NRP Group abandons Scranton Peninsula project

Scranton Peninsula will remain a largely blank slate for a little while
longer as NRP Group has abandoned its plans to development a 330-
unit housing complex near downtown on the Cuyahoga River (KJP).

A worldwide economic downturn and a shift in market approach have forced the NRP Group to abandon its plans to develop a 330-unit apartment-townhouse complex on Scranton Peninsula, across the Cuyahoga River from downtown Cleveland.

Among major cities, Greater Cleveland has suffered more pandemic-related job losses than all but three other cities — New York, Las Vegas and Boston. And NRP Group has been shifting its focus from developing market-rate housing to affordable and workforce housing,

In fact, The Peninsula Luxury Apartments and Townhomes?reportedly would have been one of NRP Group’s last market-rate residential developments. Proposed on Carter Road were 315 apartments in two C-shaped buildings and 15 townhouses scattered among three locations on the 7.44-acre site. A two-level parking deck also was planned.

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But hints that the project might be in trouble started leaking out in June. when NEOtrans reported The Peninsula’s groundbreaking would be pushed back from July to early 2021. Then, in a status report dated today, the construction database Dodge Reports listed the $36 million The Peninsula project as “abandoned.”

Site plan approved by the City Planning Commission for The
Peninsula, NRP Group’s now-scuttled housing development it
had planned on Scranton Peninsula (CPC/RDL).

The NRP Group contact listed with the Dodge Reports’ project listing?is the company’s Senior Estimator Tim Spisak. He didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment but did acknowledge receiving the e-mail. Also not answering an e-mail was Ken Weinberg, NRP Group’s vice president of construction. NRP Group, based in downtown Cleveland, is one of the nation’s largest multi-family developers.

The Peninsula was proposed to be part of the massive, 21-acre Thunderbird development announced two years ago on one-fourth of the 80-acre Scranton Peninsula. Thunderbird is a partnership of Fred Geis, East-West Alliance and J-Roc Development that would either develop land or sell land to others to develop.

First to be sold was an eight-acre lot, purchased by Great Lakes Brewing Co. in 2018 for an expansion of its brewing capabilities. But Great Lakes wanted to expand its canning capacity first, which it will in Strongsville. Any development by Great Lakes to expand its brewing production is at least a year away, said a source who spoke off the record.

So far, the only aspect of the Thunderbird development to see tangible progress is J-Roc Development’s renovation of a century-old 27,000-square-foot warehouse into offices called The Avian at Thunderbird. No other construction work for the other four lots in Thunderbird has begun or was announced. J-Roc owner Jesse Grant did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment prior to publication.

The large size of Scranton Peninsula and its proximity to down-
town Cleveland is evident in this aerial view (AerialAgents).

The land that NRP Group sought for its development was under a purchase agreement but hadn’t closed. It isn’t known what NRP Group will do with that agreement. NEOtrans broke the story in May 2019 that NRP was abandoning its phase two of The Edison At Gordon Square project in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood so it could build on Scranton Peninsula. Phase one of The Edison leased out faster than any NRP Group development before, a company source said.

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One of the last market-rate developments NRP Group will pursue is called Metro Gateway South. Dodge Reports’ update this week shows the project is due for a Nov. 1 start. It will feature two buildings with 180 market-rate apartments between Woodbridge and Trowbridge avenues, across West 25th Street from the $1 billion redevelopment of MetroHealth Medical Center.

One block north at Sackett Avenue will be another apartment development by NRP Group called Metro Gateway North. It will feature 72 affordable housing units on three floors over a first-floor commercial space, fitness room, community room and kitchen, according to plans submitted to the city.?CCH Development, the nonprofit development arm of MetroHealth, is a partner in both projects?and is contributing significant capital to each.

Other local NRP Developments are still a go, as they offer affordable housing. Slavic Village Gateway, an 88-unit housing development with a new home for the University Settlement, is under construction at 5163 Broadway Ave.?Churchill Gateway, 52-unit apartments and work training center at 10700 Churchill Ave. in Glenville, is on schedule to see construction in June 2021.

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