Construction is due to start in “the coming weeks” on the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project in Cleveland Heights thanks to the wrapping up of its financing in the past week (F&C/City of Cleveland Hts). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM
Cleveland Hts. project construction financing closes
The City of Cleveland Heights and its development partner, Flaherty & Collins Properties, announced the real estate and financial “closing” for the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project, clearing the way for construction to commence in the coming weeks. It’s the second major project for the Indianapolis-based developer in the eastern inner-ring suburb of Cleveland.
“After two decades of work toward developing this site, we’ve cleared the last hurdle and are poised to break ground,” Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren said in a written statement. “This will be a transformative project, offering new housing options not currently available in Cleveland Heights and making the Cedar Lee District an even more compelling place to eat, shop, and live.”
The Cedar Lee District is Cleveland Heights’ largest commercial district, and the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project site lies right at its heart, with frontage on both Cedar and Lee Roads. Developing the five-acre site has been a decades-long goal of the city, which acquired the Lee Road frontage and constructed a parking garage in the early 2000s to help support the site’s future development.
The city selected Flaherty & Collins, one of the nation’s preeminent developers of mixed-use projects, as its development partner in April of 2021 and worked closely with them to hold community conversations about the project in 2021 and 2022. The project received design approvals from the city in 2022 and was recently issued building permits.
A northeastward-looking view of the proposed development along a new street connecting Cedar and Tullamore roads. The existing Cedar Lee Parking Facility is visible at far right (F&C/City of Cleveland Hts).
The Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project will cost an estimated $66 million, a significant increase from earlier estimates of $52 million due to inflation and interest rates. The project was also delayed by a public vote in May 2022 which would have required a 1.07-acre park in the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook area, squeezing out the proposed mixed-use development that was already approved by the city. The final, unofficial count from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections showed 27 percent votes were cast for the park and 73 percent against.
The development will include 206 market-rate luxury apartments, more than 8,500 square feet of first-floor commercial/retail/restaurant space, and park/green space. Construction is projected to be complete by early 2025. The agreement and financing that closed March 13 is structured so that the city of Cleveland Heights retains ownership of the project site while Flaherty & Collins will own the buildings and improvements that will be built on the site.
“We’re thankful for all the support the city has given to make this project a reality,” said Deron Kintner, general counsel for Flaherty & Collins. “We’re anxious to get started on construction and be able to deliver another top-of-the-market development to Cleveland Heights.”
Nearby businesses are ready for the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project to get underway. “The Cedar-Lee businesses are so pleased to be moving forward with this project,” said Emily Bean, co-owner of Mitchell’s Chocolates on Lee Road and President of the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District. “It speaks volumes about how Cleveland Heights is investing in the community through economic development. We look forward to bringing more interest and vibrancy to the neighborhood, both by bolstering the existing businesses and homes, as well as inviting new residents and fresh businesses.”
The Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project is actually two separate structures separated by the existing Cedar Lee Parking Facility but to be connected by a new street behind existing businesses along Lee Road. North is to the left in this image (F&C/City of Cleveland Hts).
The Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project is one of many recent investments in development in Cleveland Heights.
“With the Ascent at the Top of the Hill nearing completion, Cedar Lee Meadowbrook about to begin construction, and the Taylor Tudors project receiving historic tax credits, excitement and momentum are growing around development opportunities in Cleveland Heights,” Planning and Economic Development Director Eric Zamft said.
The completion of Ascent at the Top of the Hill, an $83 million mixed-use project in the Cedar Fairmount District developed through a partnership with the City and Flaherty & Collins, is expected during the second quarter of this year. The Taylor Tudors project is a partnership between the city and WXZ Development of Fairview Park. It was awarded $5.95 million in Ohio Historic Tax Credits last week, which will help offset the $37 million cost of renovating a trio of Tudor Revival buildings located at 1900-1946 S. Taylor Road that were built in the late 1920s.
City officials said the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project will create economic benefits for the city and add excitement to the Cedar-Lee Commercial District. It will also produce significant new revenue for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District that it would not otherwise receive. In November 2022, the school district approved a School Compensation Agreement as part of the Tax Increment Financing for the project. Under the terms of that agreement, the district should receive the first of 30 annual payments from the project in 2026. These payments are projected to increase to approximately $375,000 per year beginning in 2027.
The city and Flaherty & Collins anticipate announcing a ground-breaking ceremony for the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook project in the coming weeks. Additional information about the project, including regular updates about the timing of construction and changes to traffic and parking patterns in the district, will be posted at www.clevelandheights.gov/clm.