Phase 2 awaits: Innovation Square, Fairfax Market

Looking north on East 105th Street toward the Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, the Aura at Innovation Square is in the foreground and the Medley at Fairfax Market just beyond represent the first phase of their developments. But their second phases may not be imminent (LoopNet). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Despite booming Clinic nearby, housing slows

Two mixed-market-rate apartment developments that just opened along East 105th Street in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood have phase-two projects proposed. But construction on the pair of follow-on projects may not occur for a year or more as lending remains tight and leasing activity has been uneven. But things could accelerate next year after interest rates fall and hiring starts for thousands of permanent jobs at several large Cleveland Clinic buildings under construction nearby.

The two apartment buildings are The Medley at Fairfax Market, 10300 Cedar Ave., and The Aura at Innovation Square, 2260 E. 105th St. Opening first was the Medley, above the new urban-format Meijer grocery store. Residents began moving in when the store opened in early February, although the ribbon cutting ceremony for the $53 million building wasn’t held until last month.

Leasing for the 199-unit building developed by Fairmount Properties of Orange Village has reportedly been steady but detailed information is not available. Adam Branscomb, vice president of new development at Fairmount opened but did not respond to an e-mail from NEOtrans seeking an update on leasing plus other progress. The Medley sets on 2.7 acres of land jointly owned by the Cleveland Clinic and the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. (FRDC).

The Medley’s Web site suggests only 15 units remain as available, but most apartment building Web sites publicly list only a handful of units that are actually available to provide a sampling of floorplans and give a sense of scarcity to encourage potential tenants to act more quickly. says 11 units are available now at monthly rents of nearly $3 per square foot.

The Medley at Fairfax Market is open to residents as well as to grocery shoppers at its Meijer store. This view looks at the northwest corner of the building at Cedar Avenue and East 103rd Street. Just out of sight to the right is where Fairfax Market’s second phase could rise someday (LoopNet).

Despite that, a potential second phase does not appear imminent. The reason is that a building permit for another use is being sought for a portion of the block west of the Medley — the same block where a second phase is likely to be built, according to sources familiar with the project but who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

That block is bounded by Cedar, East 103rd Street, East 101st Street and a newly extended Frank Avenue, formerly Wain Court. Within that block are 28 parcels belonging mostly to the Cleveland Clinic, the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. and the city of Cleveland’s land bank. The lone exception is a parcel at 2176 E. 103rd St., acquired in 2021 by an affiliate of Fairmount.

Intriguingly, the building permit application requested two weeks ago by Cleveland-based Karpinsky Engineering for the Clinic-owned parcel at 2170 E. 103rd, next door to Fairmount’s lot, vaguely says it is for “new construction.” But, alas, the application is not for a vertical development.

“Cleveland Clinic is planning to use this for temporary contractor parking,” said Angela Smith, senior director of corporate communications for Cleveland Clinic, without elaborating on how long “temporary” would be. Contractors are those working on the new Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health. She emphasized “This (parking lot) is not related to the Fairfax Market.”

In this September 2022 image, this lot at the southwest corner of East 103rd Street and Cedar Avenue was used as a construction staging area for The Medley at Fairfax Market, behind the camera. Construction will soon begin on the site for a temporary parking lot for construction workers laboring across Cedar at right on the Cleveland Clinic’s new pathogens center (Google).

Less than one block south of The Medley is The Aura at Innovation Square which had its ribbon-cutting ceremony March 19. And while its leasing is farther behind that of The Medley, efforts are already under way to secure financing for a second phase. Development of The Aura, a $26 million project, was led by FRDC and St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar with $21 million of the financing coming from PNC Bank and the Cleveland Clinic.

Of the 82 units in The Aura, 24 are exclusively available to residents with lower income. Most of the affordable units appear to have leased out. shows the four-story building has 61 units still available. Most of the remaining apartments have market-rate rents ranging from $2 to nearly $3 per square foot. A ground-floor retail space also remains unoccupied.

“The availability of quality, affordable housing for area employees at all income levels has been a central component of our revitalization plan from the beginning,” said Denise VanLeer, FRDC executive director in a written statement. “Demand for both market-rate and affordable housing remains extremely high in Fairfax and surrounding neighborhoods, and we have an obligation to protect the ability of workers to stay close to their place of employment, as well as providing housing options for existing residents.”

The apartments are eligible for a $1,400 benefit through the Greater Circle Living program available for employees of the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. Despite a slow start to leasing, the popularity of the affordable units is driving FRDC to pursue phase two.

A conceptual rendering of the proposed phase two of the Innovation Square, a 67-unit apartment building planned by the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. just south of phase one on East 105th Street at the newly extended Hudson Avenue (City Architecture).

A 67-unit affordable apartment building is planned across Hudson Avenue, newly extended west of East 105th. The three-story second phase at Innovation Square would rise at the north end of the Opportunity Corridor Boulevard, which connected to Interstate 77 in 2021. Phase two is planned only one block north of the East 105th-Quincy Red Line rail transit station that was recently expanded as part of the Opportunity Corridor project.

With a construction cost estimated at $24 million, to be built by the same development team that delivered phase one, the second phase was passed over in search of $11.8 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Ohio Housing Financing Agency, according to the authority’s most recent update earlier this month. FRDC will resubmit the LIHTC application.

If built, phase two will be a new walkup building with no elevators. It is designed with a mix of 15 studios, 42 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom suites, its project summary shows. The building will share a community space, business and fitness centers, a rooftop, a ground-floor garden, and a park with the directly adjacent phase one building.


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