Jim Miketo’s latest development along Lorain Avenue in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood is a mixed-use, retail-residential project called 4732 Lorain comprised of new construction, at center-right, and an historic renovation, at left. The site is across the street from MetroHealth’s family health center and the Urban Community School (Horton Harper). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Ohio City development is investor’s newest
A 28,000-square-foot mixed-use development called 4732 Lorain is proposed at the west end of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood offer to expand the densification and neighborhood vibrancy west along Lorain Avenue. And, it would expand real estate developer and owner Jim Miketo’s investments west along that rapidly redeveloping thoroughfare.
Miketo has been busily contributing to that redevelopment in recent years. The owner of Forest City Shuffleboard Arena and Bar, 4506 Lorain Ave., and Knez Homes are finishing up work on an eight-unit, for-sale townhome project called The Amelia at Lorain and West 47th Street next to his shuffleboard establishment. It is next door to their previous townhouse development, the Forest City 5, on West 47th.
Now Miketo, a former New York investment banker who boomeranged back to Greater Cleveland, is looking to the next block west. Sandwiched between the Seamus-O Building and a pair of two-story structures to the west is a vacant lot on which a five-story building would rise, offering market-rate apartments over retail. And, west of the five-story building is a two-story historic building housing the Little Footsteps Bilingual Child Enrichment Center that would be renovated with a new restaurant plus first- and second-floor amenity spaces for tenants of the new development.
Site plan for the proposed mixed-use development, located mid-block at 4732 Lorain Ave. (Horton Harper).
On the ground floor of the 23,351-square-foot, five-story building, three ground-floor retail spaces are proposed. They would total 2,259 square feet and a comparable amount of storage space directly below them in the basement. Also in the basement will be a storage room and a bike parking area for residents of the apartments next to and above the retail spaces.
Three small one-bedroom apartments measuring 428-448 square feet will be on the first floor but at the rear of the new building. Above, 20 one-bedroom apartments ranging from 576 to 886 square feet are proposed. Some will have juliet balconies while others will have bay windows, according to preliminary plans by Cleveland-based architectural frim Horton Harper and posted at coUrbanize, a community engagement site for new developments.
On that Web site, Miketo touted the project as part of the “Activation of a long vacant lot on a prominent retail corridor. (Ground-floor) spaces are specifically designed for smaller retailers which are typically filled by local businesses and entrepreneurs.” He also noted that he is a “Local developer with roots on Lorain Avenue investing further in the neighborhood.”
View of the proposed five-story building from a new parking lot planned behind the development. At right is the historic building to be renovated as a restaurant (Horton Harper).
Ohio City’s local design review committee is scheduled to receive a presentation about the plans at its next monthly meeting June 15. And, at a community meeting at 6 p.m. June 20 at the Urban Community School, 4909 Lorain, the development team will give a follow-on presentation. Plans shaped by input given at those meetings would then go to the city’s Landmarks Commission for review but no vote July 13. The development site is located in a designated historic district.
Development team members said they took care in how the new building would look from Lorain. The top two floors of the five-story building are set back from the lower three levels and are a lighter color so that the building doesn’t dominate the street frontage. The height of the lower three levels are comparable to neighboring buildings. At the setback above the three-story façade will be a tenant space overlooking Lorain. And, atop a single-level lobby between the new building and the historic building will be another tenant amenity space, the preliminary plans show.
Miketo, a Lakewood resident who also recently redeveloped The Nest in Lakewood’s Birdtown neighborhood, acquired the vacant lot at 4714 Lorain from Ohio City Inc. in March from Ohio City Inc. for $110,000, Cuyahoga County property records show. Often using interesting company names to buy real estate, Miketo created a company called Flatiron Bait LLC to acquire the vacant lot. In 2016, he created a company called Forgotten Man LLC to acquire 4732 Lorain from Harold Investments LLC for $250,000.
The historic building to be renovated at 4732 Lorain is at left. To the right of it is a single-level lobby for the development, topped by an amenity space. Another amenity space is above the third floor overlooking Lorain with the upper two floors set back and at a lighter color to reduce the scale of the building’s street presence (Horton Harper).
Flatiron Bait also acquired 1975 W. 48th St., but did so in October 2022 from real estate investor Adam Hayoun for $65,000 and then transferred it to Forgotten Man. The West 48th property is a vacant residential lot that is proposed to be used as a driveway into a rear parking lot for the new development. Planned are 23 off-street parking spaces. The site is located in a stretch of Lorain that’s zoned with a pedestrian-retail overlay, city zoning maps show. The project is intended to be sustainable and supportive of the neighborhood, development team members said.
“New and existing structures will be built to Energy Star criteria,” Miketo said on coUrbanize. “(Work involves) rehabbing of an existing building with an embedded carbon footprint (and a) new building on a brownfield site. (It is) located on a well-served transit route with both bus and rapid transit options within 0.5 miles (and) also well-located on the proposed Lorain Avenue Bikeway.”
A different developer, My Place Group, is planning approximately 200 apartments at two locations long Lorain, just east and west of Miketo’s developments. Because owners of other properties, including for a gas station and one of Lorain’s many used-car lots, were unwilling to sell, My Place Group had to design its apartment buildings around them, prompting mixed reviews of those projects’ designs.