Stokes West: 2-to-1 apartment-parking ratio

Rendering of proposed Stokes West mixed-use development.

Looking west across Stokes Boulevard in University Circle, the aptly named Stokes West mixed-use development would add new density south of the main east-west thoroughfares through Cleveland’s eds-and-meds district (LDA). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

University Circle project for car-light tenants

If you have a car collection and want to live next to it, then the proposed Stokes West development isn’t for you. But if you’re new in town and will be working or studying at one of University Circle’s many growing employers and institutions, then real estate developer Brent Zimmerman says he has something in mind for you.

That “something” is the $35 million Stokes West mixed-use development, featuring 255 apartments and 127 parking spaces — 105 of the spaces will be off-street. The eight-story, 174,619-square-foot development is proposed to rise this summer at 10723 Cedar Ave. But its street presence will be most dominant along the west side of Stokes Boulevard, according to conceptual plans submitted yesterday to the Cleveland’s Building and Housing Department for a zoning review.

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Map and location of proposed Stokes West development.

The proposed site of the Stokes West development shows it is within an easy walk or bike ride to much of what University Circle has to offer (LDA).

While there will be five different types of apartments, a vast majority of them will be furnished micro units to increase their affordability in a district where rents are growing fast as more jobs are created by Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University and other employers. The average apartment size at Stokes West is proposed to be 438 square feet. Zimmerman says the point of Stokes West is simplicity, to make it easier for newcomers who arrive Cleveland with little more than a suitcase.

“You move-in, suitcase-only, and get one bill for rent, utilities, internet, etcetera,” he said in an e-mail to NEOtrans. Zimmerman said the apartments will be marketed to students, medical workers, professors and even surgeons who need a place to sleep between shifts.

The absence of parking is also intended to simplify life for new arrivals, as is the location for Stokes West. It’s a short walk or bike ride to tens of thousands of jobs, classes, the under-construction Meijer grocery store at the Fairfax Market development a couple blocks west, and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) HealthLine and Red Line rapid transit stations nearby.

Ground floor plan of Stokes West development in University Circle.

Although the Stokes West development would have a surface parking lot, the development is not car-oriented as it would have less than half the required off-street car parking spaces, per the city’s zoning code. This is the ground-floor plan for Stokes West (LDA).

“It’s a very short walk or ride to employment or the RTA,” Zimmerman said. “I would do zero (parking spaces) if we could. That’s not possible yet.”

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To build Stokes West involved tapping opportunities and overcoming challenges. One of the first opportunities was joining with equity partner ACRE. Another was achieved last fall — signing a ground lease agreement with University Circle Inc. (UCI), owner of the 2.2-acre triangular-shaped development site. It was one of nine UCI-owned sites that the development corporation considered underutilized yet strategic to its service area if developed.

Next for Zimmerman is to win city approval to demolish a vacant, century-old, six-unit brick rowhouse building that is in “terrible shape,” he says. If he secures a demolition permit, then Zimmerman will need at least three variances from the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. One is for proposing a 90-foot-tall structure in a zoning district with a 60-foot maximum height. Another is for an 8-foot building setback along Stokes whereas 21 feet is required.

Upper floors of the Stokes West apartments and retail development.

A typical floor plan for Stokes West, also showing the pool deck that would be atop the third level (LDA).

Another variance will be needed to offer only 105 off-street car parking spaces. Under the zoning code for that site, one car parking space per dwelling unit is required. But the land user can eliminate a car parking space per six bicycle parking spaces provided as long the amount of car parking isn’t reduced by more than five percent, according to the city’s code. So 243 car parking spaces are required. Instead, Stokes West would have 105 off-street and 22 on-street car parking spaces plus 72 bicycle parking spaces, according to plans submitted to the city by LDA Architects.

As mentioned earlier, five different types of apartments will be provided. They include 178 studios, 35 one-bedroom units, 18 one-bedroom lofts with second levels, 20 two-bedroom units and four two-bedroom lofts. Plans show the average size of the studios will be 323 square feet. One bedroom units will average 580 square feet with 712 square feet for one-bedroom lofts. Two bedroom units are proposed to average 787 square feet while two-bedroom lofts would average about 1,359 square feet among two levels.

The development is proposed with two mid-rise residential structures — one seven stories tall and the other eight. Between them will be a pool and a hot tub, fire pit and grilling area on the roof of the third level. There will also be a large covered plaza and a sculptural/monument gathering area. All of the corner apartments will have balconies as will many of the mid-building units.

This rowhouse on Cedar is threatened with being torn down.

A long-vacant, six-unit rowhouse along Cedar Avenue is proposed to be demolished for Stokes West (Google).

It’s a mixed-use development because there will be ground-floor wine and coffee bars, a bike repair shop and more than 8,400 square feet of co-working space on the first and second levels. Residential amenities include a multi-level fitness area, package delivery center, indoor and outdoor lounge spaces, a 5,600-square-foot entertainment/common space below the pool deck plus an outdoor dog run and indoor pet wash, plans show.

Zimmerman has developed real estate around Greater Cleveland but is probably known more for co-founding the Saucy Brew Works with Brewmaster Eric Anderson. Their original location is in the Hingetown section of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. Saucy has since expanded to six locations in Ohio and Michigan and ships its various beers to several states.

Tyler Kapusta contributed to this article.

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