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Jul. 12, 2014

Developers Plan Almost 400 New Apartments for Downtown Cleveland

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Although apartment construction in Greater Cleveland has reached a five-year high, developers are not ready to slow down. They continue to announce new projects, with the two most recent expected to bring almost 400 new units to the city’s downtown area.

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Nathan Zaremba, CEO of Zaremba Cleveland, plans to start work on a 108-unit apartment project on land once slated for townhouses at the dormant Avenue District development. Zaremba submitted documents to the city of Cleveland last week.

Plans call for the construction of nine two- and three-story apartment buildings that will house 59 one-bedroom units and 49 two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 600 to 1,100 square feet. The project also includes parking spaces for 77 vehicles, as well as bicycle parking and storage.

The Plain Dealer also reported that Weston Inc., a Warrensville Heights developer, recently acquired the Standard Building for $3.9 million. The 21-story property, which is in need of significant renovations to its exterior, changed hands for the first time in its 90-year history.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the nation’s oldest labor organization and the former owner of the property, put the Standard Building up for sale in 2012 for $8.8 million, but Weston purchased it at a lower price than even its current market value of $6.1 million. Now it plans to invest $60 million to convert the old office building into  apartments.

Weston is working with Sandvick Architects and is considering two redevelopment plans. The first calls for the creation of 287 apartments with retail on the ground floor. The second plan would bring 240 apartments, ground-floor retail space and offices on the second through fifth floors.

Construction won’t start immediately, as the 400,000-square-foot building is still 45 percent occupied. It might start a year to 18 months from now, with project completion scheduled for the second half of 2016.

The steady economic growth and the new development in the city’s downtown continue to attract people to the Cleveland area. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance reported at the end of the year that downtown apartment occupancy was nearing 95 percent. Demand for apartments is high and continues to grow. And even though this year’s completions are expected to increase vacancy to 6.2 percent, it won’t affect average rents, which will continue to rise in 2014 to $805 per month.

Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap.

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