Church and State unite for a new community-oriented residential project in Ohio City

Ground has already been broken on the $60 million mixed-use development Church + State by the collaborative development team of Hemingway Development (led by Michael Panzica and Jim Doyle, Sr.); GRAMMAR Properties (led by Marika Shioiri-Clark and Graham Veysey); and Brent Zimmerman, entrepreneur and developer.

But the group will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday, January 24, to kick off the newest addition to the neighborhood—located at 2819 Detroit Ave. in Hingetown at the corner of Church and W. 29th Streets.

“We just wanted to do something where we welcome the community, where we welcome the stakeholders,” says Panzica. “We want to share our vision for the property and what to expect.”

That vision includes 158 apartments within two buildings (one six stories, one 11 stories­­)­; 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space; and a 10,000-square-foot public plaza with amphitheater seating, a lighted see-saw, and a splash fountain similar to the water feature in Public Square. All of this sits on one acre of land formerly housed two underutilized surface parking lots, according to Veysey.

The project—named after the streets that border it, Church Street and the former State Street (now W. 29th Street)— was designed by LDA Architects and Shioiri-Clark. Turner Construction is serving as the general contractor, and all 120 construction jobs will be held by union labor.

Developers are aiming for LEED Silver certification through the building’s appliances, lighting systems, building materials, and ample bicycle parking.

The exterior will be constructed using Spanish slate, with transoms on the storefronts that front not only Detroit and Church but also the interior public way. A white extruding plane is planked white aluminum.

Shioiri-Clark worked closely with LDA on the project’s unique exterior. “We wanted to play with the textures of the facade by introducing slate, standing seam metal, and wood planking as contrasting materials,” she says. “I was interested in varying the depth of the facade through the use of these materials and the pop-out window boxes.”

Shioiri-Clark adds that the unique materials pay homage to the neighborhood’s historic industrial brick and Victorian architecture. “I think the facade still references historic brick masonry by foregrounding a tiled grid through the slate,” she says. “And the ground floor storefronts [give a] nod to historic storefront styles with their black metal framing and divided light transom windows.”

Furthermore, the second and third floors of the 11-story building exterior will be wrapped in a rotating public art piece, which will be commissioned in the next year and build on the missions of nearby art galleries SPACES and the Transformer Station, as well as the Creative Fusion endeavor.

“It’s a part of the city, and we want to build on that momentum,” says Panzica of the neighborhood’s commitment to public art. “It’s really palpable.”

The ground-level retail space will be pedestrian-friendly and host a good variety of shops, the team promises, although nothing has been solidified yet. “We have one restaurant that will be announced in the next couple of months,” Veysey says. “And we’ll have new businesses that want to sink their roots down and start in this area.”

Church + State is designed to embrace the pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation hub that comprises Hingetown—once the civic center of Ohio City before the neighborhood was annexed into the City of Cleveland and before the West Side Market and the brewery buzz along W. 25th became the neighborhood center.

To that end, a 200-bike garage—the largest dedicated bike garage in the region—will sit on the ground level to promote multi-modal transportation, says Veysey. “We talked about how to design a bikeable, walkable [building] where residents don’t have to take their bikes through the lobby and up to their apartments."

And, with the Lakefront Bikeway and the planned Wendy Park Bridge and Irishtown Bend project, the team says Church + State offers easy access to many of the city’s amenities. “We’re in close proximity to the urban fabric,” says Veysey. “You’re less than a mile to the Market District, less than a mile to Gordon Square, Downtown. You’ve got all these amenities that are within two blocks. You can walk eight-tenths of a mile and be standing in Wendy Park."

Dedicated parking will be located underground and on the second and third floors of the 11-story building. However, Panzica predicts the upper-level parking will be transformed into office space and additional residential units as the area becomes even more dedicated to alternative transportation and fewer residents have cars.

Upstairs, the apartments include 20 studios that range from 585 to 600 square feet will rent for $1,300 to $1,400 a month; 80 one-bedroom units between 650 and 850 square feet that will rent for $1,495 to $1,955 per month; 50 two-bedroom units that are 900 to 1,200 square feet and will go for $2,050 to $2,750; and about eight three-bedroom apartments ranging from 1,200 to 1,700 square feet renting for $2,750 to $3,900 per month. Most of the apartments have balconies.

Veysey believes the variety of apartment sizes will allow residents to stay within Church + State as their needs change.

“I think we’ll find a multigenerational mix of neighbors who will move in,” Veysey says. “They will have the ability to move and grow.”

He adds that they’ve already had curiosity about the apartments, even though the project won’t be completed until Summer 2020. “We’ve already had folks reach out at all levels, so the interest is already there,” he says. “’We even have a verbal commitment on one of the three-bedrooms.”

A rooftop deck atop the six-story building will allow residents to unwind and take in views of downtown and Lake Erie. Also included on the community deck is a Japanese-inspired three-season soaking pool, which Veysey says mirrors many buildings in Miami and Los Angeles.

Financing for Church + State was led by Great Lakes Financial Group, with underwriter RED Capital, through HUD’s 221d4 program. It will be the largest market-rate HUD project in the region in decades. The project’s capital stack includes TIF financing through the Port of Cleveland, led by Huntington Bank; a loan through Cuyahoga County; and through the City of Cleveland’s Vacant Properties Initiative forgivable loan and New Development Program grant.

The ceremonial groundbreaking takes place on Thursday, January 24, at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Cleveland Tea Revival and Rising Star Coffee will provide light refreshments, and the crowd will head over to Zimmerman's 
Saucy Brew Works after the ceremony to warm up.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.