Monday, June 29, 2020

CSU starts process for skyline-altering master plan

Cleveland State University's 85-acre campus at the edge of
downtown features several buildings that are prominent as
viewed from the East Side. Will they stay prominent? Will
they be redesigned? Or will they be joined by more promi-
nent campus buildings? Those questions will be answered
by a master plan process starting later this year (CSU).
A lot can change in just six years. That's especially true when it comes to a university that's continuing to make the transition from a regional commuter school to more of a nationally prominent residential institution.

And when that university is also trying to reconfigure its athlethic facilities, privatize its parking and capitalize on Cleveland's international standing as a medical center, then it's time to take a fresh look at its campus.

So Cleveland State University (CSU) has issued a request for qualifications from urban planning and design firms to create an updated master plan for what is currently an 85-acre campus. According to the Dodge Reports, CSU is requesting qualifications for planning services to be submitted by 2 p.m. July 24 to Jeremiah Swetel, CSU's executive director of facility services.

The plan is essential for securing funding, be it from public- or private-sector sources, for any capital construction projects at the state university that has 12,248 undergraduates and a total enrollment of 16,327. That's compared to 10,132 undergraduates and 15,293 total enrollment since Fall 2000. CSU President Harlan Sands has called for the master plan as he juggles multiple challenges regarding its facilities.
This was from CSU's last master plan, conducted in 2014. Al-
though a few facilities resulted from this plan, such as the new
Washkewicz College of Engineering, other projects didn't hap-
pen, like moving the athletic fields closer to Interstate 90 and
developing the old athletic fields with student housing (CSU).
While Swetel didn't respond to an e-mail seeking more information, two sources familiar with CSU's facilities did. They're familiar with the reasons for updating the university's master plan for the first time since 2014. And, although they were not permitted to speak publicly about CSU's upcoming work, they say that the master plan's findings could be skyline-altering.

Because CSU is at the eastern edge of downtown Cleveland, any changes to buildings of 10 stories or more or new buildings of similar size will be noticeable if built in and near CSU. So, for example, if the 21-story, 363-foot-tall Rhodes Tower were to be significantly renovated or even replaced, it would alter the skyline.

Changing or replacing the campus' tallest building, including the library and main classroom building, is reportedly going to be one of the possible projects considered. This connected complex will turn 50 years old next year and is in need of renovations and modernization.

And when CSU completed its last campus master plan in 2014, it had recently made some significant investments in improving its facilities as a residential school. The university converted the 22-story Fenn Tower into a 438-bed residence hall in 2006. Five years later, it traded the 438-bed Viking Hall for the slightly larger and brand-new 600-bed Euclid Commons, 2450 Euclid Ave.
Although no new on-campus student housing was built by CSU
since its last campus master plan, several private developments
were built for students. One of those was The Edge apartments
built in 2017 on Euclid Avenue at East 18th Street (Clayco).
The 13-story Viking Hall was CSU's first dormitory, originally built in 1971 as a Holiday Inn but converted in 1986 to dorms. Viking Hall, 2130 Euclid, was razed in 2011. But CSU still has only two on-campus residence halls totaling just 1,038 beds. University staff say it needs more. By the way, the city's zoning code allows for buildings to be built as tall as 600 feet in and near the campus.

There are nearly a dozen privately built and managed apartment buildings around the CSU campus, many of them designed with students in mind -- such as the 2017-built, 11-story The Edge building on Euclid at East 18th Street. But only one of the private complexes is CSU-approved housing -- the 2012-built Langston apartments on Chester Avenue. Rents are increasing quickly at downtown's off-campus housing.

More students continue to come and, increasingly, they are coming from out of state, especially from more expensive East Coast cities and Chicago. The students are seeking a good education in an urban setting but without the burdensome tuition. In August 2017, CSU welcomed its first-ever 2,000-student freshman class.

"This new milestone further highlights the transformation Cleveland State has undergone over the last decade," said then-CSU President Ronald Berkman. "We are now a destination university with a growing national reputation for offering students tremendous academic quality and excellent career connections in a vibrant urban environment."
The future of the Wolstein Center is in doubt as CSU enters a
new campus master plan process. The Downtown Cleveland
Alliance also identified the underused arena as a potential
major development site on its Web site (DCA). 
Adding new residential offerings and possibly achieving them through a public-private partnership will likely be a focus for the updated master plan, the two sources said. The question is, where could the new housing be located in an already well-built up campus and its downtown hinterlands?

Part of the answer may lie at the site of the Wolstein Center. This 13,610-seat arena was built in 1991 to serve a fast-growing college basketball program as well as the Cleveland Crunch professional indoor soccer team, concerts and nationally prominent speakers.

But when the Cleveland Cavaliers moved downtown in 1994 to the new and larger Gund Arena (now Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse) and the Crunch folded, the Wolstein Center never achieved its promise. Today, the Wolstein Center burdens CSU with a $1 million-per-year operating deficit.

Replacing the arena with a smaller facility has been on CSU's to-do list for at least five years. It sits at the center of a 9.3-acre parcel that if, utilized more effectively, could accommodate a smaller arena of about 5,000-7,000 seats surrounded by new student housing. A local model is Case Western Reserve University's outdoor DiSanto Field which is ringed with dorms, bleachers and a parking garage.
Krenzler Field hosts soccer and, here, lacross games and prac-
tices against a backdrop of downtown's skyline. This and two
other athletic facilities were proposed in 2014 to be relocated
closer to Interstate 90 so that this near-downtown site could
be developed with student housing (CSU).
Another CSU athletic facility the master plan will likely take a hard look at is Krenzler Field. The soccer and lacrosse field features a removable, air-supported dome. It neighbors on Chester the Viking Softball Field and the Medical Mututal Tennis Pavilion. Krenzler Field was renovated in 2018 for $2.9 million.

But as lacrosse and especially soccer have increased in popularity, including the possibility of a professional outdoor soccer team playing in Cleveland, the 1,500-seat facility may be too small. A larger stadium could be part of the master plan and incorporate facilities for softball and tennis. The 2014 plan had these athletic facilities moved closer to Interstate 90 but, like the Wolstein Center's replacement, it never happened.

One of the reasons why the athletic facilities sat on the back burner is because the university has been reviewing a new parking privatization plan. It could net CSU more than $50 million up front and possibly hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming decades from investing those funds. CSU has seven parking garages and 16 lots totaling 4,131 parking spaces.

Additional parking and public transportation facilities could be in the offing. Access to CSU on the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's trains and buses from the eastern suburbs is slow and all routes require at least one transfer to reach CSU. Improved transit circulation downtown would create a more connected neighborhood for CSU's residential students.
Could enhanced public transportation be a
part of CSU's master plan? CSU may revisit
a plan for a downtown rail loop to improve
transit access to CSU from the eastern sub-
urbs and create a more connected downtown
for CSU's residential students (GCRTA). 
One way to accomplish those things is to revive a $120 million plan from 20 years ago to extend the light-rail Waterfront Line south from the lakefront, through CSU's and Cuyahoga Community College's campuses to create a loop of downtown Cleveland, according to the nonprofit group All Aboard Ohio.

Last but certainly not least is an exciting new effort to boost CSU as a center of medical innovation. Earlier this year, CSU hired Forrest Faison III, former U.S. Navy Vice Admiral and served as the 38th Surgeon General of the Navy and chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery from 2015 to 2019.

He was named senior vice president for research and innovation/chief healthcare strategy officer at CSU. Faison will oversee a broad effort to unify and expand the university's educational, outreach and scholarship efforts in all aspects of health care, while spurring the continued growth of Cleveland as a center for medical innovation.

“(Faison's) leadership will also be critical to further our efforts to create the health care programs, technologies and workforce that will improve the lives of people throughout the community and enhance the continued advancement of the regional economy,” said CSU President Sands in a written statement.
Campus master plans are only as good as the follow-up to
implement them. How might this latest master plan by CSU
change downtown Cleveland's skyline and improve the
urban educational and campus life experiences for its
growing student population? (Ian Meadows).
Until recently, there has been only one publicly funded medical school in Northeast Ohio -- the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) far away in Rootstown, between Akron and Youngstown.

So CSU joined with NEOMED to create the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health, which has its physical presence in the 2015-built, $48 million Center for Innovations in Medical Professions Building at the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 22nd Street.

As a result of Faison's hiring, look for a significant new medical school and research buildings to be included in CSU's upcoming master plan, said one of the two sources. The new medical school and research facilities could feature thousands of students and research jobs and be a magnet for many millions of dollars of state and federal funding for education and research.

CSU's strengthened effort in the healthcare field is intended to provide a steady and voluminous supply of students and interns for Greater Cleveland's large medical institutions. And it will likely strengthen the region's already robust healthcare research scene.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

GCRTA may unify its rail system with single rail car fleet

The Greater Cleveland Transit Authority has operated two types
of rail cars since 1955 (light-rail at left, heavy-rail at right). But
the authority is reconsidering that dual system as faces replacing
its aging rail cars with new ones that can fit into its Central Rail
maintenance facility near East 55th Street, shown above (KJP).
For those who like the idea of being able to take one train without transfers from Shaker Heights to the airport or possibly from University Circle to the Van Aken District, then a new challenge-turned-opportunity may be of interest.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) may replace its two aging rail fleets with a single type of rail car that can operate on any of GCRTA's three rail lines. This is big news because GCRTA had been considering replacing its two old, yet separate rail fleets with two new and still-separate rail fleets, continuing an inefficient practice set into motion nearly 80 years ago.

A single, interoperable rail fleet also raises some intriguing possibilities if GCRTA ever gets into expansion mode again. More on that later. Those future possibilities, not just the efficiency aspects, are why a single rail fleet has been urged by advocacy groups like All Aboard Ohio for many years.

Currently, GCRTA uses two types of rail cars that are interoperable on only three miles of Greater Cleveland's 39-mile rail system. One is a fleet of light-rail vehicles (LRV) made by the Breda Co. in 1980-81. These 34 cars operate on the Blue and Green lines between the downtown Waterfront and Shaker Heights. The first segments of this LRV system were built in 1913, modernized in the 1980s and expanded in 1996.

The other is a fleet of heavy-rail vehicles (HRV) made by Tokyu in 1984-85. These 40 cars operate on the Red Line between Hopkins International Airport, downtown Cleveland and Windermere in East Cleveland. This HRV route was first planned in the 1940s and opened in 1955.
GCRTA's Red Line is operated by heavy-rail vehicles that serve
high-level station platforms that are at the same height as the
floors on the trains to ensure access by disabled riders (AAO).
The two rail fleets are inoperable on their different rail lines because of the types of rail stations they must serve. The HRVs serve high-level station platforms. The LRVs serve low-level platforms. On the three route-miles that the HRVs and LRVs are interoperable, there are three stations with both high-level and low-level platforms.

All of GCRTA's 52 rail stations and trains must be compliant with federal ADA standards which includes having station platform floors at or near the same level as the rail cars' floors. This is called level boarding, requiring a vertical gap of no more than two inches. There must also be a minimal horizontal gap separating the train and platform that does not exceed four inches.

All Red Line stations are ADA-compliant as are the busier Blue/Green stations (e.g.: Green Road, Warrensville on both lines, Lee Road on both lines, Farnsleigh, Shaker Square, East 55th and all of the other Blue/Green line stations farther into the city). Nearly two dozen Blue/Green stations are not yet ADA-compliant.

To rebuild all 52 stations to serve both high- and low-floor HRVs and LRVs and be ADA-compliant would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Merely modifying just the 19 high-platform Red Line stations so they could accommodate a single type of rail car might cost $10+ million.

GCRTA's rail car replacement consultant, LTK Engineering, said modifying the stations would negate any cost savings from having an interoperable rail fleet with standardized replacement parts, standardized training, etc. LTK and GCRTA proposed to acquire 34 new HRVs costing $3 million each and 24 new LRVs at $4 million each.

But as GCRTA and LTK representatives talked to rail car manufacturers to replace the HRVs (which LTK says the Tokyu-built cars are decaying more quickly than the Breda-built LRVs), GCRTA discovered a new challenge. HRV manufacturers today are building train cars that come in what's called "married pairs."
A light-rail vehicle on the Blue Line departs the Farnsleigh
station for the end of the line at Warrensville, site of the new
Van Aken District transit-oriented development. Heavy-rail
trains with high floors and no stairs cannot serve this line
or the Green Line because the stations have low-level
platforms, tight curves and tight clearances (AAO).
In other words, each HRV is really two shorter cars but semi-permanently connected to each other. To disconnect them requires partially disassembling them -- a costly and time-consuming process needed each time one of dozens of rail cars goes in for inspections or maintenance. Together, the married pairs are longer than GCRTA trains and their entire Central Rail Maintenance Facility near East 55th Street, built in the early 1980s, was designed around GCRTA's rail fleets.

Today's married pair HRVs are too long for GCRTA's maintenance facility, especially a highly useful and efficient transfer table that moves trains around to different work tracks inside Central Rail. Modifying Central Rail to accommodate married-pair HRVs could cost tens of millions of dollars -- potentially more than the cost of modifying GCRTA's rail stations. Modern LRVs are shorter than contemporary HRVs.

Furthermore, any investment to modify the stations and allow the same trains to travel anywhere in the GCRTA rail system, directly benefitting transit riders. In contrast, any maintenance facility modifications won't be personally seen by riders and thus can't offer the kinds of direct benefits that enhance the transit-riding experience.

Michael Schipper, GCRTA's deputy general manager of engineering & project management, said staff will prepare a briefing to the GCRTA board in late summer before it issues a request for proposals this fall to rail car manufacturers.

In it, staff will reportedly include an option of either acquiring HRVs and modifying Central Rail which could reduce its availability to the entire rail system for months. Or it could include acquiring standardized LRVs and modifying Red Line stations which could remove from service each half (west and east halves) of the line for weeks at a time.
Reequipping the rail fleet with trains that can use any rail line,
including future ones, increases the destination possibilities
and thus increases the value of land around rail stations
for transit-oriented development such as this which
now surrounds the 2015-built Little Italy-Univer-
sity Circle Red Line station (KJP).
The reason why the Red Line HRV stations would have to be modified and not the Blue/Green Line LRV stations is because the HRVs are nine inches wider than the LRVs and their floors are 14 inches higher than those in the tallest LRVs. It would be far more costly and disruptive to modify the Blue/Green Line stations. And, besides, the HRVs are decaying faster and must be replaced in five years or less, LTK says.

That means extending the trackside edge of each Red Line station platform by about 4.5 inches and raising the tracks through each Red Line station by 14 inches. At most stations, raising tracks involves a relatively simple and inexpensive addition of more ballast (a type of gravel) and tamping it (ie: tucking) it under the track at each station.

That gets a little more complicated at the four stations (West 117th, Cedar-University, Little Italy-University Circle and Superior) that are on or right next to bridges above streets. And it gets a lot complicated at the Airport station where the tracks are attached to concrete slabs. GCRTA may also want to modify Tower City station (its tracks are also attached to concrete slabs) to use platforms at the same height as the trains' floors to expedite the loading and unloading of large crowds.

Replacing the entire rail fleet and making modifications to Red Line stations or to Central Rail will cost upwards of $240 million. GCRTA has $118 million committed thus far which is near to what GCRTA needs for placing an order for the new HRVs, Schipper said.

Benefits to GCRTA riders from a standardized fleet of rail cars could someday go beyond running Green Line trains from Green Road in Shaker Heights through to Hopkins Airport without an en route transfer.

Consider if GCRTA extended the under-used Waterfront Line around the east side of downtown, next to Playhouse Square, through Cleveland State University, St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cuyahoga Community College and back to the Red/Blue/Green lines near the East 34th Street station.
These were the final, recommended options
for extending the light-rail Waterfront Line
around downtown Cleveland, creating a
loop around the central business district.
This would become even more useful if
GCRTA used a standardized rail fleet
so that trains from all of the rail lines
could use the loop (GCRTA).
It could also help promote the development of the northeast side of downtown above the lakefront bluffs, now just a collection of parking lots and low-scale commercial buildings. A tax-increment financing district along the rail corridor could help provide a non-federal construction share and/or help sustain the downtown rail loop's operations. And best of all, trains from the Red, Blue and Green lines could all serve the downtown loop in clockwise and/or counter-clockwise directions.

One of the biggest shortcomings of GCRTA's rail system is that it has only one dominant downtown station. Tower City is located on the western side of downtown. A downtown rail loop, as GCRTA proposed in 2000 and found feasible enough that it would warrant federal funding, would put all of downtown Cleveland within a 10-minute walk of a rail transit station.

Another shortcoming of the GCRTA rail system is that it doesn't extend outward far enough. Rail extensions to Euclid and to Highland Hills/I-271 were recently studied and found to be promising (the Highland Hills extension was studied before the Van Aken District, Pinecrest and other developments were built). But GCRTA lacks the local and state funding to attract the necessary federal dollars.

Both of those extensions were assumed to involve trains operating to downtown and back only. But with a standardized rail fleet, LRVs could also operate between Highland Hills and Euclid via University Circle which is where many commuters from the eastern suburbs are bound.

More destinations make development around existing rail stations more attractive. And there are already increasing amount of station-area developments occurring downtown, in University Circle, Little Italy, Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway, Shaker Heights and elsewhere.

These examples show not only the kind of operational flexibility that a single type of LRV fleet for the entire GCRTA rail system offers, but how it could foster greater access to jobs, station-area housing and economic development for Greater Cleveland.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Permit confirms new West Side warehouse to be for Amazon

Amazon will occupy a new warehouse built on Cleveland's
West Side to serve surrounding neighborhoods and Lake-
wood. The site will also employ hundreds of people,
according to a permit filed with the city (LoopNet).
A permit was filed June 10 with the City of Cleveland's Building & Housing Department for the retrofit of an existing warehouse, to be used as an Amazon distribution and delivery station at Madison Industrial Park on Cleveland's West Side. And based on additional information posted with the permit today, the facility will accommodate hundreds of new jobs.

The permit listing doesn't immediately give away information that the fit-out of the 168,750-square-foot building at 10801 Madison Ave. is for the E-commerce giant Amazon. But architectural drawings for the entire 21.6-acre site, added today as an attachment to the public record, certainly do give away the reason for the building permit.

Those drawings prominently display Amazon's name and logo. And it identifies the project as "DCL7." That is a code system used by Amazon to identify its delivery stations in Greater Cleveland. DCL is an abbreviation for "Delivery CLeveland."

For example, Amazon's delivery station at its Euclid Fulfillment Center uses the code DCL1, the North Randall Fulfillment Center is DCL2, North Jackson (near Canton) is DCL3, the Amazon Hub on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland is DCL4, and so on up to DCL7. Not all Amazon distribution centers, such as those in Akron or Twinsburg, have delivery stations.
This is the first page of architectural drawings for building
permits from the City of Cleveland. It doesn't hide the pur-
pose of the building retrofits and site improvements that
the city approved earlier this month (B&H).
A proposed Amazon delivery station near Cleveland's Slavic Village, for which NEOtrans broke the news earlier this month, was identified in architectural drawings as DCL6 with "Amazon" marked on the side of the documents. There will also be a DCL5 delivery station but its location is not yet known. Sites in Bedford Heights and Parma are rumored.

Under the DCL7 permit, the work being done at the Madison Industrial Park involves only the existing building constructed last year by the Weston Group in the hopes of landing a tenant in a hot market for new warehouses. The fit-out of that structure for Amazon has as estimated price tag of $8,757,482, according to the permit.

"The proposed facility is being designed for a package delivery service," according to a project description with the drawings. "It is anticipated that the facility will have two shifts working days and evenings. There may be a third shift added at peak season."

The number of jobs possible with this site isn't described in the documents and Weston officials have not returned phone calls and e-mails seeking more details. However, the building shows a maximum occupancy of more than 1,000 people although the total number of parking spaces is 669. The facility is also within walking distance of the West 117th/Madison Red Line rapid station and several bus lines.
Site plan for the investments that Weston
Group is making to the 21.6-acre site at
10801 Madison Ave. The most prominent
change is the addition of a mammoth new
parking lot south of a warehouse Weston
built last year (B&H). 
"Packages arriving at this facility are prepackaged in cardboard boxes and labeled for shipping within local neighborhoods and areas surrounding the facility," the project description continues. "The packages are brought into the facility via tractor-trailer trucks, who use designated loading dock positions.

"Once unloaded into the facility, the packages are sorted into more specific locations, put into bins and onto small mobile carts. These carts are rolled out to the loading area, from which the packages are loaded into vans for final delivery," the description concludes.

Included in that permit is the addition of an Amazon Hub staging area, interior offices, more bathrooms, numerous conveyors and massive new parking areas for trucks, vans and cars, the public documents show.

Plans show there will be eight truck docks and 96 spaces for delivery vans with 48 of those spaces covered by a planned canopy structure. Stretching all the way south to the railroad tracks and to a stormwater retention basin, between West 106th and West 110th streets, will be an employees parking lot for 482 cars.
This is the original site plan for Weston's
Madison Industrial Park. The site plan
(with north at the left side) shows three
buildings including the one that Weston
built last year (Weston).
Construction of that parking lot began this past week, starting with the installation of drainage systems. The parking lot is so big that it eliminates from further consideration a site plan by Weston that the city approved two years ago.

That site plan provided for two additional 115,000-square-foot light-industrial/warehouse-type buildings south of the one Weston built last year. With Amazon's parking needs, those buildings cannot be built unless the new parking spaces are moved someday to another site or put into a large deck. Both of those are unlikely to happen.

The existing building already has 187 parking spaces fronting Madison and Berea Road. The additional parking areas will bring the total to 669 spaces. When it constructed the 168,750-square-foot building last year, Weston anticipated that it could accommodate about 100 employees. But the addition of 482 spaces suggests that many more jobs will be in the offing. NEOtrans first reported in March that this site would likely be for Amazon.

Given the nature of the construction involved, it is probable that the retrofitting of the existing building and construction of the parking can be completed by the end of this year. The city will also contribute to the construction work by repaving West 106th which is lined with houses along its eastern side.
Construction began this week on retrofitting the existing ware-
house and surrounding site for Amazon. This view looks north
on West 110th Street towards the warehouse with its parking
lot expansion work on the right (KJP).
When Ward 11 Councilman Brian Mooney talked with Weston officials about the project, they said they were not allowed to reveal who their tenant is. But they noted that West 106th needed to be repaved with asphalt to accommodate delivery vans, not concrete to accommodate larger trucks. The bigger trucks will be kept to West 110th which is lined on both sides with industries.

"I've heard no confirmation about the end user although we all suspect who it might be," Mooney said. "Nothing has been publicly stated by the developer. When Weston said it would be delivery vans, that just confirmed for me that it (the tenant) was most likely Amazon. Weston can't say who it is because of a non-disclosure agreement."

In Weston's tax abatement application to the city two years ago, it estimated the first proposed building on the site could accommodate at least 100 jobs and provide $1.4 million in property tax revenues for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and nearly $900,000 in annual income tax revenue to the city.

Weston received in 2018 a 10-year property tax abatement from the city for the building at Madison Industrial Park with an estimated construction cost of $10 million. Abatement applies only to the buildings, not the land. A Weston affiliate acquired the entire 21.6-acre Madison Industrial Park site from the city of Cleveland in 2018 for $1.65 million.
Evidence of construction for Amazon is on the left, or west
side of West 106th Street with residences on the right. This
street will be repaved by the city later this year (KJP).
Previously, the city spent $5.3 million in local, state and federal money to clean up pollutants left by the prior owner, Midland Steel Products. That auto parts manufacturer went bankrupt and closed in 2003, laying off 223 workers. The massive factory was demolished the following year.

Mooney said he received complaints from nearby residents about "all of the trucks" traveling to and from the construction site. So he spent about a half-hour today watching the site to observe the truck traffic.

"There's definitely been a parade of trucks as well as a street cleaner around the site," Mooney said. "They've started on plumbing and site drainage work."

DiGeronimo Companies' Independence Construction LLC was the building contractor for the warehouse building that was built last year. Their vehicles are the same ones working on-site now. Curt Garrett, pre-development manager at Independence Construction, paid the city's permit fees according to public records, confirming their lead role in the construction work.

Tyler Kapusta contributed to this article.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Contestants emerging for Flats development

A concept for redeveloping 1250 Riverbed Street on the Flats'
West Bank into a smaller-scale project, possibly featuring a
boutique hotel, residential, a restaurant or a combination
of one or more of these land uses (DLR Group).
A new name has entered the mix for developing 1250 Riverbed St. on the Flats' West Bank. Joseph Shafran, Chairman/CEO of Paran Management Co. of Cleveland is considering options for redeveloping the site.

He joins others in vying for the property, including Cleveland-area developer Scott Wolstein and Washington DC-based Coloma River Capital. The property is owned by 1250 Riverbed Street LLC, an affiliate of a Rochester, NY-based ownership group led by Eliahu Adahan.

In a telephone interview, Shafran confirmed his interest in the site. And he noted that he envisions the the site's future differently from what Coloma River Capital had recently envisioned for the site which is adjacent to the 142-year-old Superior Viaduct.

"We're starting the process by asking the question 'what is the property's function in the ecosystem?'" Shafran said. "I want to figure out how does this building figure into its surroundings. The viaduct is the oldest kid on the block. It should be integrated into the project's program. It's not a big project but it is complicated."

That could include remaking the viaduct into a linear park similar to the High Line in New York City, as is being suggested by the Waterfront District Block Club. The viaduct is owned by the city and is at the halfway point of a revocable 40-year lease to an affiliate of the K&D Group that built the Stonebridge complex in the 2000s.
A small-scale, two-story addition to the roofs the existing
buildings at 1250 Riverbed St. could be in the offing as a
result of an emerging new ownership and development
 partnership involving the property (DLR Group).
A source said Wolstein is a prospective investor in the site but Shafran would not comment on that aspect. However, he complimented Wolstein for his other developments. "We're very lucky to have Scott Wolstein in Cleveland," he said.

When asked last month about his reported interest in the property, Wolstein replied "I really have no update at this time." It isn't clear if Wolstein is competing with Coloma River Capital for a chance to develop the site or joining them as a potential investor.

Paran Management owns and develops multiple properties in Ohio and surrounding states, including apartment buildings, retail properties and mixed-use developments. The Shafran family is prominent in Cleveland real estate and philanthropic circles and related to the similarly prominent Ratner and Miller families.

Although Coloma River Capital proposed a high-rise tower built atop the existing buildings at 1250 Riverbed, Shafran said he considered the proposed high-rise's design "ugly" and not respectful of the surroundings. It's too soon to know if the pair of existing buildings will be retained as part of his vision for the site.

Those pair of buildings are a four-story, 103-year-old structure and an attached six-story, 108-year-old building. Together, the two buildings total 50,000 square feet. They were converted from commercial uses to 28 residential units nearly 30 years ago and renamed the Left Bank Apartments. They are now mostly vacant.
A previous plan, including adding up to 16 floors to the tops
of the existing buildings at 1250 Riverbed, might still be
considered by another investor group (DLR Group).
Coloma River Capital's plan also envisioned 85 apartments and a 200-key boutique hotel -- identified as a Dream Hotel. But Dream Hotel has since announced it will build a 19-story tower on Euclid Avenue at East 36th Street.

One of the first plans considered for 1250 Riverbed was to redevelop the two historic buildings as a boutique Foundry Hotel with a two-story vertical addition for a restaurant/event space with elevated views of the Cuyahoga River and downtown Cleveland beyond.

Shafran wasn't prepared at this early stage to discuss a breakdown of potential uses for 1250 Riverbed, but his firm has experience in developing and owning boutique hotels including the Glidden House in University Circle.

Coloma River Capital had a purchase agreement to acquire the property and proposed to add up to 16 stories above the Left Bank Apartments. The high-rise addition was to be "suspended" over the two historic buildings using a pair of concrete cores built through the two buildings.

From those cores, the new floors would be suspended using a grid of Vierendeel trusses, according to plans by Omaha-Based DLR Group which acquired Cleveland-based Westlake Reed Leskosky. DLR Group is being retained by the new partnership to design the new vision.
The Superior Viaduct could be a spectacular public space if
was enhanced by removing much of its parking and adding
landscaping, outdoor furniture, interactive exhibits and
access points to the eastern end, including possibly
from a redeveloped 1250 Riverbed (KJP).
The property was listed for sale last year for 1250 Riverbed Street LLC at $3 million but Adahan was apparently willing to accept about $2.6 million, according to a source. Such an amount would demand a larger-scale development on the site to recoup the acquisition costs.

But the sale listing for 1250 Riverbed was removed in April. If the property is kept by Adahan and his partners, a smaller-scale project could result. The current ownership group bought the property in 2014 for $875,000, according to county records.

Coloma River Capital was unable to fill significant gaps in it capital stack to achieve its grand vision for the project. When it and DLR Group reached out to construction management firms to get pre-construction cost estimates for the high-rise, it reportedly asked the firms to contribute equity to the project, another source said.

Increased parking still needs to be considered as part of whatever is developed at 1250 Riverbed, at the Nautica properties for sale nearby, and if parking is to be removed from Superior Viaduct prior to converting it into a park. There is also a high-rise development proposed a short distance away at 2208-2210 Superior Viaduct.


Friday, June 19, 2020

Seeds & Sprouts VIII - Early intel on real estate projects

This is the Eighth edition of Seeds & Sprouts - Early intelligence on Cleveland-area real estate projects. Because these projects are very early in their process of development or just a long-range plan, a lot can and probably will change their final shape, use and outcome.

Plans for a Korean BBQ restaurant and a Community Night
Market were submitted to the city of Cleveland for design-
review in the hopes of securing a building permit (B&H).
Korean BBQ, market planned for East 55th

A permit application was recently submitted to the City of Cleveland's Department of Building & Housing for Fiyah Korean BBQ Restaurant and Bin Mi carryout proposed to be located in a former light-industrial structure at 1253 E. 55th St. The site is just south of the lakefront where residential developments were built and more are planned.

The restaurant is proposed by Sreyleak Ny who already has a Cajun seafood restaurant The Boiler 65, 6410 Detroit Ave. For Fiyah Korean BBQ, she purchased a 7,210-square-foot building on just over 1 acre of land in January for $137,700. According to her filing with the city, she intends to renovate that building with a rooftop deck and enclosure, bringing the restaurant's total square footage to 12,759 square feet.

At the north end of the property, a Community Night Market area offering international foods and other merchandise is proposed, utilizing four market stalls/display stands to be available for lease, plans show. Ny's architect is Ubiquitous Design, Ltd. Architects of Shaker Heights.

In addition to the residential development area emerging near the lakefront area of East 55th, there also are several mixed-use development projects advancing along East 55th in the area of Chester, Euclid and Carnegie avenues.

Tyler Kapusta contributed to this article.

Aging industrial buildings on both side of Train Avenue were
acquired by a developer seeking to renovate them for entre-
preneurs. The building at right, 1901 Train, is home to two
business with a third on the way. The building at left, 1900
Train, to be called Innovo, is seeking financing (Google).
Investors engineer Train Ave development

Known in recent decades for freight trains and junkyards, the Walworth Run valley was actually one of Cleveland's first industrial districts 200 years ago. But investors are finding their way to properties along the valley and on Train Avenue which runs through it. The valley separates the booming Ohio City and Tremont neighborhoods.

Last year, NexGen Cleveland Development Group LLC has invested $497,000 to acquire 2 acres of land at the intersection of Train and Willey avenues and two buildings totaling 32,000 square feet. The smaller of the two buildings, 1901 Train located at the southwest corner, is being renovated for four businesses.

Two of those four businesses are already in place -- Modtempo LLC furniture manufacturing and distribution, plus The Shopp Flowers and Gifts. A third, Taps & Tails, Cleveland's first dog park bar, is due to open this summer and will complement its proximity to the Cleveland Animal Protective League, 1729 Willey.

Just off the northwest corner is the larger building in this development, 1900 Train, which is being marketed by NexGen as a co-working space called Innovo. The developer plans "an open floorplan office concept that will be suited for idea sharing and collaboration. The age group suited for this type of concept is likely between 25-40 years of age, attracting young entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses that are still growing," according to their business plan on The Opportunity Exchange.

NexGen, led by David Reamensnyder, is seeking a $2 million Opportunity Zone investment to renovate the Innovo building inside and out, as well as make site and parking improvements. Total estimated cost of the Innovo project is $3.5 million. But a building right at the northwest corner, 1880 Train, is used by Byrne Sign Supply and is not part of the redevelopment.

Additional developments are planned along Train including an unidentified future development at West 25th Street led by Solo Development, doing business as Sass Real Estate LLC. Multiple properties have already been acquired in this area for this project.

Farther west along Train at West 30th Street, another unidentified development is percolating. A source says a purchase agreement is in place to acquire a junkyard at that intersection. It would be removed as part of a larger development site extending south to Barber Avenue. Reportedly the buyer is Ben Beckman who led the redevelopment the former J. Spang Baking Co. into the 69-unit 2707 Barber Apartments.
Looking north, the Slavic Village Gateway development will
give new health to a neighborhood that hasn't recovered from
the loss of St. Alexis/Michaels Hospital 16 years ago or the
housing foreclosure crisis a decade ago (RDL).
Slavic Village Gateway groundbreaking is July 1

Construction is due to get underway in about two weeks on one of the largest single new-construction residential developments in Cleveland's Slavic Village in decades. Slavic Village Gateway, featuring 78 apartments in two four-story buildings and 10 townhomes, will rise at 5163 Broadway Ave.

According to the Dodge Reports, the target date for the start of construction of the $16 million project is July 1. NRP Group of Cleveland is the developer and general contractor. RDL Architects of Shaker Heights is the designer and GDP Group of Akron is the civil engineer.

On 20,000 square feet of the ground floor of the northernmost building will be the new home for the University Settlement, a nearly 100-year-old social service organization based at 4800 Broadway in Slavic Village. Their new site will offer double the space of the settlement's old site. The Gateway development will be built on the site of St. Alexis (later St. Michael) Hospital that closed in 2003 after 119 years.

While most of the 88 housing units are market rate, 23 units will be income-restricted. Trailside Slavic Village off Aetna Road was proposed in 2013 to be larger than Gateway by offering 95 homes, but only 16 have been built so far. Knez Homes is proposing to construct another 23 homes here.

It is hoped that the Gateway project will spur additional real estate investments in Slavic Village which is still recovering from the housing crisis of 2008-10. Back then, this neighborhood had the highest percentage of houses in foreclosure per census tract in the entire United States.

Tyler Kapusta contributed to this article.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Talks start for Cleveland's own High Line-type park

Superior Viaduct is an untapped public space. Today much of
it is used for parking while the rest isn't used at all. But the
Waterfront District Block Club is proposing to make it into
a smaller version of New York City's High Line park (KJP).
Above the Flats' West Bank, Cleveland could have its own scaled-down version of New York City's High Line park if early talks bear fruit.

The site is the Superior Viaduct that was completed in 1878 but closed to traffic in 1920. It's primary use over the past 20 years is as a parking lot for K&D Group's Stonebridge development that includes apartments, condominiums, restaurants, galleries and offices. The viaduct's former roadway deck, still hosting streetcar tracks from long ago, is largely barren.

But several major developments are in the works along the historic span and are prompting talks about higher uses for the sandstone-block viaduct than just a parking lot. The uses being discussed could feature more attractive settings, interpretive historical exhibits, recreational programming in addition to the existing, unique views of the downtown skyline, bridges and Cuyahoga River traffic.

Those talks were referenced at a meeting today of the Waterfront District Block Club at which conceptual plans for a 25-story apartment tower won support prior to review by the City Planning Commission. Nearly 40 people were in attendance at today's block club meeting.
Remaking Superior Viaduct into a more a spectacular setting
is getting some attention by stakeholders on the Flats' West
Bank. It could also dovetail into plans by Nautica Entertain-
ment LLC to build a large parking garage, at left, with a
green roof and ADA access to the ground (AoDK).
"We've just had some very early conversations about how to make the viaduct spectacular," said Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack.

"Provided that we have a project, yes we'd be excited to be a part of it (a viaduct park)," said Wayne Jatsek, representative of the development group pursuing the high-rise tower at 2208-2210 Superior Viaduct. Theirs was the first project reviewed by the relatively new block club and the first of several developments proposed in response to the city's new 250-foot height district for the Flats West Bank.

"I think it's a benefit to the entire city," said Scott Aylesworth, president of the block club. "The High Line in New York City is now the number-one tourist draw for all of New York City. Cleveland needs more parks and open space for people to enjoy. Realizing the dream of an activated outdoor space can only enhance the city and the Waterfront District Block Club is working to improve Cleveland for all Clevelanders."

The remaining portion of the Superior Viaduct is a little more than 1,000 feet long. The non-bridge roadway of Superior Viaduct continues west nearly 300 feet before it encounters its first intersection -- West 24th Street.
Parking uses dominate along the western half of the Superior
Viaduct which is leased by K&D Group from the city (KJP).
That one-quarter of a mile is quite a bit shorter than the 1.5-mile High Line that winds its way through the Chelsea section of Manhattan. The High Line was built in 1934 by the New York Central Railroad to service cargo docks and food warehouses along the Hudson River side of Manhattan. It was rebuilt starting in 2009 as a public park for $153 million and costs $3 million per year to maintain. The High Line has attracted $2 billion worth of development along it.

But the High Line is only 30-55 feet wide compared to Superior Viaduct's 60-foot width. The Superior Viaduct was replaced by the Detroit-Superior High Level Bridge in 1918. The old viaduct was closed in 1920 and its iron-built eastern approach and swing bridge over the Cuyahoga River were demolished in 1923. Three stone arches closest to the river were demolished in 1939 so the river channel could be widened.

"Using this space as a place for families to come and hang out will be a far better utilization than a parking lot," Aylesworth said. "We have seen how much of a success the East Bank development is and all of the residents who come out and enjoy the connection to the waterfront. With the new Wendy Park connector bridge nearing completion next year, the West Bank will hopefully become a vibrant community and another opportunity for residents to engage with the river and lake."

But K&D Group's CEO Doug E. Price III said that Superior Viaduct is fine the way it is. The westernmost 400 feet of the viaduct has about 140 parking spaces for Stonebridge residential, office and restaurant tenants while the eastern 600 feet is closed to vehicular traffic and open only to "pedestrians traffic and somewhat of a park," he said.
New York City's High Line linear park is a popular attraction
for tourists and a way to get above the street-level noise of
traffic in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. It also has
spurred billions of dollars in new development (KJP).
"We have a long-term lease with the city," Price said in an interview. "We renovated it (the viaduct) at our own expense probably about 20 years ago. We have a park at the end with the parking area to the west and that's the way it was set up."

The city's 40-year lease began in 2000 with K&D affiliate Stonebridge Phase One Ltd. which pays the city $1 per year. In 2040, the city and K&D can renew the lease every two years thereafter. K&D's affiliate must make the viaduct open to public/pedestrian access on a daily basis between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. It was also supposed to complete construction of improvements within two years and clean the stonework within three years.

The lease refers to the zoning code on how the viaduct was to be improved and used by K&D.

"Stonebridge Phase One Ltd. has proposed to lease the Old Superior Avenue Viaduct for the purpose of reconstructing, rehabilitating, preserving and maintaining the structure for use in connection with a planned residential and retail development to be constructed consistent with a Planned Unit Development Overlay District," the lease reads.
This was K&D's vision for Superior Viaduct nearly 20 years
ago -- showing no parking on the historic bridge (Corna).
The arrangement of land uses in planned unit development zoning is established by a site plan approved by the city. Price contends the current use conforms to that plan. NEOtrans has Stonebridge's site plan from 20 years ago but that site plan is silent on how the viaduct should be used (rendering is above, site plan is below). Aylesworth disputes Price, referring to a rendering K&D and its architect Bob Corna provided to the city 20 years ago.

The lease also says that the agreement should not be construed as a partnership between the city and K&D. It allows the city to walk away from the lease if a public purpose for the viaduct, such as a park, is identified.

"This lease may be terminated prior to its expiration by the director of public service should the city reasonably need the leased premises for public purposes," per the lease.

The block club encouraged removing parking from the viaduct and putting it into a proposed parking garage on Nautica's land. But that proposal has gotten mixed reviews depending on who you talk to.
K&D's Stonebridge site plan in the early 2000s was silent
on planned uses for the viaduct. It showed a never-built
phase 8 that was to have structured parking (Corna).
"We would be happy to talk to Kerry (McCormack) and the other (Flats West Bank) developers about it (the garage)," Jatsek said.

"I have no idea what the block club is," Price said. "And that tower is the craziest thing I've heard of, especially now (with the pandemic-induced economic slowdown)."

Aylesworth, a Stonebridge resident, acknowledged that he and Price have had some run-ins in the past regarding the development of Stonebridge. But he contends that his block club is serious about the park and has a fiscal agent with tax-deductible status so they can start receiving donations and other funding to work with a designer to develop concepts for the park.

He estimates that the park improvements could cost about $1 million although the High Line's repair, remediation and development costs were much more -- upwards of $10 million per tenth of a mile on average.
A refined proposal for 2208-2210
Superior Viaduct won support from
the Waterfront District Block Club
on June 15 (Dimit).
"The High Line bridges were in terrible condition and had serious environmental issues," he said.

The High Line is surrounded by new development and so might Superior Viaduct be someday, in addition to Stonebridge's buildings, including two 11-story mid-rises. Jatsek said that his group which oversees an Opportunity Zone fund could start construction a year from now.

Jatsek added that his group's high-rise tower was redesigned with input from the block club, including increasing the number of structured parking spaces from 128 to 161. The number of apartments was cut from 186 to 173.

Paul Glowacki of Lakewood-based Dimit Architects said the exterior of the tower was slimmed down through the upper eight floors and the exterior design used more exposed steel to give the building a more industrial look. Both were in response to public comments made at the last block club meeting, including one that said the building looked like something one might find in Miami.

Although the City Charter or ordinances don't require a block club's endorsement before a development project can be approved by City Planning Commission, McCormack encourages developers to get input from block clubs before submitting their projects for approval by the commission's Design-Review Committee.


Saturday, June 13, 2020

NRP Group's Scranton Peninsula project delayed but alive

The Peninsula, NRP Group's large residential complex pro-
posed on Scranton Peninsula, is still a go but slow (BKV).
The first new-construction structural project on Scranton Peninsula, NRP Group's proposed residential complex, got slightly delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic-related shutdowns of the economy. But sources at the Cleveland-based development company say the project, which could be one of the company's last market-rate offerings, is very much alive.

Last fall, when NRP Group won city approvals to build The Peninsula, company officials said they hoped they could start construction as early as July on the 330-unit residential development. The project is proposed to offer 315 apartments and 15 townhouses. Scranton Peninsula is located across the Cuyahoga River from downtown Cleveland's Tower City complex.

But a source at the company said the pandemic-related shutdowns, reductions in travel and the work-from-home mandate means that groundbreaking could be delayed until sometime early next year.

"We may be able to push it up a bit, but we saw a little delay with COVID," the source said.

NRP Group reportedly has every intention to exercise a contract to buy 7.44 acres of land from the so-called Thunderbird development site led by Fred Geis, East-West Alliance and J-Roc Development.
Much of Scranton Peninsula is undeveloped land where a steel
mill stood until the early 1980s. The mill land was cleaned by
the city and is being marketed as the Thunderbird development
by a consortium of real estate firms (KJP). 
On that parcel, between Carter Road and the Flats Industrial Railroad, NRP Group would build a pair of five-story, U-shaped apartment buildings. Five townhouses would be built on Carter at the north end of the complex and, behind the two apartment buildings would be a two-level parking garage. The garage would be shrouded at the north and south ends with five townhouses each, according to city-approved plans.

The Flats Industrial Railroad is reportedly shutting down operations in July. There is no publicly available information yet as to what the company intends to do with its right of way which was the first operating railroad in Cleveland in 1849.

Although The Peninsula would be the first new-build structural work on Scranton Peninsula in many years, there is construction happening here. One is Cleveland Metroparks' work on the Towpath Trail, which is being extended along Scranton and Carter roads to the proposed Canal Basin Park on the Columbus Road Peninsula.

The other construction project is J-Roc's renovation of an abandoned, 27,000-square-foot commercial structure into offices called The Avian at Thunderbird, located at about 1950 Carter. Renovation work is due to be completed later this summer.

Once construction of The Peninsula is completed, another source at NRP Group says the company will take a different focus when it comes to residential real estate development.
As viewed along Carter Road, The Peninsula would add new
density and vibrancy to land that is largely devoid of human
activity despite it being a half-mile from Public Square (BKV). 
"After Thunderbird, we will be scaling back our market-rate developments across the country and focusing more on affordable housing," the second source said. "That doesn't mean we're done building. It just means you'll see more projects like Slavic Village and Metro North."

The Metro North project features 72 affordable apartments over ground-floor commercial at the corner of West 25th Street and Sackett Avenue. Metro South, one block south on West 25th, two buildings with 190 market-rate apartments will be developed by NRP Group.

NRP Group not only develops multi-family residential real estate projects, it also finances them and manages properties once they're completed. That includes the management of properties NRP Group didn't develop.

NEOtrans broke the story more than a year ago of NRP Group's decision to develop housing on Scranton Peninsula. And it first reported four months ago on NRP Group's interest in developing the Scrapcom property at Monroe Avenue and Fulton Road.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Longhouse huts proposed for Ohio City's Hingetown

In Hingetown, where almost every block has seen new real
estate development built or planned since 2000, a cluster of
seven Quonset huts are proposed to give low-cost creative
spaces to residents, artists or businesses (Cleveland Draw).
One of the hallmarks of the Hingetown section of Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood is that it is a place where new ideas and businesses can gain a foothold. When entrepreneur Graham Veysey and his wife Marika Shioiri-Clark, a social impact designer, set out to invest in then-rundown Hingetown a decade ago, they started by creating and inviting new businesses.

Finding new ways to foster creativity requires its own inspiration and embracing of new ideas. Their latest brainchild, the Longhouses of Hingetown, was inspired by a new development in Detroit, a project called True North.

On the northwest corner of Church Avenue and West 28th Street, the Longhouses of Hingetown is proposed to be a community of Quonset huts like True North. Unlike True North, which has 10 Quonset huts set like a remote outpost on a urban prairie on 16th Avenue near Grand River Avenue, the Longhouses would be shoe-horned into one of the few remaining undeveloped slices of land in booming Hingetown.

Each Quonset hut, or Longhouse, could be an individual interior space as small as 640 to 960 square feet or as large as 738 to 1,472 square feet -- roughly the size of a two- or three-bedroom apartment. That depends on if the tenant adds a maximum-sized mezzanine inside the hut.
The seven huts in the Longhouses of Hingetown
would be placed around a courtyard. Also part of
the development is a new facade for the Schaefer
Building at the southwest corner of West 28th
Street and Detroit Avenue (Cleveland Draw).
The seven Longhouses would be set on one-fourth of an acre and centered around a grassy courtyard. Each hut would be built with a small living space and/or a studio, workshop or display area. Veysey doesn't like calling them live-work spaces, however.

"They're creative spaces," he said. "They could be a living space or a work space or both. They're not quite a business incubator. They can be more for the visual arts if that's what someone wants."

Veysey hopes to start construction this fall with the Longhouses ready for move-in at the end of the year. The seven basic shells are estimated to cost a total of $600,000, according to documents filed with the city's Building Department. That cost includes a ground-floor kitchen and restroom in each hut but doesn't include the addition of a mezzanine or other personalized interior features.

City approvals have yet to be granted for the development. Veysey says no tenants have been identified because the Longhouses haven't been marketed yet. So no rent estimates are available.
The kinds of Quonset huts that are proposed for Hingetown can
come in different sizes. Some are tall enough for mezzanines to
be built into them while others are too short for them (Curbed).
"We're going to be pretty aggressive with the price per square foot," he said. "Rents will be determined once we get our certificate of occupancy as we're hoping to pass along the efficiencies of buildings directly to future occupants."

Interested parties should contact Veysey's and his wife's company at The project also involves a facade renovation of the 1865-built Schaefer Building on the southwest corner of Detroit Avenue and West 28th.

"We're going to open that up to make it more inviting," Veysey said. "Michela Picchi's 'Flying Tiger' mural on the West 28th side of the building will be preserved."

Decades ago, the roughly 6,500-square-foot building was closed off and turned into a bunker whose biggest windows were made of glass block. That was when the neighborhood was known more for drug dealers and prostitutes and less for young professionals and gourmet coffee.
The Schaefer Building, at left in the top elevation, will have its
facade opened up with a glassy storefront or two as part of the
Longhouses development (Cleveland Draw).
Since Schaefer Printing relocated to Lakewood, its building will be turned into one or two storefronts. These retail spaces, the Longhouses and the 20,000 square feet of new retail spaces in the Church+State development are indicative of Veysey's confidence that the retail, restaurant, gallery and small-business sector will bounce back from the COVID-19 crisis that shut Ohio down in mid-March.

"The (small business) neighbors that we've been lucky to be involved with are all pivoting in this unique time to address a consumer interest," Veysey said. "Mid-March was the key time to convert people from prospects to tenants. It doesn't feel as firmly pressed down now. So we're having serious conversations (with potential tenants)."

Although he would not identify any potential retail tenants for the $60 million Church+State development next door, Veysey said that residential leasing activity is healthy for the 158 apartments. The six-story Church building is 50 percent leased with the first residents moving in June 19.

Residential move-in date for the larger, 11-story State building is tentatively scheduled for late August, thus leasing is farther behind for that building. The public atrium between the two buildings called Church+State Way will open to the public in the middle of July, Veysey said.
The northwest corner of Church Avenue and West 28th Street
(where the construction trailers for Church+State are located)
is where the seven Longhouses of Hingetown are proposed to
be built. The Church+State development towers behind (KJP).
Church+State is a partnership among Grammar Properties, Hemingway Development of Cleveland, Cedar Street Development of Chicago and Turner Construction.

That project is located near the intersection of Church and West 29th Street. West 29th was State Street before 1906 when Cleveland's north-south streets were given numerical names. Grammar Properties is a partnership between Veysey and his wife.

The 11-story State is the tallest building built in Ohio City since the 19-story Lakeview Tower, 2700 Washington Ave., was built in 1973. It is on the other side of the West Shoreway from Church + State. The 15-story Riverview Tower, 1795 West 25th, was built in 1964.

Tyler Kapusta contributed to this article.