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Cuyahoga County considering $1,000,000 loan for mixed-use housing project in MidTown Cleveland

Posted at 8:18 AM, Mar 06, 2021

CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Economic Development & Planning Committee enthusiastically approved of a $1,000,000 loan to help make a renovation project at East 55th and Carnegie Avenue more forward.

Pennrose is working on a $54.1 million project that would bring 20,000 square feet of office space and 140 apartment units to the five-story Warner & Swasey building on Carnegie Avenue. Some apartments will be market rate, while others will be tied to an individual’s salary. Senior units will be intended for independent living. Rates could start between $925-$1,400/month.

The long, five-story, Warner & Swasey factory has plans to be turned into apartments on the upper floors and office space on the ground floor.

Cuyahoga County’s outgoing Director of Development Ted Carter told the Committee that the loan is like other loans the county has provided for redevelopment projects and meets the county’s goal to eliminate blight and build on previous developments.

The full County Council still needs to approve the loan.

The latest plans

Pennrose showed site plans that would put the living and office space in the large five-story structure that lines Carnegie Avenue.

Pennrose's plans show space for large parking lots that could be used for community events. The historic building along Carnegie will hold apartments and office space.

Parking would be behind it in what is now covered by open iron structures. Pennrose developer Amber Seely-Marks suggested that open area would be available for community programming, like food trucks.

The plan also shows room for a pedestrian/bike path underneath a nearby rail line.

The "shed" areas behind the factory will become a large parking lot.

Residential space would be reserved for the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors while the ground floor will be turned into office space and residential amenities.

The focus for that space is on training services for community members looking for a job or seniors.

Pennrose says the open floor plan of the historic factory floors gives planners plenty of flexibility in determining what the new uses for the building will be.

Pennrose says it hopes to close on the building by the end of 2021. Construction would take at least 18 months, leading to a completed project in 2023. The project financing is still coming together and is hoping for a second Ohio Housing Finance Agency award.

What’s near by?

Warner & Swasey sits in what’s now MidTown Cleveland, which is seeing a slew of newly planned projects up and down the high-tech corridor.

At the western end, the Midtown Apartments, is adding 90 luxury units near the corner of Euclid and East 30th Street.

The new sign above the entrance to The Midtown Apartments sits on Euclid Avenue.

Dave’s Supermarket is a few blocks away on Chester Avenue and East 61st, behind recent investment by University Hospitals.

The Cleveland Foundation is moving ahead with its new headquarters on Euclid Avenue and East 66th Street. Other office projects east of that location have already built up a growing population of employees along the Euclid Corridor during business hours.

exterior 1939.jpg
A picture from 1939 shows the exterior of the Warner Swasey building.

Pennrose says the nearby community is 61 percent African American, 15 percent Asian, with nearly half of the community living in poverty. The median household income is $20,000.

The Avenue Phase 2 begins

Phase 2 of The Avenue townhomes at the corner of Superior and East 12th Street in Downtown Cleveland is starting construction. The project’s website says some townhomes are already spoken for.

An overhead view shows what Phase 2 will look like. Phase 1 is in the top left of the picture and already has some units sold.

The project is one of the only opportunities to buy property in a downtown residential market that is heavily dominated by rental units.

Early construction works starts on Phase 2 of The Avenue townhomes while an old parking lot sign remains on the lot.

A Downtown Cleveland Alliance report shows Phase 1 of The Avenue cost about $15 million to build. County records show that some of the Phase 1 townhomes sold for between $450,000 and $550,000. Phase 2 is listed at $11.4 million.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District call for developers

CMSD and the City of Cleveland are looking for developers to reuse 12 buildings and seven plots of land currently owned by the district.

Developers will be able to tour the sites and need to submit their proposals by April 30, 2021. The preliminary selections will be made by May 31, 2021, before moving on to a six-month Phase 2 for due diligence.

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