Pre-development work is starting on two new mixed-use buildings that are planned along the west side of West 25th Street, across from the MetroHealth System’s main campus that is undergoing a $1 billion makeover of its facilities. This is a conceptual rendering of the proposed development with a market-rate apartment building in the foreground and the senior apartments over the police station in the background (RDL). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Investment will help remake West 25th corridor
MetroHealth System, developer The Community Builders Inc. and RDL Architects Inc. have begun conversations with the City Planning Commission on the early stages of advancing the development of two large buildings on the west side of West 25th Street, across from the hospital’s main campus. The two buildings, to be located in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood, would provide market-rate apartments and affordable units for seniors, plus a new police station and ground-floor commercial uses along West 25th’s sidewalk.
Planned is a new, five-story building on 1.55 acres of land at the northwest corner of West 25th and Trowbridge Avenue that would have 60 units of affordable apartments for seniors on the upper floors. On the ground floor would be a new home for the MetroHealth System’s police department which has approximately four dispatchers and 65 state-trained peace officers and security guards, according to the Cuyahoga County-based health system.
To build it, seven structures will have to be demolished. They include two houses and apartment building on West 30th Street and four commercial buildings on West 25th. Two of the four commercial buildings have apartments over storefronts. Another is a 12-unit apartment building at 3369 W. 30th dating from the 1890s, while the others are single-use commercial structures, including the Lincoln Building, 3374 W. 25th. The Lincoln was approved by the city for demolition in 2014 for a new home for Suburban Press Inc. But MetroHealth, including through two of its nonprofit affiliates CCH Development Corp. and FRE Holdings LLC, began acquiring these properties a year later for the makeover of its campus.
Map of proposed West 25th Street apartment buildings (in red) plus the now-completed Via Sana and their relation to the MetroHealth System’s main campus (MyPlaceCuyahogaCounty/KJP).
E-mails sent by NEOtrans to MetroHealth spokespersons Mike Tobin and Dorsena Drakeford seeking more information about this project were not responded to prior to publication of this article. Project updates were also requested from Boston-based The Community Builders, but hasn’t yet responded. This article will be updated if and when they do respond.
City Planning Commission on Sept. 21 opened a design-review case file for the senior apartments over the police headquarters project, including for the demolition of 3390, 3374, 3370 and 3366 W. 25th. The two houses and the 19th-century brick apartment building on West 30th were not included among the demolitions in the case file, but recent masterplan documents publicly released by the hospital show the West 30th properties will be part of this project.
The project is still early on its planning as no requests for proposals for construction management firms have been issued yet by MetroHealth, according to sources familiar with the project but who would not speak on the record about it. To emphasize how early this project is in its development, an RDL Architects spokesperson said that a design-review case has been opened with the city because the Shaker Heights-based architectural firm is refining some preliminary designs with input from city planners. These designs are likely different than the one rendering released by the hospital three years ago and is published at the top of this article or the site plan below.
This masterplan image has been refined a bit since it was published several years ago. The neighborhood housing will instead be phase two, offered to seniors and have 60 apartments but will still include the ground-floor police station. The third phase could have more than 100 units of market-rate housing over neighborhood retail (MetroHealth).
“The design is being reviewed preliminarily for feedback,” said Haley Christopher, RDL’s vice president of operations. “Nothing has been finalized by the ownership team so unfortunately we don’t have anything share yet.”
The next phase proposed by MetroHealth and NRP Group is a 100- to 130-unit market-rate apartment building above approximately 36,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. This potential five-story building is proposed to be built on about 1.7 acres of vacant, hospital-owned land southwest of the West 25th-Trowbridge intersection. The retail portion will be geared toward conveniences such as a grocery store and amenities including restaurants, childcare and other community spaces.
MetroHealth plans to give priority to local neighborhood businesses when filling the commercial space, according to hospital officials shortly after land was purchased for this phase. The hospital acquired the property in 2018 for $1.34 million from Mang Hung and Man Wa Wong. They also own a small property at 3360 W. 25th, between two other hospital-owned parcels just north of the proposed site for the senior apartments, county property records show.
Four existing commercial structures to be demolished along the west side of West 25th Street are all vacant and owned by MetroHealth System affiliates (KJP).
Those developments are actually the second and third phases of MetroHealth’s residential development plans. The first phase, called Via Sana meaning “healthy way,” was completed early this year. It is located on the hospital side of West 25th, at 2450 Metrohealth Dr. The four-story building offers 72 one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable rental residences. On its ground floor is a a 5,000-square-foot MetroHealth Economic Opportunity Center. Operated in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), the opportunity enter offers job training, financial and digital literacy training and access to Tri-C classes.
Across the streets from these residential buildings will be a new public greenspace that is requiring additional demolitions. That includes the former St. Nicholas Belarusian Orthodox Church, 3518 Scranton Ave., operated most recently as Earth Angels Holistic Health, the Trinity United/Iglesia Emmanuel Church, 3525 W. 25th. and the Farnsworth House, set on the West 25th side of the orthodox church. These demolitions and the greenspace that will follow them are all part of the hospital’s $1 billion campus transformation plan that includes the new 11-story Glick Center that’s currently in the process of opening.
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