Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Rezonings follow, precede waves of lakefront housing

The Battery Park-Gordon Square area is a mix of old and new,
with more new housing spreading into more of the old indus-
trial areas. The city's zoning code is trying to catch up with
the change and even get in front it to prepare for the lake-
front residential areas of tomorrow (Google).
As Cleveland City Council prepares to vote soon on rezoning more former industrial land to residential near Edgewater Park, there are fewer lakefront industrial areas on the west side. One of those may succumb to the inexorable march of residential expansion after another expected rezoning that could enable high-rise development.

As early as next week, council may rezone an area south of Edgewater Park from general industrial to a residential classification. This area is centered around West 70th-73rd where the Eveready Battery Co. plant once stood. Razed and remediated in the 2000s, the land was redeveloped with mostly housing and renamed Battery Park.

Council's vote is expected to follow action last week by the City Planning Commission to support rezoning former industrial land south of the Shoreway, north of Lake and Detroit avenues. Some of the zoning fixes extend as far west as West 78th Street, said Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone.

"It's consistent with a long community planning process," Zone said in an interview this week. "In 2015 and 2016, we did a Gordon Square Arts District masterplan that calls for transitioning the semi-industrial use to housing. So now we're just moving the legislation forward."
City Council could vote as early as next week on this pro-
posed zoning change that will reflect the development of
former industrial areas into residential ones (CPC).
Adam Davenport, neighborhood planner for the city, said the semi-industry zoning classification that was left over from the Eveready Battery plant was preventing residents of the new developments from getting home loans.

"The new zoning will be two-family," Davenport said. "That will allow people to get financing or refinancing from lenders."

Another change was to remove resident industry zoning near Detroit Avenue and replace it with a multi-family designation. Davenport said that "resident industry" is an archaic classification, dating from when offices and residential abutted industry and especially smaller tool and die shops that had low impacts from emissions or noise.

Zone said it took so long to get the rezoning in place because the City Planning Commission was overwhelmed with other work. That includes a new form-based zoning code pilot project. A form-based code is a new approach to zoning with an increased focus on walkability, predictability and mixed-use development.
One of three form-based code zoning pilots could be imple-
mented later this year in the Detroit-Shoreway-Cudell area.
The zoning change would not only support the continuance
of the lakefront industrial area at the top of this map, it
would also accommodate a growing market for more
housing along Cleveland's lakefront (DSCDO).
Immediately west of Battery Park and east of the Edgewater and Cudell neighborhoods is one of the last industrial areas left on the West Side's lakefront. Rezoning this area with a Euclidean, use-based zoning classification such as multi-family wasn't desired because it would force out active, viable businesses, Zone said.

But the use of a form-based code in this area would allow for either industrial or residential in this area, bounded by Detroit and Lake avenues, the Shoreway and West 78th, Davenport said.

"Form-based zoning can talk about industrial and residential," he said. "It's based on what you see."

This industrial area is the northern reach of a west-side pilot program to introduce form-based zoning to Cleveland's zoning code. Two east-side areas are also part of the city's pilot program -- the Opportunity Corridor and parts of Hough and Glenville. City officials said they hope to get a draft code in place by fall.
Redeveloping the lakefront industrial area with housing will
incur significant expenses. The only way developers could
recoup those costs is by building large-scale residential
structures such as these along Milwaukee's lakefront and
its Veterans Park near downtown (
Although the industrial area included in the west-side form-based code pilot can stay industrial after the pilot starts, the expanding residential development nearby may ultimately move in. The form-based code would allow for that, too.

There are reportedly no proposals to uproot viable employers like Alcon Industries, Universal Grinding, Lowe Chemical or Mid-American Construction. Some of these companies' facilities are more than a century old, such as Lowe Chemical's well-maintained, three-story, 112-year-old brick structure at 8400 Baker Ave.

Yet others were built as recently as 2016 such as Alcon's 30,000-square-foot expansion at 7990 Baker, according to Cuyahoga County property records. Alcon is the largest employer in this neighborhood with roughly 175 employees.

The fates of these industrial properties could change in the coming years, however. For that to happen, it would require real estate investors and developers with deep pockets to afford buying, demolishing or converting and cleaning the industrial sites.
There is no high-rise housing along the lakefront providing
commanding views of Lake Erie between Hingetown and
Lakewood despite the presence of Edgewater Park, one of
 the largest lakefront parks in Ohio (Aerial Agents).
Given those expenses, the only type of residential development that might be justified for that area are large-scale buildings that produce lots of revenues so that developers could recoup their site acquisition and preparation costs -- in other words, high-rise housing.

"I don't know why it wouldn't be justified because that's on the bluff overlooking the lake and the park," Zone said. "Before that happens, we would have to engage the community."

A metamorphosis of the industrial area into new uses actually began in the 2000s with the conversion of the 1905-built Baker Electric Motor Vehicle Co. factory at 1300 W. 78th into the 78th Street Studios. Today it is the largest fine arts complex in Northeast Ohio, hosting 60 arts studios and galleries, an internet radio station and a theater.

"The writing is on the wall for the (lakefront) industrial area," Davenport said. "It's going to be quite the area for new construction."


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Heinen's downtown Cleveland store to reopen by August

The Downtown Cleveland Heinen's grocery store will reopen
later this summer after repairs, rearranging of the main display
area and renovations, contrary to doom-n-gloom rumors (KJP).
According to a source close to the situation but was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, Heinen's downtown Cleveland grocery store will reopen in four to eight weeks.

Rumors have swirled since the nationwide riots and looting on May 30 forced the closure of the full-service downtown grocer. The store suffered modest damage and theft of merchandise from the first floor only. Some downtown residents feared the store would not reopen.

Downtown Heinen's employees are being furloughed or relocated for the time being, the source said. During that time, workers will repair, reconfigure and renovate the 27,000-square-foot store.

The former Cleveland Trust bank rotunda built in 1908 will be reconfigured to be more COVID-19-compliant, according to the source. That includes getting rid of the soup/salad bar so customers and employees will have more room for social distancing.
Heinen's downtown store features a
soaring rotunda topped by murals,
ornaments and a skylight (KJP).
The service and floor layout changes could also avail room for other merchandise and programming. The soup/salad bar has been closed during the months-long pandemic.

Officially, details about the duration of the closure aren't available. But Heinen's released a written statement earlier today.

"We appreciate all the kind comments and support we've received concerning our downtown Cleveland store. We are still in the process of cleaning up and getting repair estimates and are not sure of a re-open date at this time," the statement said.

"Looking ahead to a post COVID-19 world, we are considering some small changes to adjust the store to better meet the needs of our customers," Heinen's added.
The downtown Heinen's is not a large
store in terms of its merchandise floor
area, but it does keep a steady floor of
customers with a very busy lunchtime
crowd buying prepared foods (KJP).
"Thank you for your patience. We know the stores is an important shopping option for many people and will share more information once we know more," the statement concluded.

Located on the southeast corner of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street, the downtown Heinen's opened in February 2015. It was part of the multi-structure, $170 million Ameritrust redevelopment undertaken by the Geis Companies.

The downtown Heinen's is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful grocery stores in the United States, becoming a tourist attraction and a must-see stop according to "Hamilton" actor Nik Walker, for those appreciating architecture and Gilded Age history.


Friday, June 5, 2020

Amazon plans delivery center near Slavic Village

Conceptual plans for an Amazon Delivery Station were re-
cently submitted to the city of Cleveland. The distribution
center would be located on a former steel industry coal/coke
plant on the other side of other side of Interstate 77 from
Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood (B&H).
Plans were submitted to Cleveland's Department of Building and Housing (B&H) for an Amazon Delivery Station offering at least 200 jobs to be located at 400 Heidtman Pkwy. in the Industrial Valley next to Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood. However, not everyone at the city who was informed of the plans realized it was for Amazon -- unless they read the fine print.

In the corner of the elevation and floor plan drawings submitted to the city by architectural firm Richard L. Bowen & Associates, the documents clearly show "Amazon" on them. This facility, proposed to measure 112,000 square feet, is one of six large Amazon distribution centers built or planned in the Greater Cleveland-Akron metro area.

The first three were built in Euclid, North Randall and Akron. NEOtrans reported in March that one of the six will be at the Madison Industrial Park on Cleveland's West Side. The last site isn't known but locations in Bedford, Parma or Lorain are rumored.

An email sent to Richard L. Bowen & Associates' general e-mail address seeking comment and more information was acknowledged by their Director of Marketing Donald Butchko but not responded to prior to publication.
These conceptual elevation drawings of a proposed distribu-
tion center at 400 Heidtman Parkway show a generic sign
with the word "TENANT" affixed to the building's facade.
But the red arrow points to the fine print which is magni-
fied in the image shown below (B&H).

Each of these large Amazon distribution facilities is identified as DCL1, DCL2, and so on up to DCL6. DCL is an abbreviation for "Delivery Center CLeveland." The proposed facility on Heidtman is identified in Building and Housing's public records as "DCL6." The architectural drawings were posted as attachments in the public records link.

The documents posted at the city's B&H public access portal don't indicate how many jobs may be offered. But the site plan shows parking requirements with 1,158 parking spaces with 261 spaces for employees, not including hundreds of spaces for delivery vans for Amazon drivers and contract delivery services.

Ward 12 Councilman Anthony Brancatelli said he was recently contacted by an architectural firm that he wouldn't identify. The firm was asking about bout zoning, building and design review restrictions at what is called the Job Ready Site in the Cuyahoga Valley Industrial Center (CVIC).

The CVIC was a former International Steel Group coal/coke plant that was demolished and since remediated and prepared for redevelopment by the city. Several years ago, the Job Ready Site was promoted as having the ability to accommodate 750,000 square feet of new manufacturing space and 1,000 new jobs.

Brancatelli and other city officials were informed that the architectural firm had a client seeking to build a distribution center that would create at least 200 jobs and use all of the remaining 40 acres of the CVIC. Two comparatively small portions of the CVIC measuring about 10-12 acres each were sold off in 2017 for an Ohio Department of Transportation maintenance facility and for Ohio High Reach to relocate its business from Valley View.
Another view of the proposed location of the new Amazon
Delivery Station near Slavic Village (Google).
"I do not know who the end user is specifically, nor has any proposal been in front of (the city's Department of) Economic Development or the CCDC (Cleveland Citywide Development Corp.) committee yet, so this is all speculative at this time," Brancatelli said.

"I did inform the architect I am in favor of a distribution center at this location and would fully support this development," he added. "The Job Ready site is an ideal location for this use and with all the wonderful redevelopment work going on in Slavic Village, including the rebuilding of Fleet Avenue, this location has been garnering a lot of attention."

No request for public financial assistance has been submitted to the city for developing the balance of the Job Ready Site, Brancatelli said. However, the city could offer its usual incentives such as tax abatement, the Job Creation Incentive Program, the Vacant Property Initiative, equipment loans, working capital loans and so on.

He noted that the city also has committed to resurfacing Independence Road this year in anticipation of the development of the remainder of the Job Ready Site and to support existing industrial users in the valley such as ArcelorMittal Steel and others.
View of the Amazon site from the Ruffini Court underpass
below Interstate 77. Ohio High Reach is at left and the Ohio
Department of Transportation's maintenance facility is to the
right with Amazon's proposed site in the middle (Google)
Further, the city also has committed this year that design and engineering will be completed for the Downtown Connector Trail in partnership with the Cleveland Metroparks and Canalway Partners making this site accessible to the Towpath Trail and downtown. The Downtown Connector Trail would be built right next to the Amazon distribution center, making it accessible to workers without a car.

"This would be a huge win for Slavic Village and our city," Brancatelli said.

The Greater Cleveland Community Improvement Corp., a nonprofit corporation formed in June 2009, owns the CVIC property. The real estate listing for the 40-acre Job Ready Site shows that the property has been under contract (a purchase agreement) since at least May 21 when the listing was last updated. The owner was asking $5 million for the property.

Interestingly, the Greater Cleveland Community Improvement Corp. was tax-cancelled by the Ohio Secretary of State on June 12, 2019 for failing to file with the state a statement of continued existence.

The company's agent is ARA Land Recovery LLC, attention Michael Cantor -- the managing director and principal at Allegro Realty Advisors. Cantor did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment prior to publication.

Tyler Kapusta contributed to this article.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Work began today for Baricelli Inn Apartments in Little Italy

Work began today on the 44-unit Baricelli Inn Apartments on
Cornell Road in Little Italy, starting with demolition of two
aging apartment houses with construction work to follow
immediately thereafter (LDA Architects).
Demolition and site preparation work got underway earlier today to clear the way for the 44-unit Baricelli Inn Apartments in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood. The project has traveled a long road to get to this point but is finally moving forward.

A pair of three-story rental homes at 2189 and 2193 Cornell Road were being razed, work that should take only a matter of hours. Also part of a parking lot was being removed, so technically construction is underway for the luxury apartments being developed by M. Panzica Development owned by Michael Panzica and City Six Development owned by Brad Nosan.

The $17 million, three-story project features 19 one-bedroom apartments, 20 two-bedroom units and five three-bedroom apartments along with an underground parking garage, according to public records.

The development helps address a shortage of quality housing for college students and young professionals wanting a short walk, bike or bus ride to classes and employers in University Circle, Ohio's fourth-largest employment district. And it also provides housing for families wanting to stay in the neighborhood.

Panzica previously told NEOtrans that he has made numerous concessions to neighbors who opposed the project's density and scale. Any further reductions in the number of revenue-producing units would have made the project no longer financially viable. Originally the project was to have 60 apartments and four stories.
The small scale of the apartment building is evident in this
view, looking northerly on Cornell Road. The historic
Washington Place Bistro & Inn is at the right. It will
be taller than the new apartments (LDA Architects).
Now the new building will be shorter than the neighboring Washington Place Bistro & Inn that closed last month due to its imminent sale to Panzica and the proprietor's expiring lease. It is also less dense than several new Little Italy developments like the six-story Mayfield Station Apartments or five-story La Collina Apartments, both on Mayfield Road.

Some opponents of the project are owners of aging houses being leased as multi-unit apartments to students at nearby Case Western Reserve University. They reportedly didn't like the competition from an apartment building offering high-quality finishes and modern features.

The apartment project got its name from previous uses and owners of the Washington Place Bistro & Inn next door. From 1985-2010, the inn was called the Baricelli Inn, which included a fine-dining restaurant and seven rooms for overnight lodging. It has been owned by members of the Minnillo family since 1982 when it was converted from a residence to an inn.

The Minnillo family bought the 1896-built stone mansion from Jean-Pierre Baricelli. He was the son of Dr. Giovanni Baricelli, a prominent local physician, and his wife Orfea Baricelli, a professor of literature and philosophy at Western Reserve University, according to La Gazzetta Italiana. They acquired the house in the early 20th century from Dutch architect John Grant who designed, built and lived in the home.

Panzica is acquiring the inn and its parking lots from Minnillo Family Partners, LLC. The two homes that were just demolished next door to the inn have purchase agreements between Panzica and the prior owners Mike Iammarino Investment Properties LLC and Carmen J. Petrello, according to public records.
The new Baricelli Inn Apartments will have many amenities
for residents including a partially covered private patio
along with underground parking (LDA Architects).
Five parcels are being acquired. Panzica had no comment about the status of the sale transactions or when they might close. The purchase agreements allow for the demolition of the two houses and construction work to proceed. Panzica also had no comment about his intended use of the inn.

The Baricelli Inn Apartments' general contractor is Fiorilli Construction Inc. of Medina. Designer of the new apartment complex is LDA Architects, Inc. of Cleveland. Principal financing was secured in May from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

University Circle Inc. President Chris Ronayne who also is a port authority board member tweeted congratulations to the developers after the authority approved financing for the project on May 14.

"Work goes on in #CLE. Infill, walkable, neighborhood redevelopment from M. Panzica & City Six Development," he tweeted.

"Thanks to (the) Port of Cleveland board for approving bond financing for yet a another well-conceived Cleveland project today," responded port authority President & CEO Will Friedman. "(It) feels good amidst C19 (Covid-19) backdrop to make progress on (real estate) projects."


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Moving I-90 an option in new ODOT & Metroparks lakefront plans

Looking west along Interstate 90 and the Lake Erie shoreline,
this view shows how Gordon Park was sliced in two by the
highway to get around the Lake Shore Power Station, still
standing in this pre-2017 scene. A desire to reunite the
park, enhance lakefront recreation and protect I-90
from Lake Erie's waves are the subject of two
plans that are now underway (Google).
Sliced in half by a freeway nearly 70 years ago, Cleveland's Gordon Park and its surrounding area were recently dubbed by east-side real estate developers as a potential "Edgewater East." It could be that and more depending on the results of two separate but related planning efforts that got underway last week.

The first is a multi-agency effort led by the Cleveland Metroparks called the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Study (CHEERS). Its goal is to accommodate dredge disposal, create additional aquatic and terrestrial habitat, protect existing highway infrastructure and enhance the lakeshore from near the east end of Burke Lakefront Airport to Dike 14 at Gordon Park as a dynamic community asset.

A $125,000 grant was recently awarded to the Metroparks by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to cover nearly half of the $251,000 cost of the CHEERS plan. The Metroparks, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Coastal Management and City of Cleveland each pledged $25,200 as their matching shares.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and Cuyahoga County Soil and Water have agreed to participate in the project. Additionally, Doan Brook Watershed Partners and the Trust for Public Land are non-profit organizations that will contribute expertise to the CHEERS plan.

"We just officially kicked off the project on Tuesday (May 26) and are preparing for community outreach next month (June)," said Metroparks Chief Planning and Design Officer Sean McDermott.
The Cleveland Metroparks' the Cleveland Harbor Eastern
Embayment Resilience Study will address the area as
shown in this graphic (Cleveland Metroparks).
He noted that the Metroparks has hired WRT Design, which specializes in recreational and adaptive re-use plans, to be its CHEERS project consultant.

The second project development plan, also engaging several public entities, is being led by ODOT. It will consider alternatives, impacts and benefits involving the protection, reinforcement or realignment of the right of way of Interstate 90 in the same area as the CHEERS plan.

ODOT's plan is being driven by an increasingly pressing problem -- damage being done to I-90's infrastructure by its proximity to Lake Erie. This situation is most critical on the section that was built around FirstEnergy's Lake Shore Power Station. The transcontinental highway averages 160,000-plus vehicles a day on this section yet is separated from the inland sea's pounding waves by only a skinny bike path.

That section took a beating from 20-foot-high waves during Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012, and it continues to be slammed by storms whose damage is made worse by record high lake water levels in recent years. Due to climate change, water levels are forecast to potentially rise higher.

"ODOT has had issues with wave action splashing onto I-90," said Brent Kovacs, ODOT District 12 Public Information Officer. "One of ODOT’s goals of the CHEERS study is to lessen this wave action."
Twenty-foot-high waves slammed Lake Erie's shoreline and,
a few feet away, Interstate 90 on Oct. 30, 2012 during Super-
storm Sandy. In the background is FirstEnergy's Lake Shore
Power Station and the reason why I-90 had to be routed so
close to Lake Erie. That power station was demolished in
2017, prompting the Ohio Department of Transportation
to consider moving the highway away from the lake's re-
cord high water levels and damaging waves (WKSU).
That may have been aided by FirstEnergy's removal of its Lake Shore Power Station which was built in 1911 and closed in 2015. The coal-powered electricity generating plant was razed in 2017 and most of the plant's land was transferred to FirstEnergy spin-off Energy Harbor earlier this year, said Tricia Ingraham, a FirstEnergy spokeswoman. With the power plant gone, there's no longer a reason for the highway to be routed so close to the sometimes angry lake.

That doesn't automatically mean that I-90 will be moved. The highway could be protected from the lake by filling and expanding the shoreline with deposits from never-ending dredging of the Cleveland harbor and Cuyahoga River to maintain sufficient draft for big ships. Or both options could be used to spare I-90 from Lake Erie's wrath.

"This is something that we have started to look into but is different from the CHEERS study," ODOT's Kovacs said. "The project team is very respectful of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant application and award."

But the only option that protects the highway from Lake Erie and reunites the two halves of Gordon Park is to move the highway.

"We have proposed moving I-90 south to reconnect Gordon Park," said Dick Clough, executive board chair of the Green Ribbon Coalition, Inc. "It makes sense. The freeway swung north to go around the Lake Shore Power Station. Now that it's gone, the freeway could be relocated."
The nonprofit advocacy group Green Ribbon Coalition Inc.'s
suggestion for moving Interstate 90 away from Lake Erie, re-
uniting the two halves of Gordon Park and opening up land
near the lakefront but south of I-90 for development. Note
the elevations that are shown on the map (Green Ribbon).
Under a number of scenarios proposed by the coalition, the highway would be realigned over the land where the power station stood. In addition to pollutants left by the coal-fired power plant, there are water intake canals and concrete-lined wastewater ponds. However FirstEnergy undertook environmental remediation of the site after the power station was razed.

Clough said the site preparation costs don't lend to private redevelopment of the power station land. But the land south of a relocated highway, especially as you get closer to East 55th, does. That land is elevated above the highway, providing great views of an expanded Gordon Park and the lake -- much like what Battery Park, The Edison and other developments offer south of Edgewater Park.

"That makes for awesome development potential," Clough said.

Kovacs said it was too early in the planning process to know if ODOT would acquire the former power plant site. That was echoed by Ingraham at FirstEnergy which still owns a small parcel of land just north of the CSX Transportation Inc. railroad and on the west side of East 72nd Street for an electrical substation plus support buildings. She emphasized that FirstEnergy would not sell that property because the substation is an essential component of the power grid.

FirstEnergy conducted a site re-use report at the request of the city several years ago when the utility sought approvals to demolish the Lake Shore Power Station. The plant included its 306-foot-tall brick and concrete smokestack and 170-foot-tall boiler house.
Gordon Park was one of the city's most popular parks until
Lake Shore Boulevard was upgraded as the Shoreway and then
incorporated into the federal Interstate system in the 1950s.
Moving the highway south away from the lake would not
only protect the highway from the ravages of Lake Erie's
waves but also restore Gordon Park as the largest park
in the City of Cleveland (Green Ribbon).
Although most of the power station is gone and Energy Harbor now owns most of the former power station's land, there is a small, yet critical and active piece of electrical grid infrastructure remaining on it, too.

Energy Harbor has voltage regulating equipment located immediately west of FirstEnergy's remaining parcel and it was expected to be untouched in all of the power station property re-use options envisioned by FirstEnergy. An Energy Harbor spokesperson could not be located for comment.

The former power station property measures 53 acres. But FirstEnergy's report considered that only 40 acres would be developable due to steep slopes on the site. The remaining high-voltage infrastructure and the land's steep, 40-50 foot drop toward the lake also provides some guidance as to how far south the highway might be rerouted.

On the other hand, the area to the west of the utilities' equipment could be redeveloped with new residential and commercial structures up to 115 feet high (about 11 stories), according to existing zoning. This acknowledges the site's proximity to Burke Lakefront Airport. Federal Aviation Administration regulations restrict building heights to 250 feet between 4,000 and 10,000 feet from the end of a runway and near its flight path, the FirstEnergy report noted.
Potential redevelopment concepts for the former FirstEnergy
Lake Shore Power Station site assuming that Interstate 90 is
moved away from the Lake Erie shoreline (FirstEnergy).
Chris Ronayne, now president of University Circle Inc. and a port authority board member, was Cleveland's planning director two decades ago when he led the formation of the most recent citywide lakefront development masterplan.

"The idea to set back I-90 to the tracks was offered 20 years ago with a concept plan called 'Reclaiming our Lakefront'," he said. "It was a good idea then and an even better idea now. ODOT was not as willing to explore the possibility of it during our subsequent planning work on the Cleveland Waterfront District Plan. But we should channel their enthusiasm and openness to the idea now. The resurgence of Gordon Park at the water's edge, thanks to Metroparks, has increased Clevelanders' appetite for more lakefront parks."

The area to the north of the highway, opened up by a southerly relocation of I-90, could increase Gordon Park's land area from 105 acres to 158 acres -- not including the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, formerly a dredging disposal site called Dike 14.

The lakefront between Burke and Gordon Park, which is the subject of the CHEERS study, is a mix of marinas leased from the Metroparks which, in turn, leases them from the city. There are also some new residential developments there including the Shoreline Apartments, an adaptive reuse of the Nicholson Terminal, and the new-construction Shoreline Phase II.

But the tallest structure along this portion of the lakefront is another former power station, this one belonging to Cleveland Public Power (CPP). Originally built in 1914 as the Cleveland Municipal Light Plant, it is well-known for its "Song of the Whales" mural that greets I-90 motorists coming into downtown.
The City of Euclid is in the midst of improving its lakefront
with coves, beaches and trails that not only address worsen-
ing erosion but also improve recreation and can stimulate
nearby real estate values and development. Similar efforts
are being considered by the Cleveland Metroparks in its
latest planning project (City of Euclid).

The once-coal-fired, 57,552-square-foot power station is now used as a CPP warehouse and was expanded by 16,500 square feet in 2009. There also is an electrical substation on-site. The city-owned Kirtland Pump Station and Kirtland Park are on the south side of the highway, opposite of the CPP property.

Although CPP officials have made no pronouncements about the future of this site, the Green Ribbon Coalition said they believe that this property's inclusion in the CHEERS plan suggests it could be re-used as a result of it. Typically, public agencies don't presume to include another public agency's property in their land-use plans unless there have at least been some informal conversations beforehand.

The CHEERS plan community outreach focus area extends south to St. Clair Avenue. One of the goals of the study is to improve and increase the number of lakefront access routes for vehicles, pedestrians and bikes from south of I-90 and the CSX railroad. A similar effort to improve and increase access routes from south of the Shoreway and a parallel railroad was undertaken with the Metroparks' Edgewater Park in the 2010s.

"The area north of I-90 is the main focus of the CHEERS study," said Kelly Coffman, senior strategic park planner at the Metroparks. "The area south of I-90 is the community outreach focus area. The partners intend to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and the public, however we're especially interested in hearing from nearby residents about what they'd like to see along Lake Erie and how the partners can improve access to park space."

The CHEERS study is expected to take about a year. There is no timeline yet for the parallel ODOT planning effort. However, the average time it takes for a federally funded, major transportation project to go from idea to ribbon cutting is about 10 years.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Seeds & Sprouts VII - Early intel on real estate projects

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

The City of Euclid's shoreline improvement project continues
to advance with eastward expansion to protect more lakefront
properties from erosion and lengthen an all-purpose trail the
city began building several years ago (City of Euclid).
Euclid shoreline improvements continue

Public bidding has commenced for the construction of additional Phase 2 features of the City of Euclid's shoreline improvement project to create a lakefront trail and erosion control along Lake Erie. The project is proving so popular and visionary that Cuyahoga County and other cities want to emulate the project across 30 miles of the entire county's shoreline.

Bids are due to be submitted to the city by June 15 for phase 2 improvements estimated at about $749,999, according to the city. But other elements bring the total cost of this phase to about $5 million. The project will extend the trail and erosion control, including a new beach, 0.25-mile eastward to north of the Harbor Crest Apartments and create a park between the Harbor Crest and Normandy Towers Apartments.

In 2018-19, the city constructed shoreline improvements totaling $13 million including a half-mile of new trail, staircase to the lake and Sims Park Fishing Pier. Previously, the city built the Sims Beach.

Only 5 percent of Euclid's lakefront was publicly accessible before these improvements. That will rise to roughly 30 percent after the improvements. The private properties abutting Lake Erie were suffering from erosion that was worsening as lake levels have reached historic highs in recent years.

So the city offered to provide erosion control in exchange for public access to the lakefront. City funding came from tax-increment financing from the increased property values and resulting increase in tax revenues. Additional funding came from Cuyahoga County Casino Revenue Funds and Federal Emergency Management Agency grants through a pre-disaster mitigation program.
The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organi-
zation and Marous Brothers Construction Co. are work-
ing on redeveloping the long-closed Pilsener Brewing
Co. into an 39-unit apartment building (CPC).
Pilsener Square housing project advances

The adaptive reuse of the long-closed Pilsener Brewing Co., 6605 Clark Ave., was bolstered by Cleveland's City Planning Commission awarding landmark status to the historic building May 15. However, the project missed the latest opportunity to win a $817,050 competitive New Affordability tax credit from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

The landmark designation will position the $8.5 million project to win potentially large historic tax credits from the state and/or federal governments to restore and convert the building into 39 apartments. The brewery was constructed in 1894 and was expanded rapidly with additional structures that are no longer standing. The company which brewed P.O.C. beer and other brands closed in 1984.

Partnering on the development are the Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Organization and Marous Brothers Construction Co. The name "Pilsener" comes from the Czech city of Pilsen, where the light Bohemian lager beer was first made.
The property at 12607 Larchmere Blvd. will continue to look
like this for a little while longer as Berusch Development
Partners looks for a new office tenant for his proposed
20,000-square-foot mixed-use development (Google).
Berusch's Larchmere project delayed

Berusch Development Partners' proposed mixed-use development at 12607 Larchmere Blvd. in Cleveland has hit a pandemic-related snag despite other recent progress, according to development firm President Russell Berusch.

The project's partner and main tenant was to be RDL Architects, a 44-employee Shaker Heights firm that would relocate to 13,000 square feet in the proposed building. The project's total square footage is proposed to be 20,000 square feet which would also include four apartments and a small, ground-floor retail space for an anticipated coffee shop.

Although Berusch didn't identify RDL as his initial tenant, the City Record did identify RDL founder Ron Lloyd as his partner. It also said the site would be redeveloped with "an architecture firm from Shaker Heights. The architecture firm was founded in 1994 and has had some considerable growth over the past few years."

A source close to the situation said that with forced quarantined operations, RDL no longer has a need for more office space to accommodate the firm's growth. The architectural firm will continue to use their current office building at 16102 Chagrin Blvd.

Despite the setback, a chain-of-title agreement and 30-year non-school tax financing arrangement were approved by the City Planning Commission on May 15 to aid the project. Berusch is looking for a new tenant in order to proceed with the project, which first requires demolishing an existing two-story warehouse.

This project is not to be confused with First Interstate Properties Ltd.'s 88-apartment 121 Larchmere development for which construction is just getting underway. The $23 million building will also have 6,500 square feet of office space on the ground floor, facing Larchmere.
Three new stores are coming to Crocker Park with two of them
due to open this fall in the lifestyle center's third phase and
another opening later in the existing part (KJP).
Crocker Park expands with new stores 

Despite the pandemic, several new retailers are coming to the Greater Cleveland market. Sources say bids are due next week for the buildout of two retail tenant spaces involving a total of $2 million worth of construction work at Crocker Park in Westlake.

The two retail spaces are for buy buy BABY, an infant clothing and accessory store, and Cost Plus World Market, a home decor, home entertaining and gift giving shop. Buy buy BABY will occupy 18,363 square feet at 302 Main St. and Cost Plus World Market will be across the street in a 18,380-square-foot space at 313 Main.

A third store, a women's fashion retailer Dry Goods, will be bid separately at a later time. It will be located at 87 Main, between Athleta and Hanna Andersson. The other two stores are part of the third phase of development of Crocker Park, a lifestyle center that opened in 2004 as a partnership of Stark Enterprises and the Carney family.
Parker's Downtown restaurant
in the Schofield Building will
open with a new theme, menu,
name at the end of June (KJP).
Parker's restaurant will reopen as Bett's

Following a renovation that has been under way during the pandemic, Parker's Downtown will reopen under the name "Bett's" and with a new concept at the end of this month, according to the building's owner CRM Companies.

Although the menu and brand is not yet publicly available, the new restaurant hasn't changed ownership. It will continue to be owned by James and Victoria Mowbray. Parker's was a 120-seat restaurant which served the public as well as customers of the Kimpton Schofield Hotel at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland.

The restaurant is being named after the wife of Levi Schofield, the architect and designer of the 14-story Schofield Building that was built in 1902 and thoroughly renovated in 2016. Although her name was Elizabeth, he affectionately called her Bett. She was a homemaker who provided joy and food to her family, according to CRM.

Plans are still progressing for adding a Citizens Bank branch to the corner space at Euclid and East 9th which has never had anything more than seasonal retailers occupying it. The work was apparently delayed by the pandemic.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dream Hotel tower at Masonic Temple in Midtown planned

A 202-room Dream Hotel is proposed to rise next to and be
connected with the 2,300-seat Masonic Temple on Euclid
Avenue at East 36th Street in Cleveland's Midtown dis-
trict. Construction is due to start in early 2021 on the
proposed mixed-use development project (Bialosky).
One thing's for certain -- the Coronavirus pandemic hasn't slowed the rapid spread of plans for high-rise towers in Cleveland.

The latest is a proposed 19-story, $60 million Dream Hotel proposed to rise alongside the Masonic Temple, 3615 Euclid Ave. The project was announced today by investor Beaty Capital Group of Fort Smith, AR.

Beaty Capital bought the 99-year-old temple in 2017 and renovated it last year for $8 million with another $10 million in renovations planned. The same firm bought and renovated several other Masonic halls nationwide.

Proposed is a 207-room lifestyle hotel that will include restaurants, nightlife venues, a fitness center and 100,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The project, called TempleLive, will also include a 400-space parking deck. Hotel guests will also be able to access the renovated 2,300-seat theater in the adjoining Masonic Temple.
This view is looking west towards downtown Cleveland, with
the Masonic Temple on the other side of the new tower (Bialosky).
The mixed-use development is proposed to rise starting in early 2021 on a 0.9-acre property on the east flank of the Masonic Temple. The property is currently a parking lot and owned by an affiliate of Beaty Capital, Templelive Cleveland LLC. The same affiliate owns the temple property. Beaty Capital acquired both parcels for $725,000, county records show.

"Today’s announcement is a testament to the strength of our brands and growing confidence in the travel industry despite these unprecedented times," Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein said in a written statement.

“Cleveland is the birthplace of rock and roll, and much like the Dream Hotels brand, it is a city marked by a youthful, vibrant energy, creative spirit and burgeoning arts and culture scene that many aren’t yet aware of," he added. "Together, with partners Beaty Capital Group, our goal is to deliver an experience-driven property that surpasses expectations, blending great food and beverage, creative programming, entertainment and world-class hospitality, in the heart of Midtown Cleveland."

"It is exciting to look beyond this recent period of anxiety and uncertainty to bring such an iconic project to Midtown Cleveland, “ said Lance Beaty, president of Beaty Capital Group.
Location of the existing Masonic Temple and proposed site
of the Dream Hotel and TempleLive development (Google).
“As you could imagine the project has been delayed by recent events, but we feel that it’s important for the city of Cleveland, the live music and performing arts, the hospitality industry, and the country as a whole to regain confidence and move forward with our lives. We believe this announcement today is an exciting and positive step in that direction," Beaty said.

"They've been working on it for a while," said Jeff Epstein, executive director of MidTown Cleveland Inc. "When they purchased the (Masonic Temple) building, they talked about a hotel as being a component. My understanding is that, the fact that this is going to be next to a large performance venue was a big pull. The (Dream) Hotels themselves are destinations."

Interestingly, this is the second time a high-rise tower was proposed next to the Masonic Temple. The first time was shortly after the temple was built. Then, a 23-story Masonic Memorial office tower was proposed to be built between the front of the temple and Euclid Avenue. Like most developments in all cities, that tower never came to pass.

Except for the 22-story Wilson Apartments built in 1969 at East 55th Street and Chester Avenue, no high-rises have been built in Midtown. There are a number of underutilized properties nearby, which lends one to wonder if this hotel project could foster some spin-off developments.
The 23-story Masonic Memorial Build-
ing was proposed on the front of the
temple in the 1920s (KJP file).
"I think this will certainly have an impact on other properties," Epstein said. "There's nothing planned that I can share."

An article in Talk Business notes that Daniel MacDonnell and George Qiao with Cushman & Wakefield Global Hospitality represented Beaty Capital in developing the project and construction financing. Cleveland-based Bialosky is the project architect and the general contractor is Cleveland Construction. Bialosky also managed initial stabilization and preservation work on the Masonic Temple in 2018.

The hotel project is the latest of many high-rises proposed in Cleveland. It seems like there's a high-rise revealed or announced every other week, despite the pandemic.

"It's really crazy," Epstein said. "It's great. Plan at the bottom and work your way up."