This view looking generally west above Lake Avenue shows a conceptual proposal for developing vacant industrial land that overlooks Edgewater Park. The plan received mostly positive feedback from neighborhood residents and businesspeople at a meeting yesterday (Sixmo). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM
First redevelopment of aging lakefront industrial area
Article updated Feb. 25, 2022
Conceptual plans for a potentially transformative development were revealed yesterday for an aging industrial district overlooking upper Edgewater Park. The plans were presented to stakeholders living and working in Cleveland’s Cudell neighborhood. Their reaction? Mostly positive.
The development at 8400 Lake Ave. could be the first of more to come to convert the 150-plus-year-old industrial district, across the West Shoreway and railroad tracks from upper Edgewater and Lake Erie, into a neighborhood of mid-rise residential and possibly mixed-use developments.
Brad Nosan, vice president of leasing and acquisitions at Property Advisors Group of Beachwood, gave the presentation to the Northwest Neighborhoods, comprised of the former Cudell Improvement Inc. and Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Corp. The plans are so preliminary that their buildings intentionally lacked any color or textures so as to encourage input on how the project could be designed.
“The renderings are intentionally void of affectations, color etc. so the neighbors have a better and blank canvas to share ideas about,” Nosan said in an e-mail to NEOtrans. “The only sort of architectural feature added is the rooftop deck and this sort of black banding on the corner. That black banding will most likely change. But this is what we are going to the community with.”
This conceptual proposal is what’s called a massing. It is intended to show the potential scale of a development, not the colors or textures or other details of it. This view looks generally eastward with Lake Avenue along the image’s bottom and Edgewater Park beyond (Sixmo).
NEOtrans broke the story last October that Property Advisors Group acquired 2.1 acres of land at 8400 Lake for $1.25 million from Brian Spurgeon whose family has owned the site since 1996, property records show. Nosan said his company’s preliminary plans are to partner with Knez Homes to develop 13 three-story townhomes on the south portion of that mostly vacant industrial land, close to Lake Avenue. The reason was so that it could blend in with the scale of existing single-family, duplexes and apartment buildings nearby.
At the north end of the lot, along the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, Property Advisors Group plans a mid-rise building with two levels of indoor parking topped by 170 market-rate apartments on five floors. Property Advisors Group is joining with Knez Homes and Sixmo Architects on development and design of the townhouses and Geis Companies on the design, construction and management of the apartment building.
The site is where the Spurgeon family operated B & K Scaffolding Co. out of a 17,000-square-foot warehouse. That building, most of which was built in 1890 and rated by the county to be in fair to poor condition, was demolished. B & K reportedly was looking for a new home but apparently has yet to find one.
A site plan showing ground-level uses by Property Advisors Group and its partners for 2.1 acres of land it purchased last fall at 8400 Lake Ave. (Sixmo).
Each of the townhomes would have a rooftop deck and a two-car garage below two levels of living space measuring about 2,000 square feet per unit, according to the presentation given yesterday. There would be two blocks of four townhomes and one block of five townhomes with two-way vehicular access onto Lake. But that access would be via right turns only, plans show.
“There are great partners involved here,” said Bo Knez, president and CEO of Knez Homes, regarding the townhouses it will develop. “Hopefully we’ll put together a project that will fit in well with its surroundings.”
The apartment building would have 159 indoor parking spaces plus another 11 outdoor spaces along a new roadway that would extend Baker Avenue. Some of the stakeholders attending the meeting expressed concern that this wasn’t enough parking, even though it meets the new form-based zoning code in the Cudell neighborhood.
Studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments are planned, with the average apartment measuring about 851 square feet. In addition to parking on the first two levels, the ground floor would have a fitness room, children’s play area, dog wash, leasing office, conference room and mail/packages room.
Ground-level view of the proposed 8400 Lake development, as seen looking north from Lake Avenue. The proposed buildings — townhomes in the foreground and apartment building in the background — are largely devoid of features on purpose. Developers said they want community input on their design (Sixmo).
From the air, the apartment building would be C-shaped. In the courtyard, a 9,330-square-foot greenspace is proposed, including a dog park, bocce courts and grilling areas. Nosan said the programming for the courtyard hasn’t been finalized but could add a playground depending on community input. The main entrance to the apartment building would be at its southwest corner, hidden behind the groupings of townhomes. That entrance would be accessed from Lake via a 10-foot-wide walkway/bike path rather than a vehicular driveway.
Property Advisors Group said they plan to build walking/biking paths around the western and northern perimeters of their property with the hopes that the city and other property owners would extend it east along the south side of the tracks to reach the bike/hike underpasses to Edgewater Park. This would be in addition to the new bike lane on Lake that was rebuilt last year for $3.6 million, although some people illegally park in that bike lane.
Adam Stalder, executive director of the Northwest Neighborhoods Community Development Corp., said it was his hope that the Lake Avenue reconstruction project and the form-based zoning would help spur new development here. Some at yesterday’s meeting wanted to make sure Property Advisors Group would offer some affordably priced apartments.
One of the motivators of the 8400 Lake development and potential others nearby is a new form-based zoning code that is focused more on the physical form of buildings and less on how those buildings are used (Sixmo).
This may only be the first of more residential or mixed-use developments in this fading industrial district. That may suit Property Advisors Group just fine, as the site just to the east is owned and operated by Lowe Chemical Co. It might otherwise be difficult to attract some tenants to a housing development built next to a chemical plant.
However, NEOtrans has received word that Lowe Chemical sees the writing on the wall for this industrial district and is looking for a new home. They would reportedly vacate their 2.7-acre property and its associated buildings, including a three-story, 19th-century brick building that might make an attractive residential conversion.
That’s not all. At the east end of Lake, at its intersection with Detroit Avenue, Rochester, NY-based LLD Enterprises recently purchased 1.25 acres for $1.75 million for a probable multi-family development with storefronts lining the street. The site previously hosted a Burger King restaurant that is due to be demolished.
Just west of here and later this year, work may begin on replacing the 54-year-old Walz Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, 7910 Detroit, with a new, larger more accessible facility to be topped by 51 affordable senior apartments. The new four-story building with a glassy façade will also give the facility a greater street presence from Detroit Avenue, said library and Northwest Neighborhood officials.