CLEVELAND — Even without many projects announced, much less being built, the city of Cleveland is getting ready for the Irishtown Bend project in Ohio City to spark a wave of development in Ohio City, but also on Scranton Peninsula and throughout the Flats.
The Cleveland Planning Commission approved zoning changes and an urban form overlay for the area bounded by Detroit Avenue, the Cuyahoga River, Carnegie Avenue, and West 25th Street. Right now, that area is zoned for its historical industrial use, requiring variances for many residential or mixed-use projects. The new zoning and urban form overlay allows those projects to work through the approval process more smoothly. The space intended for the Irishtown Bend Park will be zoned for Open Space Recreation. Other land will be zoned in a way allowing for some industry, but also retail and residential construction.
Little Italy is working on a similar set of changes to its zoning code to help new construction projects fit into that community.
City officials told the planning commission that the zoning changes would allow for the businesses currently in the affected areas to continue what they are doing, but open the door to new retail and residential projects.
New developments already lining up
The area is expecting a drastic increase in proposed projects with Irishtown Bend recently demolishing two buildings to turn the hillside into a green space, complete with multi-use trails.
Already, Bridgeworks’ coUrbanize website says it could start construction as early as Spring 2021. It would bring 170 apartments and a 30-room hotel with a coffee-shop to the corner of West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue.
Developers have suggested that their land could eventually be connected to Irishtown Bend through the streetcar level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge.
That building was already under construction when the coronavirus started with the goal of turning it into office space. Increased attention to how germs spread inspired developer Fred Geis to redesign parts of the building and the HVAC system to reduce the change germs could spread.
BrewDog ended up picking the building as its first Cleveland location just around the corner from Irishtown Bend and within the area where the zone changes will cover.
Red Line Greenway
The newly-completed multi-use trail runs from the Cuyahoga River all the way to the Zone Recreation Center at Lorain and West 65th Street, making it much easier for people in eight different neighborhoods to get to Ohio City and the Flats.
Corner of Detroit and West 25th
The city of Cleveland has been talking to restaurateur, Bobby George, about the property he owns at the corner of West 25th Street and Detroit, right next to where the Irishtown Bend Park will eventually go.
Earlier this month, plans submitted to the city show renderings that imagine a renovated building right next to the new park where George says he would like to move his wellness center from down the street.
It’s unclear if that project will move forward or if those parcels could be swapped for land for George to develop elsewhere.
Just outside the new zoning areas is Flats South, where Cleveland Whiskey is renovating an old produce storage facility to be its new distillery and restaurant. A long list of other land and buildings are also available because the developers promoting that region hope to eventually make it its own neighborhood for people to spend time in Cleveland.
Preventing future growing pains
Cleveland-based NRP Group submitted some of the first new plans for development on Scranton Peninsula in 2018. Those plans were quickly criticized and eventually the project fizzled out.
Since there is so much open land, Planning Commission members are asking for guidance from the Cleveland Mayor’s Office or the local community so they can better understand the broader plan when they consider more detailed development proposals.
“I think once Irishtown Bend gets going, it’s going to be exponential in terms of what is going to come at us and we’re not going to be ready,” said Planning Commission member Lillian Kuri.
Have you ever noticed something interesting in Northeast Ohio and wondered, “Hey…what’s going on there?”
Us, too. We love learning more about what shapes the world around us -- the buildings, the spaces and the ways we move between them.
Next time you're wondering about some building, project or piece of land, send me an email at Kevin.Barry@wews.com and I'll look into it for a possible story.
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.