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$15.5 million renovation underway for Agora Theater complex

Renovated office space plus 50 apartments in the works
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Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-19 06:16:36-04

CLEVELAND — Nearly 50 market-rate apartments as well as renovated office and restaurant spaces are expected at the Agora Theater complex, thanks in part to recently secured financing for the more than $15 million project.

Shawn Neece with Renew Partners LLC, along with Sabor Group USA, are taking the lead for modernizing the four-story historical building on Euclid Avenue.

“We’re still going to have that great iconic Agora sign on the street and we’re going to retain all the important historic features of this great old building, but it’s going to have all the modern amenities,” Neece explained.

The recently restored theater is not part of the renovations, however, work does include the recording studios, the ground floor bar and restaurant, and formerly office space upstairs.

Small relics from the Agora's past adorn the walls upstairs, where apartments are expected to replace the existing office space.

Neece’s previous projects include the Historic Hotel Ashtabula, the Historic Mentor Village Hall and the Historic Chardon Post Office.

The renovation is also expected to result in lower energy costs and a lower carbon footprint, as part of the requirements tied to the financing for the project.

“By removing financial barriers, CIRRUS™ Low Carbon makes it easy for developers to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures that result in better buildings with higher rates of return,” said Beau Engman, president and founder of PACE Equity, in a release.

RELATED: 6 projects that are changing MidTown Cleveland

Organizers told News 5 this was the first time a project had secured this kind of financing.

“With 39% of global carbon emissions coming from the built environment and construction, the real estate industry has a key role to play in solving the climate crisis,” said Kimberly Cheslak, director of codes at the New Buildings Institute, in a release. “These projects will serve as role models for property owners across the U.S. who are looking to meet a growing demand for low carbon buildings.”

When it's all said and done, the market-rate apartments will range in size, including studio apartments as well as one and two-bedroom units.

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Shawn Neece shows off the renovations underway at the old recording studio space, which will become home to LDA Architects.

This is just one of several projects underway that Ashley Shaw keeps tabs on as Executive Director at MidTown Cleveland, where parts of their long-term goals for the neighborhood are to find more places for people to live.

“I hope they think about midtown Cleveland not just as a place to pass through, or a place to come to work or for entertainment, but to start thinking about it as a neighborhood where you can also live,” Shaw explained.

The goal is to wrap up renovation and energy efficiency upgrades within the next two years.

“We have so much great historical fabric and it can be made new again and can be part of the future of Cleveland as well,” Neece added.

Clay LePard is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter @ClayLePard or on Facebook Clay LePard News 5

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