Old Brooklyn Lofts gets early OK

Old Brooklyn Lofts is a proposed redevelopment in the heart of the project’s namesake neighborhood of Cleveland to convert a vacant mixed-use building with high ceilings into apartments, most with bedroom lofts. A 12-space parking lot will be constructed behind the building on the right (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Project to convert vacant Odd Fellows Hall


A Parma real estate investor and his development team won conceptual approval yesterday from a local design review panel to convert the vacant, century-old Independent Order of Odd Fellows Temple at 3409 Broadview Rd. in the heart of Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood into loft-style apartments. The team will then refine their plans into more detail schematic designs for review by the Planning Commission’s citywide design-review committee prior to construction.

The project, Old Brooklyn Lofts, proposes to renovate a two-story building with 15-foot-high ceilings into 10 apartments with kitchens, living rooms, laundry/pantry and half-baths/powder rooms on the existing floors with a bedroom loft inserted above. The bedroom loft will have a full bathroom included, according to plans shared with the Near West Design Review Advisory Committee by Joseph L. Myers, Architect Inc. of Willoughby. The effect is that the two story-building will become a four-level structure with bedrooms above the kitchens. High ceilings will remain above the living rooms.

All of the apartments will have one bedroom each with one exception. The westernmost first-floor apartment will also have a second bedroom, to be located on the first floor next to the building’s proposed parking lot. And, all but one apartment will have bedroom lofts. The exception is the easternmost second-floor unit that will have its bedroom on the same level as the rest of its living spaces. That unit will also be the only one to have just one bathroom, a full bath. The 12-space parking lot proposed behind the building is larger than the 10 spaces required per the zoning code.

Investor Yevgen Plylypiv Jr., who also goes by the name Gino Demarco, bought the two-parcel, 0.225-acre site in 2019 for $119,900 from Sandra Kostantaras, according to Cuyahoga County property records. He did not respond to an e-mail from NEOtrans seeking more information about the project. His real estate purchase includes the 11,361-square-foot brick building that originally had a community room turned gymnasium turned warehouse on the first floor with five apartments on the second floor. There is also a 4,022-square-foot utility basement but the presentation given to the committee yesterday did not reveal any new plans for that space.

Site plan for the proposed Old Brooklyn Lofts on Broadview Road, immediately behind the Metro by T-Mobile store seen at lower left. North is at the bottom of this view (Myers).

“The project was pretty straight-forward, they all approved it conceptually,” said Britany Pabon, Cleveland city planner for the near-west side, of the committee’s review. “Everyone was on board with the repurpose and reuse of the building.”

The building’s history is long and intriguing and its redevelopment serves neighborhood goals, said Lucas Reeve, executive director of the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corp. (OBCDC).

“OBCDC is working with the developer and supportive of the project,” Reeve told NEOtrans in an e-mail “Once the ‘Odd Fellows’ Hall, the building is an interesting and unique brick structure, set back from Pearl Road, along our main street. OBCDC recognizes the need to add more multi-family housing to our downtown area, the Brighton Corridor, continuing to build energy around a walkable, transit oriented district.”

“I hope they pay some homage to the International Order of Odd Fellows,” said Ward 13 Councilman Kris Harsh. “It’s an interesting piece of history. ‘Amicitia Amor et Veritas’ (friendship, love, and truth, the organization’s founding principals) indeed!”

Although the building was constructed in 1913, its first owner had a history in the neighborhood that goes back farther. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is a benevolent service organization founded in England in the 1600s. It helped those less fortunate at a time when class structures in society usually meant most people were left to fend for themselves. Helping others in times of need was considered odd, giving rise to the organization’s name.

Cross-section view of the former Odd Fellows Hall showing how the bedroom/bathroom lofts will be inserted into the first and second floors, both of which have high ceilings. The bedrooms will be above the kitchens and the bathrooms above the building’s common hallway corridor to each unit (Myers).

The organization which built the structure that now stands at 3409 Broadview was the Glenn Lodge No. 263 IOOF. It was founded in 1858 next door on the second floor of a building that no longer stands on Pearl when it was called Columbus Street and this dead-end stretch of Broadview was called Brookmere Avenue in the village of Brighton, according to county property records and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps.

County records show the Glenn Lodge sold 3409 Broadview on the lodge’s 100th anniversary in 1958 to George and Carolyn Jinson. Three years later, they sold it to the Sokol Center of Slovak Gymnastics Union, Sokol Lodge 260 which continued to operate there until 1978. It was sold to Jack Amburgey and then to Kostantaras in 1991 before Plylypiv acquired it.

There is also another parcel nearby worthy of note. Behind the property owned by Plylypiv is a narrow parcel owned by OBCDC that extends southwest into the Memphis and Pearl redevelopment site. Reeve said the Old Brooklyn Lofts along with the Memphis and Pearl project, led by Desmone Group of Pittsburgh, will help boost the historic center of Old Brooklyn. Updates on the Memphis and Pearl project can found on this Web site.

“OBCDC owns an adjacent property, which will eventually be included in the Memphis and Pearl project,” Reeve said. “That project continues to evolve its design and recently conducted a community engagement process, hearing from over 160 residents and community stakeholders.”


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