ohio city developer launches several new projects, including long-stalled jay hotel

The Ohio City developer who successfully turned around the long-struggling block of buildings on W. 25th Street north of Bridge Avenue is turning his attention to two big new real estate projects.

Tom Gillespie, who also owns Gillespie Environmental Technologies, is starting work this month on turning the gutted former Jay Hotel into market-rate apartments. He also recently purchased the shuttered building at 2030 W. 25th Street south of Lorain Avenue that once housed Club Argos.

The Jay Hotel, which was slated to be turned into condos by developer Gordon Priemer before the recession took him out of the game, will benefit from state and federal historic tax credits, funding from the City of Cleveland's vacant properties initiative, and a loan from nonprofit lender Village Capital Corporation. Gillespie says it will house eight apartments and 6,000 square feet of commercial space.

"I want to see it done by the end of 2014," he says. "We bought the mortgage three or four years ago, and it went through foreclosure. It took a long time. The weather started to affect the building, so we also had to do some stabilization."

Suffice it to say that the building will be in tip-top shape by the time renters move in sometime next year. The total leveraged investment will be about $2.6 million.

Gillespie also recently finished renovating the old Near West Woodworks building on W. 25th and Jay into three commercial spaces. The once-blockaded front of the building has been opened up with welcoming storefront windows. Elegansia moved there last year, and a high-end salon will move in later this year.

The bullish developer says he plans to restore 2030 W. 25th using Cleveland's Storefront Renovation Program. He's trying to attract another high-quality food retailer -- possibly a donut shop -- or "anyone who's a good fit." Gillespie promises "something that's market-driven" and fits in with the street's redevelopment.

The developments will fill some of the few remaining empty spaces on the West 25th checkerboard, which now has an occupancy rate of nearly 100 percent.

Source: Tom Gillespie
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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