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Playhouse Square’s apartment building tries to top an expanding amenities market

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Oct 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-10 17:03:48-04

CLEVELAND — The lights have been dark along Euclid Avenue in Playhouse Square since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but just across the street The Lumen is officially all lit up.

By Thursday’s grand opening, 86 of the building’s 318 apartments were already rented out, joining a downtown rental market that appears to be staying strong through the coronavirus pandemic.

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The view from the 35th floor towers over most other buildings despite The Lumen being in one of the most densely packed parts of Downtown Cleveland.

“You have to be bold, you have to be loud and proud,” said Playhouse Square President and CEO Gina Vernaci. “You don’t want to just blend in to what already exists.”

Vernaci said The Lumen stands out because of its amenities. Each new apartment project tries to outdo their competition but Vernaci said The Lumen outdoes them even more.

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The Lumen's pool is tucked behind the building on the 5th floor common area.

“We looked to develop this as a ‘Market plus 1,” said Vernaci. “So we looked around at what was in the market place and every amenity, every feature, we wanted to have one more.”

The common area on the 35th floor offers views no other shorter building can give of the lake and the rest of downtown. An outdoor deck five stories up offers grills, a pool and views of Playhouse Square.

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Vernaci says The Lumen's common areas are big enough to allow the residents who already live in the building to keep their distance.

Almost a third of the building is already rented out, with an average age of 34 among the tenants, which Vernaci said makes the building even more vibrant.

“It has always been a part of Playhouse Square’s mission to create a district, an entertainment district, where people could live work and play,” said Vernaci.

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Vernaci says The Lumen looked at what amenities are offered in other buildings and looked to improve on them.

It took 20 years to make The Lumen a reality, Vernaci said, because of complications purchasing the land and getting the project green lit. That means Playhouse Square is not only the owner but the developer too.

“And it’s just because of time, money, complication, everything that a commercial developer needs, we were willing to take on and endure in make something that will live on brightly in this community for years and years to come,” said Vernaci.

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.

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