Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Playhouse Square announces new projects

Playhouse Square Foundation announced projects it is undertaking in two
buildings it owns. The first, which NEOtrans reported about in March, is
the renovation and partial conversion of the Bulkley Building into apart-
ments. The Bulkley, immediately left of the chandelier, will also gain a
new office tenant. Across Euclid Avenue is the Hanna Building which
had its fourth floor converted to co-working spaces (Google).

First reported by NEOtrans more than two months ago, the Playhouse Square Foundation announced officially today that it will begin work in June on converting half of the Bulkley Building, 1501 Euclid Ave., in downtown Cleveland into market-rate apartments. Additionally, the nonprofit community development organization also said it has converted the fourth floor of the Hanna Building, across the street at 1422 Euclid, into co-working spaces called Backstage at PSQ.


Monday, May 29, 2023

Getting Tower City on track

Used twice in the last 30 years during major track reconstruction work, the
former Shaker Rapid Station at Tower City could be modified by the Greater
Cleveland Regional Transit Authority as its permanent station. After 2026,
when it converts to an all-light-rail fleet, GCRTA will no longer need its
current, larger Tower City station in which the west half is used by heavy-
rail trains and the east half by light-rail trains. Instead, it could be re-
designed as Cleveland’s Amtrak and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
station to better accommodate future service expansion and offer con-
nectivity with the central business district plus local and regional

When you have an opportunity to expend the same or similar effort and money that would achieve the better of two outcomes, why not pursue the better outcome? That’s the decision Greater Cleveland has yet to make when looking at a transportation ingredient to two major waterfront development masterplans. One is the downtown lakefront development led by the Haslam Sports Group. The other is the Tower City Riverfront development led by Bedrock Real Estate. Both are supported by civic organizations and all levels of government.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Voss factory conversion comes into focus

Different variations of plans for remaking the former Voss Industries plant
on West 25th Street in Ohio City’s Market District have been considered by
developer MRN Ltd. But none have advanced to the point where financial
assistance  has been request from Cleveland City Council — until now

Legislation was introduced this week by several Cleveland City Council members to help finance the conversion of the abandoned Voss Industries plant, 2168 W. 25th St., in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood into a mixed-use complex. The projected price tag to carry out the redo is at least $62 million. While the property’s owner and developer MRN Ltd. has been kicking around various ideas for reusing the property for the last couple of years, none of those concepts have advanced as far as this stage of nailing down its financing for a specific program.


Friday, May 26, 2023

Downtown project wins financing

An aerial view of the planned Residences at Bolivar with the Erie Street
Cemetery and Progressive Field beyond. Construction could start by mid-
summer on the market-rate apartment complex with ground-floor retail

With financing now in hand, look for demolition and construction work to start this summer for the Residences at Bolivar, 1060-1124 Bolivar Rd., in downtown Cleveland’s Gateway neighborhood. The work was made possible by Chicago-based JLL Capital Markets arranging $38.5 million in construction financing and co-general partner equity in the project from an affiliate of another Chicago firm, Leopardo Companies. JLL Capital Markets announced the financing in a written statement this week.


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Brownhoist lifts a new future

Located just east of downtown on St. Clair Avenue, the 143-year-old
Brownhoist office building was actually built a block farther north and
later moved to this site during an expansion project of the company’s plant.
The building is hosting an open house this weekend. But if you miss it, you
can always schedule a tour (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Some buildings are just walls, floors and a roof. Others have architecture, history and modifications that encourage visitors and tenants to crane their head or to look around each corner as they listen to their buildings’ curators tell stories and experiences about them. Its setting is among the reasons why the Brownhoist Building, 4403 St. Clair Ave., in Cleveland’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood has become an idea-generating co-working space for artists.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Greater Cleveland: poverty amid plenty

Construction has been one of Greater Cleveland’s most robust job sectors
for growth as has education/health services. Both employment sectors
are represented here in this photo of Case Western Reserve Univer-
rsity’s expansion of its South Residential Village in the Uni-
versity Circle- Little Italy neighborhood (Independence).

Amid the good news in Ohio and especially in Greater Cleveland that unemployment has fallen to pre-pandemic lows is the harsh reality that inner-city joblessness remains high. This is despite thousands of jobs made available by economic growth and retiring Baby Boomers. Meanwhile, three-fourths of all available jobs are beyond the reach of public transportation or, where public transportation is fast and frequent, there are many jobs but few quality housing options.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Stokes West gets go-ahead

Stokes West, a seven-story apartment building offering below-market-rate
rents and smaller apartments, two-thirds of  them furnished, could see con-
struction start by August after it won final approval today at City Planning

Developers of a large apartment complex in Cleveland’s University Circle could start construction of the $40 million project before August if all goes well in the coming weeks. That optimism was earned today after City Planning Commission gave the project final approval of its new, overhauled design and a zoning change to accommodate that design. The development is different from several others nearby because it isn’t trying to brush with or break through the top of the market when it comes to rents. Instead, Stokes West intends to offer smaller, more affordable apartments, many of them already furnished for new arrivals in Cleveland and from across the world.


From Jersey barriers to Raptors on Public Square

Nine of these retractable Raptors will be installed in Superior Avenue
on each side of Public Square in downtown Cleveland. The Raptors
will be kept in the down position most of the time but will be raised
during special events. Also to be installed will be 60 bollards along
the sides of Superior in the middle of the square (JCFO).

Nine of these retractable Raptors will be installed in Superior Avenue on each side of Public Square in downtown Cleveland. The Raptors will be kept in the down position most of the time but will be raised during special events. Also to be installed will be 60 bollards along the sides of Superior in the middle of the square (JCFO). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Out go the Jersey barriers. In come the Raptors. That was the decision today by the Cleveland Planning Commission to redesign downtown’s Public Square from its 2016 redesign. In fact, the $3.5 million plan as approved would restore one aspect of the 2016 Public Square renovation which cost $50 million. That would be to restore the planned sharrows on both sides of Superior Avenue in the middle of the square. The approved redesign places 60 new bollards along the slimmed-down street which will remain bus-only through the square.


As Duck Island fills, Berges goes SOLO

Construction is wrapping up at the West 20th at Smith Court townhomes
in Tremont’s Duck Island enclave and all 14 of the homes have sold out.
This view was taken in March. Developer Berges Home Performance
sees strong demand continuing and is expanding west into Ohio City’s

Don’t tell Matt Berges that new home construction in the U.S. is in a 15-month-long slump. The owner of Cleveland-based housing development firm Berges Home Performance LLC will tell you that success depends on what you’re building and where. The where in this case is the near-West Side, specifically Duck Island, a neighborhood Berges helped rebuild. But it is running out of space for more new homes, prompting the 23-year-old firm to look elsewhere to satisfy an as-yet insatiable housing demand.


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Six local housing projects win tax credits

Plans by real estate developer Flaherty and Collins to build the Depoton
Detroit got a boost by winning Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from
the state yesterday. The affordable housing development is planned
next to the Greater Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s
West Boulevard-Cudell rapid transit station (City Architecture).

Six housing developments in Cuyahoga County won federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) yesterday from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), improving their chances of seeing construction in the near future. Those projects and 23 others elsewhere around the state received conditional LIHTC commitments. Developers will use those awards to leverage additional financing in the creation or rehabilitation of rental housing for low- to moderate-income Ohioans.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Federal Equipment expands in Cleveland’s Kinsman

Federal Equipment Co. plans to add this office building onto its existing
warehouse on East 79th Street to accommodate its growing business

Historically, when a company outgrows its aging facilities in the urban core, they tend to move out to a larger, more modern structure in the suburbs. But not Federal Equipment Co. which is expanding its presence in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood that it’s called home for more than six decades. It’s the latest real estate investment along the Opportunity Corridor and the Blue/Green light-rail transit lines in an area of the city derisively dubbed as the Forgotten Triangle, until now.


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Cleveland is seeing ‘brain gain’ – for a change

Rebuilding regional historic assets like the West Side Market and its
signature clock tower, developing fallow industrial land with urban river-
front housing seen at right, and construction cranes over downtown are
all results from and/or causes of increased net-migration of college-
educated people to Greater Cleveland (Iryna Tkachenko).

For decades, Greater Cleveland has suffered from the loss of its college-educated citizens primarily to star-studded cities on the East and West Coasts. Now, for a change, this former industrial powerhouse on the North Coast is enjoying a net in-migration of more brain than brawn. And while the region is still seeing net outmigration of those without college degrees, the results are at worst uneven.


CWRU institute replacing BioEnterprise

 In Cleveland’s booming University Circle, bad news doesn’t hang over a
property for long. The former BioEnterprise building on Cedar Avenue at
the bottom of Fairhill Boulevard, is about to become the new home of the
Human Fusions Institute which was scattered across Case Western Reserve
University’s campus and even across the country. The research institute
will strive to improve human-machine interaction (Google).

 After announcing last month that it will join others in acquiring BioEnterprise Corp.’s assets, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) has developed plans to remake a portion of the nonprofit business incubator’s University Circle property into a home for a nascent research effort for improving human-machine interaction. Called the Human Fusions Institute (HFI) and founded in 2019, the national effort based in Cleveland at CWRU to advance socially responsible innovations in prosthetics, robotics and even gaming could see renovation work start later this year.


Monday, May 15, 2023

It’s a big mystery, project

Along Bradley Road in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood, in a section
that resembles a rural area, there are early indications that something big may
be afoot at the former Wabash Alloys plant site. What that something is
remains a mystery (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Mystery guest: will you enter and sign in, please? In borrowing that phrase from the long-running television show What’s My Line, NEOtrans has learned who the guest is and where they want to be. But we haven’t yet learned the “what” in terms of what they intend to bring. But according to permit applications filed last week with the city of Cleveland’s Building Department, it appears to be a very large project.


Friday, May 12, 2023

The Standard hits the market

Rising to 21 floors, The Standard is one of downtown Cleveland’s many success
stories that resulted from converting  a commercial building to primarily resi-
dential uses. It’s now on the market and may help its current owner, the Weston
Group, free up some capital to move forward with other real estate deals (IPA).

Not all high-rise office and other commercial buildings in downtown Cleveland convert well to residential uses. And then there’s the historic Standard Building, 99 W. St. Clair Ave., which seemed a natural to become home to hundreds of people in the heart of the city. And now the timing is right for the company which bought and redeveloped The Standard to offer it for sale.


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Big plans for reviving Slavic Village

Two new buildings are shown in this rendering of a redeveloped intersec-
tion of East 55th Street and Broadway Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village
neighborhood. Other buildings are eventually proposed to be renovated
including The Atlas Building from which this view is portrayed. The new
white building at right is proposed to be The Village 55 with apartments
over commercial space. Another new building is planned at far left, on the
opposite side of East 55th. This view looks northeast along Broadway

Two new mixed-use buildings, historic renovations of others, hundreds of mixed-income apartments and retailers that could include a grocery store are envisioned as part of a $60 million to $70 million redevelopment of the North Broadway Corridor in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. And that’s just the first phase envisioned by a development team called The Village Partnership comprised of several of Northeast Ohio’s most prolific developers.


Greyhound station may leave downtown

For 75 years, Greyhound buses have called on this streamline moderne station on
Chester Avenue on the east side of downtown Cleveland. But those days may be
coming to an end soon as the bus company looks to cut costs and serve cheaper,
less centrally located stops (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Cleveland may soon join the list of medium- and large-sized cities whose central business districts have lost their Greyhound bus stations to less-accessible locations. And that’s of concern to low-income travelers, college students and others trying to save money or avoid the stress of driving while traveling to and from Cleveland’s station at 1465 Chester Ave., downtown.


Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Addressing the shortage of for-sale housing

Due to rise as early as this summer, The Equinox on West 48th Street has put
11 for-sale housing units on the market that’s desperate for new inventory. The
site is at the east end of Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, near
Ohio City (Payto Architects). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Despite the rise in interest rates, there continues to be strong demand for new housing in Greater Cleveland, especially in hot sub-markets like where Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood meets Ohio City. In areas like that, homes sell for about 2 percent above the list price and get an accepted offer within nine days of going on the market, according to real estate analytics form Norada Real Estate Investments of California.


Friday, May 5, 2023

Cleveland has designs on its waterfronts

The Euclid Beach Trail Connector in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighbor-
hood would be an important project on its own. But it’s just one of nine
waterfront projects the city is directing funding for final design work in
order to secure construction funding to build those proposed improve-
ments. The Euclid Beach Trail Connector will connect and protect the
Beulah Park, Villa Beach and Shore Acres neighborhoods from Lake

For much of the city’s 227-year history, public officials have been accused of ignoring Cleveland’s waterfronts and especially its lakefront. But now there’s a flurry of activity to turn conceptual ideas into blueprints which will not only help city officials apply for construction funding but to actually build what’s been proposed. Today, those funding allocations for nine waterfront projects were mostly recommended by the City Planning Commission for City Council approval although one was tabled until the next commission meeting. Several of those funding allocations are for construction or demolition to allow larger projects to go forward.


GCRTA wins $130m for new trains

In 2014, then-Vice President Joseph Biden got a tour of the Greater
Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s already aging rail car fleet
at the Central Rail Facility near East 55th Street. Giving the tour was
former GCRTA General Manager and CEO Joe Calabrese along with
Cleveland’s previous Mayor Frank Jackson. Calabrese  informed
Biden that GCRTA needed more federal funding to replace its old trains.
The biggest chunk of that federal funding was awarded today (GCRTA).

In 2021, as chair of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over public transportation, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) championed the creation of a new federal program to fund the replacement of aging rail transit cars. Today, he shared the news that the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) was awarded $130 million from this program to narrow a funding gap in its $393 million effort to replace its four-decade-old rail car fleet. The award represents the largest single grant to the GCRTA in its 48-year history.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Stokes West redesigned

Stokes West’s new design proposes the multi-family building to be a
continuous seven stories from the north end, at right, to the south end
along Stokes Boulevard in University Circle. Previously, an eight-
story building was at right, a six-story building at left, and a two-story
 building connecting them. That also adds two more townhouses behind

It seems every real estate developer is having similar problems — supply constraints, rising construction materials costs and rising interest rates. Only those projects that are charging top-of-the-market rents, have investors with low expectations for returns on investment, or received a ton of subsidies are getting built. So when Stokes West, which intends to offer apartment rents that are 13-21 percent lower than its peers in and near University Circle, got design approval by City Planning Commission last summer, it was already facing an uphill climb. That changed when the development team joined forces with Geis Construction Inc. and found a way to deliver the project more affordably.


Tuesday, May 2, 2023

North Coast Connector: ready for its close-up

    At the center of this image is the North Coast Connector land bridge.
It is also at the center of everything city and community development
officials want to do with the lakefront. Not only will the land bridge
more seamlessly link the central business district with the lakefront,
officials say it will also foster new development by relocating stadium
parking spaces from the water’s edge (at bottom) and by creating
new development sites next to the land bridge (AoDK).

The North Coast Connector — a project that’s considered by many city and community development officials as the key to unlocking the potential of downtown Cleveland’s lakefront — is starting to come together. The state is moving forward on a big piece of funding for its construction. The city is moving forward on funding for detailed architectural designs. And public involvement meetings to help shape those designs will be held starting this week. To quote Gloria Swanson in the 1950 classic movie “Sunset Boulevard,” the proposed land bridge is “ready for its close-up.”


Monday, May 1, 2023

$208m Shaker Rapid rebuild down the line

The combined section of the Blue/Green lines west of Shaker Square
called the Trunk Line was completely rebuilt from the ground up in
2020. Over five years starting in 2024, reconstruction work will turn
to the branches of the Blue and Green lines east of Shaker Square.
That is projected to cost $115.6 million for renewed infrastructure
and $92.6 million for new trains or $208.2 million total (GCRTA).

Starting next year and continuing until 2028, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) plans to completely rebuild its two rail rapid transit lines in Shaker Heights, east of Cleveland’s Shaker Square. Called the Blue and Green lines, this would be their first major infrastructure rebuilding since 1980. But not everyone is on board with this $208.2 million initiative that is included in GCRTA’s proposed capital budget, scheduled to get a public hearing May 2.