Nine of 42 TMUD applications are from Greater Cleveland

Construction cranes will rise over Ohio cities in 2022.

Applications to the Ohio Department of Development’s new Transformational Mixed Use Development tax credit program were submitted last week that could put more construction cranes over Ohio’s largest cities and even some smaller municipalities. NEOtrans received a list of applicants today and is sharing that list publicly (CurbedLA). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

5 are in Cleveland, 1 each in Shaker Hts, Lakewood, Elyria & Mentor

Responding to a public records request from NEOtrans, the Ohio Department of Development supplied to NEOtrans a complete list of all applications to the new Transformational Mixed Use Development (TMUD) tax credit program. Project applications had to be submitted to the state at the end of the business day Oct. 29. There are a lot of numbers to break down in the applications.

There were 42 applicants for $100 million in tax credits statewide per year. Of that, $80 million is available for real estate development projects in Ohio’s six major cities with 100,000+ people and $20 million for general applications in smaller cities. Of that, 33 major-city projects are seeking $384,892,370.08 while 11 general projects are wanting $32,803,543.30. State officials said they would favor projects that are almost ready to go and need the TMUD credit merely to get over the finish line.

In Greater Cleveland, five projects are located in the city of Cleveland with one each in Shaker Heights, Lakewood, Elyria and Mentor. The Shaker Heights and Lakewood applicants were submitted as major city projects because they fall within 10 miles of the Cleveland city limits. The Elyria and Mentor projects are beyond 10 miles, so they were submitted as general applications.

One project that was not included among all of the TMUD applications was the project that originally prompted its creation — Stark Enterprises’ nuCLEus. That project was put “on hold” after its largest promised tenant — law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP — reportedly chose to expand its offices to Key Tower, Cleveland’s tallest and most prestigious skyscraper.

Van Aken District in Shaker Heights.

Major City TMUD projects can be located within 10 miles of a city having a population of more than 100,000. That’s why Van Aken District’s Phase Two, featuring two connected apartment towers in Shaker Heights, may be eligible to receive a tax credit from the state (SCB).

To be eligible for a TMUD credit, a project must be valued at $50 million or more. It must also rise 15 stories or taller or measure 350,000 square or more among all buildings in connected parcels whose construction or renovation has not yet been completed. Here are the Greater Cleveland applicants:

  • Bridgeworks LLC comprised of M Panzica Development and Grammar Properties is seeking $7,944,817.92 for Bridgeworks, a planned 16-story tower with 170 apartments, 130 hotel rooms, mid-tower restaurant and ground-floor retail at 2429 W. Superior Ave. & 1379 W. 25th St. in the Hingetown section of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.
  • CC Superior Holding LLC headed by Cross Country Mortgage President Ronald Leonhardt, Jr. is requesting $8,562,068.31 for the CC Superior Redevelopment centered around the relocated Cross Country Mortgage headquarters in multiple historic buildings at 2104 Superior Ave., 2110 Superior Ave., 2140 Superior Ave., 2152-2160 Superior Ave., 2202 Superior Ave., and 2230 Superior Ave. But those five properties total just under 300,000 square feet. The site is on the east side of downtown Cleveland.
  • UC City Center, LLC has applied for $19 million for Circle Square Phase 1 which involves just about everything they are building on the west side of Stokes Boulevard between Euclid and Chester avenues in Cleveland’s University Circle, according to Midwest Development Partners Chief Operating Officer Steve Rubin. That includes the 24-story Artisan apartment tower now under construction, a public parking garage, commercial/retail pedestal with hotel above it and the residential portion of Library Lofts.
  • Erieview Tower, LLC led by the Kassouf family wants $9,339,623 for the renovation and conversion of downtown Cleveland’s 40-story Erieview Tower into 227 apartments, 300,000 square feet of offices, a 210-room luxury W hotel and a rooftop restaurant. However, the project has not yet entered the city of Cleveland’s design-review process. Erieview Tower is located at 1301 E. 9th St.
Centennial in Downtown Cleveland is a TMUD applicant.

The largest applicant for a TMUD tax credit is Centennial, a remake of the former Union Trust Bank at the northeast corner of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland. Its developer is seeking the maximum tax credit possible — $40 million (Millennia).

  • HH Cleveland Huntington LP under the leadership of the Millennia Companies has requested the maximum major city TMUD credit, or $40 million, for its Centennial project at 925 Euclid Ave. in downtown Cleveland. It involves a $500-plus-million renovation of the 21-story, 1.3-million-square-foot former Union Trust Bank. Planned are 868 workforce apartments, 62,022 square feet of offices, 21,978 square feet of retail, a 16,607-square-foot museum and several high-end restaurants in what was once America’s largest bank lobby.
  • Elyria Block Development LLC run by Kevin Flanigan has applied for $3,414,100 in general TMUD tax credits for the Downtown Elyria Redevelopment plan. The tax credit would help Flanigan redevelop 7 Kersetter Way (formerly Uncle Vic’s), 100 Washington (Vic’s), 401-415 Broad (Robinson), 417-425 Broad (Dixon), and 381 and 371 Broad (Mussey) in downtown Elyria.
  • West 117 Development, LLC led by Gaslamp Capital LLC is seeking $8,687,615.20 for its Studio 117 development on 1384 Hird Ave. at the east end of Lakewood. At least 85,298 square feet of existing buildings centered around the old Phantasy Theater are included, with 100,000 square feet possible if the old Vedda Printing building at 11730 Detroit Ave. is included. The project would reach or exceed 350,000 square feet by developing apartments on a 1.1-acre parcel across Detroit Avenue.
  • Uptown Mentor LLC, in partnership with Geis Companies, has requested $1,158,577 for the Uptown Mentor development, a four-story, 43,500-square-foot office/restaurant building at 8677 Mentor Ave., in the heart of Mentor. Existing buildings on the site will be razed except for the Carlton/Mentor Hardware building.
  • Van Aken Shopping Center, Ltd. led by RMS Investment Corp. is pursuing $11 million for the second phase of The Van Aken District, located at the east end of the Blue Line rapid transit in Shaker Heights. Proposed is the 230-unit Farnsleigh Apartments in connected 15- and 18-story buildings. The first phase featured $100 million worth of apartments, retail and offices. Future phases may offer an office building and parking garage at the northwest corner of Chagrin Boulevard and Warrensville Road plus a redevelopment of the Shaker Plaza on Van Aken Boulevard.
Circle Square development is a TMUD applicant.

This project summary of Circle Square in Cleveland’s University Circle shows the proposed uses and square footage for each, with phase one planned west of Stokes Boulevard. That is the phase that was submitted for a tax credit last week. Phase two is between Stokes and MLK Jr. Boulevard (MDP).

Some of the project descriptions provided to the Ohio Department of Development by the applicants required more research to better understand what is being proposed and publicly financed. More information was also needed to learn how the projects could be eligible, especially in meeting the 350,000-square-foot threshold.

For example, Midwest Development Partners Chief Operating Officer Steve Rubin told NEOtrans that they can request a TMUD credit for a project even though part of it is already under construction. As long as construction on a multiple-structure project on more than one connected parcel is still occurring, it can be eligible.

“This (application) is for everything on the west side of Stokes from Chester to Euclid,” he said. “That includes the Artisan, commercial on the ground floor that’s being built in two stages and requires moving and demo’ing the (MLK Branch) library. We have two years to do the first piece, then the second stage of retail that’s sort of the middle of the project with the hotel on top, plus structured parking and Library Lofts.”

That part west of Stokes includes approximately 36,605 square feet of ground-floor retail, 306,200 square feet for the 24-story Artisan apartments, 24,650 square feet in the library, 155,025 square feet in the residential portion of the Library Lofts, roughly 92,000 square feet for the hotel and 775 structure parking spaces, according to a September 2020 Circle Square project summary.

Cross Country Mortgage's new HQ is the main part of a development that is the subject of a TMUD application.

A redevelopment of Superior Avenue east of downtown Cleveland and featuring Cross Country Mortgage’s new headquarters includes all of the buildings visible here. They total just under 300,000 square feet. But the project exceeds 350,000 square feet when a proposed parking garage behind these buildings is added to it (Google).

Rubin said Midwest continues to work on closing financing for the 11-story Library Lofts apartments over the MLK Branch Library and will hopefully break ground by the end of the year. The MLK Branch is not part of the application although its construction is a high priority; it must occur before the old library is demolished for the hotel/retail structure.

“We’re pretty close,” Rubin said of a groundbreaking on Library Lofts. He added that the part of Circle Square on the east side of Stokes will come later. “We can do it (phase 2) any time we want but there’s some absorption issues (with adding enough tenants). We’re marketing the offices now.”

The application for the development featuring Cross Country Mortgage’s new headquarters, which is relocating from suburban Brecksville to the east side of downtown Cleveland, also doesn’t add up on its face. The five properties identified in its TMUD application total 294,743 square feet — short of the state’s 350,000-square-foot requirement for all contiguous properties under control of the same owner or development team. Those properties are already being redeveloped for offices, apartments and ground-level restaurants and shops.

However, a source familiar with the project but who preferred to speak off the record said Cross Country Mortgage is considering building a new parking garage in partnership with Cleveland State University. The garage would be located on the north side of Payne Avenue at East 21st Street, between the new headquarters and the university. Parking garage spaces can be used in the square footage calculus for TMUD projects. A parking garage with at least 224-280 parking spaces might be needed to add 56,000 square feet to this development.

Studio 117 is likely to grow larger if a TMUD application is granted by the state of Ohio.

The Phantasy Theater in the background with the NTB service center at left on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood (Google).

The Studio 117 project also requires more information to understand how it is eligible for a TMUD credit. As recently reported at NEOtrans, 85,298 square feet of existing buildings are being redeveloped. That includes the Phantasy Theater complex on Detroit Avenue plus the Mack Products building on Hird Avenue.

They are being redeveloped to “support entrepreneurship, arts, culture, health, and human services to create a hub for Cleveland’s LGBTQ+ ecosystem,” according to Betsy Figgie who owns Your CFO Resource, a project partner. However, renovating the two buildings doesn’t come close to achieving the square-footage requirements for the project to be eligible for a TMUD credit, even if the Vedda Printing building across Hird is included.

“We have a new construction residential component on an adjacent parcel that puts us over the 350,000-square-foot threshold,” said Gaslamp Capital President Daniel Budish. He confirmed the location is the former NTB service center across the street at 11801 Detroit Ave.

However a sale of that location hasn’t yet closed, according to a source who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The 1.1-acre property is a former car dealership that dates to the 1940s. In its service garage were numerous hydraulic lifts and other equipment and activities that may have polluted the soil and would have to be confirmed and analyzed before a sale could go through.

The source said the property could be developed with LGBTQ+ senior housing. A Place For Us apartments, a senior LGBTQ+ property on Madison Avenue at West 116th Street in Cleveland, apparently has a long waiting list for available units. Cleveland-based A Place for Us Development LLC, which developed those apartments in partnership with NRP Group, is reportedly interested in developing the large apartment building as part of the Studio 117 development.


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