UPDATED MARCH 11, 2020
As more sections of the 3-mile, $330 million Opportunity Corridor Boulevard open, more stakeholders are pursuing real estate opportunities. That’s especially true where the first two sections have opened, from East 93rd Street north to Chester Avenue. Work is moving forward on the third and final section from East 93rd west to East 55th Street, set to open in two years.
That has stakeholders like the Cleveland Clinic, Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp., property owners and real estate developers making their plays on and near the Opportunity Corridor. The area with the most activity is the stretch of East 105th Street, north of the recently expanded Red Line rail station at Quincy Avenue.
One of the stakeholders seeking to develop real estate is the Cleveland Clinic. That’s hardly surprising considering how much they’ve developed in Fairfax so far. But what they’re considering developing is a surprise.
Cleveland Clinic has organized focus groups of Fairfax residents, property owners and others to determine what to develop and where. And it’s not the usual medical facilities that it’s considering building, according to a source who spoke off the record.
Instead, the Clinic is looking at building neighborhood assets like a grocery store and possible housing on underutilized land it owns in the southeast part of its campus near East 105th and Cedar Avenue. The Cleveland Clinic did not dispute the source’s information but would not provide details yet.
?Now that the northern section of Opportunity Corridor is open, we plan to further develop the southeast part of our campus,” said the Cleveland Clinic’s media relations department in a written statement issued in response to requests for information by NEOtrans.
“We look forward to working with our community partners on future opportunities that will help accelerate the Fairfax neighborhood reinvestment plan. More information will be shared as details become available,? the Cleveland Clinic said in its statement.
Several sites may be in play in the near term. One could include a 0.6-acre property owned by the Cleveland Clinic at the southeast corner of East 105th and Carnegie Avenue, according to a second source who also asked to speak off the record.
That site, an unimproved lot, may be in play because it doesn’t require the expense of constructing parking. It is next to and connected by an overhead walkway to a 3,000-space,?794,077-square-foot parking deck that was built by the health system in 2015.
It is also across East 105th from two other potential development sites. One is a 1.5-acre parking lot at the northwest corner of East 105th and Cedar. The other is a 1.6-acre parking lot at the northeast corner of East 100th Street and Cedar.
The latter is on the opposite corner from a planned 21,000-square-foot building for Brooks Life Sciences bio-repository. Another medical-related development?due to rise at the east end of the Cleveland Clinic is a 100,000-square-foot expansion of the Cole Eye Institute at East 105th and Euclid Avenue. In the middle of the campus will be a new, 400,000-square-foot Neurological Institute on Euclid at East 96th Street.
The second source said that Midwest Development Partners envisions a possible grocery store in a future phase of its massive?Circle Square development. If built, the grocer would likely be on the ground floor of a larger building on the east side of Stokes Boulevard (East 107th Street) between Euclid and Carnegie avenues.
Fairfax Renaissance Executive Director Denise Van Leer said that the Fairfax land use plan Cleveland Clinic was referring to is the community development corporation’s?Innovation Square Fairfax Neighborhood Plan.
|First phase of development of Innovation Square could start
construction by September with the development of an 85-
unit mixed-income apartment and condominium building
at 2258 East 105th St. (City Architecture).
Innovation Square is a three-phased development featuring 223 mixed-income housing units along with some small commercial uses west of East 105th. Offices and research facilities are proposed east of East 105th.
Although she didn’t wish to comment on what Cleveland Clinic is proposing, Van Leer did say that Fairfax Renaissance is moving forward with its Innovation Square development plan.
“The first phase will be an 85-unit mixed-income apartment building along Opportunity Corridor,” Van Leer said. “We are planning to start construction on the building in August, September of this year.”
This $9.8 million mixed-use building will be developed by McCormack Baron Salazar Inc., a large developer of mixed-income communities headquartered in St. Louis. The four-story building will feature 41 units of affordable housing and 44 market-rate condominium units with ground-floor commercial space.
|In addition to housing, retail and medical facilities, general
office buildings should be developed in the Fairfax-Univer-
sity Circle area, according to property owner Tom Pecsok
and commercial realtor Newmark Knight Frank (NGKF).
The proposed design includes one- and two-bedroom units with accessible suites. Additional development amenities will include a rooftop deck with a resident lounge, fitness rooms, bike storage and repair plus electric car charging stations. The building will be an easy walk to the Cleveland Clinic in one direction and the East 105th-Quincy train station in the other.
The first phase will rise at 2258 East 105th. That will become the northwest corner of East 105th and Hudson Avenue — once Hudson is extended west of East 105th. The new street will extend past the north edge of the new Playwright Park to East 100th Street, according to the neighborhood masterplan. Several homes were acquired by Fairfax Renaissance and demolition approved by the city to make way for the new street.
Another site worth watching is a 0.54-acre parcel owned by Tom Pecsok of Castle Rock, Colorado. The property includes the 103-year-old, 22-unit Liberty Fairchild Apartments, 10820-22 Carnegie Ave. He has it listed for sale with Newmark Knight Frank for $2.6 million.
“I was actually born In the building in 1938,” Pecsok said. “Yes, 10820 Carnegie Avenue, Suite 9. I went to Observation Elementary School back then on the corner of Stearns Road and Carnegie where the new School of the Arts is. I could talk to you for hours regarding (Cleveland’s second downtown at) 105th and Euclid in the 1940s.”
His father William Pecsok owned the apartment building and sold it to Tom in 1987 for $120,000. Tom Pecsok had already moved to Los Angeles 14 years earlier and began a career in commercial real estate. Today, he sees his old apartment building as becoming part of a larger development site, possibly involving the two adjacent parcels, totaling 2.36 acres.
The adjacent parcels contain the Cleveland Clinic’s six-story DD Building, 10900 Carnegie, on one side and the former Davidian Brothers carpet warehouse, 10816 Carnegie, on the other. The latter was acquired by University Circle Inc. (UCI) for $400,000 in October 2018, county records show.
The remainder of parcels going west from the former Davidian property to the intersection of Carnegie and Stokes are all undeveloped and owned by UCI. In total, with Pecsok’s property but without Cleveland Clinic’s DD Building property, they measure 1.5 acres. With all parcels, they total 3.2 acres. He contends the site works better for a corporate or general office building rather than residential.
“There are a lot of options,” he says. “Is it not interesting that no substantial office development has gone in between Pinecrest and Van Aken on the east side and the Cleveland CBD to the west? I believe there exists an unmet need for commercial development in the Circle, especially with the coming completion of the Opportunity Corridor in two years.”