New Bridgeworks design wins support

This new ground-floor façade of the planned Bridgeworks tower at the west end of the Detroit-Superior Bridge incorporates designs and materials from the Art Deco-styled Cuyahoga County Engineers garage that the developers propose to raze for the 15-story tower (Mass/LDA). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Planned tower to include historic features

Plans for building an apartment-hotel tower called Bridgeworks at the west end of the Detroit-Superior Bridge appear to be back on track after the development team made some design changes. Those changes allowed the project to win unanimous support yesterday from the Ohio City Design-Review Committee. The same committee last month sent the project back to the drawing board.

The project’s development partnership Bridgeworks LLC requested approval to demolish an Art-Deco-styled, stone garage built in 1941 for the Cuyahoga County Engineer’s department. But the design-review panel told the partnership, lead by M Panzica Development and Grammar Properties, to incorporate materials or design elements from the garage into the new high-rise. Development team partner Michael Panzica said their new plan will do both.

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“It will be a combination of historic and new materials,” Panzica said. “The (committee’s) reaction was very favorable and we are moving on to Landmarks (Commission).”

View of Bridgworks from the southwest side of the West 25th-Detroit intersection in Hingetown.

As viewed from the southwest corner of West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue, the Bridgeworks development will have a commanding presence at the busy intersection. It will be close to other recent developments in Ohio City and the Flats and set across the street from the Irishtown Bend Park which will start construction after the hill below West 25th is stabilized (Mass/LDA).

Since the development is in an historic district with a local design-review committee, Landmarks Commission approval is required to demolish the garage. The commission’s next meeting is May 12. The Bridgeworks site at the northeast corner of West 25th Street and the Detroit-Superior Bridge was fenced off weeks ago in the hopes of getting a demolition permit from the city soon.

Development team partner Graham Veysey, co-founder of Grammar Properties with his wife Marika Shioiri-Clark, confirmed Bridgeworks will be on Landmarks Commission’s upcoming agenda. In mid-April, they had requested an appearance on this week’s agenda, assuming it isn’t too full. The following meeting of the commission is May 26. If approved, demolition could follow soon thereafter — possibly within a matter of weeks.

Demolition work would include the 13,649-square-foot garage and, just east of it, the county Engineer’s 57-year-old, three-story, 22,395-square-foot laboratory/office building. Razing of the lab/office building was approved by the city last August. A former station entry, dubbed “ticket booth” on Bridgeworks’ plans, to the streetcar subway that existed until 1954 on the lower level of the Detroit-Superior bridge will be retained for an unidentified future use in the Bridgeworks project.

Historic garage to be demolished after stonework is saved for later installation in the Bridgeworks development.

This slide from the developer’s presentation to the Ohio City Design-Review Committee shows the materials and designs that will be reused from the Engineers’ garage in the Bridgeworks development by blotting out the parts that won’t be included (Mass/LDA).

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The latest redesign will primarily affect a ground-floor café that will be part of the lobby for an as-yet-unnamed hotelier. The café’s façade, facing south toward an outdoor patio next to the Detroit-Superior Bridge, will incorporate the Art-Deco design and historic stonework from the garage, according to plans submitted to the city. The café and patio will be located where the garage now stands.

Bridgeworks’ program is proposed to have the café, two ground-level retail spaces, plus hotel and residential lobbies. Above them will be 140 market-rate apartments on floors two through 10, an 11th-floor restaurant with outdoor patio, and 130 hotel rooms on floors 12-15. A 180-space parking garage is planned to the east, between the new tower and the historic BoxCast building, 2401 Superior Viaduct.

This is Bridgeworks’ second major redesign this year. After the project missed out on a $7,944,817.92 Transformational Mixed Use Development (TMUD) tax credit on March 2, the tower was redesigned from a 186-foot-tall, 16-story building to a 162-foot-tall, 15-story building. However, Bridgeworks will still have the same number of apartments, hotel rooms and square footage but in a slightly wider structure.

Ground floor plan for the Bridgeworks development.

Bridgeworks’ ground-floor plan showing the cafe’s location which is where the Engineers’ garage is currently located. Top of the image is north (Mass/LDA).

Sources familiar with the Bridgeworks project but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it said the developers are eager to advance the project as far as they possibly can right now, with demolition being the next step. Then they will decide if they have appropriately re-scaled the project and amassed enough capital to afford the rising costs of construction materials and labor to break ground this summer.

If not, they may go back to the Ohio Department of Development and try again for a TMUD credit, the source said. The Fiscal Year 2023 TMUD process will start May 18 with applications due by 4 p.m. July 8. No date was published for announcing TMUD awards. However, last year — the four-year program’s first — the awards were announced four months later.

The developers reportedly are adamant about not wanting to scale back the project’s programming. When asked about the project’s prior redesign, both Panzica and Veysey objected to the use of wording “scaling back” to describe it. Both developers assert they are committed to the project and have already invested heavily in it.

Street level view along Superior Viaduct including the hotel lobby entrance.

A slightly redesigned hotel lobby entrance off Superior Viaduct with Bridgeworks’ proposed parking garage visible in the background (Mass/LDA).

In June 2021, Bridgeworks LLC acquired the former Cuyahoga County Engineer’s property at 2429 Superior Viaduct as it was considered surplus by the county. The developers took title to the 2.5 acres of land, easements and on-site structures, paying the county $4.15 million, public records show. Only about 1.6 acres of the site is developable.

The project’s architects are MASS Design Group of Boston and LDA architects Inc. of Cleveland. Bridgeworks’ general contractor is Turner Construction Co., an international firm based in New York City. These are the same development team members who worked with Panzica and Grammar in delivering in 2020 the fully-leased, 11-story Church+State development just a few blocks west of here along Detroit Avenue.

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