My Place Group LLC is seeking two mixed-use developments on Lorain Avenue between West 44th-West 52nd streets in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. Shown here is 45 West, an apartment building with a small retail space on Lorain Avenue, at left, off West 44th street, at right. At the corner of Lorain and West 44th is a Sunoco gas station and convenience store that is not part of the project (MA Design). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM
Two projects would extend Lorain’s rebirth
With the paint still drying on its latest development along Lorain Avenue in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, real estate developer My Place Group is already planning its next investments which would extend that thoroughfare’s rebirth westward. Conceptual plans are being circulated among community stakeholders to get their input on two new developments that would add a total of 201 apartments plus additional ground-level retail spaces to the section of Lorain between West 44th and West 52nd streets.
My Place Group, which recently completed construction of 41 West with 41 residences and several ground-floor retail spaces at the northeast corner of Lorain and West 41st Street, is now making its next move by looking farther west along Lorain. While there are already multiple developments that have occurred or are underway along Lorain in the western part of Ohio City, none are as big as what My Place Group has in mind.
Moving west, the development team led by Chad Kertesz, president of My Place Group based in Cleveland, plans an 86-unit, four-story apartment building called 45 West on nearly 1 acre of land between West 44th and West 45th streets but with a small amount of frontage on Lorain. Facing Lorain could be a 1,620-square-foot retail space and a residential lobby on the building’s first floor, preliminary plans show. Behind it and indoors on the ground level of the new building would be 61 vehicle parking spaces and room for 36 bicycles. West 44th is the planned west end of the Lorain Cycletrack with two-way bike lanes protected from traffic that would continue west to West 65th as marked bike lanes.
Proposed ground-floor uses and preliminary site plan for 45 West which would be built around a used car lot at Lorain Avenue and West 45th Street and a Sunoco gas station and convenience store at Lorain and West 44th Street (MA Design).
The reason for the building’s proposed small frontage on Lorain is that My Place Group was apparently unable to acquire the properties at the corners of West 44th and 45th. Through an attorney, Kertesz declined to comment on the project or any further property acquisitions. One of those corner properties is a Sunoco gas station and convenience store at 4402 Lorain owned by Kollab Properties LLC which in turn is owned Scott Kollab of Westlake. At the other corner of Lorain and West 45th is used a car dealer Lakeshore Motors whose property is owned by Ramon and Maria Caban of Rocky River. Voicemail messages were left by NEOtrans with Kollab and Caban and a message was left for Caban with a man answering the phone at Lakeshore Motors.
Not being able to include those corner properties has resulted in a design that denies 45 West’s building a commanding presence on those street corners. It also results in having residents look out their windows at one of the many used-car dealerships that have lingered along Lorain for decades. Another view by residents would be of the top of a gas station’s canopy and the roof of the station’s convenience store.
“The car dealership and gas station at each corner are not part of the project,” My Place Group’s project briefing on CoUrbanize says. “The project is currently in the community (input) process and the project is currently under review. No permits have been filed with the city at this point.”
This development is called 50 West and will incorporate an existing, historic brick building at West 50th Street into the project (MA Design).
In between the corner properties, the conceptual plans for 45 West would require demolishing the former Nunn Family Funeral Home, 4434 Lorain, which operated from 1865 to about 2000 when it became a daycare. Nunn expanded in the 1950s to a large home that stood at 15407 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, since demolished. Their original site on Lorain is historically notable because in 1906 it was reportedly the first funeral home in Cleveland to use a motorized hearse.
Two years ago, realtor Bob Biggar bought the site that was comprised of seven parcels and sought to renovate the former funeral home with a retail tenant and possibly add a residential development along West 45th in the future. His plan, presented by architect Antonia Marinucci, got approval from the Cleveland Landmarks Commission to renovate the 1865-built building on Lorain and demolish the structural additions behind it, some of which date to the 19th century.
Through a company called 4434 Lorain LLC, Biggar had acquired the seven parcels in December 2020 for $410,000, according to Cuyahoga County property records. Ohio Secretary of State records show that 4434 Lorain added new partners in August 2022 but Kertesz declined to discuss with NEOtrans if there was an entity sale or a sale of ownership shares to My Place Group or any affiliates of Kertesz.
Preliminary site plan and ground floor uses are shown in this conceptual drawing for 50 West. It would include a renovated historic building at the corner of West 50th Street and Lorain Avenue (MA Design).
Down and across Lorain, between West 50th and West 52nd streets, My Place Group plans the other building — 50 West. This development is proposed to be larger than 45 West and would front almost the entire block. The exception is a two-story corner brick building that will be retained and redeveloped with retail spaces totaling 2,300 square feet among the two floors. Its rooftop is proposed as an amenity deck for residents living in the 115 apartments. On the ground-floor of the new-build portion of 50 West will be another 1,300 square feet or so of retail space, building lobby and tenant amenity space fronting Lorain. Behind those uses will be approximately 89 indoor parking spaces, according to preliminary plans posted at 50 West’s CoUrbanize page.
In order to build this four-story structure along Lorain, two small buildings, a house and a used-car lot will have to be demolished. The site measures just under 1 acre and is comprised of 11 parcels with three different owners — Mary Lou Best, Enrique Maldonado and Irma Gonzalez, plus the City of Cleveland Land Reutilization Program. Kertesz didn’t respond to a NEOtrans e-mail seeking information regarding property acquisitions.
“The project team is meeting with the community to understand their feedback and the project is currently under review,” My Place Group posted on 50 West’s CoUrbanize page. “No permits have been filed as of this point.”
Numerous other developments are happening along this stretch of Lorain, including The Amelia townhomes at Lorain and West 47th Street built by Knez Homes. Small business owner Zach Cooper is converting the former Bodnar Mahoney Funeral Home at 3929 Lorain into Sartorial — a speakeasy and event space with a suit shop catering to veterans. Brummett Investment Group has acquired and is renovating a 113-year-old turreted building at the corner of Lorain and West 48th Street into apartments, office space and ground-floor retail.