CLEVELAND — Cleveland’s historic Hessler Road could see two buildings renovated and a new one constructed in what’s now an empty lot or historic backyard, depending on who you talk to.
The new construction is slated to go at 11300 Hessler Road, which right now has a garage and parking area behind the building at 1975 Ford Drive. It will put 12 residential units steps away from Case Western Reserve University and just around the corner from the Museum of Contemporary Art and the rest of University Circle.
Local residents opposing the new construction told the commission they thought the new construction didn’t mesh with the existing feel of the street. Their concerns centered around the height and width of the new building, the lack of windows on the side of the proposed structure, and how it could block sunlight from the existing buildings.
City officials generally pushed back on those objections.
Ward 6 Council member Blaine Griffin says he’s supporting the project because the developer made changes to the project based on community feedback. Some of those changes include bringing the size of the building down, redesigning what was originally a flat roof into one that better fits in the neighborhood, and cutting the number of units from 24 to 12.
“I am very in-tune with the community’s concerns with this,” said Griffin. “I will say that the bigger concern from the community is if this becomes mission creep to destroy the fabric of Hessler, which a lot of them hold dear.”
Griffin proposed a hard look at the Historic District to make sure that other properties are maintained, preventing them from creating vacant lots which would open the door to more new development.
Hessler Road and the wood-paved Hessler Court were originally part of a large piece of land owned by Emery Hessler in the early 1900’s.
Later in the century, “Hessler Road residents developed a cooperative lifestyle formalized in the late 1960s by the organization of the Hessler Neighborhood Association to raise funds for housing renovation and to promote activities enhancing the social and architectural value of the area,” writes Case Western Reserve’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
Before that construction starts, the city of Cleveland announced it would start a brick restoration process on June 14. Parts of the street will be closed while city workers remove sunken bricks to repair the elevation. The plan is for that work to be finished by the end of July 2021.
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