Roughly a decade ago patrons left a Christmas party at the old Cleveland Athletic Club on Euclid Avenue. Though time inside the century-old building looked like it may have stood still with the linens and dinnerware on the tables, the reality was it has marched on with a vengeance.
"It was a little scary when we first walked in," said Tony DiGeronimo, President of Precision Environmental.
"We've been in a lot of these buildings but this was about the worst that we've seen in town. When they're abandoned for ten years it makes a big difference for all of the work that had to be done and a lot of unknowns that we didn't discover," he said.
Much of the damage was caused by water leaking in and down through the many floors—freezing and thawing. It's what makes what is taking shape all that much more amazing as the century-old building begins an inch by inch transformation into the Athlon, a 163-unit apartment building that celebrates what the building once represented while staking its claim as part of what this section of Euclid between E. 9th Street and Playhouse Square is becoming.
"We're close to achieving a product that we think is going to be a really nice project," said Developer Ned Weingart first got involved in efforts to save the building in 2010 but took several tries to get off the ground.
"It really didn't develop legs until I met the DiGeronimo family and the Boback family," he said of the family behind the Great Lakes Financial Group who helped to get the project to where it is less than a year from completion," Weingart said.
J&S Management Vice President Tina Vespucci said they would be pre-leasing the one and two bedroom units during construction.
"We're going to reveal floors two and three first, we're shooting for Oct. 1 move in there, so we're taking reservations right now," she said. As floors are finished they'll begin taking reservations for units on those with an overall project completion slated for March of 2019.
The units will range in size from one to two bedrooms with a select few being multi level units. They're expected to go for around $1,500 to $2,500 a month.
A large part of the project has been about restoring and preserving many of the historic features that will be part of the many amenities Vespucci said the Athlon will offer, starting with a rooftop deck views of Lake Erie and Progressive Field. Floors 12 and 13 will house the building's historic pool and running track.
"As you get to 12 our fitness center is there with men and women's locker rooms with wellness rooms, yoga rooms, all the equipment, indoor pool that we're so excited about that has such an historic stamp on the town," Vespucci said.
"And then as we continue down on the 8th floor we have three parlor rooms that are available for residents to rent out or just use at community level. We're going to have a demonstration kitchen in there we're going to have a lounge area in the middle with pool tables and possibly poker tables and a theater room as the third room of the parlor room."
The seventh floor is where the historic ballroom is being restored with great detail.
The first floor will include retail aspects and additional amenities.
"Where residents enter we have a dog wash station in there, bike storage in there, mailroom in there, business center, just so many things for residents to feel like this building is there home."