Financing set, work starts at Ohio City’s Intro

Utility work began this week for the first phase of Ohio City’s
Market Square development, a 290-unit apartment and retail
building called Intro. This is what the 350,000-square-foot
building is proposed to look like on the southeast corner
of Lorain Avenue and West 25th Street (HBREA).


Overnight work began late Monday (March 23) on expanding utilities in the vicinity of a planned mixed-use development that will further enliven one of Cleveland’s most recognizable intersections.

The development is Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors LLC‘s Market Square and the intersection is Lorain Avenue at West 25th Street onto which the iconic tower of West Side Market casts its shadow. The first phase of Market Square is Intro — a nine-story building with 290 market-rate apartments over 36,000 square feet of retail and 550 underground parking spaces. Note that these renderings show only seven stories.

Dan Whalen, vice president of design and development at Chicago-based Harbor Bay, said his firm closed Friday on its debt financing. Up to $130 million in taxable lease bonds will be available for construction of the $140 million Intro phase but some debt could be used to support the second phase, an office building for which there is no estimated start date yet.

The project also has a?$10.8 million loan from the Ohio Development Services Agency and a $2 million loan from the city of Cleveland. The developers are contributing up to $30 million, with the amount again depending on finding an anchor tenant for a planned office building.

This is the ground-floor plan for Intro — the first phase of
Harbor?Bay’s Market Square development. Utility work
began March 23 on Gehring and Lorain avenues. Site
?prep?and demolition?of the existing shopping center is
due?April 6 with groundbreaking to follow (HBREA).

There is no hard date yet for the groundbreaking for Intro. It is generally set for “spring” with a harder start date depending on if any hiccups are experienced during the utility work.

There is a hard date for site preparation and demolition work to start, however. That work is due to begin April 6-8 with demolition of the existing, 1989-built retail strip center called Market Plaza to follow, Whalen said. Most tenants from that shopping center were relocated to new sites around Ohio City while a few closed. Harbor Bay acquired the 2-acre property last year.

Utility work to expand the sewer lines beneath Lorain and Gehring avenues began at 7 p.m. Monday and is expected to take several weeks, Whalen added. Work will then shift to West 25th Street. No road closures are occurring at this time.

“Gehring is not closed yet,” he said. “That’s why work is taking place at night. Utilities on Lorain are partially happening now and (West) 25th will happen later.”

The utility work might also support other developments planned nearby, including a large apartment building?by Chicago-area Stoneleigh Companies LLC on the north side of Lorain at West 20th Street.

Then, for a site on the east side of Gehring, Westlake-based Carnegie Management & Development Corp. has reached an agreement with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit (GCRTA) on building a mixed-use development on transit authority land next to and possibly above the Ohio City Red Line rail station.

Few developments have the opportunity to insert itself into
the center of the action and take to another level an already
already popular?urban setting. The Market Square develop-
ment is positioned to that in the coming years (HBREA).

The current description of the office building is a 208,000-square-foot structure with 18,000-square-foot floorplates. The total square footage will probably change based on leasing activity as will the height. The office building is currently being marketed as an 11-story structure but the existing zoning allows a height of up 175 feet, or about 11 to 12 stories for a commercial building.

“There have been numerous iterations as we worked through things, but it (the office building) had been 12 floors for a while,” Whalen said. “It can and will likely change again once office tenants come back into the fold.”

Additionally, Whalen said his firm is updating exterior renderings and actively pursuing more retail and office tenants but wasn’t prepared to publicly release any renderings or tenant names as yet — especially on the retail side.

Intro will be built using mass timber, which caused the city to modify its building codes to accommodate the project. Whalen said the roughly 350,000-square-foot apartment building will be the largest mass timber-framed structure in the country. The wood is being imported from Austria into the Port of Cleveland.

Construction of Intro is expected to take up to 18 months. When completed, it will offer more than just apartments and retail. For residents, there will be a penthouse event center, as well as patios, fitness and bike storage. The site is steps away from the Ohio City station on GCRTA’s Red Line between the airport, downtown, University Circle and other destinations.

At street level, there will be a 1-acre public courtyard across Lorain from the West Side Market. It will complement Market Square Park that’s across West 25th from the 108-year-old market house. Whalen said the courtyard will serve as Intro’s ?living room? and be activated with art, cultural and family events.


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