Rising: seven projects that will change the face of Cleveland

Cleveland is enjoying one of the mildest winters in recent memory, with temperatures slated to reach the mid-60s this week. Courtesy of ongoing development projects, however, the mercury isn't the only thing heading upwards in the 216. From an elaborate Quicken Loans Arena refurbishment to a series of residential construction efforts, things are definitely getting hot in Cleveland.

Fresh Water collected seven of the most ambitious ventures currently taking shape along the North Coast and on its horizon.

1. Quicken Loans Arena renovation

A $140 million reconstruction of the basketball home of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers is planned for 2020, pending funding support from taxpayers and the team itself. The concept dramatically updates the 23-year-old facility with a glass front, public gathering spaces and dining areas that will allow fans to nosh and sip while opining over the Cavs' monster dunks, three-pointers and sick cross-court passes.

Team and county officials say a major rehab is needed to draw concerts, an NBA All-Star Game and other big-ticket events to what is currently the league's second-oldest arena. The franchise has agreed to extend its lease until 2034 and pay $70 million toward renovations, with Cuyahoga County paying the remainder.

The project, however, is not without naysayers.

2. Opportunity Corridor

Developments are taking place around the much ballyhooed and sometimes derided thoroughfare that is slated to run from East 55th Street at Interstate 490 to East 105th Street in University Circle. The Ohio Department of Transportation, which is spearheading the road's construction, is nearly finished with the first mile of the project along East 105th Street from Euclid Avenue south to Quincy Avenue.

Planners overseeing the three-mile, $331 million boulevard and land development endeavor point to early gains along the corridor. Among them is the pending construction of a 43,000-square-foot, $11.1 million headquarters for Explorys, a burgeoning healthcare data analytics company and division of IBM Corp. Next up is the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, which aims to break ground this spring on a park that would be the epicenter for residential build-up west of the corridor. Should this trend continue, Cleveland will one day have 1,000 acres of robust economic activity anchored by University Circle and the Cleveland Clinic.

3. nuCLEus

The mixed-use urban development in the heart of downtown is still in the offing, planners say. The project is set to bring two million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential space to a site between Huron Road and Prospect Avenue near East 4th Street. Work has stalled as Stark Enterprises negotiates with the city of Cleveland for public financing on the $250 million plan, but the scope of nuCLEus remains unchanged. It includes a hotel, 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 500 residential units, 200,000 square feet of office space, and a parking garage that will accommodate up to 1,500 vehicles.

<span class="content-image-text">nuCLEus - East 4th St rendering</span>nuCLEus - East 4th St rendering

4. Centric Apartments

University Circle, already one of Cleveland's busiest neighborhoods, is getting another residential boost by way of the Centric Apartments, which broke ground in December following a series of delays. Formerly known as Intesa, the seven-story Centric building at 11601 Mayfield Road will add 272 apartments, 27,000 square feet of commercial space, and additional public green space to 2.2 acres along the border of Little Italy and Uptown.

Original plans called for a mix of high-tech offices, apartments and parking. That proposal was pared down to a simplified building containing one- and two-bedroom apartments, averaging 750 square feet and renting out for about $1,600 per month. Midwest Development Partners, along with Coral Company and Panzica Construction, have scheduled a 2018 completion date for Centric.  

5. One University Circle

This 280-unit tower has been under construction at 10730 Euclid Ave since breaking ground in June of last year. The apartment project is being developed by First Interstate Properties and Petros Development on the former site of the Children’s Museum at E. 107th Street and Euclid.

<span class="content-image-text">One University Circle</span>One University Circle

At 20 stories, which include a four-story parking garage and 16 stories of living space, One University Circle will be Cleveland's tallest residential complex to be built in more than 40 years, says First Interstate CEO Mitchell Schneider. On the ground floor will be a combination bistro/market. As with Centric, the luxe new digs will be within walking distance of Cleveland's world-renowned museums and cultural institutions.

6. The 925 Building renovation

The former Huntington Bank Building downtown is getting a reboot. Currently known as the 925 Building, the massive 93-year-old facility will be transformed into a mixed-use development with a Hilton Curio hotel, 600 apartments, a fitness club and retail and office space. The grand L-shaped lobby, an architectural wonder of marble and high ceilings, will serve as a social and business event space.

<span class="content-image-text">The 925 Building</span>The 925 Building

Florida developer Andrew Greenbaum purchased the 1.4 million-square-foot complex in June 2015 for $22 million. In 2015, Greenbaum's Hudson Holdings, group snagged $25 million in state tax credits to push the estimated $300 million project to the finish line. Though a completion date hasn't been set, Greenbaum said last year he expected construction to begin the first quarter of 2017. 

7. Link 59

Cleveland's Health-Tech Corridor is becoming a prime location for high-tech companies and biomedical know-how. Now the corridor is on the verge of yet another growth spurt via a proposed 12-acre urban medical campus. Hemingway Development is planning to launch its Link 59 project with the redevelopment of a now vacant building at East 61st Street and Euclid.

A new office building will be the first component of a campus that will eventually include 140,000 square feet of offices, labs and research facilities. When finished, Link 59 is projected to bring Cleveland approximately 260 full-time equivalent jobs with a payroll in excess of $15 million. Organizers say the development will harness the economy-boosting energy of a tech sector already taking root downtown, as well as boost the revitalization of the Midtown neighborhood.

Douglas J. Guth
Douglas J. Guth

About the Author: Douglas J. Guth

DDouglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to being senior contributing editor at FreshWater, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine, and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture. At FreshWater, he contributes regularly to the news and features departments, as well as works on regular sponsored series features.