A conceptual rendering of the five-story Flats On Pearl, 3784 Pearl Rd., in Cleveland’s Brooklyn Centre neighborhood was among the designs approved by the city’s Near West Design Review Committee last week. However, some additional refinements to the design were requested before developer Kosta Almiroudis advances the project through the city approvals process (Brandt). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM
Work may expand north from ex-Masonic hall reno
While renovations are well underway on converting the old Brooklyn Masonic Temple into the Lofts On Pearl, Kosta Almiroudis is already planning his next move two doors down. At 3784 Pearl Rd., the founder of Almico Properties and Northern Lights Maintenance LLC plans to redevelop a strip of single-level, historic storefronts into the Flats On Pearl.
Almiroudis’ preliminary plans are to add four stories atop the storefronts which were built solidly in 1916 and to continue the use of masonic stone from the older structure into the new portion of the building. There would be extensive use of glass across the front the Flats On Pearl to put more light on to the street, according to plans submitted to the city. The goal of this building, like the Lofts On Pearl in the Masonic hall is to reactivate Pearl Road through Brooklyn Centre and be marketable to employees of MetroHealth Medical Center just one-half-mile up the street.
Planned are 20-25 apartments on the four floors above four to six ground-floor retail spaces. Almiroudis said he would at least like to have four retail spaces across the front facing Pearl and possibly two more commercial spaces in the rear. Behind the existing building is a roughly half-acre parking lot that is planned to offer 39 spaces. But 33 of those are for the Lofts On Pearl that will have 26 market-rate apartments and two ground-floor retail spaces. Parking could get a little crowded after adding the residents, employees and customers of the Flats On Pearl. So he wants to add a second parking level for about 40 cars.
“I like to build up a neighborhood a little bit at a time,” Almiroudis said in a telephone interview. “Sometimes progress happens too fast to manage it. This (Flats On Pearl project) is the next phase. It’s a big dream at this point since I don’t own some of the land.”
In the foreground is the retail strip that that Kosta Almiroudis would like to vertically add on to for the Flats On Pearl. Just beyond it is the Kerns Building owned by John HIckey. After the Garden Avenue intersection is the former Brooklyn Masonic Temple that Almiroudis is converting into the Lofts On Pearl (Google).
However, the Lakewood-based developer owns the major pieces to make it happen, including the single-level storefronts and their half-acre parking lot behind them. That parcel was acquired a year ago for $150,000, according to county records. Last October, he also acquired a dilapidated, 122-year-old house at 2806 Garden Ave. for $15,000 to raze it for a driveway to his parking lot.
Previously, vehicular access to that lot was via the property of the Bethlehem Temple of Praise on Archwood Avenue or a driveway from Pearl, neither of which Almiroudis owns. The city’s building code requires direct access between a parking lot and the tenant spaces. The driveway through the former residential parcel at 2806 Garden will provide that for the Lofts On Pearl. While he continues to acquire properties nearby, Almiroudis is moving forward with Flats On Pearl.
He submitted his conceptual designs, drafted by Brandt Architecture of Rocky River, to the City Planning Commission’s Near West Design Review Committee. The committee gave its approval July 13 with a number of suggestions, according to the project’s design review case file. Those included revising the internal layout so the bedrooms would receive natural light, clarifying the finished floor heights, detail the window glazing types and locations, investigate green infrastructure opportunities and to confirm the parking counts. The committee wondered if a parking deck was needed considering that the residents and retailer parking hours probably wouldn’t overlap.
Almiroudis has been trying to acquire other neighboring properties but to no avail. Most of the properties he’s tried to acquire belong to John Hickey, an attorney who is in his 90s. Hickey’s properties include a three-story brick building called at the Kerns Building at corner of Pearl and Garden with apartments over a storefront. That storefront contains his law offices. Hickey has owned that property since 1974, county records show. He also owns several houses along the north side of Garden.
While this is a site plan for the Lofts On Pearl in the former Masonic hall, it shows the detailed plan for the 39-space parking lot to also be shared with the Flats On Pearl. The Flats would be built atop the building between the new parking lot and Pearl Road. The developer is considering adding a second level with about 40 spaces to this parking lot (Brandt).
Almiroudis said Hickey has been unresponsive to his inquiries. NEOtrans has also tried calling several times to Hickey’s law office phone number, which is the same number shown on a for-sale sign on the side of the Kerns Building, but there was no answer. If he can acquire those properties, Almiroudis said he would like to renovate the Kerns Building and demolish the houses. But until then, he said he will proceed with the development on the properties he owns, advancing next to reviews at the citywide Design Review Committee.
Born in Greece, Almiroudis lived in New York City before coming to Greater Cleveland. He began buying and renovating undervalued properties after the Great Recession of 2008. He started in Lakewood and expanded into Cleveland, focusing mainly on historic properties that needed fixing up.
One of those Cleveland properties was the former Denison Park apartments on Forestdale Avenue, across Pearl from the Masonic hall. He and a partner acquired that property at a sheriff’s sale in 2015 for $2 million, fixed it up and renamed it the Brooklyn Gardens. They sold it in July for just over $2.6 million, county records show. It is now called The Brooklyner Bay Apartments.
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