Rising to 21 floors, The Standard is one of downtown Cleveland’s many success stories that resulted from converting a commercial building to primarily residential uses. It’s now on the market and may help its current owner, the Weston Group, free up some capital to move forward with other real estate deals (IPA). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Sale could free up capital for more developments
Not all high-rise office and other commercial buildings in downtown Cleveland convert well to residential uses. And then there’s the historic Standard Building, 99 W. St. Clair Ave., which seemed a natural to become home to hundreds of people in the heart of the city. And now the timing is right for the company which bought and redeveloped The Standard to offer it for sale.
Warrensville Heights-based Weston Group, owners of The Standard Building since 2017, have emerged from a five-year compliance period following their 2018 completion of $60 million worth of renovation work financed in part by federal historic tax credits. During that five years, an historic tax credit property must remain in compliance with historic preservation regulations, including restrictions on transfers of ownership and additional rehabilitation work.
Yesterday, the 21-story pale cream terra cotta building constructed in 1924 was publicly listed for sale by the Institutional Property Advisors (IPA), a division of the global real estate services firm Marcus & Millichap. The property had been available for sale, albeit privately, since the start of the year. Although there was no sale price listed, Michael Barron, IPA’s executive managing director, said he expected the property to fetch somewhere in the upper $40 million range.
“It’s a sweet property,” Barron said. “It’s one of the nicest apartment buildings downtown. They did a great job on the conversion (from offices to residential).”
He said The Standard’s occupancy of its 287 apartments is in the low- to mid-90s, percentage-wise, and the ground-floor retail spaces are all leased except for a 7,000-square-foot space which remains available. The Standard was the beneficiary of the Baker Building’s ongoing conversion to a hotel. Two of its tenants, Dave’s Cosmic Subs and Souper Market, both moved from the Baker Building, joining Simply Fresh Market CLE, a small grocer offering fresh and prepared foods.
Set on the southwest corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue, The Standard is within easy walking distance to restaurants, nightlife, offices and transportation (skyscrapercity.com).
The 366,644-square-foot, 282-foot-tall building was built by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers labor union as its Cooperative National Bank Building and later called the Standard Bank Building. The union’s headquarters were located in the building until it was sold to Weston Group for just $3.9 million, public records show. The union moved to a newer office building in suburban Independence.
Parking for residents of The Standard is located in a surface parking lot at the northwest corner of St. Clair and West 3rd Street. That lot is owned by Weston but is not part of the sale, Barron said. Nor is there an agreement included as part of the sale to reserve spaces for Standard residents, he added. But he said residents may use it or any of the parking lots nearby after The Standard is sold.
Interestingly, the Weston parking lot is part of a collection of properties along the west side of West 3rd that’s been the subject of development rumors. Several years ago, a Chicago developer sought to build a skyscraper there. Weston also owns the Marion Building on West 3rd which housed Karl’s Inn of the Barristers. Karl’s closed in January when Weston would not renew its lease. The Marion is now empty.
At their first opportunity, developers usually put on the market buildings they deliver because they prefer to earn income from developing properties rather than owning them. Barron said Weston would probably put to work the capital they raise from the the sale of The Standard but he didn’t know what or where they would invest it.
“Weston is a huge industrial player locally and nationally,” Barron said. “They’ve got projects left and right.”