Cleveland development: what to look for in 2024 — University Circle

In University Circle and its environs, the extent of investment and change in recent years has been nothing short of remarkable. In this view along East 105th Street, older, substandard housing is giving way to modern, mixed-use developments that offer quality, affordable housing, retail and services that these neighborhoods haven’t had in decades (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

‘Eds & Meds’ job growth drives UC

Back when Cleveland was an industrial powerhouse, few wanted to live near its dirty, noisy industries. Today, its largest source of employment is the education and health services sector — a cleaner industry to which it’s attractive to live within a short walk or bike ride. It is centered in and near University Circle, surrounded by long-neglected neighborhoods. But investment has been coming into those places — Hough, Fairfax, Glenville, Cleveland Heights’ Top of the Hill, and East Cleveland’s Circle East — bolstering them as neighborhoods of choice.

That combination of jobs and residences, plus services for each, is proving to be a potent mix for the University Circle area. Employment in the education and health services sector, dubbed “eds and meds,” has been growing quickly. It’s visible on the landscape, too. No place in Greater Cleveland has as many construction cranes above it. Nearly everywhere you look, a construction project is within sight. If there isn’t, there probably will be one soon.

Some places in and near University Circle look nothing like they did less than a decade ago, such as East 105th Street from Quincy Avenue in Fairfax north to Superior Avenue in Glenville. The construction is continuing and new plans are brewing but inflation still weighs on builders, as do wait times on construction material and large equipment. So let’s take a look at what has developed in University Circle and its surroundings in 2023 and what may be coming to the fore in 2024.

Multiple construction cranes preside over the Cleveland Clinic’s Main Campus near University Circle. In the foreground is the site of one of the largest building projects in Ohio — the 1-million-square-foot Neurological Institute on Carnegie Avenue. In the distance are two cranes for the Cleveland Clinic’s new Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health measuring nearly 300,000 square feet (Courtesy,

Cleveland Clinic is the area’s foundation

Any discussion of development activity in and near University Circle begins with what the Ohio Department of Development says was Ohio’s largest employer in 2023 — the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, barely edging out WalMart. Although most of its Main Campus is actually in the Fairfax neighborhood, it is right across East 105th from University Circle Inc.’s service area. And its economic impact is felt far and wide although the immediately surrounding neighborhoods, until very recently, were left out.

For many years, Cleveland Clinic built parking decks so its tens of thousands of workers could live far away and drive to the campus. But parking garages are expensive to build and maintain. For comparison, at the price of building another parking garage like the 915,000-square-foot East 105th Parking Garage at Cedar Avenue, the health system alone could leverage a roughly 50/50 matching federal grant sufficient to extend the light-rail Blue Line from Shaker Square to University Circle.

Instead, the Clinic is promoting the construction of “live where you work” housing near its Main Campus in what it calls “community projects.” In late 2023, the most ambitious community project, a mixed-use development, opened at East 105th and Cedar on land that’s jointly owned by the Clinic and the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. The Medley apartments over the Meijer urban format grocery store were built by Fairmount Properties and are filling up fast.

Only 18 of the 196 apartments show as available. That’s at top-of-the-market rents ranging from $2.30 to $3.70 per square foot. Based on that leasing success, look for the Clinic and others to pursue a follow-on project. The same partners, including Fairmount, own property in the next block west of The Medley. When interest rates drop and lending becomes more fluid again, that’s where at least one follow-on project could happen.

In 2025, this will be the view when looking northeast at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and East 100th Street. At far left and at the center of this rendering are the two buildings of the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health, the largest research initiative in Cleveland Clinic’s more than 100-year history. Construction is already underway (Cleveland Clinic Foundation).

Another mixed-use development is also in the long-range plans of the Clinic, this time at the former site of the Cleveland Playhouse which was demolished last year. But any mixed-use project here will have to wait until after the Clinic’s current flurry of big projects has waned, in part because the Playhouse site is being used as construction staging for the next three years on the health system’s largest-ever building — the 1-million-square-foot Neurological Institute on Carnegie Avenue at East 89th Street.

Last year, construction got started on the Neuro building, the 150,000-square-foot Jeffrey and Patricia Cole Building at Cole Eye Institute on East 105th Street near Euclid Avenue, renovation of the existing 130,000-square-foot Cole Eye Institute, and construction of the nearly 300,000-square-foot Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health in two buildings divided by East 100th Street at Cedar to be completed in 2025.

It’s all part of one of the Clinic’s largest-ever building programs which totals $1.3 billion and is being aided in part by the Cleveland Innovation District — an initiative of JobsOhio that helped put the pathogens center and its 1,000 new jobs in Cleveland rather than in Port St. Lucie, FL. Another major beneficiary is the Clinic’s new partnership with Canon HealthCare USA which is putting its new headquarters in Cleveland.

That effort is starting with a new research facility, likely at the former IBM Explorys building 10500 Cedar. But Canon Healthcare’s strategy could end up being its own section in next year’s round-up article. Where all this leads to could be one of the most intriguing and exciting developments to follow in 2024 and beyond. Canon plans to invest $300 million into developing its presence here. What that amounts to and where it’s going to land may be one of the big stories going forward.

A preliminary rendering of Case Western Reserve University’s proposed $300 million Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building as seen from the commons of Case Quad (HGA).

CWRU’s growth reflected in construction

The “Eds” part of University Circle’s eds and meds scene is dominated by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), although there are smaller but equally top-notch programs at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland Institute of Music. CWRU has seen its enrollment grow by more than 18 percent in the past decade, with the undergraduate population growing 29 percent, to a total enrollment of more than 12,200 students.

It could grow even more. Nearly four times as many people apply to attend CWRU than can be accommodated. CWRU is trying but it’s not cheap. The $110 million phases one and two of the South Residential Village, the first new dormitory project since 2015, will open by fall 2024. It will add 600 beds at the intersection of Murray Hill and Adelbert roads. In 2019, these two phases were projected to cost $72 million total — showing the impact of inflation on construction pricing.

Phases three and four of the South Residential Village would add two more buildings and another 450 beds or so across Murray Hill, next to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Cedar-University Red Line station. But that’s at least several years from offering more accommodations. So CWRU is trying to add student housing wherever it can, including in a former nursing home.

More classrooms and research facilities are needed, too. Construction will get underway early this year on a $300 million, 200,000-square-foot Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building (ISEB). It’s CWRU’s largest-ever construction project on the Case Quad, located northeast of Euclid Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and it should be open in time for the university’s 200th anniversary in 2026.

Bolstering innovation and spin-off businesses is the aim of CWRU redeveloping the former BioEnterprise building on Cedar at the bottom of Fairhill Boulevard as the new home of the Human Fusions Institute to improve human-machine interaction and advance socially responsible innovations in prosthetics, robotics and even gaming. Renovations should get underway in early 2024.

As seen from the top of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Branch Library last fall, the apartment portion of the Library Lofts development was still rising. Construction has moved slowly since it began in the summer of 2022. Work should wrap up by the second quarter of 2024 (Chris Ronayne).

UC housing is looking up

When looking back at University Circle as recently as the mid-2010s, the tallest buildings were the 16-story Walker Center, built like a bunker in the 1980s when the scars of riots in the surrounding neighborhoods and out-of-control violent crimes were still fresh. Today things are a lot calmer and, unlike in Cleveland’s other downtown, the tallest buildings in University Circle are residential towers. There’s more to come after 2024.

A new height leader for the University Circle area was crowned in 2023 — The Artisan apartments, built drama-free by Chicago-based White Oak Realty Partners with Midwest Development Partners and National Real Estate Advisors in the Circle Square megadevelopment. The 24-story, 250-foot-tall Artisan at 10600 Chester Ave. is nearly 80 percent leased. It eclipsed the prior height champ, the 20-story, 235-foot-tall One University Circle at 10730 Euclid Ave.

A different building in Circle Square has something in common with Sherwin-Williams’ 616-foot-tall HQ tower downtown. Both are near to topping out even though the 11-story Library Lofts (207 apartments over new Martin Luther King Jr. Branch Library) started going vertical in August 2022 before the 36-story office tower did.

Coordination, inflation and supply issues have been the culprit. It is due to open before Sherwin-Williams’ skyscraper, however. After the old MLK Library, 1962 Stokes Blvd., comes down toward the end of this year, the retail podium for Circle Square’s planned hotel will go up thanks to a Transformational Mixed Use Development tax credit.

The Stokes West development as seen from the intersection of Cedar Avenue and East 107th Street. Stokes Boulevard is just beyond the new seven-story building. Construction is underway (LDA).

Construction is underway on the next big housing project in University Circle — the 261-unit Stokes West development in the 2100 block of Stokes at Cedar. Like a lot of developments, this project has been delayed by market headwinds and had to be redesigned by its team — Cleveland-based Brent Zimmerman Development, Rust Belt Development and Geis Companies, plus ACRE of Atlanta and New York City.

In the other direction, at 1555 E. 118th St., a 24-unit apartment project could see construction get underway in a year. Alpha Apartment Management of Cleveland’s Little Italy is leading this project. The same developer is building the 14-unit Cornell Road Residences, 2185 Cornell, in Little Italy.

Other developers considering big projects in UC say any new announcements will wait a year or so. First Interstate founder Mitchell Schneider of Cleveland said a second phase of One University Circle won’t be considered until market conditions improve. Ditto for City Club Apartments of Farmington Hills, MI which is finishing its 23-story high-rise downtown and has been scouting sites in UC for a follow-on project, according to several UC property owners.

Other big and small projects are popping up in the surrounding neighborhoods. The southeast corner of Hough is a boomtown. Addis View Apartments (131 units, 1878 E. 90th St.) and Lumos Apartments (42 units, 1866 E. 93rd St.) opened in early 2023. Construction is wrapping up on Park Lamont (77 units at Lamont Avenue and East 97th Street). Future phases of the Addis View plus more apartments on East 82nd and 90th streets are facing fiscal headwinds, unfortunately.

Redevelopment of the vacant and vandalized Kingsbury Apartments, 9410 Hough Ave., into the Ninety-Four Ten Apartments along with a new community center at far right would be a challenge in any market. But Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures and Sullivan Land Services Co. have yet pull together financing for the project (NREUV).

So is redevelopment of the vacant, 10-story Kingsbury as Ninety-Four Ten Apartments (116 units, 9410 Hough Ave.) and the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza shopping center, 9300 Wade Park Ave. by Washington DC-based Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures. Gordon Crossing (46 units, 1848 E. 101 St) and the Lynette Gardens Senior Apartment Homes (65 units, 1552 Ansel Ave.) are also facing similar challenges.

At Chester 82 (131 units, 1898 E. 82nd St.), Willoughby’s Marous Development Group is working through some design compliance issues with the city to secure a building permit. Structures Unlimited of Greenbelt, MD recently announced the largest single development in Hough in a century at the closed MLK High School site (310 units, 1651 E. 71st St.).

In Fairfax, construction is wrapping up on the Aura at Innovation Square (82 units, 2260 E. 105th) with a second phase in the works immediately south of the first (60 units, 2287 E. 103 Street). Both are by McCormack Baron Salazar of St. Louis. Along East 89th Street, We Rise Development of Cleveland plans 48 apartments in six buildings.

The Gold Coast Lofts at the corner of East 105th Street and Superior Avenue remains elusive in this tight financial market. If built, it would add 71 apartments above a Metrohealth clinic (RDL).

Up in Glenville, the Circle North district which extends to the intersection of East 105th and Superior, is a changed area. Construction continues on the latest phase of the Churchill Gateway Apartments at the former Davis Elementary School site, 10700 Churchill Ave. The first phase added 56 affordable units with a ground-floor University Hospitals health center. The 71-unit Gold Coast Lofts awaits more financing but it follows the successful Circle North development that opened in 2020. Nearby a community center in the former St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church and a renovated Glenville Branch Library are planned.

In communities just east of University Circle, lots of development is happening, too. The Ascent at the Top of the Hill, 12301 Cedar, mixed-use development is one of several big projects in Cleveland Heights. Of the Ascent’s 261 units, all but 34 apartments are spoken for — an 87 percent occupancy rate for the 10-story building that opened in 2023, according to

And in East Cleveland, developments in the Circle East area include a public-private partnership led by Cuyahoga Land Bank to build 200-plus single- and multi-family homes and retail. Nearby is New York City-based Genesis Global’s $100 million planned redevelopment of the former East Cleveland Adult Activity Center site, 13231 Euclid, but no work has started there, yet.


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