Next for Hough: Chester 82 Apartments

Marous Development Group plans to construct the Chester 82 Apartments in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood.

The latest apartment building planned along Chester Avenue in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood is Marous Development Group’s Chester 82 at East 82nd Street, a short walk or bike ride to booming Cleveland Clinic and University Circle (Sullivan Bruck). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Latest Chester development to add 139 units

A site that’s been on Marous Development Group‘s to-do list for 15 years is finally on its getting done list. Located on the north side of Chester Avenue, between East 81st and 82nd streets, a 1.6-acre piece of vacant land is proposed for the construction of another in a series of modern apartment buildings for Upper Chester in Cleveland.

Planned is Chester 82, a 139-unit, five-story, market-rate apartment building that would add 162 beds to this part of Hough. Once a national symbol of urban decline, Hough is seeing a spate of new residential development in response to rapid job growth at nearby Cleveland Clinic and other University Circle-area employers.

Today, City Planning Commission’s Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee gave conditional approval to Chester 82’s conceptual plans. The conditions surrounded the building’s proposed scale. Members urged Marous to study changing the building’s shape to address its relationship to single-family homes in the neighborhood to the north.

Proposed site plan for Chester 82 Apartments showing ground level parking with a building above.

A conceptual site plan for the Chester 82 Apartments showing the ground floor uses, including those inside the J-shaped building outlined with a thicker line. Chester Avenue is at the bottom; East 81st Street is to the left and East 82nd to the right. The building’s first level contains a lobby and services at the lower-right. The dashed line in the parking lot shows the outer edge of the second-floor amenity terrace that also acts as a canopy over the southeast corner of the parking lot (Sullivan Bruck).

Within about 15 feet of the proposed apartment building or its parking lot are two large, suburban-style homes built in the late 1990s. One is a 4,560-square-foot house on West 81st and the other a 2,752-square-foot house on West 82nd. More single-family homes are to the north and attached townhouses are across Chester to the south.

Committee members said the building’s apparent scale could be reduced by using different materials as was done on the Chester and East 82nd sides of the building. Or, the building could be “stepped down” at each floor so that there isn’t a sheer, five-floor drop to the single-family homes next door. The committee also urged the addition of landscaping in the middle of the parking lot and consideration of balconies to the give the structure more of a neighborhood feel.

Marous Development Manager Lynn Harlan said he wasn’t opposed to the suggestions but noted that the building needs to have a minimum number of apartments to be economically viable. He didn’t reveal to the committee what that number was. He said the building, which would be below the current 60-foot zoning height for the site, was designed to meet the expectations of the city’s proposed new form-based zoning code for the Hough neighborhood.

Aerial view of the proposed Chester 82 Apartments with Chester Avenue at the bottom.

The five-story Chester 82 Apartments would fill out the 1.6-acre vacant lot along Chester Avenue. Nearby are large, suburban-style homes built more than 20 years ago when Hough was desperate to shed its slum-laden past. Today, however, market-rate housing is popping up and filling up fast around the neighborhood (Sullivan Bruck).

The plans were developed by Sullivan Bruck Architects of Columbus. They will be refined with more detail, called schematic design, and bought back to the Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee as well as the full Planning Commission for approval. Also a community meeting about the project will be held by Ward 7 Councilwoman Stephanie Howse on June 7.

In fact, there were plans for two Hough apartment buildings on the committee’s agenda today. While concepts for Chester 82 were reviewed for the first time, the committee gave its final recommendation with minor modifications for the East 90th Apartments, dubbed Lumos 2, proposed by ARPI Development LLC of Cleveland and designed-built-managed by Geis Companies of Cleveland and Streetsboro. That team is pursuing multiple developments in Hough.

Chester 82 would be Marous’ first in Hough — a roughly 140,000-square-foot building with 31 studios, 55 one-bedroom apartments, 30 more one-bedrooms but with a den added to each, and 23 two-bedroom apartments. Proposed are 81 indoor parking spaces on the ground floor of the structure and another 69 spaces in an open-air parking lot behind the building, plans show.

Southeast corner of the Chester 82 Apartments.

Another view of the main pedestrian entrance of the Chester 82 Apartments, at the northwest corner of Chester Avenue and East 82nd Street. The East 82nd side of the building is considered by Marous to be the front of the building (Sullivan Bruck).

Next to the building’s main pedestrian entrance and lobby at 1898 E. 82nd St., at the northwest corner of Chester and East 82nd, an indoor parking area for 160 bicycles will be provided. Also next to the lobby will be a leasing office, conference room, mail room and packages room, all on the ground floor.

The second floor will have an outdoor amenity terrace measuring 2,968 square feet that covers the southeast corner of the parking lot. The terrace is accessed from a 1,960-square-foot club room that is across the hall from the elevator and a 1,620-square-foot fitness center. The fitness center would always be open, shedding light on to the street above Chester 82’s main entrance, said Jon Stephens, principal at Sullivan Bruck Architects.

When Marous acquired most of the site in 2006 from the city’s land bank, a closed, 1926-built Madonna Hall still stood on it. Madonna Hall was operated as a Catholic-sponsored boarding house for working girls and women until 1946 when it was converted into a nursing home for 105 elderly women, operated by the Franciscan Sisters of the Blessed Kunegunda. Scidem, Inc. acquired the property in 1970 and continued to operate it as a nursing home for another three decades, according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

And another view of the Chester 82 Apartments in Hough, this time from the northeast corner of Chester Avenue and East 81st Street.

The southwest corner of Chester 82 as seen from across Chester Avenue at East 81st Street in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood. The first-floor windows along Chester are fake as the parking garage is on the other side. The committee urged the use of real windows to bring natural light into the garage and to provide more light to the sidewalk at night (Sullivan Bruck).

Marous, under the name Madonna Hall Development LLC, acquired the property and considered various housing development options. Marous changed its site-specific corporate identity in 2007 to Chester 82 LLC, razed Madonna Hall in 2008, and proposed to build townhomes. The homes would have been similar to those at its dense, walkable Battery Park development that was just getting underway near Edgewater Park on the city’s West Side.

Across Chester from Marous’ site, a fast-growing townhouse complex was under construction. Zaremba’s Beacon Place at Church Square saw construction start in 1995. It was expanded with the Woodhaven townhouses, totaling 150-plus homes between Beacon Place and Woodhaven.

But the Great Recession of 2008 put a halt to Marous’ townhome plans. In the years since, Marous considered various residential ideas for the site, increasingly favoring apartments. An older design variation developed by LDA Architects showed extensive use of balconies and a stepping up of the upper floors of a five-story Chester 82, much like what the design review committee urged today.

An early draft of Chester 82 was developed by a different architect showing balconies and a stepping up of the upper floors of apartment building — features that were urged today by the city’s Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee for Marous’ latest plans (LDA).

Marous expanded its footprint for the site last summer by acquiring 1890 E. 82nd St. — a 0.2-acre parcel with house on it via sheriff’s sale, then demolished the house. In October, the developer presented its current conceptual plans for the site to the city, said city planner Kim Scott.

Chester is becoming a corridor of modern apartment buildings. A century ago, numerous high-end apartment buildings were built in Hough and Uptown, away from the pollution of the industrial Cuyahoga Valley. But they fell victim to unscrupulous landlords, blockbusting and white flight. Many of those older apartment buildings have been razed.

Currently, more than 1,200 apartments are planned, under construction or built since 2015 within a block of Chester, east of East 55th Street to University Circle where Chester ends. Most new apartment buildings are in the three- to six-story range. But two residential towers are currently under construction at the Circle Square development at Stokes Boulevard — the 24-story Artisan Apartments and the 11-story Library Lofts.


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