the late-1990s. It also serves as a transfer point for five bus routes. A training academy with practice street grid for RTA bus drivers is based here.

Development opportunities abound. A closed Harley-Davidson dealership at 14550 Lorain Ave. is located next to the station. This 7.95-acre parcel has five buildings, four of which are leased and zoned industrial. The property is listed for sale in Summer 2017. A recent, transit-supportive land use plan called the West Park/Lorain Avenue Transportation and Redevelopment Plan was sponsored by the Kamms Corners Development Corp. for the grossly under-developed station-area has yet to attract investment.

Triskett Station: Rapid Transit Station; 13405 Lakewood Hts. Blvd.; replacement of aging rail and bus station; GCRTA; $8.4 million; construction was completed in 2000.

Horizon Education Centers; 13700 Triskett Rd.; 9,600-square-foot, single-level day care center with grassy setbacks for up to 170 children, built on an overflow parking lot at the southwest side of the station; Horizon Education Centers; $3 million; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Another GCRTA-owned overflow parking lot measuring about 1 acre exists on the other side of the station entrance from Triskett Road. GCRTA is willing to sell excess land although this property is not being actively marketed.

West 117th-Madison Station: Rapid Transit Station; 11631 Madison Ave.; replacement of aging rail and bus station; GCRTA; $4.7 million; construction was completed in 2007.

Construction was well underway in February 2016 on NRP
Group's A Place For Us apartments across Madison Avenue
from the Red Line's West 117th-Madison station 

A Place For Us apartments; 11610 Madison Ave.; new four-story, 55-unit apartment complex; NRP Group; $10.2 million; construction was completed in 2017.

Others have attempted to develop nearby parcels including the U-Store It/U-Lock It property, 11600 Berea Rd., just south of the train station and whose Westlake owners have refused numerous offers, according to Anita Brindza at Cudell Improvement Inc. Another parcel nearby on the Lakewood side, at 11800 Madison Ave. is listed for sale.

West Blvd.-Cudell Station: Chicle Townhomes/Apartments; 10307-10335 Detroit Ave.; renovation and conversion of the 1888-built Chicle chewing gum factory into 23 apartments and ground-floor offices, plus construction of 40 for-sale townhomes; Kemper Company; $8.3 million; Chicle Building was renovated in 2005 but only five townhouses were built thus far as the project was halted by the Great Recession.

Boulevard Terrace/Neal Terrace; 8811 and 10107 Detroit Ave.; Renovation of Boulevard Terrace, a 116-unit complex of row houses built between 1895 and 1917 and Neal Terrace, a 48-unit row house complex that was built between 1906 and 1907; Boulevard Terrace Apartments, Ltd.; $10 million; Construction was completed in 2013.

City Kennel; 9300 Detroit Ave.; Relocation of city kennel from 40-year-old building to a modern facility; City of Cleveland; $5.3 million; Construction due to be completed in 2018.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, Greater
Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and AECOM are
pursuing a TOD-themed development at the West Blvd-
Cudell Red Line train station to improve access to
housing/jobs and transit ridership.

An active planning process is underway and sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency that has identified the West Blvd.-Cudell station area as the most promising market of three TOD pilot study areas (the other two are the East 116th Station on the Blue/Green lines and the Slavic Village/Broadway bus corridor).

Recommended public infrastructure improvements include building a public realm where the bus loop is now, narrowing Detroit Avenue past the station, truncating West 101st Street and realigning Berea Road's intersection with Detroit to improve pedestrian safety. The market analysis shows that more than 200,000 square feet of mixed use (188 multi-family units, 9,800 square feet of office/medical, 9,000 square feet of retail and 4,000 square feet of limited dining) can be supported.

West 65th-Lorain Station: Rapid Transit Station; 6200 Corona Ct.; replacement of aging rail station with new environmentally facility using passive solar heating and recycled building materials, making it one of the first "green" rail stations in the USA; GCRTA; $4 million; construction was completed in 2004.

Construction is underway on Aspen Place at the Red Line rail
station, seen at left in the background. Community development
corporations in Cleveland are taking the lead on sponsoring
developments that place housing and jobs within a short walk
of high-frequency transit routes like rail and BRT lines.

Aspen Place; corner of West 61st Street and Aspen Court; new three-story, 40-unit apartment building; Detroit-Shoreway Development Corp.; $10.5 million; construction is due to be completed by the end of 2018.

West 25th-Ohio City Station: One Twenty West; Lorain Avenue between West 19th Street and Columbus Road; 500 apartments built in two phases with street-facing offices and retail along Lorain, across from the train station; Brickhaus Partners; $50 million; construction on the first phase is due to be completed by 2019.

With land acquired and cleared, Brickhaus Partners hopes
to start construction soon on phase one of One Twenty West,
across Lorain Avenue from the West 25th-Ohio City station.
2097 Columbus Rd.; name is same as location; 11 apartments in converted tortilla factory; My Place Homes; $1 million; construction was completed in 2017.

West Eighteenth St. Townhouss; 2135-2149 W. 18th St.; five for-sale townhomes; Duck Island Development Collaborative; $2 million; construction was completed in 2016.

The Nina; Columbus and Freeman roads; six townhomes; Knez Construction, Inc.; $1.8 million; construction due to be completed in 2018.

Duck Island 7; Columbus and Abbey roads; seven townhouses; McNulty et al; $4.2 million; construction due to be completed in 2019.

West 20th & Follett Court; name is also location; seven for-sale townhouses; Duck Island Development Collaborative; $2+ million; construction due to be completed in 2018.

Mercury Townhomes; West 17th Street; six for-sale townhomes; Duck Island Development Collaborative; $2 million; construction is due to be completed in 2018.

The Red Line station is between Ohio City and Duck Island,
two rapidly growing neighborhoods that are contributing to
regional goals of using the existing transit system to improve
access to housing and jobs.

West Nineteen Townhomes; 2200 block of West 19th Street; 23 townhomes built in two phases; B.R. Knez Construction, Inc.; $10 million; construction on the first phase is due to be completed in 2018.

Numerous in-fill homes have been or are being built in the area immediately east and north of the West 25th-Ohio City station.


Much like the Red Line, the Blue/Green lines between downtown's Waterfront and Shaker Heights are routed either alongside freight railroad lines and/or through trenches and elevated sections that make it difficult to foster station-area development. Also, for more than 50 years, the portion between Cleveland Union Terminal (today's Tower City Center) and Shaker Square has been in a steady decline due to poor housing conditions, population loss, industrial abandonment, crime and, ultimately, the presence of urban prairie conditions (especially between the East 55th and Buckeye-Woodhill stations).

Also, like the Red Line, neighborhood abandonment has also led to "clean slate" opportunities for new development, pending a catalyst. Ironically, that catalyst is a road project. The Opportunity Corridor has brought new attention to an area called the Forgotten Triangle, surrounding the East 79th stations of the Blue/Green lines as well as on the Red Line. Low-density, single-use developments that makes transit and pedestrian access difficult could have been the result of the road project. However, the city and neighborhood-level community development corporations are creating and adopting development guideplans that encourage dense, mixed uses near high-frequency transit routes and stations.

For now, most of the development that's occurring along the Blue/Green is located at the much more economically stable ends -- in downtown Cleveland and in Shaker Heights. They, plus more development along the way, should help revive ridership on the old "Shaker Rapid" lines which have faded with the decline of downtown Cleveland as the region's dominant employment and retailing center.

South Harbor Station: Outlet Shoppes at Cleveland; proposed 350,000-square-foot outlet shopping center proposed on a site just east of the station lot and across Ohio Route 2 from Burke Lakefront Airport; Horizon Group Properties Inc.; $50 million?; construction could be completed by 2020.

East 9th-North Coast Station: Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar; 1000 E. 9th St.; two story restaurant and event/catering center; Snavely Group; $6 million?; Construction was completed in 2016.

Ground was broken Aug. 28, 2017 for Harbor Verandas,
the next phase in Cumberland's lakefront development.

Harbor Verandas; 1050 E. 9th St.; New three-story building with 16 apartments over six retail/office spaces; Cumberland Lakefront LLC; $12 million; Construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Cleveland Lakefront Development; north of the Great Lakes Science Center and First Energy Stadium; multi-phase development of the 28-acre site ultimately featuring hundreds of apartments, up to 1 million square feet of office space, plus a public school, boardwalk and parking; Cumberland Lakefront LLC-Trammel Crow partnership; $700 million for all phases; Construction could begin as early as 2018.

Downtown Lakefront Multi-Modal Transportation Center/Walkway; site includes and is between the Blue/Green Line light-rail station and the Amtrak train station; station incorporating Greyhound intercity buses, Amtrak intercity trains, GCRTA light rail and buses, taxis, parking, pedestrian bridge linking Huntington Convention Center, multi-modal station and North Coast Harbor museums and development; City of Cleveland; up to $100 million for all phases; Construction could begin as early as 2020.

West 3rd-Stadium Station: FirstEnergy Stadium renovations; 100 Alfred Lerner Way; modernization and enhancement of the 1999-built, 73,200-seat stadium; City of Cleveland/Cleveland Browns; $125 million; Construction was completed in 2015.

The first phase of the $750 million Flats East Bank district
rose alongside the Waterfront portion of the Blue/Green
lines in 2012. This phase included a 23-story office tower
(mostly hidden in the background) and 9-story Aloft Hotel
(directly behind the train). Unfortunately the Waterfront
Line has limited service hours and has been unable to
fully capture much ridership from Flats East Bank.

Flats East Bank Station: Flats East Bank district; 25-acre mixed-use new-construction featuring a 23-story 480,000-square-foot office tower, 9-story 150-room Aloft hotel, 8-story 243-unit apartment building over restaurants/retail, half-dozen standalone restaurant buildings, structured parking, riverside boardwalk,11-story apartment building over retail (planned), 150,000-square-foot office building (planned); Wolstein Group/Fairmount Properties; $750 million; Construction on the first phase ended in 2013, second phase in 2015 and third phase could start as early as 2018.

The Archer; 1220 W. 9th St.; renovation of the mixed-income, 250-unit National Terminals Apartments that was developed in 1997 from a large and abandoned warehouse into a market-rate residential property; Morgan Management; $21 million; Construction was completed in 2015.

Flats East Bank historic district; 1200 block of Old River Road; renovation of four 19th-century buildings into restaurant and other commercial uses; Samsel family/Fred Geis/Catanese family; $15 million?; the Hausheer Building was renovated in 2017 with work moving south to the Upson-Walton Building next.

Settlers Landing Station: Settler's Point offices; 1400 W. 10th St.; Renovation of four-story, century-old brick building and addition of a fifth-story into mixed-tenant office building; Settler's Point Associates LLC; $5 million; Construction was completed in 2016.

Settler's Point Tower is proposed to rise
next to the Settlers Landing Station. The
apartment tower is sought by Joel Scheer,
owner of Settler's Point Associates LLC.

Settler's Point Tower; 1418 W. 10th St.; Construction of a 20-story residential tower between Settler's Point offices and Riverbend Condominiums; Settler's Point Associates LLC; $50 million?; Construction could get under way in 2018.

Canal Basin Park; located at the "neck" of the Columbus Road peninsula; Construction of a 20-acre park with educational features at the original 1832 northernmost point of the Ohio & Erie Canal; Canalway Partners; $35 million; Construction could be completed by 2020.

Tower City Center/Public Square Station: See start of this article, under HealthLine/Red Line.

East 34th-Campus Station: Rapid Transit Station; 2820 E. 34th St.; ADA-compliant renovation of a station site dating to 1930 that was expanded in 1971 to serve the Red Line and modernized in 1980; GCRTA; $7.5 million; Construction is due to be completed by the end of 2018.

In 2015, GCRTA completed a Transit Service Alternative Analysis, to assess options to best serve this area. The conclusion and GCRTA Board direction was to move ahead with renovating the station at its current location, while working with the City of Cleveland and local development agencies to increase density and TOD around the station to boost low ridership here. However, no evidence could be found regarding current or future transit-supportive development, planning or rezoning efforts within a 5-minute walk of this station.

East 55th Station: Rapid Transit Station; 2890 E. 55th St.; Replacement of the aging Red/Blue/Green line station (station site dates to 1920 and modernized in 1980) west of East 55th with a new, more visible, ADA-compliant station on the east side of East 55th; GCRTA; $9.4 million; Construction was completed in 2011.

When the new station was designed in 2009, it was done to serve the potential for additional joint development working with Slavic Village and the City of Cleveland. However, no evidence could be found regarding current or future transit-supportive development, planning or rezoning efforts within a 5-minute walk of this station.

November 2015 represented the sunset for the intersection of
East 79th Street and Kinsman Road. All that is visible at this
once bustling neighborhood turned urban prairie is Fire
Station No. 26. The sun is rising again with the development
of new homes, businesses and shops -- all designed in a
pedestrian- and transit-friendly manner.

East 79th Stations (Blue/Green & Red Line):  Heritage View Homes; South of Kinsman Road and west of East 79th Street; Demolition of public housing complex and construction of single-family homes, townhomes and multi-story apartment buildings placed by sidewalks totaling 350 units; Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA); $100 million; First phase began in 2008 with final phases concluding by 2020.

Bridgeport Place; 7200 Kinsman Rd.; New construction mixed-tenant shopping center; Burten Bell Carr Development Inc.; $2.2 million; Construction was completed in 2008.

CMHA headquarters; 8120 Kinsman Rd.; New 3-story administration building that consolidates 400 employees into a single facility; CMHA; $64 million; Construction was completed in 2011.

Rid-All Green Partnership; 8129 Otter Rd.; New greenhouses and support facilities on 26 acres for urban agriculture and distribution of healthy foods; Rid-All Green Partnership; $650,000+; Construction on a 6,000-square-foot greenhouse, farmers market and commercial kitchen was completed in 2013 and continues to grow.

New Community Place; 7700 Woodland Ave.; Redevelopment of 60-year-old Community Place apartment complex and replacement of Hill Place apartments with 147 units; Burten Bell Carr Development Inc.; $20.4 million; Construction was completed in 2014.

Box Spot; 8005 Kinsman Rd.; Open-air amphitheater, six retail units and conference room; Burten Bell Carr Development Inc.; $700,000; Construction is due to be completed in 2018.

Colfax Family Homes; Colfax Road and Minnie Street between East 69th-79th; 36 single-family homes ranging from single-story ADA accessible units to three-story homes with basements; Burten Bell Carr Development Inc.; $8.5 million; Construction is due to be completed in 2019.

Senior apartments; East 79th at Kinsman; Planned new construction of 4-story, 50+ unit senior housing complex; Burten Bell Carr Development Inc.; $6 million; Construction may be completed by 2020.

This is the land use plan for the East 79th Street corridor,
running left-right (south-north) across the middle of this
graphic. The Blue/Green line (light-rail transit) and Red
Line (heavy-rail transit) run top-bottom with the planned
Opportunity Corridor boulevard between them.
Lastly, in 2017, the City of Cleveland and Burten Bell Carr Development Inc. completed the East 79th Street Station Land Use Plan to maximize neighborhoods benefits from the Opportunity Corridor boulevard. Prior land use plans actually sought to de-densify the neighborhood, making it less attractive to walking and transit. This new land use plan focuses heavily on pedestrians and transit, considering that nearly half of all households in the neighborhood don't have cars. This includes station-area plans surrounding the East 79th stations on both the Blue/Green and Red lines.

Buckeye-Woodhill Station: Rapid Transit Station; 9528 Buckeye Rd.; ADA-compliant renovation of a station site dating to 1920 and modernized in 1980; GCRTA; $3.5 million; Construction was completed in 2012.

Miceli Dairy; 2721 E. 90th St.; Expansion and modernization of manufacturing facilities; Miceli Dairy; $30 million for all phases; Construction began in 2011 with the final phase due for completion in 2017.

East 116th Station: Rapid Transit Station; 11600 Shaker Blvd.; ADA-compliant renovation of a station site dating to 1920 and modernized in 1980; GCRTA; $4.1 million; Construction is due to be completed in 2019.

MetroHealth Buckeye Health Center, 2816 E. 116th St.; Construction of a 25,000-square-foot medical treatment facility; MetroHealh System; $10 million; Construction was completed in 2005.

Harvey Rice Elementary School; 2730 E. 116th St., New school for children pre-K to 8th grade; Cleveland Metropolitan School District; $16 million; Construction was completed in 2009.

Rice Branch Library; 11535 Shaker Blvd.; Construction of a new 11,400-square-foot library; Cleveland Public Library; $6 million; Construction was completed in 2010.

St. Luke's Manor apartments conversion of this former hospital
has not only improved the health of this 90-year-old complex
but also its surrounding neighborhood. More development is
coming, including a reinvigorated and ADA-compliant
East 116th rail station.
St. Luke's Manor; 11311 Shaker Blvd.; Redevelopment of a closed 1920s-built hospital into 137 apartments; Pennrose Properties; $53 million; Construction was completed in 2014.

Emerald Alliance IV; East 116th at Buckeye Road; Construction of a four-story, two-winged, 65-apartment permanent supportive housing; Cleveland Housing Network, Inc. and the Emerald Development & Economic Network, Inc.; $10 million; Construction was completed in 2014.

Legacy at Saint Luke's Pointe; along MLK Blvd. between East 110th-116th; Construction of 100 homes (including 22 built in the late 2000s) including 39 townhomes and 39 single family homes; Zaremba Development; $15 million; Construction pending sales could be completed by 2019.

Transit-oriented development may be coming soon to the south
of the East 116th rail station. The Northeast Ohio Areawide
Coordinating Agency (NOACA), City of Cleveland, Greater
Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and community
development corporations are leading this exciting process.
An active planning process is underway and sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) that has identified the East 116th Station Area as one of three most promising TOD pilot study areas (the other two are the West Boulevard-Cudell Station Area on the Red Line and the Slavic Village/Broadway bus corridor).

Recommended public infrastructure improvements include streetscape, pedestrian, and bicycle improvements on East 116th Street between the rail station and Buckeye Road, and on portions of Shaker Boulevard near the station. The market analysis shows an estimated five-year buildout forecast for the station area, including 150 residential units and 132,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and office space.

Shaker Square Station: Kappa House II; 12300 Shaker Blvd.; Expansion of the 7-story, 69-unit, 1990-built Kappa House I apartment building with another 37 apartments in a four-story addition; Kappa House Plaza Inc.; $10 million; Construction was completed in 2012.

City Planning Commission has approved plans for a
large redevelopment of the Drexmore side of Shaker
Square. This would provide desperately needed fresh,
modern residential housing choices for a neighborhood
filled with tired, outdated and/or decaying apartments.

Drexmore Station: Van Aken Plaza apartments; 2720-82 Van Aken Blvd.; Demolition of Van Aken Plaza retail strip and replace with a block-long, four-story roughly 80-unit high-end apartment building; 2720 Van Aken Blvd LLC; $30 million?; Construction could begin in 2018.

Onaway Station: The Townhomes of Van Aken; On Van Aken Boulevard at Onaway Station; "Transit Village" of 33 for-sale market-rate townhouses; Vintage Development Group LLC; $12 million; Construction pending sales could be completed in 2018.

A renovated Lee-Van Aken station was reopened in 2016. The
City of Shaker Heights developed neighborhood re-investment
plans around the redevelopment of this station. Those plans are
producing dividends in the form of new housing, improving
shops and better civic facilities all within walking distance
of this station.
Lee-Van Aken Station: Rapid Transit Station; 3420 Lee Rd.; ADA-compliant renovation of a station site dating to 1920 and modernized in 1980; GCRTA; $5.4 million; Construction was completed in 2015.

Shaker Town Center; Lee Road at Chagrin Boulevard; Private/public redevelopment is one of the first projects being implemented from the city's strategic investment plan to leverage off the Lee-Van Aken Station. This project includes: new high-density loft housing (Lofts at Avalon Station, listed below); new mixed-use development; improvements to the Shaker Town Center shopping center; construction of a new firehouse; and public road, streetscape, utility and public art improvements; Heartland Developers/Katz Properties; $40 million; Construction completed in 2008.

Lofts at Avalon Station (Phase 1); 16800 Van Aken Blvd.; Construction of 51 condominiums in a single four-story building; City of Shaker Heights; Heartland Developers; $20 million?; Construction finished in 2007.

Lofts at Avalon Station represent the first phase of housing
development between the Blue Line tracks and Shaker Town
Center. Now, townhomes will rise next to these condos.
Avalon Station Townhomes (Phase II); 17000 Van Aken Blvd.; Construction of 66 townhomes in buildings 2- to 4-stories tall with several townhomes per building on three acres; Triban Investment LLC; $18 million?; Construction pending sales could be completed by 2020.

Farnsleigh/Warrensville-Van Aken stations: Rapid Transit stations; Farnsleigh Station is at 20000 Van Aken Blvd. ($225,000 for ADA-compliant renovations) and Warrensville-Van Aken Station is at 3470 Warrensville Center Rd. ($200,000 for ADA-compliant renovations); GCRTA; $425,000; Construction is due to be complete by 2018.

Sussex Court Condominiums; 2000 Chagrin Blvd.; Construction of 50 townhouse-style condos on both sides of Chagrin; Heartland Developers; $25 million?; Construction was completed in 2004.

As seen from a Blue Line train waiting
to board passengers at Warrensville
Station in June 2017, the Van Aken
District's offices, housing and shops
are very accessible to and from transit.
Van Aken District; Van Aken Boulevard at Warrensville Center Road; Development of a downtown district on 18 acres of a 1950s strip shopping center, with 11 acres in the first phase including a 64,000-square-foot office building, 140,000 square feet of retail/restaurants, and 103 market-rate apartments; RMS Investments Inc.; first phase investment is $100 million; Construction on the first phase is due to be completed in 2018.


The revamped transit service on Clifton Boulevard in Lakewood and Cleveland's Edgewater neighborhood qualifies as a bus rapid transit because it has dedicated transit lanes and frequent (every 5-10 minutes) service during rush hours, plus a branded name and high-quality transit waiting environments.

The improved route, which retains its old #55 designation, was built for a mere $20 million in 2015. It also is being enhanced by a reconstruction of the 1930s-era West Shoreway freeway into a more attractive, landscaped boulevard, but the promise of stations along the boulevard to serve new lakefront housing and a revitalized Edgewater Park remains unfulfilled. However, GCRTA began testing in 2017 a Saturdays-only station stop at the bottom of the ramps for Edgewater Park.

Baltic Station: 95 Lake Luxury Townhomes; 9500 Lake Ave.; 10 high-valued townhouses on the site of a former church; Brickhaus Partners; $5 million?; Construction was completed in 2016.

West 110th Station: Historic apartment building; 11119-11127 Clifton Blvd; Renovation of porches, facade, roof and interiors; Clifton Corp.; $250,000?; Construction was completed in 2017.

West 117th Station: Lee Solding Building; 11633-11637 Clifton Blvd.; Renovation of an historic commercial/retail building; $2 million?; Lee Solding Corp.; Construction is due to be completed in 2017.

The Shoppes on Clifton at the Lakewood-Cleveland border
is rising next to the West 117th station. This is served by the
Cleveland State Line bus rapid transit that travels down
Clifton Boulevard here.
The Shoppes on Clifton; Clifton Boulevard at West 117th Street; New neighborhood retail totaling about 30,000 square feet in two buildings; Carnegie Companies; $6 million?; Construction is due to be completed in 2018.

One Seventeen; Lake Avenue at West 117th; 11 brownstone-style luxury townhouses on the site of a former church; Brickhaus Partners; $6 million? Construction is due to be completed by 2019.

That concludes this list of real estate developments, improvements and other investments that benefit or were influenced by the availability and/or improvement rail and bus rapid transit services. It's an impressive list and, as experience has shown in researching/writing similar lists in the past, this list will soon be out of date as more projects are announced.