Playhouse Square’s Lumen shines brightly as Cleveland’s largest residential project in 40 years

Stand on the 35th floor outdoor deck of The Lumen apartments, 1600 Euclid Ave. in Playhouse Square, and soak in dramatic views of the city and Lake Erie, the marquees of the four historic theaters—and the unmistakable GE Chandelier—as you look  at the heart of downtown Cleveland’s 100-year old Theater District.

Today, Thursday, Oct. 8, Playhouse Square celebrates the official completion of the $138 million Lumen—the largest downtown residential project in 40 years—offering 318 apartments on 34 floors in the 396-foot high rise encompassing 602,000 square feet.

<span class="content-image-text">5th Floor Community Space at The Lumen</span>5th Floor Community Space at The Lumen“You sit up there in those units and have beautiful views of the city with floor-to-ceiling windows,” marvels Playhouse Square president and CEO Gina Vernaci. “Playhouse Square is, of course, a dazzling amenity.”

Residents started moving into the building in late July, while the upper floors were still under construction, with 83 units already leased.

With its modern look and designed for a work-from-home world, the Lumen offers all the amenities and conveniences tenants could imagine.

“It is so beautiful, it’s like walking into a five-star hotel,” says Vernaci. “The finishes are just lovely and high-quality. Any space you are in, you feel like your heart takes flight.”

Designed by Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz, with Vocon serving as the local architectural partner, crews broke ground on the Lumen in April 2018. Development manager Hines Integrated Real Estate Services and construction contractor Gilbane Building Company were initially on an archeological dig of sorts—uncovering some unique pieces of Cleveland’s past while digging the foundation on the one-acre plot at Euclid Avenue and East 17th Street.

The 318 units feature studios, one-bedroom, one-bath suites ranging from 601 square feet to 890 square feet; two-bedroom, two-bath apartments at 1,236 square feet; and four two- or three-bedroom, two- or 2.5-bath penthouse units ranging from 1,641 square feet to 1,770 square feet, says Vernaci. Rents range from $1,400 to $7,400 per month.

Vernaci explains that they went with the “plus one” design concept when they chose amenities for the units. “Whether it existed in the market, we wanted one more amenity—we wanted to go one step above,” she says.

So, all apartments come equipped with gas stoves, white quartz countertops, and French-door refrigerators in the kitchen; in-unit washers and dryers; nine-foot, eight-inch ceilings, wood laminate flooring and carpeting in the bedrooms; floor-to-ceiling windows; smart thermostats; solid wood entry doors for sound control; and smart locks. The units also have open-latch windows and a cutting-edge fresh air system to promote air circulation.

Some units have balconies and walk-in closets as well.

Vernaci says the public area of the Lumen were designed with a theater motif to fit Playhouse Square.

“The motifs and colors are drawn from the theaters across the street,” she explains. “There’s a luxurious, tasty sprinkling of red that connects you as soon as you walk in the door, matching the theater seats [in Playhouse Square], and the accent color continues throughout the building. And the design on the metal elevator doors is stylized and drawn from the theaters.”

Community amenities include 22,000 square feet of public space with private WI-FI access, video entry system, round-the-clock concierge, and state-of-the-art fast elevators.

A fifth-floor community deck has the “best dog walk and wash in Cleveland,” says Vernaci, as well as a heated lap pool, gas grills, and fireside lounge. The 35th floor has a private outdoor balcony for residents as well as indoor private event space with a gas fireplace, full kitchen, and a dining room table that can seat 10 to 12 people. Or, Vernaci says residents can host a cocktail party or a progressive dinner for up to 30 guests.

<span class="content-image-text">Penthouse Lounge at The Lumen</span>Penthouse Lounge at The LumenAlso included in the 22,000 square feet of community space is a fitness center with on-demand classes and a yoga studio.

A six-story secure, gated parking garage is adjacent to the Lumen and gives residents direct access to the building.

And even though the plans for the Lumen were drawn up prior to the coronavirus pandemic changing Cleveland and the rest of the country, Vernaci says there are plenty of private nooks and pods for social distanced meetings and Internet time.

Additionally, with more people working from home during the pandemic, and many now considering permanent remote working options, Vernaci says 60% of the tenants come from out of town, and the average age is 34 years old.

But Playhouse Square’s newest asset is already drawing attention for fitting right in among the historic theaters, bright lights, and, of course, the giant chandelier.

“There’s a sense of grandness, welcome, and style,” says Vernaci. “It would stand the test in not just Cleveland, but in Chicago, Philadelphia, or any other major city.”

Those interested in scheduling a tour or learning more about becoming residents at The Lumen can do so through the Lumen website or by calling (216) 508-7161.

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.