Big developer moving HQ to Chester in Midtown

CHN Housing Partners will move its growing headquarters and more than 185 jobs into this building on Chester Avenue in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. The building, to be renovated, will allow the company to continue to grow and give it more visibility on a busier street (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

CHN Housing to make move from Asia Plaza


For more than 20 years, or roughly half of its organizational life, CHN Housing Partners’ headquarters has been in the same location at Cleveland’s Asia Plaza. But with a growing staff and a desire for more growth to increase the supply of affordable housing, it’s taking steps to move to larger, more visible quarters at 3711 Chester Ave. in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood.

CHN’s new location is the 50,000-square-foot old headquarters for Dealer Tire, which moved in 2017 into a larger, renovated building at 7012 Euclid Ave. While details are still coming together about the amount of investment CHN and its landlord will be making into its new digs, some information is becoming available on the scale of the project and what work will be done to accommodate it.

The two-story office building that CHN is moving into is owned by Dealer Commerce Ltd., an affiliate of Industrial Commercial Properties (ICP) of Mayfield Heights. It owns numerous and significant buildings and land throughout Greater Cleveland plus in Pittsburgh, Detroit and elsewhere. Two parcels are involved here and total about 3.5 acres.

But the larger of ICP’s two parcels, one that extends north to Perkins Avenue, won’t be used entirely by CHN, even though the affordable housing developer needs more parking than what the site currently offers. The reason is that about 125,000 square feet of buildings on that parcel and closer to Perkins are still being actively used by other tenants.

There is an 83-space lot currently offered onsite but it is too small. So instead of demolishing the Perkins buildings, ICP will demolish the former Carpenters Union offices and main hall at 3615 Chester. The Carpenters Union offices have consolidated at 2554 E. 22nd St., just southeast of downtown.

CHN Housing Partners’ new headquarters at right and a planned 100-space parking lot, left, are shown in this rendered aerial view, An existing, 83-space lot is at far right (Vocon).

The Carpenters Union’s former offices were in a 24,716-square-foot building. It was constructed in 1960 and, once razed, will provide space for a 100-car parking lot, according to plans submitted to the city by architect Vocon Partners LLC of Cleveland. The site is across Chester from TempleLive at Cleveland Masonic.

“As part of our service and commitment to the city of Cleveland, CHN is expanding its office space and has entered into a lease agreement with Dealer Commerce Ltd. for a long-term office lease of the premises located at 3711 Chester Avenue,” wrote Mark Whipkey, chief of asset management at CHN Housing Partners, in a June 12 letter to the Cleveland City Planning Commission. “CHN anticipates having over 185 employees at that location.”

“The two properties are significantly under-parked for any office user,” said ICP Executive Vice President Austin Semarjian in a recent letter to the the Planning Commission. “This project with CHN will be a multi-million dollar investment from both the landlord and the tenant.”

Dealer Tire’s old offices were built in 1951 and last renovated in 2007, according to county property records. The Revenue Group Companies, a business consulting and debt collections firm, has an office here and will not only remain onsite, but renovate their offices as well, Semarjian added.

CHN will occupy about 42,500 square feet of the 50,000-square-foot building at 3711 Chester, according to a filing last week with the city Building Department. The filing shows that CHN will spend approximately $50,000 to do interior demolition work to prepare for a designed build-out of the two-story office building.

CHN Housing Partners’ headquarters since the turn of the century has been at Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave., in Cleveland’s Asiatown neighborhood. The affordable housing developer’s offices are primarily on the third floor but is also has housing program offices on the first floor (Google).

The affordable housing developer is listed as the general contractor that will do the demolition work for its new headquarters space at 3711 Chester, assisted by architect Hiti, DiFrancesco & Siebold, Inc. of Cleveland and engineers Thorsen Baker & Associates of Richfield, city records show. But it is uncertain how much the office renovation cost will be or when it may begin.

“We are now in the process of working through floor plan designs and budgets so both timing and cost are unclear at this stage,” said Laura Boustani, vice president of external affairs for CHN Housing Partners.

CHN has roughly 220 staff persons, most of whom work at their offices at Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave. in Cleveland’s Asiatown neighborhood, where it has been since the turn of the century. It has a 25-member board representing Cleveland’s diverse neighborhoods and major institutions. The developer’s growth there is noticeable.

“We’re literally bursting at the seams at Asia Plaza,” Boustani added, who also noted that CHN will continue to have a presence at that site. “We plan to continue serving clients in the Asia Plaza location.”

In 1981, CHN, or Cleveland Housing Network, was formed by uniting six community development groups. The leaders of those groups recognized the role of stable, affordable housing in disrupting systems and symptoms of poverty, including homelessness and housing instability, CHN says on its Web site.


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