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).
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

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.

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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.
 

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