Going up green: The Lincoln apartments will have living façade, revitalize the Scranton Corridor

While the team at Sustainable Community Associates (SCA) is usually known for repurposing historic Cleveland buildings into hip apartments, the developers are well into their second new construction, and latest, apartment project—The Lincoln at the corner of Scranton Road and Willey Avenue in Tremont—just across the way from their 2014 Fairmont Creamery project down the street from their last new-construction project, The Tappan, completed last year, .

“We took a little bit of a break from historic preservation with The Tappan and The Lincoln,” says SCA partner Naomi Sabel. “It seemed like a natural progression. But we’ll go back to historic preservation soon.”

The group that has created a reputation for repurposing the historic Wagner Awning Building in Tremont and the Mueller Lofts in AsiaTown, but the company also focuses on creating unique living spaces, revitalizing forgotten urban pockets, and supporting local first-time entrepreneurs and the working person.

<span class="content-image-text">The Lincoln, slated for completion in the Spring of 2022, bridges the residential park-scape of Tremont’s Lincoln Park with the industrial railways that flank the neighborhood’s borders.</span>The Lincoln, slated for completion in the Spring of 2022, bridges the residential park-scape of Tremont’s Lincoln Park with the industrial railways that flank the neighborhood’s borders.With the completion of The Tappan last year, The Lincoln represents the latest phase in SCA’s work to fill in and reinvigorate the Scranton Corridor. “The Tappan was a wild project,” says Sabel. “It happened during the height of COVID, was completed in May 2020 and went very quickly—it filled up in two or three months.”

Meanwhile, the SCA team was already making plans to build The Lincoln—an 82-unit, four-story building designed by Bialosky architecture firm, with general contractor Snavely Construction breaking ground on the $26 million project in January.

The building was inspired by the push and pull between nature and industry, Sabel says, and Bialosky took inspiration from both Lincoln Park and the steel railroad bridges along Scranton Road.

The 82 workforce housing units include studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments that are being built on a vacant lot. Sabel says SCA originally looked at the lot in 2011, after the team first completed the East College Street project in Oberlin.

“[SCA partner] Josh [Rosen] said, what do you think about doing a project here, so we came back to it,” Sabel recalls of the 10-year delay. “Life is 99% timing. You take a drive down Scranton corridor and it seems really different. Seeing the health of that corridor is really an improvement.”

Each apartment features 10-foot to 12-foot ceilings and enormous windows with planter boxes, while amenities include in-unit washers and dryers, stainless steel appliances, and custom closets. 

And 20% of the units will be leased to people making below Cleveland’s average annual income.

<span class="content-image-text">The Lincoln offers 82 apartments, a mix of studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units atop commercial space along Scranton Road.</span>The Lincoln offers 82 apartments, a mix of studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units atop commercial space along Scranton Road.The building itself will have a fitness center, pet wash station, bike storage, and underground parking. On the top floor there will be an 800-square-foot glassed-in sky lounge with a lounge, bar area, kitchen, fireplace, and screening area, as well as an outdoor deck area.

Nature will indeed meet industry on The Lincoln’s exterior, which will be covered with window boxes and plantings that will become a part of the façade. “We have a fancy trellis made of metal with vines growing up the sides of the building,” says Sabel. “Deep window boxes with irrigated plantings will line the Willey and Scranton side and we’ll treat it like a part of the façade.”

Landscape architect and owner of DERU Landscape Architecture Jayme Schwartzberg says both Bialosky and SCA had a vision of creating nature in an urban environment from the beginning.

“A lot of times, the landscaping comes at the end,” she explains. “This time, the landscape was from the beginning, and they came to us. From day one, they said 'help us make this green from the start.' [Bialosky] was really thoughtful about making sure this worked.”

Schwartzberg says plantings will be on all sides of the building, as well as around the property, and on the first-floor green roof. Plant choices will consider “every possible combination of conditions.” She says she plans on using alpines and crevice plants that will survive Cleveland’s weather swings.

“[We will use] those plants you see growing in the cracks in the sidewalk—they’re beautiful in the summer but still interesting and adds to the building in the off-season,” she explains. “We wanted vines on the building, but we wanted them to grow year-round and all the way up the building. For us, it was a lot of interesting plant research.”

Schwartzberg cites native plants and prairie plants as examples of what will stand up to the weather, but she says she is also considering ferns, grasses, bee balm, herbs, sedums, and sedges in the landscaping. She says Boson ivy and climbing hydrangea will work well with the design as well.

“It’s a diverse mix,” she says. “We didn’t just use natives, but also plants adapted to dry, tough conditions.”

Holding true to its mission to support budding small business owners (Leavened Bakery is in The Tappan)—and fitting with the green nature of The Lincoln—SCA has leased 1,500 square feet of the 4,000-square-foot first floor commercial space to Urban Planting Cleveland.

Owner Elio Calabrese, the purveyor of custom moss designs, succulent plants, cacti, and tropical foliage creations, got his start selling his creations at the Cleveland Flea, festivals, and other various pop-up events around the city to build up a loyal list of customers. He opened his own shop on Clifton Boulevard in the Edgewater neighborhood in 2019. In the new Lincoln space, Calabrese will offer plant care, classes, plant rentals, commercial interior landscaping, and custom moss artwork.

The Lincoln is scheduled to open to residents in May 2022.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: 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.