Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Euclid Avenue mansion may be razed for new development

In 1935, a couple years shy of its 50th birthday, the Allen-
Sullivan mansion undertook its most significant transfor-
mation -- into a fraternal hall for the Sons of Italy. Now
133 years old, the mansion was acquired by a real estate
developer and may be demolished soon for a significant
mixed-use development (ClevelandHistorical.org).

UPDATED DEC. 16, 2020

One of the last surviving Euclid Avenue mansions is facing possible demolition to make way for a significant mixed-use real estate development by a national developer. It is one of several real estate developments popping up in the area.

Known by historians as the Allen-Sullivan House and more recently as The Colosseum, the 1887-built house at 7218 Euclid became the subject of a demolition permit application submitted to the city of Cleveland today.

The application was submitted by C&J Contractors of Cleveland on behalf of Signet Real Estate Group, according to public records from the city's Building Department. A demolition permit request was also submitted to the city for a neighboring car repair shop at 7224 Euclid. Signet's principal offices are located in Akron and Jacksonville, FL.

Signet acquired the mansion and nearly 6 acres of land in the 7200 block between Euclid and Carnegie avenues on Oct. 1 for $2.4 million, according to Cuyahoga County records. Six acres is a very large development site for an urban area. For reference, the property on which the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (home of the Cleveland Cavaliers) sets is just under 7 acres.

Shown in a red outline is the nearly 6 acres of land in the 7200
block of Euclid and Carnegie avenues that was acquired by the
Signet Real Estate Group for a development. The Allen-Sul-
livan mansion is near the top-center of the property (Google).

Although Signet's development plans are still at an early stage, the firm is reportedly seeking to develop primarily residential uses with some commercial space along Euclid and/or Carnegie, according to a source who spoke off the record because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the project.

The source said that Signet's primary interest is to first develop the southern part of the site, near Carnegie. The demolition request for the mansion was submitted now because the city apparently has a backlog of permits to process and is taking a long time. So a demolition does not appear imminent as a development concept for the Euclid end hasn't been nailed down, the source said.

Signet typically develops institutional structures such as for hospitals, universities and research centers plus carrying out public-private partnerships involving port facilities, sports stadiums and parking garages. But it also develops student housing for institutions of higher learning.

Its most recent housing project in Cleveland was the Axis at Ansel. Opening this past summer, the $35 million, 163-unit apartment building with more than 1,000 square feet of street-facing retail is located at the corner of Ansel Road and Hough Avenue.

Joel Maas, Signet's director of marketing and communications, acknowledged receiving an e-mail from NEOtrans seeking more information about the project but didn't otherwise respond prior to publication of this article. Jeff Epstein, executive director of MidTown Cleveland, refused to comment about the project or the requested demolition.

Earlier this year, Signet Real Estate Group opened its Axis at
Ansel apartments at the east end of the Hough neighborhood
for students of higher-education institutions in University
Circle. Robust leasing at this development has prompted
Signet to pursue more development in the area (Signet).

According to the two demolition permit applications, the cost to raze the targeted structures and remove their debris is estimated at $120,000. That includes the 14,300-square-foot auditorium/fraternal hall built in 1935 behind the 5,600-square-foot Allen-Sullivan mansion. Cuyahoga County property records rated both structures as being in "very poor" condition.

Kathleen Crowther, president of the Cleveland Restoration Society, told NEOtrans that the Allen-Sullivan mansion isn't a designated Cleveland landmark. So, unfortunately, its demolition will not be reviewed by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission.

"It is sad to lose yet another Euclid Avenue house," she said. "I understand from the city that it was likely eligible as a landmark. However, the property appears to have been severely underutilized for many years now, which would mean deterioration that accelerates with time."

Crowther noted that with the recent establishment of Opportunity Zones and this property's inclusion in one, the mansion has become the target of real estate investors in the past year. Coupled with the growth of nearby University Circle, it was only a matter of time before the neglected mansion fell victim.

"It is not surprising to hear it has changed hands," she added. "It is in our community’s best interest to preserve landmarks when it is economically feasible, which often times it is due to the federal and state tax credits for historic property redevelopment. If a property like this is demolished, we believe that the replacement development should have to provide a higher community value."

The Fisco family operated The Colosseum party center
for 35 years until 1999. It has sat vacant ever since
except for a caretaker who reportedly lived at the
once grand mansion (Bill Blasko).

The house and the fraternal hall have sat unsed for 20 years except for an on-site caretaker, wrote historian Jim Dubelko at ClevelandHistorical.org. The Queen Anne-style house was built in 1887 by railroad industry supplier Richard Allen and his wife Susan. As a widow, Susan Allen sold it in 1898 to Central National Bank founder Jeremiah J. Sullivan.

After the Sullivan family moved out, the mansion served from 1923-31 as an upscale furniture store called The Josephine Shop. In the midst of the Great Depression, the house was sold to the The Grand Lodge of Ohio, Order Sons of Italy in America which converted it in 1935 into an Italian-American fraternal hall. It included adding the auditorium onto the back of the house, Dubelko wrote.

The fraternal organization sold the Allen-Sullivan mansion in 1946 to the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers. It operated offices and a research laboratory on the site until 1961, when the facilities were closed.

Dubelko wrote that it was sold again, this time in 1964 to Mary Fisco whose Italian immigrant husband Benjamin restored the house and auditorium to its appearance when it served as the Italian-American fraternal hall and operated it as The Colosseum Entertainment Center. Seven years after Benjamin Fisco's 1992 death, the Colosseum closed and went through five ownership changes in the next 20 years.

"Given this owner’s desire to sell, and the City of Cleveland’s desire to continue redevelopment of its Midtown Corridor along Euclid Avenue, the future of the Allen-Sullivan house is precarious and it might not avoid demolition without an effort on the part of the city and/or the future developer to save it," Dubelko wrote several years ago.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Sherwin-Williams drills toward HQ groundbreaking date

Crews began drilling exploratory wells
down to bedrock this week and continuing
for up to a month to gather more data for the
new 1-million-square-foot Sherwin-Williams'
global headquarters on Downtown Cleveland's
Public Square. This scene was captured Dec.
10 on the former Jacobs Group-owned park-
ing lot, just across Superior Avenue from the
Renaissance Cleveland Hotel (Pete Marek).

A high-ranking member of Sherwin-Williams' headquarters development team informed NEOtrans that the global coatings giant has set its desired date for groundbreaking for the end of 2021 or very early in 2022. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity as the source was not authorized to speak publicly about the project.

While that source was keeping NEOtrans apprised from their end, another reliable source reached out to report that a contractor, Ohio TestBor of Hinckley, had received verbal approval last week from Cleveland's Division of Water Pollution Control to discharge drilling water from exploratory wells into the city's sewers. The wells are for gathering subsurface data for the new SHW HQ's foundations.

An Ohio TestBor representative told city officials that the geotechnical survey company will be drilling multiple 3-inch wells more than 200 feet in depth, hitting sand, clay and finally bedrock. The drilling is expected to continue for up to a month.

The source noted that the Ohio TestBor representative said the drilling and discharge locations will be "a site just west of Public Square." The drilling company representative further identified the site is "a location for a high-rise that is currently a parking lot."

These architects at Pickard Chilton, SHW's HQ designer, are
working through a conceptual massing of a major development
featuring what appears to be a 40- to 45-story tower with a se-
cond building about half as tall. The Instagram photo included
text, saying one of the design firm's associates was leading a
discussion on "Transportation Hubs and Mixed-Use Solutions
as a Strategy for a Polycentric City." Could this be SHW's HQ
tower on Public Square with a secondary building farther west
on Superior Avenue at West 6th Street? (Pickard Chilton)

Sure enough, Ohio TestBor crews began drilling this week on the former Jacobs Group-owned parking lot on the northwest corner of Public Square. It is not yet known if the drilling will be limited to this one parking lot.

For its new, 1-million-square-foot HQ, SHW acquired the 1.17-acre former Jacobs lot along with the 5.63 acres of parking lots in the so-called Superblock formerly owned by the Weston Group. The Superblock is bounded by Superior and St. Clair avenues, plus West 3rd and West 6th streets.

Both the Division of Water Pollution Control and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District require geotechnical drilling companies to sample wastewater from the wells to make sure there are no pollutants before discharging them into the storm sewers. The source said they often find pollutants in wells drilled at sites that have been in use for decades if not centuries.

When those two agencies were contacted, their spokespersons said that no permit application documents were filed and no physical permits were issued. The temporary discharge approvals were granted to Ohio TestBor verbally, a common practice.

In November 2019, three months before SHW announced the
site for its new HQ, geotechnical survey crews first probed the
soil below the former Jacobs and Weston-owned lots (KJP).

The news confirms previous reports published at NEOtrans about the size of the HQ building. Drilling down to bedrock indicates that supportive caissons excavated to bedrock will likely be the HQ's foundation. A building in Cleveland that rests on caissons dug to bedrock points to a building taller than 30 stories. Shorter, lighter buildings are typically built on thick concrete pads.

In November and December of 2019, geotechnical crews and sewer repair workers descended upon the parking lots and city streets surrounding the SHW HQ site west of Public Square. It preceded the February announcement that SHW would keep its HQ in downtown Cleveland but its research & development facility would move to suburban Brecksville.

Work done in July suggested that a second large building, although probably not as large as what is apparently planned for the former Jacobs Lot, may be in the offing. Exploratory excavations were dug at the northeast corner of Superior and West 6th.

A member of the SHW development team revealed to NEOtrans in May that SHW's HQ tower will probably be in the 45- to 55-story range. Another report in September from a prospective contractor pointed to a building that might "rival Key Tower" -- the 57-story, 948-foot supertall on the northeast corner pf Public Square.

Exploratory excavations were made in July at
the northeast corner of Superior Avenue and
West 6th Street to learn the location of utilities
and other underground structures buried
more than 200 years ago (Ian Meadows).

Yet another report, this one in early November, came from two sources who saw conceptual renderings of the HQ tower as well as the Brecksville R&D facility. The HQ tower was described as "evocative of an East Coast especially New York-style of architecture" with a height about the size of the 200 Public Square but could be taller based on the angle of the rendering.

But this latest drilling work confirms SHW and its development team are still working through the conceptual design stage -- the earliest step, followed by schematic design and then final design. Exploratory drilling would not be occurring if SHW et al had already determined a conceptual plan about the physical form of its HQ.

SHW in September publicly announced its HQ and research center development team. The construction manager is a new partnership, Welty Gilbane, formed last year by Welty-Testa Builders, LLC of Akron and the Gilbane Building Co., a global firm with offices in Cleveland. Mark G. Anderson Consultants, Inc. of Washington DC is the project manager, responsible for project controls and will be the owner's representative.

Designing the global headquarters is Pickard Chilton Architects, Inc., an international firm known for designing signature buildings. Meanwhile the base building architect for the global headquarters and the design, base and interior architect for the R&D facility is HGA Architects and Engineers, LLC of Minneapolis -- home of Valspar Co. which SHW acquired in 2017. Vocon Partners, LLC of Cleveland is the interior architect for the global headquarters.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Ohio lawmakers pass skyline-altering bill

Ohio cities could see more construction cranes adding to
their skylines in the next few years if the Ohio Senate
 and Gov. Mike DeWine concur that a new Transfor-
mational Mixed Use Development tax credit should
 become law by the end of this month. (blogTO).

ARTICLE UPDATED DEC. 9, 2020: Ohio Senate voted 28-2 to concur with the Ohio House of Representatives' changes to Sub. SB39, the Transformational Mixed-Use Developments tax credit. The bill has been forwarded to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature to become law.

Today, the Ohio House of  Representatives passed legislation for creating a real estate megaprojects tax credit. Substitute House Bill 39 would create $100 million in tax credits per year over four years that encourage insurance companies to invest in Transformational Mixed-Use Developments, or TMUDs.

Members of the Ohio House passed Sub. SB39 by a vote of 84-1. It followed the passage of a similar bill by the Ohio Senate earlier in the 133rd General Assembly's two-year session. The Senate voted 32-1 in July 2019 to support the bill as introduced by State Senator Kirk Schuring (R-29, Canton).

Schuring informed House leaders that he would support a clean version of the House-passed version of his bill. However the bill was amended at the last minute per the request of Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr. (R-27, Mt. Lookout) to restore a tax credit for political campaign contributions. Rep. Mike Skindell (D-13, Lakewood) said the amendment is unrelated to the bill's original purpose and which would restore a tax credit that the Ohio Senate had ended. That means the bill will return to the Senate for a concurrence vote. 

If the Senate passes the amended legislation and even if the governor doesn't sign the bill within 10 days, the bill automatically becomes law. He could also veto it, however unlikely.

The TMUD tax credit is the brainchild of Stark Enterprises and its law firm Thompson Hine LLP that drafted the first version of the legislation three years ago. Stark sought the tax credit to fill a gap in its capital funding for the mixed-use nuCLEus development on East 4th Street, between Huron Road and Prospect Avenue in downtown Cleveland.

But Stark's reward is still a long ways from being of direct benefit to the firm and its development plans that hatched the TMUD tax credit. It could instead be a reward for dozens of known and potential TMUDs throughout the state, including up to 30 projects just in Greater Cleveland with which Stark's project will have to compete.

To qualify for a credit, an urban TMUD project must be within 10 miles of a major city that has a population larger than 100,000 people. The project must be valued at $50 million or more, include a building at least 15 stories high or include 350,000 square feet of space in some combination of office, residential, hotel, retail, structured parking or recreational use.

Stark Enterprises sought the TMUD tax credit to close the
equity gap on its planned nuCLEus development. But it
will allow many other megaprojects in Cleveland and
elsewhere to become a reality (Stark).

Up to $100 million in TMUD tax credits may be awarded per year over four years. The duration is from the start of state fiscal year 2020 that began on July 1, 2019 and ending at the close of state fiscal 2023 on June 30 of that calendar year. By issuing a TMUD tax credit, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority would refund to insurance companies as much as 10 percent of their investment in a TMUD. The credit would be capped at $40 million per project. Most projects would receive far less.

Up to $80 million will be available to urban projects statewide. Another $20 million will be available to projects with buildings only four stories in height and a total size of 75,000 square feet in smaller towns and rural areas that are 10 miles or more from a major city.

Sub. SB39 was passed out of a House committee on Nov. 18.

"This bill has received strong bipartisan support," Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-54, Mason), chair of the House's Economic & Workforce Development Committee (E&WD). "The goal is to kick-start our economic recovery. There are guardrails on this to ensure that the benefits will meet or exceed its costs."

"The bill is a great way to drive economic development in our districts," said Rep. Terrence Upchurch (D-10, Cleveland). He also is a member of E&WD Committee.

Skindell, another member of the E&WD Committee, was the lone floor vote against the bill. 

One of the last big office conversions downtown is the
former Huntington Bank Building at 925 Euclid Ave.
Millennia Companies is proposing to convert the 1.36-
million-square-foot building to a mix of uses called
The Centennial. The TMUD tax credit would apply
to renovations and new construction (Millennia).

"SB 39 reduces (tax) revenues from large insurance companies by up to 17 percent annually at a time we are not properly funding food banks, meal delivery for seniors, local governments, primary and secondary education and needs-based assistance for higher education," Skindell said.

Steve Coven, Stark Enterprise’s vice president of real estate development, said tax credits similar to Sub. SB39's have already helped advance the redevelopment of historic buildings which has led to a visible revival in Cleveland’s central business district. But the supply of obsolete commercial buildings available for conversion to residential or mixed uses is running low.

Since 1995, 31 residential developments in downtown Cleveland 10 stories or taller were completed and only five of those involved new construction -- Crittenden Court Apartments, Pinnacle Condominiums, The Avenue District Apartments, The Beacon apartments and The Lumen apartments.

And, since 2006, seven 20+ story residential developments opened in downtown Cleveland. Only two of those involved new construction -- The Beacon and Lumen. All of the others were the result of rehabilitating historic commercial buildings, the remaining supply of which is becoming constrained and/or involving much more expensive renovation projects like The Centennial at 925 Euclid Ave.

"This (historic tax credit) program has encouraged our urban areas to preserve their historic buildings, which is what gave our cities their character, and now we need to complement that character with a program that will allow our cities to set the stage for their futures,” Coven added.

"There seems to be so many projects in Cleveland that are so close to the finish line financially," said Zak Baris, president of Comprehensive Zoning Services, a real estate due-diligence firm. "This (TMUD tax credit) would help complete the equity gap for numerous projects that couldn't previously work. In the projects I've worked on, a lot of life (insurance) companies are invested in the deals. They essentially act as banks. They cover the debt."

A massive expansion of Flats East Bank with up to 2,000
housing units, plus co-working and retail/restaurant
spaces could benefit from the TMUD tax credit (HSB).

"There's a reason some of these projects haven't moved forward and it's not for a lack of desire," said Michael Panzica, principal at M. Panzica Development. "Large-scale projects come at a premium. This is another tool in the toolbox. It would be a tremendous asset. The way it (the bill) is written, I think it's well-structured. It doesn't come as a loss to the taxpayer."

Sub. SB39 would allow investor life insurance companies like Allstate, New York Life, Nationwide, Mutual of Omaha, Lincoln Financial and others to receive a TMUD tax credit as large as $40 million only after the developments they support create economic impacts that exceed that of the tax credit. 

Panzica said he couldn't discuss any projects he's involved with that might benefit from the TMUD tax credit, however.

"We're certainly keeping an eye on it," Panizica said. 

"SB39, along with other tax credit programs, help bridge the financing gaps for feasibility in slower-growth communities throughout Ohio," said Tim Jackson, managing director at Integra Realty Resources, a firm based in Denver but with offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. "Coupled with other incentive programs, this potentially helps spur additional investment in these locations."

"The strength of our downtown core neighborhood is incredibly important to the overall economic health of our city," said Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack whose Ward 3 includes development hot spots like downtown, Ohio City and Tremont.

"From the tax base downtown generates that serves the entire city, to being a catalyst of innovation and economic development, we have to continue to be bullish about investment downtown. If Sub. SB 39 spurs thousands of temporary and permanent jobs, then it will be a success for Cleveland. Besides, It would be nice to see the state government finally do something positive for cities," McCormack said.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Seeds & Sprouts XIII - Early intel on real estate projects

This is the Thirteenth 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.

Two office buildings seen in this view, North Point Tower in
the foreground and Fifth Third Center in the background at
right, are gaining as tenants two financial institutions
that are new to Greater Cleveland market (Google).

Two financial firms establish first local offices

Building permit applications were filed in recent weeks with the City of Cleveland for two financial institutions seeking their first offices in the Greater Cleveland market. The financial institutions want to locate new offices in two separate downtown Cleveland buildings owned by the Hertz Group of Woodland Hills, CA. HSB Architects + Engineers of Cleveland submitted both permit applications.

According to a Nov. 17 letter from Building & Housing Examiner Glen Murray, the city approved a building permit to Provenzale Construction Co. of Cleveland on behalf of Peoples United Bank of Bridgeport, CT, to locate what appears to be a lending office in 2,907 square feet of space on the 15th floor of the 19-story North Point Building, 1001 Lakeside Ave. The building code allows Peoples United Bank's Cleveland planned office space to have a maximum occupancy of 29 people.

Provenzale will demolish the existing interior and renovate the office space for $141,895, the Nov. 24-issued permit shows. The North Point Building was built in two phases. The five-story portion of the building was built in 1984 and the 19-story portion was built in 1989, county records show.

Peoples United Bank, a full-service banking enteprise founded in 1842 has more than 400 offices, retail branches and teller machines throughout New England but nothing in Ohio until now. Steven Bodakowski, first vice president of corporate communications of Peoples United Bank, said in a Nov. 12 e-mail he was not aware of the company's expansion to Cleveland. He didn't respond to a Dec. 4 follow-up e-mail.

Then, on Nov. 30, HSB filed a permit application on behalf of White Oak Global Advisors of San Francisco to establish a 2,888-square-foot office on the 26th floor of Fifth Third Center, 600 Superior Ave. That square footage allows a maximum occupancy of 28 people under Cleveland's building code. An e-mail sent to White Oak's Web site seeking more information wasn't returned prior to publication.

The requested building permit proposes minor interior alterations including for plumbing, heating-ventilating-cooling, electrical and fire protection systems estimated at $40,000. Fifth Third Center was built in 1991 as Bank One Center. The 27-story building with its decorative crown and spires is 446 feet tall and the sixth-tallest building in Cleveland.

According to its Web site, White Oak Global Advisors was founded in 2007. It is an investment advisor and private credit firm that provides lending and other financial assistance to small and middle market businesses. White Oak has offices worldwide including USA locations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, Boca Raton, FL and Bethesda, MD.

The proposed floorplan for a new family dentistry clinic
in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood is the subject
of a newly requested building permit to convert a
former video store into the clinic (anonymous).

MetroHealth seeks appointment for dentistry clinic

MetroHealth System's nonprofit development arm, CCH Development Corp., has requested a permit to renovate a former Hollywood Video store at 3701 Lorain Ave. in the Ohio City neighborhood into a family dentistry clinic.

The permit application was filed Nov. 17 by Perspectus Architecture LLC of Cleveland on behalf of CCH for its property at 3701 Lorain Ave. The 7,665-square-foot building was constructed in 1998 as a Rite Aid, set at the southwest corner of Lorain and Fulton Road, next to the Tinnerman Lofts rehab project and near to other developments. Value of the renovation and interior buildout was not listed on the application.

Interior demolition work could start by spring on the new dentistry clinic. Through an affiliate, CCH acquired the property in 2017 for $1.175 million. The clinic could eventually employ up to 20 dentists, technicians, assistants and office staff. When it was a video store, the parking lot had 41 spaces. The store closed in 2009 during the depths of Great Recession.

Signet Real Estate Group is a development partner on the project, planning documents show. A family dental clinic located in a populous neighborhood and on two busy bus lines is welcomed by Ward 3 City Councilman Kerry McCormack.

"It means a lot," he said. "That site is a long-time controversial site. It is the former site of the controversial McDonald's development. Now it will be a great community asset. It's a long-storied site with a happy ending. The community is happy about an amenity for all residents going in."

Before McCormack became a councilman, there also was a proposal to develop permanent supportive housing on the property. But he said he is very supportive of such developments. McCormack noted that the clinic's site plan will also remove the curb cut on Lorain and support the city's long-planned $11 million Lorain Avenue streetscape.

One of eight multi-family units proposed to be built from repur-
posed shipping containers on East 73rd Street in Cleveland's
St. Clair-Superior neighborhood (Architecture Office).

Container homes sought near ArkiTainer apartments

At the urging of community officials, Cleveland-based WRJ Developers is seeking to build up to 19 units housing divided among five duplexes and three triplexes on eight vacant city land bank lots. The lots are located on East 73rd Street north of St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

WRJ Developers and its designer, Architecture Office LLC of Cleveland, won schematic approval from the City Planning Commission on Dec. 4 for their planned housing called ArkiTainer on 73rd. Before the commission can grant final approval, setbacks in the designs must be modified slightly to meet the city's zoning code.

The duplexes and triplexes are planned one street over from WRJ Developers' planned ArkiTainer on 72nd, a four-story, 64-unit apartment building built from repurposed shipping containers to be located at 877-903 E. 72nd St. The proposed apartment building won final approval from Planning Commission in September. NEOtrans broke the story about ArkiTainer on 72nd last May.

Pending acquisition of the land bank properties, WRJ Developers Principal Jermaine Brooks said their firm's goal is to start construction of the eight-structure ArkiTainer on 73rd housing in Spring 2021. Construction is expected to take about five months.

Both the ArkiTainer on 72nd apartment building and ArkiTainer on 73rd duplexes and triplexes will each be the first such housing in Ohio repurposed from shipping containers, said Charlie Townsend, Ward 10 community business and engagement manager at the Famicos Foundation.

Adam Rosekelly of Architecture Office described the development as "relatively low-income housing." Rents were not disclosed. He noted that the exterior colors will differ on each of the eight units and the structures will not exceed the height of the existing homes along the street. 

"One of the things that we are looking to do particularly as reinvestment happens in neighborhoods on the East Side is to introduce a new type of a product and create housing choice and housing options," said City Planning Commission Director Freddy Collier. "When we think about this new type of construction, what better area to do it in than one that has that transition from commercial to residential fabric that has gaps to be filled in?"

Collier also said that WRJ Developers is one of the few minority-owned real estate development firms he has encountered in his 20 years as an employee of the City Planning Commission. He said he is happy to work with them.

"We're looking to seek true opportunity, to create access, to help to rebuild and reinvest in our neighborhoods by all people," Collier said. 


Friday, December 4, 2020

University Circle's tallest may see groundbreaking by Spring 2021

Proposed to be the tallest building in University Circle, 10600
Chester would rise 24 stories and about 250 feet. Final designs
for the new tower were swiftly approved today by Cleveland's
City Planning Commission as were financial incentives for the
first-phase, multi-structure Circle Square project (FitzGerald).

Plans for what would be the tallest building in Cleveland's University Circle received final approval today from the City Planning Commission. The swift and unanimous approval of The Artisan, 10600 Chester Ave. in the new Circle Square district allows the development consortium led by Midwest Development Partners to apply for a building permit from the city.

The plans were submitted to the commission only for the residential building and its parking garage at this time, however. Review of other planning elements, namely the ground-floor retail treatments, signage and the streetscape plans, were put off until a future date.

As proposed, the 24-story Artisan will top at about 250 feet tall. It would surpass the nearby, 20-story, 234-foot-tall One University Circle residential tower that was completed in 2018 at 10730 Euclid Ave. It is currently the tallest building in University Circle, often called Cleveland's second downtown.

The reason for the commission's swift approval is because the development consortium wants The Artisan's construction to coincide with that of the neighboring Library Lofts, featuring the new MLK Branch of the Cleveland Public Library on its ground floor. To do so will require 10600 Chester to play catch-up to Library Lofts' hoped-for March 2021 groundbreaking.

"This (approval) gets them a building permit and shovels in the ground," said City Planning Commission Chair David Bowen. He applauded the design team of Chicago-based FitzGerald Associates Architects and Bialosky Cleveland for their work, calling The Artisan a "beautiful building."

The 24-story The Artisan tower will provide a commanding
view of the city and Lake Erie. It is one of many 20-plus-story
residential towers built or under way in Cleveland (FitzGerald).

"It's really excellent," concurred Planning Commission member Lillian Kuri. "I think since we saw this last, the refinement and detailing can be an extraordinary addition."

On Sept. 4, the commission gave schematic approval of a less detailed, or schematic design for The Artisan. At that same meeting, commission members gave final approval to the detailed designs for Library Lofts -- an 11-story, mixed-income apartment building with 207 units atop the 24,650-square-foot MLK Branch.

Plans submitted to the city show The Artisan would measure 306,200 square feet. It would offer 298 market-rate apartments and 287 parking spaces over 14,005 square feet of ground-floor retail. Another 24,600 square feet of ground-floor retail will be below two other parking structures offering 488 more parking spaces. In total, there will be 775 spaces among all parking structures in this phase.

"I love you guys because you treated the (The Artisan parking) garage with dignity,"said Planning Commission member August Fluker, who lives across the street from a Cleveland Clinic parking garage from which car headlights shine into his home.

"That has been the bane of my existence where I live, across from the Clinic," said Fluker in commending Circle Square's architectural team for its proposed use of perforated metal panels on the garage's exterior that are intended to diffuse car headlights while still allowing air to circulate through the garage.
Site plan for 10600 Chester and its relationship to other
buildings and uses proposed for Circle Square (FitzGerald).

Library Lofts, The Artisan and the associated parking facilities will be the first phase of new construction at Circle Square. Midwest Development Partners of Cleveland will construct Library Lofts and much of the parking while White Oaks Realty Partners of Chicago will build The Artisan.

Combined, the first phase represents a $186 million investment, city documents show. Planning Commission also approved and forwarded to City Council for final passage a tax increment financing agreement with the developers of Circle Square. It will provide them with $4.5 million to support construction of the first phase.

"Because this is an in-fill district, we're in-fillng each building in a way that allows the existing neighborhood services (at the MLK Branch library) to maintain continuous operation during construction," said Sean O'Gorman Jr., associate principal at FitzGerald. "You see the result of doing it this way, (that) we're able to achieve a more dense and vibrant city center whose functions of each building support one another."

Future phases include a roughly 250,000-square-foot apartment tower with nearly 300 units over a 200-space garage and 10,700 square feet of neighborhood retail. Also, a 170,000-square-foot office tower with about 550 parking spaces and nearly 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail or restaurant is planned.
There may soon be a new "tallest" in University Circle, as 10600
Chester is proposed to eclipse the reigning champion, One Uni-
versity Circle, by about 15 feet. Multiple buildings of 10 stories
or more exist or are planned in/near Circle Square (Bialosky).

Finally, a 160-room hotel is envisioned where the existing MLK Branch Library now stands. The old library won't be demolished until sometime after the new library opens in the Library Lofts building.

"We have to build around the existing MLK library," said Steve Rubin, partner at Midwest Development Partners, at a recent Planning Commission meeting. "It has caused some unique challenges which requires us to build from outside in."

"We're excited about a shovel hitting the ground in 2021," said Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc. "This is good for our construction trades and it's good for continued momentum in a complicated time."

He also noted that the project will force a redesign of nearby streets into more of a grid that will slow cars and eliminate gentle turning lanes that allowed traffic to move faster. The existing "spaghetti junction" of roadways makes that area dangerous for pedestrians.


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

All Aboard Ohio asks Cleveland RTA for Waterfront Line Phase II study


The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Flats
East Bank Station in Downtown Cleveland (AAO).

Think of the benefits Clevelanders could see by morphing GCRTA’s low-ridership light-rail Waterfront Line from dead-ending in a windswept, out-of-the-way parking lot into a fully functional and convenient Downtown Loop that serves more of downtown Cleveland’s most important destinations.

Imagine a one-seat ride on the Rapid in any weather from the eastern suburbs to Cleveland State University in 30 minutes or less without worrying about parking or traffic.

Or, traveling from your home on the West Side to Tri-C Metro without having to transfer to another transit vehicle or walk 20 minutes from the nearest station.

Or, riding from your apartment on Playhouse Square to Little Italy or the Van Aken District to enjoy dinner with friends and family.

Or, being able to live, get to work, do your day-to-day errands, and socialize all within a short walk of new, fare-free Orange Line trains operating every few minutes on the Downtown Loop, whether you live in an affordable apartment at Sankofa Village or a penthouse condo overlooking Cleveland’s lakefront.

Nearly all of Downtown Cleve-
land would be within a 5-minute
walk of a Rapid rail station with
a Downtown Loop (AAO).

This week, Stu Nicholson, executive director of the nonprofit rail and transit advocacy organization All Aboard Ohio, sent a letter to Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority General Manager India Birdsong and the agency’s Board of Directors. In it, he asked GCRTA to consider reviewing options for the future of the Waterfront Line.

These options could include continuing the status quo, abandoning the line, pursuing limited enhancements such as fare-free service or expanding the line such as along the eastern lake shore or, preferably, as a Downtown Loop. These reviews could be included as part of GCRTA’s ongoing Next Gen system planning and 2030 Strategic Planning processes.

“Indeed, this low ridership that began pre-pandemic raises questions about the future viability of this rail infrastructure and service,” Nicholson wrote in his Nov. 30 letter. “We believe those questions should be the subject of a careful review by GCRTA and its downtown stakeholders.”

When the Waterfront Line opened in 1996, it was intended to eventually go someplace beyond the municipal parking lot on the East Shoreway. In 2000, GCRTA concluded a Major Investment Study called Waterfront Line Phase II

All Aboard Ohio proposes a Downtown Loop via East 13th
Street and Euclid Avenue while demolishing small city- and
county-owned buildings on Lakeside Avenue (their proper-
ties shown as red boxes) for Downtown Loop rail infrastruc-
ture and transit-supportive development. In 2000, GCRTA
preferred a Downtown Loop via East 17th Street and Pro-
spect Avenue, putting rail stations farther from major em-
ployers and Cleveland State University's campus (AAO).

The study showed that expanding the 2.2-mile Waterfront extension of the Blue and Green lines (Shaker Heights – Tower City) as a Downtown Loop could produce enough ridership at relatively low costs to justify federal construction funds.

In 2000, the Federal Transit Administration looked favorably on transit expansions that had a cost per new rider lower than $20. The Downtown Loop was estimated at a cost per new rider of less than $14.

“That was before Downtown Cleveland increased its residential population by more than 100 percent, saw downtown employers grow with more than $7.25 billion worth of investment, and attracted new corporate offices from the suburbs and other metro areas,” Nicholson said. “And it was well before GCRTA considered replacing its rail fleet with a standard rail car that can travel on any of its five lines, plus future ones.”

GCRTA plans to replace its rail fleet with a standardized
train car that could operate on any rail line, whether it has
high-platforms (like on the Red Line) or low-level platforms
(like on the Blue/Green/Waterfront lines), such as these trains
in use in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Siemens). That would make
a Downtown Loop accessible from all of GCRTA rail lines (AAO).

There are many reasons why GCRTA should consider expanding the Waterfront Line, possibly as a Downtown Loop:

  • Continuing the Waterfront Line as-is cannot endure. It has limited value beyond handling crowds for special events along the downtown waterfronts.
  • Abandoning the Waterfront Line will require GCRTA to reimburse the Federal Transit Administration up to $10 million for state-of-good-repair improvements made to the line since 2010.
  • Only about one-third of the Central Business District is within a 5-minute walk of an existing GCRTA rail station. A Downtown Loop routed via East 17th could put nearly two-thirds of the CBD within a 5-mile walk. A Downtown Loop routed via East 13th could put up to 90 percent of the CBD within a 5-minute walk.
  • In 2000, the Downtown Loop was projected to attract 2.2 million square feet of nonresidential development, nearly 1,000 housing units, $441 million in overall development (in 2000$), nearly 9,000 permanent jobs, $250 million in new payroll and $17.8 million in new local tax revenues per year.
  • Those benefits offer the potential for GCRTA to fund the local share of the Downtown Loop from short-term tax-increment financing. The rest could come from the federal government which is likely to become more transit-friendly under the Biden-Harris Administration.
  • GCRTA is considering replacing its 35- to 40-year-old rail fleet with standard light-rail trains that can operate on any line in its rail system, including any future line expansions like a Downtown Loop.
  • Chicago-based Akara Partners plans a huge expansion of the Flats East Bank community starting early in 2021 with up to 2,000 housing units, tens of thousands of square feet of co-working office spaces and neighborhood-oriented retail.
  • Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is replacing the obsolete Cedar Extension Estates with the mixed-income, mixed-use Central Choice Neighborhood (Sankofa Village, Cleveland Scholar House) – a large-scale, mixed-use project on 15 acres with nearly 400 apartments and townhouses at full buildout.
  • Cleveland State University is about to begin a campus master plan process, focusing on redevelopment of the Wolstein Center site, additional housing and transportation access.
  • The Cleveland Metroparks is leading the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Study (CHEERS) with a new land use vision for the shoreline east of downtown.
  • In 2017, FirstEnergy’s Lake Shore Power Station was demolished, offering lakefront development and recreational opportunities that preceded the city’s last lakefront plan update in 2004 in which the city proposed extending the Waterfront Line to near Bratenahl.

“GCRTA should consider expanding the Waterfront Line, as originally intended, to reach important destinations in and near Downtown Cleveland,” Nicholson said. “Continuing the status quo is the only option GCRTA should not be embrace.”

This is a reprint of an All Aboard Ohio press release available HERE.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

30 Cleveland-area megaprojects that may benefit from a TMUD tax credit

Multiple megaprojects in Greater Cleveland may receive
Transformational Mixed Development tax credits in the
next two years if the Ohio House acts on pending legi-
slation as early as next week (AerialAgents).

UPDATED NOV. 28, 2020

After this Thanksgiving holiday week, state lawmakers say there's a pretty good chance that the Ohio General Assembly will finally pass the long-sought Transformational Mixed Use Development (TMUD) tax credit. And there's potentially dozens of so-called megaprojects that the TMUD credit could activate or take already active projects and push them across the finish line.

Those dozens of megaprojects are just in the Greater Cleveland area. There are many promising transformational projects in Ohio's six largest metro areas that accounted for all of Ohio's job growth in the past five years, as well as in smaller cities and rural areas that have been economically left behind.

If Substitute Senate Bill 39, the TMUD tax credit, passes the Ohio House of Representatives as a clean, unamended bill in one of up to seven House floor sessions between Dec. 1-17, it will become law. The only way it wouldn't is if Gov. Mike DeWine vetoes it. No one expects him to do that. Rather, they expect him to sign it. Even if he takes no action within 10 days of receiving Sub. SB 39, the bill becomes law without his signature.

Barring any surprises, chances of passage by the House are good said Rep. Mike Skindell (D-13) of Lakewood. He serves on the Ohio House's Economic and Workforce Development Committee that held eight hearings on the bill. The committee passed Sub. SB 39 on Nov. 18 for the House vote.

The House substantially amended it from what the Ohio Senate had passed 32-1 last year, but in the same two-year legislative session that ends Dec. 31. The Ohio Senate notified the Ohio House that it supports the House version, making a conference committee unecessary.

Ohio State House, Columbus, OH (NEOtrans file).

"It wouldn't be up for a floor vote if the House leaders didn't think they had the votes (to pass it)," Skindell said.

If it becomes law, there will be up to $100 million in tax credits available to insurance companies that invest in TMUDs in each of the next two years. By issuing a TMUD tax credit, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority would refund to insurance companies up to 10 percent of their investment in a TMUD. The credit would be capped at $40 million per project. Most projects would receive far less.

Up to $80 million will be available to urban projects statewide having at least a 15-story building or 350,000 square feet within 10 miles from a major city that has a population larger than 100,000 people. The development must cause a positive economic impact as measured by the net change in taxes produced by the development.

Another $20 million will be available to projects with buildings only four stories in height and a total size of 75,000 square feet in smaller towns and rural areas that are 10 miles or more from a major city.

Under those criteria, a large number of active and emerging projects could qualify statewide, not merely the project that hatched the TMUD concept in the first place -- nuCLEus. Between now and the end of 2022, Stark Enterprises' proposed 25-story office tower atop a pedestal of parking and retail would have to compete for $160 million in tax credits with potentially dozens of projects just in the Greater Cleveland area alone.

Listed alphabetically, local TMUDs could include:

Baseball Town site, east of Progressive Field (Google).

BASEBALL TOWN -- Major League Baseball wants to see the areas around ballparks developed with more mixed uses, not just restaurants and bars. Developers who wish to remain unidentified are proposing apartment buildings across East 9th Street from Progressive Field.

One of those projects, called the Sumner Avenue Apartments, appeared on a public record earlier this year. This and other buildings would transform an area of parking lots at the East 9th entry into downtown into a dense, vibrant urban neighborhood.

 Site plan for Belle Oaks at Richmond Road (DealPoint Merrill).

BELLE OAKS AT RICHMOND ROAD -- Redevelopment of Richmond Town Square (formerly Richmond Mall) into a $200 million mixed-use development will feature nearly 800 market-rate apartment, retail/commercial spaces and recreation areas.

The city of Richmond Heights recently approved a New Community Authority to oversee finances involving the proposed project. Additional public funding could come into play for a project that could measure 1.6 million square feet at full buildout.

Bridgeworks conceptual plan (MASS/RDL).

BRIDGEWORKS -- Developers of this multi-structure project at the west end of the Detroit-Superior Bridge may not need a TMUD credit to make their project happen. But they could seek tax credits to enhance their project and make it potentially transformative by creating a user-friendly access point to the streetcar subway deck of the bridge.

That access point is identified in Bridgeworks planning documents as a connection between Ohio City's Hingetown neighborhood and downtown, offering a more climate-protected route for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as a public realm for community events and programming.
Cumberland Development's lakefront plan (Dimit).

BROWNS LAKEFRONT -- Like the Baseball Town noted above, National Football League teams are also seeking to develop the areas around their stadiums with mixed uses. The Cleveland Browns and their principal owner, the Haslam Family, want to develop Cleveland's lakefront and connect it better with downtown. Mayor Frank Jackson's administration favored the Haslam plan over a prior plan by Cumberland Development LLC.

While possibly transformative, Haslam's plans are secret. There are rumors the plans could involve building a new football stadium off the lake before the Browns' lease with the city ends in 2029, then raze First Energy Stadium and develop the massive amount of lakefront land that would be made available.

The Centennial (The Millennia Companies).

THE CENTENNIAL -- As proposed by The Millennia Companies, a $450 million redevelopment of the 1.3-million-square-foot, former Union Trust Bank at 925 Euclid Ave. into The Centennial would be the largest building conversion attempted in downtown Cleveland. 

Millennia CEO Frank Sinito testified in 2019 that Centennial would be difficult to develop without with the TMUD tax credit. With it, he could convert the vacant, 21-story building into 860 affordable apartments, 95,000 square feet of offices, 20,000 square feet of retail, and convert the world's largest bank lobby into dining, event and museum spaces.

Circle Square, looking north on Stokes Boulevard (Bialosky).

CIRCLE SQUARE -- Although the first phase of the $300 million Circle Square development appears to be on track, there's much more planned and could benefit from the TMUD tax credit. The first phase has a 24-story apartment tower by Chicago-based White Oak Realty Partners, an 11-story apartment building by Midwest Development Partners, a large public parking garage and a new MLK Branch Library between Euclid and Chester avenues, along Stokes Boulevard.

Future phases would add another large apartment tower, an office building, hotel and up to 100,000 square feet of retail. Cleveland has high construction costs and low office rents despite the tight Class A office market, and few subsidies for office development. A TMUD tax credit could fill that void.

Columbus Road Peninsula (Google).

COLUMBUS ROAD PENINSULA -- Unnamed developers want to invest in the Columbus Road Peninsula, including mixed-use development where zoning allows new buildings up to 175 feet tall. Existing grain elevators on the peninsula are about 155 feet tall, equal to a 15-story building. Whether new buildings or a converted old structure are repurposed, they could meet the TMUD's physical requirements.

Also, much of the peninsula along the Cuyahoga River's Flats was recently designated as an historic district which could leverage historic credits for the renovation of its building stock, some of which dates to the 1850s. Combined with a TMUD tax credit, the entire peninsula could be reinvigorated with a mix of uses.

Dream Hotel, Cleveland (Bialosky).

DREAM HOTEL -- Pursuing the development of any hotel project during a global pandemic is a challenge. Trying to build a 19-story hotel for guests of live performances at the neighboring Masonic Temple, 3614 Euclid Ave, is even more problematic.

That's why the project has been put on hold for at least one year. A TMUD tax credit could give the hotel, featuring restaurants and event spaces, a fiscal stimulus and help restart Cleveland's hospitality industry. The project could also provide a significant boost the surrounding area of Midtown.

East 55th-Euclid conceptual master plan (Moody Nolan).

EAST 55TH-EUCLID -- Numerous projects in the heart of Midtown at East 55th Street and Euclid Avenue are coming to the fore and even could be candidates for a TMUD credit. But those projects are being sought by more than one developer, so individually each is not a megaproject but collectively they might be.

They include later phases of the Warner & Swasey redevelopment, an unidentified mixed-use development on Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority-owned land on the west side of East 55th, potential developments on land owned by the Cleveland Foundation on both sides of Euclid east of East 55th and additional proposals that are still in the early stages.

Geotech drilling rig, June 2019, 2177 E. 9th St. (Clifton Haworth).

EAST 9TH-BOLIVAR -- Five years ago, Downtown Investment Group LLC, a Geis Companies affiliate, bought the former New York Spaghetti House and razed it for future development. The city in 2015 gave Geis permission to use the property as a parking lot for up to five years.

When the city gave its blessing for the interim parking lot, a Geis official told the city that it already has a motivation to develop the land -- it paid $1.5 million for the 0.314-acre property. To recoup that investment, a significant vertical development is justified. A residential tower or a mixed-use tower has been rumored after a geotech drilling rig was spotted here gathering core samples in June 2019. A TMUD tax credit could make the numbers work for whatever Geis decides to build.

Fairmount mixed-use development site (Google).

FAIRMOUNT-CLEVELAND CLINIC -- Full details are unknown of what is ultimately planned by Fairmount Properties LLC southeast of the Cleveland Clinic's main campus. But, it may well be a transformative project for that area. Fairmount has site control of 3 acres of land bounded by East 105th Street, East 101st Street, Cedar Avenue and Wain Court.

The first phase alone is impressive in its scale. It includes 250-300 micro-unit apartments, several dozen townhouses, and several hundred parking spaces next to or above a 40,000-square-foot grocery store that reportedly will be a Meijer. The next phase could be of a similar scale, bringing the total development to a size comensurate with what Sub. SB 39 might call a TMUD.

Flats East Bank next phases (HSB).

FLATS EAST BANK -- Chicago-based Akara Partners and the Wolstein Group plan to proceed with Phase 3b of Flats East Bank in early 2021, featuring an 11-story mixed-use building. While that building may not have the square footage to qualify as a TMUD, the next five buildings might.

Wolstein plans five more towers along and north of Front Street, featuring up to 2,000 housing units, plus coworking spaces, neighborhood retail, restaurants and parking. In total, those would probably be large enough to be considered a TMUD.

Hough Bakery plant (Google).

HOUGH BAKERY PLANT -- Through a partnership, Knez Homes and Forest City Shuffleboard owner Jim Miketo acquired the 5-acre Hough Bakery plant on Lakeview Road at the Cleveland-East Cleveland line.

In addition to residential, it isn't known if any other land uses will be present such as retail or recreation. Nor is it known how many square feet of structures will be built to augment the 81,000 square feet of buildings already on the site. But given the size of the property involved, it's certainly possible that whatever is built here could achieve TMUD status.

CASTO Lakewood plan (Dimit).

LAKEWOOD HOSPITAL REDEVELOPMENT -- One of the suburban megaprojects is the redevelopment of the former site of the Lakewood Hospital, owned by the city. After Carnegie Management & Development withdrew from the project, Columbus-based CASTO reportedly is favored by the city to take over the project.

For the 5.6-acre site, CASTO in 2017 proposed a $62 million project with 280 residential units (apartments and townhomes), 23,673 square feet of ground-floor retail, restaurants and community spaces, 50,265 square feet of offices plus 569 parking spaces. It isn't yet known if they would propose the same mix of uses today, however.

The red outline in the foreground is of the Lutheran Hospital
parking lot property. The yellow line is a property owned by a
partnership of the Weston Group and My Place Homes (Google).

LUTHERAN HOSPITAL PARKING LOT -- In Ohio City, a 5-acre parking lot on West 25th Street owned by Cleveland Clinic's Lutheran Hospital and used by its employees and visitors is reportedly targeted by a partnership of Weston Group and the Kertesz family. Developing it would remove a dead zone on West 25th between Hingetown to the north and the Market District to the south.

In 2017,the partnership acquired a half-acre of land at 1550 W. 25th that's surrounded by the hospital's parking lot. Developing the lot will be expensive, primarily because its 530 parking spaces (and possibly another 220 spaces south of the hospital) have to be moved somewhere, such as into a parking deck costing $20+ million that Cleveland Clinic doesn't need and from which no else would receive any private, long-term benefit.
Unofficial view of Magellan-Weston project (Ian McDaniel).

MAGELLAN-WESTON PROJECT -- Another Weston property is the site of a potential megaproject, this time west of West 3rd St. and north of St. Clair Avenue in downtown's Warehouse District. Three sources say the partner in this development is Chicago-based Magellan Development Group LLC.

Together, the Magellan-Weston partnership plans a roughly 30-story residential-hotel tower and a separate office building over a pedestal of parking and retail, according to sources. The project sounds eerily similar to nuCLEus. If so, it too might also need a TMUD tax credit to make the project financially feasible.

Construction continues on the Market Square apartment
building called Intro at left but the office building at right
remains unfunded and in limbo (HBRA).

MARKET SQUARE OFFICE BUILDING -- Another Chicago developer, Harbor Bay Realty Advisors, has started work on a 350,000-square-foot residential building with ground-floor commercial spaces and subterranean parking called Intro.

A second phase of the development would add a 150,000 to 200,000-square-foot office building. Harbor Bay was ready to build it last year but a proposed tax exemption by the state was blocked by the City of Cleveland. While the city has since granted tax abatement to the residential portion now underway, it would not provide tax abatement for the office building. A TMUD tax credit could provide the public assistance.

A massing of The Mews on East 90th Street that was
submitted to City Planning Commission (Hakki).

THE MEWS ON EAST 90TH STREET -- Inspirion Group, Structures Unlimited and possibly others are pursuing a significant development along and near East 90th Street, between Chester Avenue and Hough Avenue. Previously, Inspirion proposed Core 90, a mixed-use development of offices, labs and apartments. Then it shed the offices/labs for a residential-only project called East 90th Street Apartments.

The Mews On East 90th Street vision remains heavy on residential with a first-phase structure that is taller and more massive than those that still stand in the area. That brought some pushback from the neighborhood design review committee which tabled consideration of Inspirion's preliminary design last summer, saying the project dwarfed its surroundings.

Nautica Waterfront development (AoDK).

NAUTICA WATERFRONT -- A massive, multi-structure, mixed-use development was proposed on 22 acres of Flats West Bank land -- 5.6 acres of which now is for sale. The property has attracted interest from developers, including CASTO who has since walked away from buying land here.

But developing the Nautica Waterfront and a nearby property that's for sale at 1250 Riverbed St. may first require construction of a large parking deck costing more than $20 million. Parking decks usually don't make money so finding some public subsidy like the TMUD tax credit for the garage will likely be needed.

One nuCLEus Place (Bialosky).

NUCLEUS -- This is the project that got the ball rolling on creating the TMUD tax credit. Stark Enterprises tried other public financing ideas that failed to gain traction among the City of Cleveland as well as the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Stark's persistence is noteworthy. NuCLEus has been planned since 2014 and the TMUD tax credit proposal was drawn up nearly four years ago. It has worked its way through Ohio's General Assembly twice and could finally be weeks away from becoming law. But as we see here, nuCLEus could face some tough competition in winning a tax credit.
Ohio City Transit Oriented Development site (Google).

OHIO CITY TOD -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) will partner with MRN Ltd. to develop land next to and possibly above its Ohio City Red Line station as a Transit Oriented Development (TOD). GCRTA went with second-choice MRN after its first choice, Carnegie Management & Development, withdrew from the project.

While it is too early to say what form the development could take, if it is truly a TOD, more density and mixed use need to be added to the medium-density station area to produce meaningful ridership and revenue to RTA. For its part, RTA could use the revenue to update the aging station. It was GCRTA's first rail stop to be replaced with an ADA-compliant facility 30 years ago.

Richman Brothers building (LoopNet).

RICHMAN BROTHERS -- One of the largest vacant buildings, if not the largest on the east side of Cleveland is the old Richman Brothers warehouse and factory, 1600 E. 55th St. Several efforts to develop the massive structure have failed due to its scale, high cost and low rents in the surrounding neighborhood.

But redeveloping it with the right mix of uses would almost certainly transform the neighborhood. The building is for sale and could attract serious developers if there were more public subsidies available to projects of this scale.

Rockefeller Building (KJP).

ROCKEFELLER BUILDING -- Plans are moving forward to redevelop with mixed uses the 17-story, 115-year-old building at 614 W. Superior Ave. built by Cleveland native and Standard Oil Co. founder John D. Rockefeller.

Realty Dynamics Equity Partners and Wolfe Investments will redevelop the 261,264-square-foot building with 436 apartments including 273 micro units, plus ground-floor retail/restaurants. The 43,617-square-foot, 95-year-old garage behind is being split off as a separate, future project. Development of 1.1 acres of adjacent surface parking lots is also possible for the future.

Scranton Peninsula land for sale October 2020 (CBRE).

SCRANTON PENINSULA -- Although development of Scranton Peninsula, just across the Cuyahoga River from the Tower City complex, has stalled, it could be reinvigorated with a TMUD tax credit. Sherwin-Williams tried to build its new research facility here but reportedly couldn't get property owner Scranton-Averell Inc. to be responsive to its overtures.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. remains interested in developing on the peninsula as part of the Thunderbird master development plan but NRP Group has walked away from building 330 residential units here. Several parcels remain for sale. They could gain more interest if the TMUD tax credit was available.

Silverpoint conceptual plan (HSB).

SILVERPOINT -- Cannata Companies plans a 1-million-square-foot, mixed-use development called Silverpoint on 14.5 acres in Warrensville Heights, next to Interstate 271. Cannata acquired the land from Little Sisters of the Poor for $2.2 million and secured a $1 million county loan to remediate the site's environmental conditions.

Proposed are structures rising from four to 11 stories high for apartments, hotel, offices and ground-floor retail/restaurants. The project is estimated to have a construction price tag of $87 million, according to Cannata.

Tower City Riverview conceptual plan (Vocon).

TOWER CITY RIVERVIEW/CITYBLOCK -- Bedrock Real Estate Services' planned remake of The Avenue shopping mall at Tower City Center into a 350,000-square-foot entrepreneurship hub could add residential and office development on the Riverview phase overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

Bedrock will reportedly pursue the new Justice Center courthouse complex while the jail will likely move out of downtown. The courthouse will probably stay downtown and measure anywhere from 877,000 to 1.1 million square feet of usable space.

Van Aken District in Shaker Heights showing future/second-
 phase elements -- residential and office buildings (RMS).

VAN AKEN DISTRICT PHASE 2 -- RMS Corp. completed its first phase of the Van Aken District in early 2019, by quickly leasing 90 percent of its office, residential and retail components. Now, RMS is looking to develop the second phase which could continue to remake the area from a suburban strip shopping plaza in Shaker Heights' downtown. That could mean going vertical.

Two sources said RMS is considering building a 15-story residential building north of Farnsleigh Road plus a large office building with ground-floor retail/restaurants at the northwest corner of Chagrin Boulevard and Warrensville Center Road. The 15-story residential building would allow the development to meet TMUD status.

The Viaduct city-approved design (Dimit).

THE VIADUCT -- A 27-story apartment tower with ground-floor retail proposed to rise at 2208 Superior Viaduct was approved by City Planning Commission last summer. But there are rumors that United Community Developers is having difficulty securing financing for the skyscraper. A TMUD tax credit could give the project more credibility.

The developer, having no experience in developing major projects, is attempting to secure a loan from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. It has an experienced general contractor in Geis Companies, but Geis has never built a skyscraper from the ground up. So it has joined with Osborne Group to assist it.

Westinghouse Corp. plant (LoopNet).

WESTINGHOUSE PLANT -- Redevelopment of the 303,000-square-foot vacant manufacturing complex at 1200 W. 58th St. has proven elusive to more than one prospective developer. Parts of the complex date to the 1800s and require significant environmental clean-up.

While conversion of the eight-story structure into apartments is a no-brainer, developers have been stymied with what to do with several low-level structures that may need to be at least partially demolished. That makes site preparation expensive before any development occurs. The scale of any protential development here would have to be significant to offset the site-prep costs.

Wolstein Center, Cleveland State University (DCA).

WOLSTEIN CENTER REDEVELOPMENT -- Two sources say that an unidentified developer seeks to build a large, mixed-use development on a 9.3-acre parcel now occupied by the three-decade-old Wolstein Center arena. The large arena is owned by Cleveland State University but needs a smaller facility. The developer's interest is reportedly why CSU is purusing a campus-wide master plan.

The master plan will "assess athletic and resident facilities and make recommendations for growth including a focus on the Wolstein Center Arena." Given the size of the arena property, it is possible that its redevelopment could be a candidate for a TMUD tax credit.


Not all of the above projects will get built but some will. More are likely if the TMUD tax credit is available to them. If Greater Cleveland gets its share of TMUD tax credits merely based on population, it should get about 20 percent or $32 million. If all of the above projects apply for and receive tax credits, that would be an average of $1.28 million per project.

Some projects might need as little as that to push them across the finish line. But other projects including the one that started it all (nuCLEus) will likely need much more than that. There will be some projects that get left out of the competition entirely.

But suffice it to say, if the TMUD credit becomes law, there's probably going to be some transformative real estate projects in Greater Cleveland in the coming years.