Seeds & Sprouts XXVIII – Big retailer to Steelyard, AJ Rocco’s progresses, Hemingway bets on offices, Leather shop reno, Bakery to Euclid Ave

This is the twenty-eighth edition of Seeds & Sprouts – Early intelligence on Cleveland-area real estate projects. Because these projects are very early in their process of development or just a long-range plan, a lot can and probably will change their final shape, use and outcome.

The Best Buy consumer electronics store at Steelyard Commons in Cleveland will soon be a Ross Dress for Less department store, the fifth such store in Cuyahoga County and the latest location for the nation’s third-largest off-price retailer (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Ross Dress for Less opening at Steelyard Commons

The Spirit Halloween pop-up store will have to find a new space at or near Cleveland’s Steelyard Commons this fall because one of the nation’s largest retailers is about to move into the big box they’ve used most recently. The retailer is Ross Dress for Less and their newest location will be the former Best Best consumer electronics store, 3506 Steelyard Dr. It’s a 29,000-square-foot building with Best Buy’s recognizable blue wedge framing the entrance.

A building permit application was submitted last week to the city’s Building Department for new signage to replace that blue façade with Ross Dress for Less’ corporate identities. At this time, that’s the only permit application that’s been submitted to the city for this new store, according to the Building Department’s Web portal. The permit is for the “installation of one set of channel letters, two internally illuminated cabinet signs, two tenant panels, one blade sign, (and) four temporary banners,” according to the application filed by Mark Branovic of Advanced Installation and Sign Service based in Painesville.

Additional filings for site improvements may be made by the tenant or by property owner Frist Interstate Steelyard Commons LLC of Lyndhurst. California-based Ross Dress for Less is the third-largest off-price retailer in the USA, behind only T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, both of which are owned by TJX Companies. Ross Dress for Less has four other locations in Cuyahoga County — near Kamm’s Corners in Cleveland, Ridge Park Square in Brooklyn, Pavilion Shopping Center in Beachwood and Golden Gate Plaza in Mayfield Heights.

The terra cotta façade of the new AJ Rocco’s Restaurant and Bar was cleaned up prior to this streetview from October 2022 with window replacements underway. But interior renovations had yet to begin. That appears nearly ready to happen based on a new building permit application (Google).

AJ Rocco’s Restaurant & Bar progresses downtown

Plau Inc., doing business as AJ Rocco’s Restaurant & Bar seeks to invest a healthy sum — $514,275 — to complete renovations at its site at 828 Huron Rd., formerly the Huron Point Tavern. Plau is a 25-year-old company that shares the same 812 Huron Rd. Suite 701 mailing address as Victor Shaia’s Victory Properties, Shaia Parking, Thirsty Parrot restaurant, Wilbert’s Food & Music, plus Splash Financial.

Exterior renovations to the building were completed and new windows were installed before winter arrived. It appears, based on a new construction permit application filed with the city, that the large investment is for “interior alterations — restaurant.” According to its Web site, representatives for the restaurant say they want to open this spring.

NEOtrans called Victory Properties to learn more about the project’s progress. A young man answering the phone could say only that a restaurant is planned for the three-story building with the terra cotta façade and located next to the East 9th Place alley. He took a message, promising a return phone call from someone in the know. There’s been no response prior to publication of this article.

Most recently, this address was formerly used by the Huron Point Tavern — a once-popular pre- and post-game hangout for sporting events at nearby Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage Arena. It was also home to Alesci’s Downtown, an Italian restaurant offering such typical fare as lasagna, chicken parmigiano, stromboli, calzone and various pasta dishes.

To help renew customer interest in its 10-plus-year-old MidTown Tech Park, between Carnegie and Euclid avenues, the Hemingway Development is investing in making office/lab spaces more tenant-ready (Google).

Hemingway bets on Midtown office spaces

A little more than a decade ago, as the Great Recession still lingered, Fred Geis-led Hemingway Development took a gamble by investing its own money in constructing office/lab space in the long-neglected area of Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. Three buildings and more than 210,000 square feet later, the MidTown Tech Park, 6701 Carnegie Ave., has proven to be a great success.

But now with office occupancies waning due to remote and hybrid work environments, Geis and Hemingway are taking another bet — that investing $150,000 to make 10,587 square feet of vacant office/lab spaces at MidTown Tech Park more tenant-ready will attract new, paying customers. The project, called an Interior Core & Speculative Build-Out, was the subject of a filing with the city of Cleveland’s Building Department last week.

The project consists of an “Interior build-out of core building electrical room and restrooms, along with slab infill in the existing cold-dark-shell space,” wrote Marisa Melchior, interior designer at HSB Architects & Engineers of Cleveland, in her permit application to the city. “(A) new rooftop unit (will be) in preparation for future tenant to be determined. No exterior work (is) in the scope.”

TRD Leather, a greenish, single-story building in Gordon Square next to the Cleveland Public Theater, at right, is about the get a snappy new interior thanks to a pending renovation (Google).

TRD Leather gets new insides on the West Side

After Stockyard Meats on Detroit Avenue suddenly closed earlier this month after 35-plus years in business, the Gordon Square section of Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood could use some new polish, like the kind that brightens up leather goods. And it’s about to get that thanks to planned investment by a neighboring shopkeeper.

If proposed plans come together as well as they look on paper, then TRD Leather, 6321 Detroit Ave., will offer a stunning place to shop for a wide variety of leather goods, many of which are designed with a Native American style. That’s not surprising given the Native American woman in the attention-getting mural on the building’s east side. It contrast’s with the largely blank front of the building facing Detroit Avenue. Owner Carlos Perez and Young Design Studio of Lakewood plan $50,000 worth of interior improvements to the store, according to public records.

“This is an interior renovation of an existing showroom and office space,” wrote Brandon Young, principal of Young Design Studio, in a construction permit application to the city of Cleveland. “(The) scope includes new finishes, fixtures and lighting. No changes to HVAC (heating, ventilating, air-conditioning) or plumbing. Occupancy load and exiting are not changed.”

Busy Bakery isn’t just the goal of a new tenant for Euclid House apartment building in Cleveland’s Midtown, it’s also the name of the new ground-floor commercial tenant who will occupy the right side of the building (Google).

New bakery coming to Euclid Avenue

Although a small tenant, Busy Bakery has lofty ambitions for its future space in the Euclid House apartment building, 3800 Euclid Ave., in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. The rest of the building, including its 13 mostly one-bedroom apartments, was renovated in 2019 by Sabor Group USA, a Hungarian-based company. But now it’s street-level frontage is about to get attention.

In a ground-floor space measuring just over 1,000 square feet, Busy Bakery will invest about $15,000 to build out the space with a food preparation area, several warm, dry and cold display cabinets for baked goods and ice cream, plus five tables for stand-up consumption of purchased items. No customer seating is shown in the floor plans submitted to the city as part of its building permit application.

There will also be an ATM inside the bakery, with two public bathrooms already existing on the ground floor. There is also a kitchen on the first floor, behind on an office space that’s to the left of the main entrance. However, the new bakery will be to the right of the main entrance from Euclid Avenue. There are 16 off-street parking spaces along the east side of the Euclid House building. Across the street is the Cleveland Children’s Museum with numerous commercial and residential buildings nearby.


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