The developer behind the City Club Apartments, a 240-foot-tall tower planned for lower Euclid Avenue, still hopes to break ground this year.
On Friday afternoon, Aug. 21, the Cleveland City Planning Commission gave its final OK to the ambitious project, which would add more than 300 additional residences to downtown's apartment market and activate a site that has been a parking lot for nearly four decades. Detroit-area developer City Club Apartments received preliminary approvals early this year, before the novel coronavirus pandemic stalled public meetings and rocked the economy. That upheaval has slowed, but not stopped, progress. "The developer is doing everything they can to start construction in November," said Denver Brooker, a principal with the Vocon architecture firm, during a Thursday presentation to a city designreview committee that advises the planning commission. The tower would rise on the south side of Euclid, west of East Ninth Street, between the City Club Building and the Residences at 668 apartments. The building would back up to, and connect to, an existing parking garage that breaks up the block between Euclid and Prospect avenues. The development plans don't include new parking, which the city doesn't require for downtown projects. Vocon's designs show two ï¬‚oors of commercial and amenity space topped by 20 levels of apartments. The Euclid Avenue frontage would include a dog daycare, a coffee shop and a two-story restaurant, called the Hippodrome on project renderings. That name is a nod to the property's history as the onetime home of the Hippodrome Theater, which was razed in 1981. The apartment tower also would feature a sky deck with a swooping, concrete roof. City Club Apartments CEO Jonathan Holtzman couldn't be reached for comment on Friday.
The company owns and manages about 10,000 apartments, largely in Midwestern cities, and has $750 million worth of projects in the pipeline, according to a recent news release. Crain's Cleveland Business first reported on Holtzman's interest in the Euclid Avenue site in late 2018. Public review bodies gradually have warmed to the project's distinctive design, with a variegated and, at points, patterned façade. "Initially, I was not in love with the blue … and orange … but I think it's grown on me," planning commission member and architect August Fluker said Friday. During Thursday's design-review meeting, some members cheered the aesthetics and deemed the building "fantastic," "exciting" and "something to be really proud of." Architect Jack Bialosky, chairman of the downtown-Flats design review committee, was a bit more lukewarm, using the terms "exuberance" and "overdesign" at points. "I think it had the potential to be classic, which I don't believe that it is," he said. "I think it's a very good building. For me it is — and this is a matter of personal taste, I certainly vote to approve it, I think it will be a good addition — but for me it is a fashion statement in some ways … I look forward to having a conversation with you about it 20 years from now and seeing how you feel about it then." On Friday, the planning commission also gave an initial thumbs-up to the Viaduct, a slim, high-rise apartment building planned on the north side of the Superior Viaduct in the Flats. The local team behind the project, United Community Developers, expects to seek final approval for the tower in September. United Community Developers separately got the green light from the commission to start work on a mid-rise apartment project on West 73rd Street, on a site once earmarked for townhouses. And local developers Rick Maron and Russell Berusch received an early goahead on plans to construct new apartments on Larchmere Boulevard, on the city's East Side.
Read full article by Michelle Jarboe for Crain's Cleveland Business here