Chicago developer buys land to kick-off a new neighborhood in Tremont

Lincoln Heights section of Tremont
The first of what could be multiple residential buildings in
the Lincoln Heights section of Tremont may rise soon. The
site is shown in this conceptual plan as building No. 3 along
West 25th Street. But the building’s shape is still weeks from
being finalized so it will probably appear very different than
what is shown in this massing. The Nestle plant is the large
building at the bottom of this view (Seventh Hill/TWDC).

A Chicago developer this week has acquired about one acre of land to construct a new multi-family building on a stretch of West 25th Street that’s been in between destinations for a long time. But the project could trigger more investment that might make this section of Tremont’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood an actual destination.

Ultimately, according to long-range plans, this western edge of Tremont could add 650 housing units, several ground-floor commercial tenants, through streets, hiking/biking trails and public spaces. The site is just north of Nestle USA’s L.J. Minor factory. At full buildout, the new community could spread across about 10 acres.

The first phase is being pursued by Mavrek Development Inc. and will include a mixed-use building perhaps five stories tall with two levels of below-ground parking. Above the parking deck will be a first-floor commercial space facing West 25th and topped by about 160 market-rate apartments.

Terms of the property acquisitions were not disclosed. Public records of the transactions have yet to be posted to the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer’s web site.

Designs are still being finalized and may not be released for a couple more weeks, said Mavrek Principal Adam Friedberg, a Cleveland-area native of Moreland Hills. The project will be called Treo as it sits where Tremont, Ohio City and Metro West communities converge.

property acquired by Mavrek Development
Location of the property acquired this week by Mavrek
Development and where it sets in relation to other pro-
perties that may be developed as envisioned by the
Lincoln Heights master plan (KJP/Google).

“One of the coolest things about this site is that it will have unobstructed views of downtown,” Friedberg said. “This building is the kick-off development for the Lincoln Heights master plan.”

He noted that Mavrek’s project, as well as those by other developers who have yet to announce their involvement in realizing the master plan, somewhat resembles Tremont West Development Corp.’s master plan for Lincoln Heights. That plan, drafted in March by Seventh Hill Design, focused on the area between West 25th Street, Interstate 90 and Fairfield Avenue.Treo is a partnership between developer Mavrek Development and Schiff Capital Group, plus general contractor Kreger Group, Norr Architects, Project Management Consultants and Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. Robert Krueger, a principal at Mavrek, is the president of the Krueger Group based in Cleveland.

“It’s a solid team and a lot of experience,” Friedberg said. “Krueger is an experienced local partner. They’ve done a lot of residential and commercial work and also did Hyland Software (tech campus expansion in Westlake).”

Zak Baris, president of Comprehensive Zoning Services LLC, a Cleveland-based real estate consultant working on projects in the immediate vicinity of Treo, said he is looking forward to Mavrek’s first Cleveland development.

Mavreks development site along West 25th
Mavrek’s development site along West 25th Street is occupied
by Sass Automotive & Wrecking. The land slopes down into
the ravine for Walworth Run. That slope provides an unob-
structed view of downtown from this spot and is the rea-
son why Mavrek acquired it for development (Google).

“Their properties in Chicago are pretty cool,” he said. “They have a quality of construction and design aesthetics and I hope they bring that over to Cleveland. They do nice rehab work and ground-up development, especially their brick brownstones. Their work is very impressive.”

Sass Automotive & Wrecking currently occupies the Mavrek-owned site as do several single-family homes on West 20th Street, the next street east. All will be demolished and their occupants relocated. Most of the land was owned by The Cle Vue LLC, an affiliate of a local developer that has other properties close by.

There will probably be no vehicular access to Treo from West 25th. Nor will access come from the narrow Potter Court. Instead vehicular access will be by two paths — via Fillmore Avenue, underneath West 25th and via Moltke Court extended west of West 20th to West 25th at Swift Avenue’s intersection, said Khalid Hawthorne, Tremont West‘s housing & economic development director.

The Sass Automotive & Wrecking site has been used as an auto repair and wrecking yard for at least three decades. The site has undergone a phase I and phase II environmental report and no soil contamination from fluids leaking out of wrecked cars was found, Friedberg said.

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room, located at the corner of West 25th and Potter Court, will remain as it is not part of the development. And there are other angles to the development that might affect it — especially in a positive way.

West 25th Street near the Porco Lounge
Treo will be a substantial development, but represents only the first
phase of investment on the east side of West 25th Street near the
Porco Lounge. This view looks across West 25th (Mavrek).
“There are a lot of moving parts in that area,” Hawthorne said. “Eventually there will be a larger property and more developers based on discussions we’ve had over the years, including possible townhouses and workforce units in a later phase.”
West 25th could be altered with the pending 25connects bus rapid transit project, he said. That could feature protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks across the long bridge north Lincoln Heights into Ohio City.

“We want to make sure it’s not a car centric development,”Hawthorne said. “We’ve communicated a lot of our desires for that area in the Lincoln Heights plan. One of them is to connect Scranton Road to West 25th via trails and possibly a park as well. The reason that came up is because Scranton Road, where The Lincoln is going in, is less than a quarter-mile away (from West 25th) but is much longer by existing streets and sidewalks.”

Until recently, the area has been left out of the real estate boom on Cleveland’s near-west side. Lincoln Heights was a gap amid Tremont east of I-90, Ohio City’s Market District, and Metro West’s La Villa Hispana plus, farther south, the growing MetroHealth Medical Center and its spin-off developments.

proposed building and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks
Looking southward at Treo, West 25th Street is behind the proposed
building and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks are in the fore-
ground. Next to the tracks and below the building and West 25th
will be a vehicular entrance from Fillmore Avenue (Mavrek).

But that’s starting to change. There’s the new St. Joseph’s Commons across West 25th – a 68-unit apartment building by Front Steps Housing & Services. One block farther south on West 25th is BVQ Lofts which offer 69 apartments in the former J. Spang Baking Co., 2707 Barber Ave. On the other side of I-90 is the new Tremont Animal Clinic as well as the Astrup Awning Building which is being converted by Foran Group Development LLC into a community arts center.

“We are bullish on Cleveland,” Friedberg said. “We like the trends. We’ve done our homework on the supply and demand in Cleveland and especially Tremont and Ohio City. We want to be a contributor in the neighborhood.”

Mavrek is one of many Chicago-area developers that are active in Cleveland. Others include Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors (their project is Intro), Stoneleigh Companies LLC (West 20th/Lorain), Akara Partners (Kenect Cleveland), White Oak Realty Partners (Circle Square), and Magellan Development Group LLC (possible downtown megaproject). Additional Chicago developers are considering Cleveland.

“Some of those Chicago developers who are active in Cleveland have Cleveland natives working for them,” Friedberg said. “We want to implement some learnings we gained in Chicago and marry that with the Cleveland culture.”


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