Ohio City development to expand south of tracks

Looking southwesterly from above West 27th Street and Swift Avenue in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood, two of the three proposed buildings in the Hub 27 development are visible. The largest building would contain 96 apartments above a 40,000-square-foot grocery store that could further boost residential development in this fast-growing part of the city (GLSD). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Apartments, offices and grocery store are planned


Opportune Development LLC, an affiliate of ARPI LLC, is seeking to build a three-building project called Hub 27 one block west of West 27th Street and south of the railroad tracks in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood. While there has been much development activity on the east or Tremont side of West 25th south of the tracks, this is the first major development to push south of Ohio City into the Clark-Fulton side of West 25th.

In the largest of the three proposed buildings would be 96 market-rate apartments in four stories above a 40,000-square-foot, ground-floor grocery store, located at 2500 W. 27th St., along with a apartment leasing office and residential amenity space. While ARPI says they have a grocery store chain in mind for that site, they’re not prepared to reveal it’s name at this time.

But ARPI Development LLC, aided by Geis Companies, real estate brokerage CBRE and others, said they are confident that adding a grocery store to that part of town could help boost their development, but spur additional development on both sides of West 25th and farther west along Train Avenue.

“I think it has a chance to be a transformative project,” said ARPI CEO Richard Arnstine. “We’re very excited. We think some things (potential retail tenants) will fit better there than others. But the market will decide what goes in there. We have not signed a GC (general contractor) yet. Geis is providing design assistance. We are in the initial exploratory phase and getting input from the community. A lot can and still change. We’re in the midst of exploring all of the options.”

Preliminary site plan for Hub 27 which currently measures about 5.75 acres but could grow larger if additional parcels are added. The image is titled slightly, with north toward the upper-right corner of the image (GLSD).

“My (CBRE) partner Jamie Dunford and I are pleased to bring Hub 27 to the market which will be a brand new luxury mixed-use community centrally located West 25th Street,” wrote Jeremy Bates, vice president of advisory and transactional services at CBRE Retail, on LinkedIn.

“Geis Companies is very excited to be a part of another exciting transformational development!” added Brandon Kline, director of design development at Geis.

Also proposed is a second apartment building with 60 residential units among four floors but no ground-floor mixed use. Like the first apartment building, it would be located on West 27th. At the west end of the development site, overlooking the intersection of Train and West 30th Street, would be an office building above a ground-floor retail space.

Marketing materials released today by Hub 27’s broker CBRE show 12,000 square feet of rentable space, although the building appears to be larger than that. ARPI or its assistants in the project would not disclose if this office/retail building is already partially leased and, if so, who has leased space in it thus far. Preliminary site plans and conceptual renderings were produced and released only for leasing/marketing materials and therefore have yet to be seen by the city’s various design-review committees.

Looking west along Swift Avenue from West 25th Street, with the Horizon Education Center at left, it is apparent that the proposed grocery store and the rest of Hub 27 would be visible from West 25th. The parking lot at right is also owned by Horizon Education Center (GLSD).

While much of the development site is level, the western portion slopes downward toward Walworth Run. That required splitting up the parking areas, all of which is provided in surface lots. In total, the Hub 27 development will have 272 parking spaces. The developers said that it was important for the grocery store to have a surface parking lot. And, not having to build structured or indoor parking helped reduce project costs while maximizing revenue-producing spaces.

ARPI has partnered with Geis and other local firms on other Cleveland-area projects before, including in the Hough area where they recently opened the Lumos Apartments, 1866 E. 93rd St., and broke ground for Park Lamont on East 97th Street and Lamont Avenue. The developers are also moving forward on a second phase of the Lumos development, all contributing to the rising pace of developments in Hough.

Geis also is getting ready to build residential on the Tremont side of West 25th, just east of Hub 27. Immediately east of the nearly completed Treo Apartments, 2461 W. 25th, Geis will build the West 20th Apartments and be a partner with Knez Homes in the development of the former Cleveland Animal Protective League property. That huge site, measuring 3.65 acres, has never been developed as it was once a pond to drain a long-gone slaughterhouse that stood on the current home of the Cleveland APL.

A conceptual rendering of the four-story apartment building above the ground-level grocery store as seen from the West 25th Street parking lot for Horizon Activity Center (GLSD).

Until Horizon Education Centers built a new day care center in 2016 at 2500 W. 25th and Front Steps relocated in 2021 from farther north in Ohio City to the newly built St. Joseph Commons, 2554 W. 25th, the west side of that main thoroughfare had not seen any new development in many years. That’s despite the presence of more than 5 acres of vacant land owned by Columbo Enterprises since 2000.

After that company’s principal, Charles J. Columbo Jr. died in 2019, family members began talking with potential suitors for the site. They ultimately sold to Opportune Development for $1.6 million, Cuyahoga County records show. Including two small, city land bank lots and a dead-end section of West 28th Street that could be vacated, the total size of the development is about 5.75 acres.

Historically, the development site was a mix of residential to the south and industrial to the north. The north half was home to the Walworth Run Foundry Co., according to a 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance map. Foundations for this industry can still be seen on satellite and property maps. Walworth Run Foundry began in 1888 and manufactured iron heating fixtures for residential or commercial use. Among its products were furnace casing rings, side wall and base board heating elements, ventilators, vent grates and registers.

In 1903, the Walworth Run Foundry Co. was an active iron-making industry at the north end of West 27th Street. This view, looking west from West 25th Street, shows the residential area at left that stood immediately south of the foundry. The foundry was demolished sometime after about 1980 (CPL).

The company merged with Forest City Foundry in 1928, according to “Cleveland : An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites.” That report, published in 1978, said the foundry was still in operation at that time and was one of the city’s oldest remaining iron foundries but the plant had been modernized in the 1940s. Its closure date was not available at publication time. Opportune Development remediated the site of any pollutants last summer to earn a No Further Action decision from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, making the site shovel-ready for new construction.

At this time, the development site does not include four residential parcels on West 27th just north of Queen Avenue. Three of those parcels are devoid of structures and one property contains two houses which appear to be unoccupied. Both houses are covered in vines and the roof is caving into one of the structures. The county has rated both houses to be in poor condition.

The property on which those two houses set is owned by Guardian City Investments LLC, which is affiliated with Prosper Investments of Lakewood. NEOtrans sent an e-mail seeking more information to Prosper Investments through its Web site but has not received a reply prior to publication of this article. Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack also did not respond to messages left with them by NEOtrans, seeking more information for this article.


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