Nearly 200 housing units could be added soon to a fast-growing section of Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood. This is a view of the West 73rd Street Apartments from the intersection of Herman Avenue and West 73rd Street. The facades of the two buildings “step down” as they get closer to the street to reduce their street presence (HortonHarper). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Traffic, parking concerns shaped project’s design
After more than a year of debate, the design-review committee of City Planning Commission gave its final approval of a proposed apartment complex at 1321-1357 W. 73rd St. in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood. The unanimous vote sets the stage for the developer Joe Zagelbaum of Brooklyn, NY to apply for building permits to start construction.
The review panel’s support follows numerous community and design-review meetings in which some neighborhood residents feared the additional traffic and parking constraints the planned development might cause. Already, since West 73rd was extended through to Edgewater Parkway, formerly the Shoreway, and Edgewater Park, traffic has grown on the street. It has increased further with the completion of the 258-unit Station 73 at Battery Park apartments that opened last year.
So the West 73rd project was redesigned over the past year by Horton Harper Architects of Cleveland with transportation demand management strategies to reduce the project’s impact on neighborhood traffic and parking. Off-street parking provided for the 196-unit complex is below a 1:1 ratio, with 140 vehicular parking spaces provided. There are also 15 on-street parking spaces in front of the West 73rd St apartments that will be preserved. The two 97-unit, 88,000-square-foot apartment buildings will have parking for bicycles and scooters plus waiting rooms in the buildings’ vestibules for rideshare and public transportation with electronic transit information display boards for each waiting area.
“As we went through the process, there was a lot of pushback from the neighborhood on the parking count,” said Westleigh Harper of Horton Harper Architects. “So in response to that, we’ve really souped-up the alternative transit option infrastructure of the buildings. In response to the some of the feedback from the neighborhood, we have enlarged our bike parking areas. We have guest bicycle parking in between the two buildings, electric scooter parking and ridesharing defined zones in front of the buildings. So we think that takes the edge off of the non-one-to-one parking count even though from a zoning perspective we do meet requirements.”
Site plan for the West 73rd Street Apartments that will have courtyards in the middle of the both buildings to provide natural light to the interior units (Horton Harper).
Harper said the name “West 73rd Street Apartments” is a working title for the complex and will be changed, probably sometime during construction. However he didn’t have information on whether the development has its financing or when a groundbreaking might occur. Zagelbaum did not respond to an e-mail from NEOtrans seeking those answers prior to publication of this article.
Last year, through two different affiliates, Zagelbaum acquired several parcels of land totaling 1.78 acres, just north of the Craciun Berry Funeral Home on Detroit Ave. The northernmost parcel was jointly acquired by the developer and a prior owner Michaella Hajjar of Strongsville, doing business as MH Quality Plus LLC, for $775,000, according to Howard Hanna. A vacant, single-story, 13,700-square-foot light industrial building on the site was demolished late last year. Two additional parcels to the south were acquired by the developer for $1.04 million, county records show.
“It looks like a really beautiful community,” Zagelbaum said in a recent phone interview about his interest in developing in Greater Cleveland. “It’s an opportunity for us and for the neighborhood.”
Waiting areas in the vestibules of both new buildings are among the new features designed to manage transportation demand with the West 73rd Street Apartments having a parking-to-apartment ratio below 1:1. The vestibules not only will offer a place to wait for rideshare like Uber or Lyft. They also will have transit service information display boards, seen at right (Horton Harper).
Cleveland’s Gordon Square isn’t the only place where Zagelbaum plans to develop housing. In March, he acquired the seven-story Lakewood Center West office building, 14650 Detroit Ave. in downtown Lakewood for $2.4 million, according to county records. The developer told NEOtrans that he envisions converting offices in the upper floors to 60-70 apartments but will retain the ground-floor and basement commercial tenants. The 77,112-square-foot building began losing office tenants before the pandemic and the rising popularity of remote working.
This is the third developer to try to construct housing on the West 73rd site. In 2020, United Community Developers planned a 73-unit apartment building here, also called the West 73rd Street Apartments. And despite winning unanimous design approval from City Planning Commission, the developer lacked the financing to deliver the project. So did a prior developer, an affiliate of Cleveland Custom Homes located in Westlake. In 2019, it was just days away from a scheduled groundbreaking ceremony for a 21-townhouse development called Edgewater Hill Luxury Townhomes.
Immediately north of the West 73rd Street Apartments site, at 1231 W. 73rd, another lot is targeted for a multi-family development. Avenue Partners of Columbus, which developed Station 73 at Battery Park apartments, has submitted plans to the city for a staff review for developing the 1.13-acre property. Under the name Battery Park South LLC, the Avenue Partners acquired the lot for $825,000. The lot runs along the the south side of the newly extended Battery Park Avenue, between West 73rd and West 70th street. The 258-unit Station 73 at Battery Park has reached 97 percent occupancy at rents of $2.13 to $2.90 per square foot less than a year after opening, according to the property’s Web site.