Friday, July 13, 2018

Lakewood commercial conversions continue

The Phantasy Cleveland, including The Chamber nightclub at
left, will end their nearly 40-year run as a performing arts venue
as the Detroit Avenue property has reportedly sold to a buyer
who wants to redevelop it with offices, residential and parking.
North Coast College, including its newest property at Detroit
and Hird avenues, is at center-right. (Howard Hanna photo)

In a follow-up to an earlier posting here at NEOtrans about Lakewood redevelopment, there is new activity to report. Two significant properties for sale are reportedly under contract to buyers who want to redevelop these with new uses.

After roughly three years on the market and listing most recently for $1,050,000, the Phantasy Cleveland, 11794-11814 Detroit Ave. (including The Chamber nightclub), has an unidentified buyer who a real estate source says will end the property's run as a performing arts venue. Foremost among the buyer's plans to substantially alter the 55,000-square-foot building, the three performing arts theaters and three bars will be removed.

In their place will be retail, offices and parking, possibly retaining the historic facade along Detroit Ave., the real estate source says. Additional details were not available at this early phase.

Built in 1918 as the Homestead Theater, the main theater continued to show movies until 1979. It was part of a theater district that also included the ornate, Spanish-style, 1927-built Loew's Granada Theatre at the southeast corner of Detroit and West 117th. It closed and was demolished in 1969 for a Shell gas station that succumbed in the 1980s to a Pizza Hut.

The east end of Detroit Ave. in Lakewood has been seeing an uptick in development activity in recent years, including the construction of 83 luxury townhouses in the Rockport Square development on the old Fairchild Chevrolet property. Another nine high-end townhomes will see construction by the end of this year on Fry Avenue, just north of Detroit, to be built by Knez Homes and be called the Mews At Rockport.

North Coast College (NCC--formerly Virginia Marti College) also showed interest in buying the 0.7-acre Phantasy Cleveland property but the seller wasn't willing to significantly lower its asking price. So NCC acquired a building at 11730 Detroit Ave., used until 2005 by Vedda Printing before it relocated to a new home on Berea Road.

Cloaked in an advertising wrap, North Coast College's latest
acquisition is the former Vedda Printing at Detroit and Hird
avenues, bringing more life to the east end of Lakewood.
(Ken Prendergast photo)
Vedda's old building at Detroit and Hird avenues had fallen into disrepair. It was originally built in 1911 as the Reify Brothers and Flanigan Building, a furniture and appliance store. NCC bought it for $220,000 and will invest $2 million to redevelop it for a culinary school, studio and classroom spaces, plus offices along with a student-run restaurant and bar, according to a recent article in Crain's Cleveland Business.

But NCC's project isn't the second new sale and potential redevelopment teased in the lede paragraph. Steve Barry Buick is...but details are even more sketchy as to its potential new future.

Another real estate source says Steve Barry Buick, 16000 Detroit Ave. (owned by Fairlane Realty) the last new-car dealership along Detroit in Lakewood, is under contract to a buyer who wants to redevelop the large, 2-acre site, possibly with high-end residential. A site that large and which includes Bobby O's Place tavern on the south side of Detroit could fit at least 30 townhomes on it.

Lakewood's last new-car dealership has reportedly sold to a
buyer who apparently wants to redevelop the nearly 2-acre
site with high-end housing to justify the rumored high asking
price for the site. (Ken Prendergast photo)
The reason for constructing residential here is that the housing market in Lakewood is hot and inventory is low, meaning that high-end townhomes with quality finishes can easily command prices upwards of $300,000 and possibly up to $500,000. That's how much townhouses are fectching at McKinley Place on West Clifton, just north of Detroit.

That may justify Fairlane Realty's rumored high asking price of about $3 million. The property was never listed for sale publicly, so the actual asking price was not officially known. But realtors were reportedly told it was several times higher than the $940,300 the county had it appraised for tax purposes.

Steve Barry Buick stopped selling cars more than a year ago but continued to service and maintain cars until earlier this year. The dealership's property includes four parcels totaling 0.76 acres and a small building dating from 1927 on the south side of Detroit for the used car lot. The 1.2-acre parcel and dealership sales/service building on the north side of Detroit dates from 1948.