08 Sep Lazar Cartu Stated Construction on ‘Circle Square’ development in Cleveland’s…
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A developer behind a 5-acre-plus site in the city’s University Circle neighborhood says he hope construction can begin in March on the multi-use development that includes apartments, an office tower, a hotel and a new Cleveland Public Library.
The $300 million plans for Circle Square, which includes buildings on either side of Stokes Boulevard at the northwestern gateway to the city’s medical, educational and arts district, have been years in the making. They involve developing a new downtown-like area for residents and workers in University Circle, one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.
The Cleveland-based Midwest Development Partners, along with other firms with which it is partnering, plan to remake the site over several years and include about 800 apartments and retail space, office space and possibly a hotel with 160 rooms.
They also want to add more than 1,300 parking spaces. Consultant Paul Volpe said at a meeting last week that the team was not ready to announce any tenants for the office or retail space but said it aims for a “rich mixture.”
A significant component is the construction of a new Martin Luther King Jr. library branch, which Steve Rubin of Midwest Development Partners agreed to build as part of the overall plans. The current location on Stokes Boulevard remains open and will not close until the new one is complete. Rubin noted that construction on other buildings would happen around the branch because it must remain open.
Developers, architects and consultants unveiled updated renderings for Circle Square last week at meetings for a design review committee and the Cleveland City Planning Commission, which now includes plans for a new office tower.
The Planning Commission on Friday gave the OK to designs for a 24-story apartment building called 10600 Chester Avenue, which Midwest Development Partners is developing along with the Chicago-based White Oak Realty Partners.
They also gave approval to the designs of a parking garage, as well as the designs for an overall plan to change the streets in the area to conform to the new needs and redo what Volpe called a “spaghetti network of streets.”
The commission previously approved the new library designs and nine stories of apartments that will sit on top of the library. The apartments will be dubbed “Library Lofts.”
Planning Director Freddy Collier, who serves on the commission, noted that the city is “satisfied with the progression of the project.” Commission member Stamy Paul also said the latest developments on the project are “exciting to see.”
The commission must give final approval to the overall project and specific buildings before construction can commence. However, last week’s approvals signal that Circle Square is moving forward despite some delays, that Rubin attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said in February that he hoped to break ground on the 10600 Chester Avenue building this summer. That did not happen, and Rubin said in an interview Tuesday that this was because the pandemic impacted the lending industry.
However, he said financing is now lined up for the Library Lofts and the 10600 Chester Avenue buildings.
He explained that he would like the 10600 Chester Avenue building to be ready for “match day” in 2023, referring to a day when recent medical school graduates learn where they will do their residency.
Rubin noted at a design review committee meeting that the project, which involved a winning proposal to rebuild the library, has been in the making for more than five years. Other pieces must fall into place to move forward, including talking to the Ohio Department of Transportation for the proposed street changes and lining up public money for some of the portions of the project.
However, “we’re excited that we’re finally at the point that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Rubin said.