CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland Landmarks Commission’s reluctance to approve a plan to build 18 one-bedroom apartments on top of a 100-year-old building in the Ohio City neighborhood has almost certainly doomed the project, the developer said.
James Asimes of Local Development Partners planned the construction of a “Fulton House” on 6,900 square meters of land on Fulton Road and Woodbine Avenue.
The building is part of a complex best known to locals as it is home to the Ohio City Brew Stop grocery store. However, another part of the building once served as the base for a company that made spices for prisons and other institutional settings, he said.
Still, residents have raised concerns about Asimes’s plans, and a committee advising the Landmarks Commission has expressed its opposition. The commission did not vote during their virtual meeting on Thursday but agreed to postpone one so Asimes can make changes based on their feedback and resubmit plans.
However, after the meeting, Asimes said the Landmarks Commission’s stance on the presented project means it is unlikely to materialize.
He planned to build a four-story building of 500-square-foot apartments for about $ 1,100 and to make room for a coffee shop or bakery on the first floor. Asimes also wanted to create an area with picnic benches for the diners in the restaurant, which would go to the first floor.
He said during the meeting that he intends to leave the Brew Stop in its current location.
Ohio City Inc.’s development company spent several months asking for feedback on the project via the CoUrbanize website. The project also went to the Landmarks Commission last month for feedback.
The feedback was critical. Residents and a local design review committee raised concerns about the original proposal for a five-story building. As a result, Asimes and architect Westleigh Harper agreed to remove one story and two residential units.
Even so, because of the proposed building’s height of about 50 feet, many residents pushed back further. They also had concerns about a lack of on-site parking, as a proposed garage would only hold eight cars.
The Design Review Committee voted unanimously last week not to recommend approval, Donna Grigonis, director of neighborhood development at Ohio City Inc., said during the meeting on Thursday.
However, the Landmarks Commission also had concerns. Chairwoman Julie Trott said Thursday the project’s building was still too tall compared to surrounding buildings in a part of Ohio City designated for buildings with two families.
Others expressed concerns about how the development would fit into the rest of the historic district.
“It’s not about getting involved, it’s about how it lives in a community that’s already established and has been around for hundreds of years,” said Vice-Chair Giancarlo Calicchia.
During the meeting, Harper pointed to other nearby apartment buildings that are of similar height. While the Board of Appeal had to grant the city several derogations in order for the project to continue, it claimed the plans were not far outside the Ohio City area.
Additional changes would make the project unprofitable, Asimes said. He said he was contractually bound to buy the property from longtime owner Tom Hatzopoulos, but the sale was still ongoing.
Nevertheless, he is proud of the designs that he designed with Harper.