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.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cleveland transit-oriented development gains traction-Part 1

Van Aken District development rising
alongside the light-rail Blue Line's
Warrensville station in Shaker Hts.

See Part Two HERE

In the 1990s, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority was considering extending the Red Line into Berea. Planners touted the economic development potential of the rail line. So a group of elder Berea residents who apparently hadn't ever ridden the Red Line before took a driving tour of the areas around some of the existing Red Line stations.

What they saw were sprawling parking areas, aging or abandoned industrial buildings, used-car lots, self-storage facilities and other unsightly land uses. The elder Berea residents understandably found it difficult to believe that the Red Line extension would be an asset for their community. Little did they know that in other metro areas with new rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, development arrayed in a neo-traditional land use style was popping up around rail and BRT stations. It's called Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).

More of an adjective than a noun, TOD describes a land use theme in which a transit stop is the epicenter of a densely developed, attractive public realm surrounded by mixed-uses in a walkable setting. It's a setting that produces for transit more ridership than a station surrounded by park-n-ride lots. In Greater Cleveland, the usefulness of and benefit from its rail/BRT transit system is limited by the land uses surrounding its stations. Here, many drive or take a bus to catch the train (Clevelanders call it "The Rapid") and ride it to and from work or school in downtown Cleveland. That's worth only two transit trips a day.

Rail/BRT transit systems in most other metro areas have more ridership because they are "all-purpose" systems. They have more stations that are closely surrounded by lots of residents, jobs, retail and civic uses like libraries, recreation centers, and schools including those that offer career development. They are multi-purpose rail/BRT systems along which a comfortable lifestyle can be sustained without depending on a car. In other metro areas, this transit ecosystem was built by the private sector in response to growing populations and worsening road traffic conditions. Greater Cleveland lacks those stimuli for TOD.

Greater Cleveland does have other TOD stimuli that are just as important but depend on more public sector involvement -- namely addressing a worsening physical disconnect between jobs and job seekers. In Greater Cleveland, only 10 percent of available jobs are within a 60-minute transit commute. Many available jobs are therefore left unfilled or have a smaller pool of labor available to fill them, raising costs for employers. This also keeps many residents unemployed. The disconnect has manifested itself into some inner-city neighborhoods experiencing high concentrations of poverty. The overall poverty rate in Cleveland is near 30 percent.

There are two basic alternative responses to this challenge -- either extend the transit system farther out to where the new jobs are or attract jobs and residents to within walking distance of existing, high-frequency transit. The first option simply is not possible to any great degree, absent new revenue sources for transit. Northeast Ohio transit agencies are facing flat or declining operating funding from countywide sales taxes, as well as fewer state and federal capital improvement funds. Additionally, expanding transit farther out into sprawling, low-density, less walkable areas produce proportionately higher costs and lower revenues for each new transit vehicle service-mile added.

The second option isn't necessarily cheap or easy either. Many of the underutilized properties within walking distance of existing rail/BRT stations in Greater Cleveland are problematic. Some have contaminated soil conditions due to decades of pre-regulatory commercial activity that involved the use of toxic chemicals. Other properties are tied up in protracted legal battles. And some underutilized properties have owners who don't want to develop or sell their land despite the obvious public benefits from developing their transit-accessible land with more productive uses.

Beyond the public benefit aspects of TOD that include less energy used and pollution emitted from lifestyles based on walking, biking and transit, there's actually a free-market angle to having more TOD in  Cleveland. The two largest population demographic groups -- Baby Boomers and their Millennial children -- are seeking low-mileage lifestyles. Either they don't own cars or they want to downsize by keeping just one car and using it less so it lasts longer. They also don't want to rely on their car for everything. If Greater Cleveland won't avail this lifestyle in sufficient quantity, it will lose its Baby Boom and Millennial populations to metro areas that do.

Fortunately, Greater Cleveland is waking up to these threats and opportunities. Its strengths are its rail/BRT system which offer an asset that many cities of similar size or even larger lack. Greater Cleveland also has underutilized land near its rail/BRT stations that are both a weakness (because they don't produce ridership now) and an opportunity (because they can offer a clean slate to start over with great urban design). Another weakness is that the region's public and private stakeholders need more education on the benefits of TOD, and that it already possesses but doesn't utilize public and private financing tools to plan, prioritize and develop TOD.
West Boulevard-Cudell station, proposed TOD concept.

East 116th Street station, proposed TOD concept.

An effort to utilize and focus more public financing tools to incentivize TOD in specific focus areas is underway at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, City of Cleveland and neighborhood development organizations. Three initial focus areas were identified by NOACA:
These three locations were identified by NOACA during a prior stage of developing a TOD scorecard and station typologies. All three sites have a market potential for TOD, but require public investment to upgrade transit facilities, improve sidewalks, narrow street widths, realign streets and enhance public realms to improve their pedestrian experiences.

There are also is zoning and funding available to help private real estate developers construct TOD. One of the most significant changes is in Congress' 2015 passage of the five-year surface transportation program authorization, called the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act expanded eligibility of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to provide low-interest loans, loan guarantees and lines of credit for up to 33 percent of costs of local TOD infrastructure and are applicable to all GCRTA rail and BRT station areas.

FAST also expanded the use of the $35 billion Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program to support TOD infrastructure and development finance near passenger railroad stations, such as the Amtrak station in downtown Cleveland. RRIF loans can pay for 100 percent of project costs.

State, local and locally utilized federal incentives can also be used to incentivize TOD, such as:
  • Incentive Districts: Ohio law allows for the creation of Incentive Districts, such as around transit stations where Tax Increment Financing (TIF--the additional tax revenue created by a public or private investment) can be broadly applied to TOD infrastructure.
  • New Market Tax Credits: This federal program is often used by the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and Enterprise Community Partners (ECP) to induce private equity and/or debt capital at below-market terms for real estate developments, but GCP/ECP does not award credits based on transit-accessibility.
  • Affordable Housing ProgramsOhio Housing Finance Agency runs its own programs and allocates the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit to real estate developments. Transit accessibility is an important factor in awarding these credits.
  • Ohio Brownfields Funding: the Ohio Development Services Agency offers a menu of state and federal programs. Many properties near transit stations are polluted and require cleaning before they can be returned to productive use.
Private developers aren't waiting for TOD pilot projects. Station-area developments, most of which are utilizing TOD guidelines, are popping up around GCRTA rail and BRT stations. In the next article, I'll cover that part of the story -- which has the makings of a coming boom in station-area developments. Just about every significant real estate development in Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs is happening within walking distance of a rail/BRT station.

See Part Two HERE


Friday, May 26, 2017

Cleveland markets its new industrial sites

Development of the largest shovel-ready industrial/warehousing sites in the City of Cleveland aren't attracting much private-sector interest despite Cleveland's low prices. Meanwhile, inner-ring suburbs offering large parcels that are almost shovel-ready are having greater success in drawing private sector interest and potentially thousands of jobs from significant planned developments.

What, if anything, is the City of Cleveland doing wrong vs. what, if anything, are the suburbs doing right?

Take, for example, the largest available site in Cleveland in more than a half-century. Located off Interstate 77 south of the Pershing Avenue exit, the 65-acre Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center offered the potential for up to 750,000 square feet of new manufacturing space and 1,000 new jobs, according to promotional materials for the site.

The 65-acre Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center

Two prospective users of the former International Steel Group coal/coke plant are finalizing plans for their building construction projects that will occupy about half of the center. More than $5 million in taxpayer funds from the city and state were used to clear and clean the polluted property. But the number of jobs involved will likely be far less than backers of the redeveloped site had hoped.

Ohio High Reach LLC, which rents construction and maintenance equipment, is relocating to 12 acres of the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center. Ohio High Reach has outgrown its Exchange Street property in Valley View, according to Patricia Herrington, the registered agent for Ohio High Reach and ETC Commercial Property LLC.

The business database Graphiq notes that Ohio High Reach opened its doors in 2009 and already has $5.8 million in yearly revenue and 18 employees. Its relocation will allow that strong growth to continue, Herrington explained.

ETC Commercial Property bought the 12-acre site in April for $731,250 from the Greater Cleveland Community Improvement Corp., according to records from the office of the Cuyahoga County's Fiscal Officer. GCCIP is a part of Team NEO, a nonprofit, regional business development organization.

On May 8, the city's Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance for ETC to construct a new two-story building and parking lot on the site whose address is listed as 4800 Ruffini Court. Ruffini is an old street, recently rebuilt for $1.5 million as an underpass of I-77 off East 49th Street. The street accessed the original industrial user of this site, the Fronek-Reid Coal Co., more than a century ago.

Herrington said no construction date has been identified yet as financing is still being finalized. However, she said the pending relocation had advanced far enough that Infinity Construction Co. of Warrensville Heights was hired as the building contractor.

That still leaves more than 50 acres of the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center left for development. Roughly 15 acres of that will be acquired by the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 12 for its new Cleveland maintenance facility, according to ODOT records.

ODOT District 12 currently has five maintenance facilities. It's existing, aging Cleveland facility is located at a 2.75-acre property at 5430 Lake Court, along I-90 near East 55th. ODOT District 12's newest maintenance facility, opening December 2016 off Emery Road and I-271 in Warrensville Heights, covers 16 acres.

Further details of ODOT's plans aren't yet available, including the number of jobs involved. But the maintenance facility's relocation would be within the City of Cleveland, possibly resulting in no net gain of road maintenance jobs.

Another publicly financed clean-up and repurposing of an old industrial site that came up short in drawing private sector interest was the Trinity Development Site. For more than 50 years, the address of 9203 Detroit Ave. was home to Club Aluminum/Monarch Aluminum Products, employing 500 people in 450,000 square feet of buildings.

An out-of-state investor bought the company in the 1980s and moved aluminum manufacturing operations to a southern state. The building was later used as a "chop shop" for stolen cars until the building caught fire in 1998 and was structurally damaged. The city seized the property, demolished its buildings in 2007, and cleaned the property of pollutants, costing $3 million in city, state and federal funds.

Despite city efforts to sell the site, there were no takers except for less than 1 acre sold to a neighboring business, Penstan Ltd. Trinity's remaining 4.7 acres are valued at $140,800 by the county. The property's zoning permits uses such as retail, light industrial and warehousing.
Proposed City Kennel development

Instead, the city will construct its new $5.3 million City Kennel at the Trinity site. The new, 13,500-square-foot building will be about the same size as the old one near Tremont and result in no increase in jobs or new tax revenues for schools from the property returning to the tax rolls. Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone defended the decision to put the City Kennel there as a productive re-use of a property that had long been a blight on the surrounding neighborhood.

The site is a short walk to the nearby West Boulevard Red Line station, offering an opportunity for redeveloping the site with mixed uses including residential. The property was offered at $70,000 per acre. But that train has departed as construction is about to begin on the new kennel.

An opportunity to better encourage development remains possible for the available site of the former Midland Steel Products Co. Until 2005, a 540,000-square-foot plant stood on 23 acres at Madison Avenue and West 110th Street. Midland built automobile frames here from 1893 to 2003 when the plant was closed. Like the ISG coke plant and the Trinity site, a lot of tax money totaling $5.3 million was invested to clear and clean this brownfield property to make it ready for productive use again.

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's
concept for the Industrial Crossings
District, including the 23-acre Midland
Commerce Park, 10615 Madison Ave.

The city owns the site, dubbed Midland Commerce Park, and has it listed for sale. Like Trinity, the city is reportedly asking $70,000 an acre for Midland, or $1.61 million for the whole thing. The county valued the property at $463,200 for taxes.

Ward 11 Councilwoman Dona Brady said the city has rejected inquiries about using the property for storing trucks or other less-than-desirable uses. The city is requiring that the new user employ 10 people per acre of the property. Furthermore, the city wants the new user to pay to develop the site's utilities and roadway infrastructure. That's a tough ask when competing suburban municipalities will install utilities and roads for new office or industrial parks. There have been no takers for Midland.

Meanwhile, it's a different story in the neighboring inner-ring suburbs of Euclid and Brook Park. In a story first broken here by NEOtrans, Euclid Square Mall is proposed to be demolished for a massive distribution center, possibly for online retailer Amazon. The redevelopment could bring at least 600 jobs and possibly several times more if the project proves to be an Amazon Fulfillment Center. Principals involved with the project refuse to identify the end user.

Euclid Square Mall may be replaced by a similarly 
sized distribution center offering at least 600 new jobs.

The 66-acre mall site is owned by Beverly Terrace Ltd. that wants to sell the property for $5.75 million. As recently as 1997, when the mall was still active, the property was valued at $28,958,700 for tax purposes, according to county records. The owner since has petitioned to lower the property's taxable value to $1.1 million.

Similarly, a game-changing business development could be coming to an inactive, 88-acre portion of the Ford Motor Co.'s sprawling Brook Park complex. American Plasma Energy Group intends to revolutionize the internal combustion engine through an exclusive licensing deal with Plasma Igniter, LLC to make the Coaxial Cavity Resonator Ignition System. The CCRIS is essentially a plasma spark plug that improves fuel efficiency by anywhere from 25-50 percent while reducing carbon emissions by the same amount.

Ford Engine Plant No. 2, Brook Park

Not only is the auto industry interested in this innovation but so is the U.S. military, which has four seats on APEG's 18-member business advisory board. They are outnumbered only by the seven Northeastern Ohioans on this board, including board Chairman Doug Benns of the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River. That's a potential advantage for Northeast Ohio as APEG intends to decide by the end of summer on where to locate a production and distribution facility as well as management offices that may ultimately total 500 employees.

So far, only the empty Ford Engine Plant No. 2 on Snow Road in Brook Park has been named specifically. But APEG reportedly is keeping its options open for other sites near Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh, too. The availability of the 1.2 million-square-foot Brook Park facility that closed in 2012 may offer a cost savings for APEG which prefers to locate in an existing structure rather than build new.

As recently as 2004, the county valued the Ford Engine Plant No. 2 at $33,572,400. Ford has since petitioned to have the plant's value lowered to $8.4 million. No sale or lease listing for the plant could be located. APEG may need only 10 percent of the facility's square footage to ramp up operations by the end of this year.

This doesn't include major warehouse, distribution and/or industrial developments in outer suburbs like Mentor or Twinsburg. So are the suburbs doing something right in attracting private sector employers to these redeveloped sites that the City of Cleveland is not?


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Busy month: 3 big downtown Cleveland projects?


The next month may be very busy with Downtown Cleveland construction announcements. As a follow-up to my recent posting The Cleveland Skyscraper Building-Binge Starts, it appears that three projects will be making news very soon. One project is a surprise.

Least surprising is that workers this month are swarming over the nine-level 515 Euclid parking garage. Stark Enterprises will soon erect a $62 million, 19-story apartment building called The Beacon on top of it. The workers are construction managers who are mapping out the logistics and sequencing of work to be done over the next 16-18 months. The Beacon, with its 187 apartments, is due to open in late-2018.

The Beacon apartments, 515 Euclid 

The project faces a small glitch, however. Stark representatives discovered a typo in a variance approved in Sept. 2016 by the city's Board of Zoning Appeals regarding the height of The Beacon. In 2016, BZA approved a height of 340 feet. Instead, Stark is requesting a height of 355 feet at BZA's May 22 hearing. It is possible this glitch will delay the project's start until about Aug. 1.

I've also learned from several sources that Medical Mutual's board of directors will meet June 20 to decide its facilities plan, including possibly a new downtown headquarters. They health insurance company wanted to decide its facilities plan in May but negotiations with the developer/property owner have taken longer than expected. Medical Mutual said it is unlikely it will own its new headquarters, be it an existing building or a new building. The company may seek to extend its leases to strengthen its negotiating stance.

The address or size of its new office building isn't known, but at least several major Northeast Ohio developers responded to a request for proposals from Medical Mutual last year on new or renovated buildings for Ohio's largest health insurance company. It is quite likely the public will learn in the next month about the winning proposal.

Medical Mutual HQ (Rose Building)

Medical Mutual also is moving forward on a new suburban office, apparently for its Consumers Life Insurance subsidiary based in Strongsville. There will be some corporate consolidations but those may involve its much smaller Beachwood and Copley locations. It isn't known if the Toledo office is part of the office consolidation plan.

In Northern Ohio, Medical Mutual has these existing offices (lease information according to
  • Downtown Cleveland HQ -- 2060 E. 9th St. -- 1,300 employees (lease ends late-2020)
  • Toledo Business Team -- 3737 W. Sylvania Ave. -- 500 employees (lease ends late -2020)
  • Strongsville Consumers Life Insurance Co. -- 15885 W. Sprague Rd. -- 400 employees (lease ends mid-2020)
  • Copley Mutual Health Services/Benefit Health Services Inc. -- 3636 Copley Rd. -- 50 employees (lease info NA)
  • Beachwood Data Center -- 23700 Commerce Park -- 20 employees (lease ends mid-2020)
It is interesting to note that one company, BentleyForbes, owns three of Medical Mutual's five Northern Ohio locations: downtown Cleveland, Toledo and Beachwood. BentleyForbes purchased them at the same time, in 2000, for $75 million and later took out a $52.7 million mortgage on Medical Mutual's downtown Cleveland headquarters, the 1905-built, 10-story Rose Building.

After the real estate market crashed in 2008, BentleyForbes has been unable to repay or refinance the mortgage on the downtown headquarters. About $47 million remains unpaid. BentleyForbes has occasionally been trying to sell its three buildings that are occupied by Medical Mutual. Medical Mutual will reportedly move out of all of their existing offices, and it may move out of all of them at the same time when their leases expire simultaneously in 2020, sources say.

This includes its Strongsville location to which it moved from another location in Strongsville in late 2016. But Medical Mutual will retain a suburban presence, sources said. It is not known where it will be, how many employees will be located there or from where they will come. But the board's action now allows enough time for constructing new buildings for either the downtown Cleveland headquarters, the suburban Cleveland office, or both.

Finalizing architectural documents, securing government approvals, programming and other pre-development activities for new office buildings will require about a year. Construction will take about 18-24 months. The new-construction timeline fits, albeit tightly, within the timeframe of Medical Mutual's simultaneously expiring leases. Medical Mutual may seek to stay i

Lastly, a proposed skyscraper that seemed a distant possibility may instead leap forward into the ranks of the likely candidates. As early as next month, a national real estate developer will reportedly announce plans for a 34-story luxury apartment tower on a surface parking lot at the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 17th Street, according to two sources.

Development site is on the left, past the gateway arch

The 1-acre property is owned by the Playhouse Square Foundation who in 2011 razed the two-story Hanna Annex at 1512 Euclid. Later, in 2015, the foundation acquired a mid-lot, 1/4-acre parcel to put the entire lot under one owner. The goal was to encourage development of the lot which was made more accessible after the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority extended East 17th Street south of Euclid to Prospect Avenue. The street extension was part of the Euclid Corridor Project that in 2008 that yielded the HealthLine bus rapid transit.

The Playhouse Square Foundation has been seeking to boost foot traffic in the theater district. It recognized two shortcomings of the district -- parking decks are behind and connected to the theaters, meaning that too few theatergoers set foot on Euclid Avenue's sidewalks to patronize its shops, restaurants and cafes. The foundation also says the district needs more residents -- something that is slowly being delivered by local real estate developer K&D Group Inc. K&D recently converted the eight-story Hanna Building Annex on Prospect to apartments and has begun work on the residential conversion on the upper six floors of the 12-story Halle Building.

But the proposed 34-story luxury tower would make a major contribution to the Playhouse Square Foundation's goals in two profound ways. First, it would add hundreds of moneyed residents to the theater district. And, second, it would add a proposed 600-car parking deck with ground-level retail on Euclid Avenue that requires people to set foot on Euclid Avenue's sidewalks to reach the theaters. No more sneaking in the back way, sight-unseen.

Much like 515 Euclid, this Playhouse Square tower would be built on a parking pedestal of perhaps five levels high. The foundation requested $4 million from the state's capital budget in 2016 to help fund the parking deck but got only $1 million. Additional subsidies are usually needed to make the financial numbers work for residential construction. But the more downtown residents there are, the more rents are growing to where fewer subsidies are needed.

Downtown's residential growth has attracted the interest and headquarters of powerhouse national developer NRP Group, based in Garfield Heights. NRP has chosen to relocate to Playhouse Square, into the lower floors of the Halle Building. The timing of NRP's relocation is intriguing. NRP is the nation's seventh-largest developer of apartment buildings. But it's tallest apartment building thus far is a 10-story structure in St. Petersburg, FL. If NRP is the developer of the proposed 32-story tower, it would mean a new philosophy for the 22-year-old company.

But so does relocating its headquarters and 200 employees from the suburbs to downtown Cleveland. NRP Principal and CEO J. David Heller said in an April 30th press release the company is moving to seize on opportunities for "rapid growth and expectations for further expansion (and for) enabling our employees to fully experience the city of Cleveland and what it offers."


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bye, Euclid Square Mall; hello Amazon?

After 40 years, Euclid Square Mall is destined to be physically replaced by the latest thing in retailing -- E-commerce. The mall, having closed Sept. 19, 2016 after years of limping along with two dozen churches as its remaining tenants, is vacated and officially condemned by the city for safety violations. Euclid Square Mall had succumbed to the changing retail market and population shifts long ago.

Circumstantial evidence suggests the replacement for the 687,000-square-foot shopping mall will be a massive distribution facility for the online retail giant Amazon. Called a Fulfillment Center, the facility would measure at least 650,000 square feet and possibly be as large as 1 million square feet. Based on similar projects elsewhere in Ohio, it would represent a capital investment in facilities and equipment of more than $100 million and result in the hiring of more than 600 permanent jobs.


Two similarly sized Amazon Fulfillment Centers that opened in 2016 outside Columbus now employ 5,000 people total, or roughly double what was originally projected. An 855,000-square-foot Amazon Fulfillment Center in Etna Township employs about 3,000 people while a 1 million-square-foot Amazon facility in Obetz employs more than 2,000 workers.

According to public records, Euclid's Planning & Zoning Commission on May 9 (see last item on the agenda) will consider at its regular meeting a proposed zoning change by Seefried Industrial Properties, Inc., an Atlanta real estate developer. The agenda reads:
Seefried Industrial Properties, Inc., prospective purchaser, on behalf of Beverly Terrace Ltd, SNS Properties LLC, MCM Superior-Glen Apartments, Lee-Silsby Associates, and Gerome’s Grove, has submitted an application requesting the rezoning of a group of parcels from a U4-Local Retail or Wholesale Store District to a U6-Industrial and Manufacturing District. The proposed rezoning is for eight irregularly shaped parcels totaling 2,866,248 square feet (65.80 acres) in size.
If the rezoning and other permits are approved, Seefried will execute pending purchase agreements with the five property owners listed above to acquire nine parcels. Not only would Euclid Square Mall be demolished for this distribution facility, but so would four long-closed outlot structures. These include a Toys 'R' Us store, Stop-n-Shop grocery store, Red Lobster restaurant and a bank according to documents submitted to the City of Euclid by Seefried.



While Seefried develops facilities for other clients such as Pepsi, PPG, Home Depot, and others, recent indicators suggest the client for the Euclid project is Amazon. The indicators include:

  • Seefried's largest client is Amazon, as Seefried is the real estate developer for dozens of Amazon distribution center projects around the country;
  • A source says Amazon is opening "three or four" distribution centers around Cleveland but could not identify their locations;
  • Amazon is opening a Twinsburg sorting facility in a 248,000-square-foot building at the former Chrysler automotive plant;
  • Amazon is also leasing 80,000 square feet of space in Euclid's Bluestone Business Center, across East 260th Street from Euclid Square Mall, for a delivery station;
  • This facility's size is consistent with Amazon's largest distribution facilities (Fulfillment Centers), including its first two in Ohio as described above;
  • Amazon enjoys having its facilities receive electricity either directly or indirectly from wind turbines and Euclid's location along Lake Erie makes it ideally suited for wind power. Euclid already has four companies whose facilities are directly powered by wind.

The Euclid Square Mall site is next to Interstate 90, State Route 2 and only several miles from Interstate 271 as well as CSX's intermodal rail terminal at Collinwood Yards. It is probably the largest, cleanest, developable property so close to the urban core of the Greater Cleveland area.

Euclid city officials are to be commended for re-purposing a large site that was made obsolete by the changing retail business. They further deserve kudos for ensuring that the city will benefit from the very business activity that replaced the shopping mall -- E-commerce. Too often, very large distribution centers find sprawling, clean properties at the urban fringe, far from labor pools that need jobs and established communities that need to replace lost tax revenues.

After World War II, Chase Brass & Copper Co. had two large plants on either side of East 260th Street in Euclid. One was sheet mill on Babbitt Road and the other a tube mill on East 260th (formerly Upson Road). The tube mill was shut down in the middle of a strike in 1973. In 1975 the mill was demolished for Euclid Square Mall, built by Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs (now the Jacobs Group) and opened on March 1, 1977. The mall's last retailer, a Dillards outlet store, closed in September 2013.

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