Hulett Hotel plans make a comeback

Plans for a hotel on West 25th Street in Cleveland’s Ohio City are returning after a six-year hiatus. Property owner Mark Raymond, who also owns The Cleveland Hostel and Guesthouse just down the street, and his architect will present their revised plans to a neighborhood block club next week (Vocon). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Ohio City hotel offers a more historic design

Six years ago, Mark Raymond planned a 25-room boutique inn called the Hulett Hotel with a mix of new construction and renovation at 1452-1468 W. 25th St. in the Hingetown section of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood but the plan faded into memory during the pandemic. Today, he’s raising some eyebrows in the neighborhood by going bigger at a time when many real estate developers are putting construction plans on hold.

Two historic buildings on West 25th are to be renovated, a new building is to be built between them, and another is to be built behind them to West 26th Street. In them, Raymond plans a 63-room hotel, six concierge apartments, two street-fronting retail spaces, a new ground-floor restaurant with sidewalk patio and a rooftop bar overlooking West 25th and the planned Irishtown Bend Park. In fact, it’s the substantially funded park that is causing Raymond and others to invest in the north end of West 25th. But, unlike Raymond’s prior, smaller, more contemporary design, he and architect Vocon Partners LLC have proposed a more traditional design for the infill building on West 25th.

“The design of the development takes its cues both from the historical nature of the Case (1452 W. 25th) and Nelson (1468 W. 25th) buildings as well as the immediate Detroit Historic District context as a whole,” wrote Vocon to Nathan Lull, neighborhood planning manager at Ohio City Inc. in a summary of the project for the Franklin-Clinton Block Club that will be reviewing the plans at its regular meeting April 27.

Site plan for the Hulett Hotel with ground-floor retail-restaurant spaces shown in pink and the hotel lobby shown in yellow. All will be topped with hotel rooms. The gray-shaded is ground-level parking but also will be topped by hotel rooms and apartments on the top floor (Vocon).

“The infill building between the Case and Nelson buildings is designed to recede from the historic façades, being set back five feet from the property line with a parapet height that is lower than the adjacent Nelson Building,” Vocon continued. “The primary material for the West 25th Street façade is a burgundy tone brick that references the industrial history of many of the buildings in the area.”

He said that, on top of the new infill building will be a rooftop bar that takes advantage of the spectacular views of the downtown Cleveland skyline across the Cuyahoga Valley. A large neon sign for “Hulett Hotel” is proposed to be located on top of the rooftop bar. It is intended to mimic large, rooftop signs that were common historically along this stretch of West 25th, Vocon added.

Behind, along West 26th, a “West Wing” is planned which contains most of the hotel rooms, ranging in size from 387 to 610 square feet. The top floor has the six apartments; they are one- and two-bedroom units which range from 676 to 1,014 square feet. It is a three-level building set on a lifted structure above a street-level parking lot with 36 spaces that’s surrounded by an ornamental fence. Vocon noted the West Wing is primarily clad in a medium grey tone cement board panel with a regular window pattern that references the windows of the Case Building. The height of the building allows views over the Case Building of the city skyline while still being lower than St. John’s Episcopal Church to the west of the site.

Looking northwest from the corner of West 25th Street and Church Avenue, the closest building is the Nelson Building, followed by a vacant lot where the infill building will be constructed. Beyond that is the Case Building which could be acquired by Mark Raymond, the owner of the first two properties as well as the Cleveland Hostel and Guesthouse, 2090 W. 25th St. (Google).

Prior to publication of this article, Raymond didn’t respond to a message left on Facebook seeking comment and Franklin-Clinton Block Club Secretary Karen Desotell e-mailed NEOtrans with “We have no response at this time because the block club has not yet met to discuss the proposal.” A copy of the Hulett Hotel presentation was shared by the block club on its Facebook page and directly via Google Drive.

A block club member spoke off the record to NEOtrans about the project, indicating her support for the project. She also speculated that other block club members would probably support it too because it is on a busy commercial street and not in the neighborhood of historic single-family homes farther west. Because of that, any parking concerns should be minimal and especially since the project includes off-street parking. However, she expressed surprise that the project is being pursued now and at a larger scale than before.

“The developer/owner is Mark Raymond of the Cleveland Hostel and Guesthouse. He’s a quiet, well-liked guy in the neighborhood,” the block club member said. “I am surprised that he’s moving forward given the current interest rates and that two other niche hotels are going in nearby at Bridgeworks and Westinghouse.”

The West Wing of the proposed Hulett Hotel would be built above a 36-space parking lot off West 26th Street. Hotel rooms will be on the second and third levels with six apartments on the top floor (Vocon).

Ironically, at the April 11 meeting in which a Cuyahoga County loan for Bridgeworks was approved, District 6 County Councilman Jack Schron Jr. expressed his excitement for the mixed-use residential, retail, office and hotel project because “it will be the first hotel on the west side of the (Cuyahoga) River, so that’s kind of a cool thing,” he said. Now, there are three hotel developments in the works just west of the river.

Raymond owns two properties for the Hulett Hotel development — the Nelson Building which contains the Rev. Richard E. Sering Center For Right Relationships medical clinic and the infill property between the Nelson and Case buildings. He reportedly has a purchase agreement for the Case Building, the source said. It transferred March 24 to Harvey L. Reith Jr. of Vermilion and Darrell M. Reith of Sarasota, FL, each inheriting a half share of interest in the property, according to county records.

The Case Building was acquired by Harvey Sr. and Harriet Rieth in 1945 for their Rieth’s Automotive Supply Company, Inc. Harvey Reith Jr. is president of the company. Fleetwise Truck Parts occupies the building today. A vehicle parts store has been there since 1917, property records show. A parking lot on the corner of West 25th and Church Avenue is owned and used by the West 25th Street Lofts across Church, according to county records.


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