Seeds & Sprouts 33 – Sankofa Village Phase 4 coming, West 48th gets more townhomes, So might Midtown, Intro adding salon

This is the thirty-third edition of Seeds & Sprouts – Early intelligence on Cleveland-area real estate projects. Because these projects are very early in their process of development or just a long-range plan, a lot can and probably will change their final shape, use and outcome.

A conceptual rendering of the fourth and final phase of Sankofa Village to be built in the south end of the Campus District, just southeast of downtown Cleveland. When completed, a total of 235 mixed-income residential units will be provided, replacing the former Cedar Estates public housing projects that stood here since the 1940s (City Architecture). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Sankofa Village to add its fourth, final phase

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and its Sankofa Village development team are making plans to build the fourth and final phase of the village, also called Cedar Redevelopment IV, in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood just east of downtown. This phase will see the addition of 50 mixed-income affordable apartments in five townhome buildings along the east and west sides of a newly constructed East 26th Street linking Community College and Central avenues.

Plans for the $18.6 million, 55,612-square-foot Sankofa Village IV were submitted to the city in August and reviews are still pending. The development team leading this and previous phases include managing member Pennrose Holdings LLC of Kingston, PA, near Scranton, and Falbo Group LLC of Pittsburgh. John G. Johnson Construction Co. of Cleveland is the general contractor. Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana meaning “to retrieve” and is often used to in reference to retrieving African-American cultural history.

Previous phases of the replacement of the 1940s-built Cedar Estates public housing projects added 185 apartments. Cedar Estates was demolished in 2013, creating a 15-acre development site. The first phase was a four-story mixed-use building constructed in 2016 with 60 apartments over several retail spaces which are occupied by Building Strong Minds Childcare and the Ohio Educational Credit Union. Next came 50 townhomes in 2017 on the east side of a newly built East 28th Street, followed by another 75 townhomes in 2021 in the third phase on the west side of East 28th.

This won’t be CMHA’s last major development in the Central neighborhood. In fact, it’s largest-ever may be yet to come. NEOtrans has learned that CMHA has directed San Francisco-based Gensler architects to design a masterplan for the replacement of the 550-apartment Olde Cedar, north of Central and west of East 30th Street, extending west to include the former Juvenile Justice Center site. Sources say Old Cedar, CMHA’s oldest public housing project, and the vacant-Juvenile Justice Center will replaced by nearly 900 apartments plus some ground-floor retail spaces. CMHA’s current largest project is the replacement of 487 existing units at the 83-year-old Woodhill Homes with 800 new mixed-income apartments on site and nearby.

Ground was broken Sept. 21 for The Equinox CLE townhome development, seen at the center of this rendering, and extending along a new driveway off West 48th Street. Civic Builders’ West 48th Street Homes are seen to the left of Equinox. Also off West 48th, at far left, is a warehouse for Saucy Brew Works that will be relocating. Its property was put up for sale and will likely become another development site.

Just off West 48th getting more townhomes

A wide block between West 48th and West 50th streets and a growing desire for housing between Cleveland’s Ohio City and Gordon Square neighborhoods means developers are trying squeeze in new townhomes wherever the opportunity exists. And a new real estate opportunity emerged today that could bring even more townhouses behind existing, historic homes.

“We, Saucy Brew Works, have grown out of our warehouse in Ohio City Cleveland,” announced Saucy’s co-founder and CEO Brent Zimmerman on social media. “Time to move to a larger building. Sadly, that means parting ways with this amazing location. Almost 0.75 acres in the heart of Ohio City. This will be an amazing piece of land for the right developer!”

Zimmerman opened but did not respond to an e-mail from NEOtrans seeking more information about Saucy’s warehouse situation. Saucy’s other co-founder is Brewmaster Eric Anderson. The warehouse’s current location has an address of 1436 W. 48th and features a 6,000-square-foot warehouse built in 1989, according to Cuyahoga County property records. While three-fourths of an acre may not sound like a lot of land, it can produce a lot housing units in a hot market with an urban setting.

Consider The Equinox CLE townhomes, 1428 W. 48th, for which a groundbreaking ceremony was held Sept. 21. Eleven townhomes are being constructed on just 0.43 acres by developer Driven4 Group, led by construction industry veterans Mike Marous and Rick Loconti. The project had to pre-sell at least four townhomes to secure a construction loan and break ground, said Howard Hanna realtor Ted Theophylactos who has the sale listing. Townhome prices start at $459,000 and have 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement, he said.

Those aren’t the first luxury townhouses built behind the historic row of homes along the sidewalks of West 48th and 50th streets. That distinction goes to the West 48th Street Homes — a trio of new townhouses and a refurbished and expanded century home at 1432-1434 W. 48th constructed by Civic Builders in 2018-22 and were listed for sale by Progressive Urban Real Estate.

Vazza Real Estate Group is seeking add another grouping of townhomes to its already approved, 23-unit site plan to bring the total to 30 units and to create a critical mass to get the project completed. City Planning Commission has given preliminary approval to the plan for the northwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 73rd Street (Dimit).

One Midtown Luxury Townhomes seeks expansion

City Planning Commission recently gave conditional approval to conceptual plans for an expansion of a phased townhouse development that hasn’t visibly progressed in the past five years, despite a number of other developments moving forward in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. But a member of the development team said that pending expansion of the plan will make it possible to move forward with the remainder of the project in a second phase with lower per-unit costs of construction. That could be a key to success in the growing area between downtown and University Circle.

At the northwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 73rd Street, Vazza Real Estate Group sold all 10 luxury townhomes since they were built in 2018 for amounts ranging from $323,000 to $509,324, Cuyahoga County property records show. Howie Hayden, an associate at Lakewood-based Dimit Architects, said additional phases of the project were stopped by the pandemic. But rather than pursue additional phases, he said the developer decided to expand the project in a single phase by acquiring another property — one-third of an acre at 1964 E. 73rd which had a fire-damaged, four-story apartment building on it.

That apartment building, on East 73rd at Simpson Ave., was demolished in 2019. In its place, Vazza plans to build seven more townhouses designed and landscaped like the first 10. That’s in addition to the 16 previously planned by Vazza and approved by the city to be built nearer to the corner of Euclid and East 73rd, Hayden said. He noted that, along with those 23 new townhomes, Vazza intends to follow through with constructing a pocket park right at the street corner.

“We’re just a little bit a ways from getting foundations for a new building,” Hayden said at a Sept. 15 City Planning Commission design review meeting. “The two buildings and the pocket park fronting Euclid Avenue and East 73rd are intended to be this next phase of development when this additional building across Simpson Avenue that we’re requesting today has also been constructed.”

Those 23 townhomes are planned to be spread among three buildings that will be placed around a turn-of-the-19th-century, Tudor-style carriage house at 1980 E. 73rd. It’s used as a studio for Carlo Maggiora LLC which makes custom-designed mounts for displaying items at museums. Hayden did not say whether the townhouse development team had reached out to acquire the former carriage house. He said only “We do not have contact with that landowner.”

Commercial floor plan of the first and second levels at Intro in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. This shows the leased, pending and available commercial spaces in relation to Lorain Avenue and West 25th Street. Salon Lofts is going into the 3,900-square-foot space along West 25th marked as “lease pending” (CBRE).

Intro gains national beauty salon chain as tenant

Salon Lofts, a national beauty salon chain with a dozen locations in Northeast Ohio, will add its first spot in Cleveland when it opens soon at Intro in Ohio City’s Market District. Each location within the chain offers individual suites where professional hair stylists, massage therapists, skin care and nail specialists run their own unique beauty salons. Intro is a nine-story building at the southeast corner of Lorain Avenue and West 25th Street offering apartments over retail, restaurants and office space.

The retail space chosen by Salon Lofts at the mixed-use Intro building was the largest of four such spaces still available. The spot it leased is a 3,900-square-foot, first-floor location along the West 25th side of the building, according to a source who spoke with NEOtrans on the condition of anonymity. Kevin Moss, first vice president at CBRE and an Intro leasing agent, offered no comment.

Neither did Dan Whalen, president of Harbor Bay Hospitality. His Chicago-based parent company built Intro during the pandemic. The 512,000-square-foot mixed-use development was the largest mass-timber project in the country when it opened. Its 297 apartments leased out before the official grand opening in August 2022 at the top-of-the-market rents of roughly $3 per square foot. Unfortunately, rising interest rates, tightened lending, and the city ending its 100 percent property tax abatement for hot neighborhoods like Ohio City have forced Harbor Bay to shelve plans for a 16-story second phase of Intro.

No building permit applications have yet been submitted for the space that Salon Lofts has leased. On the other hand, W Nail Bar, another national chain, received a certificate of occupancy from the city on July 17 to open a 1,540-square-foot salon offering manicures, pedicures and waxing immediately next door to where Salon Lofts has chosen to open.


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