developer announces plans for 72 new market-rate apartments in ohio city

The Cleveland-based developer The Foran Group has announced plans to convert a pair of historic buildings on W. 25th Street in Ohio City into 70 market-rate apartments. The game-changing project, in the works for several years, is the first big new housing project to get off the ground here since the Great Recession.

Positioned between the success of Ohio City's Market District and the popular Stonebridge apartment, office and condo complex, the new West 25th Street Lofts will bring fresh life and vibrancy to a critical dead zone in the heart of Ohio City.

"There is huge demand; we estimate that occupancy will be 93 to 97 percent," says Rick Foran of The Foran Group, who has partnered with developer Christopher Smythe to complete the project. "We're closing the gap between the established Ohio City area, Stonebridge and the Warehouse District."

The project, located at the corner of West 25th and Church, incorporates both the historic Baehr Brewing Company building and the former Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority on Church. It will include first floor garage parking, an interior courtyard that offers outdoor space, and 9,000 square feet of commercial space.

The Baehr Brewing Company, a two-story brick building that dates back to the 1870s -- and once housed horse stables, a powerhouse and a saloon -- will be completely restored on the exterior to federal historic standards.

Inside the buildings, existing historic features will be reincorporated into the apartments. For instance, the former CMHA building features a wood ceiling and iron girders, and these elements will soon become design accents in the suites.

Getting to this point wasn't easy. The project has complex, layer-cake financing from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), state and federal historic tax credits, and Cleveland's Vacant Property Initiative.

Foran expects to close on his HUD financing early next year, start construction immediately afterwards, and begin moving renters into suites by May 2014.

Foran hopes the project will prove catalytic for the neighborhood. Over the long term, a major new park is being planned on the hillside that slopes down to the Cuyahoga River from W. 25th -- an amenity for residents and the entire city.

Source: Rick Foran
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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