Cleveland Heights, Lakewood projects win OKs

Overhead view of Cedar-Lee development site in Cleveland Heights

Flaherty & Collins’ Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook mixed-use development for Cleveland Heights survived a proposed citizens’ ballot referendum that would have required the city-owned site to be developed with a park (F&C/City of Cleveland Hts). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Inner-ring suburban projects may start this year

Two major development projects in Cleveland’s inner-ring suburbs won thumbs up last night but in two different ways. In Lakewood, City Council gave its unanimous approval to the framework for an agreement with a Columbus-based real estate firm for a proposed $90 million development at the former downtown hospital site.

In Cleveland Heights, voters soundly defeated a measure that would have required a 1.07-acre park in the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook area, squeezing out a proposed $52 million mixed-use development that was already approved by the city. The final, unofficial count from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections showed 27 percent votes were cast for the park and 73 percent against.

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Proposed on a city-owned parking lot would be a four-story building with 206 apartments over 8,200 square feet of ground-floor retail. Also included is one-third of an acre of green space in front of the development and additional acreage behind. City officials say the project is necessary to “Strengthen the Cedar-Lee District and businesses city-wide, provide a greater range of residential opportunities, and enhance the desirability of the City of Cleveland Heights through inspired new mixed-use development.”

Street-level view of Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development in Cleveland Heights

The proposed mixed-use development in Cleveland Heights’ Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook area will pump new life into a district that needs more residents and their wallets to support local businesses including the famous Cedar-Lee Theater (F&C/City of Cleveland Hts)

“It has been the city’s goal for more than 15 years to bring this kind of project to the Cedar-Lee district,” said Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren in a written statement. “Now, we are finally making it a reality. The Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development will draw new residents to Cleveland Heights by offering opportunities to live in one of Greater Cleveland’s most compelling places to shop and dine.”

The Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook developer is Flaherty & Collins of Indianapolis which is constructing the $80 million Ascent at the Top of the Hill development. Located at the top of Cedar Hill, the project features 261 luxury market-rate apartment homes, 11,000 square feet of commercial retail space and a 500-space parking garage. It will have a quarter-acre park included. Construction is due to be completed this summer.

Last night, Lakewood City Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Meghan George’s administration to conduct final negotiations of a development agreement with developer CASTO for the redevelopment of the former Lakewood Hospital site under a term sheet previously shared with the public.

Plaza at Lakewood development at former hospital site

New renderings of the planned downtown Lakewood redevelopment of the former hospital site shows a public plaza on the south side of Detroit Avenue, between new offices, restaurants and apartments (Dimit).

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Lakewood city officials said they look forward to moving the project forward to meet the public’s goals identified in the visioning process. Those include community and economic development, high quality architectural and environmental design, diverse and affordable housing, active commercial uses and workforce growth, according to a written statement released this morning.

“I greatly appreciate the support and ongoing partnership from City Council on this redevelopment process,” George said in a press release. “We’re excited to be at this stage, and hope we can plug along through the summer and fall to hopefully have construction on that site within the year.”

Planned on 5.7 acres of city-owned land at the southeast corner of Detroit and Belle avenues is 65,000 square feet of offices for a local, fast-growing firm Roundstone Insurance, 200 units of mixed-income for-sale and rental housing, 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail/restaurant space, a 20,000-square-foot plaza and community space, plus 540 parking spaces.

Roundstone Insurance office building at Belle and Detroit avenues in Lakewood.

Looking east at the southeast corner of Detroit and Belle avenues, the new development by Columbus-based CASTO will fill a void derisively called “The Pit” by local residents (Dimit).

Roundstone is located in a cramped, converted office space several blocks west along Detroit in the former Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist. Expecting its employment to grow to more than 200 workers, the insurance firm for small- and medium-sized employers had been looking for new, larger space both in and outside of Lakewood.

Equipped with a proposed $1.5 million grant from the city spread over eight years, Roundstone will purchase the three levels of office space to be built in the new development. More details have yet to be provided about preserving and restoring the Curtis Block, located at the southwest corner of Detroit and Marlowe avenues. Tentatively, the city and developer propose to retain only the decaying building’s historic façade while potentially developing a modern five-story apartment building behind it.

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