CLEVELAND, Ohio – Plans by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to add apartments and commercial space along the new Red Line Greenway are moving forward again, although the grand opening schedule is still years away.
The plan is to develop a 1.3 acre site along Columbus Road in the Duck Island Panhandle, which is near the West 25th Street Rapid station straddling the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods. But it still carries some of the same concerns that surfaced when RTA first pitched the idea in 2018.
RTA’s board of directors last month approved the signing of a non-binding “letter of intent” with a subsidiary of MRN Ltd. shops and offices.
The letter puts the project on track for the MNR to reach a development agreement with the RTA by October 1 and have it approved by the Cleveland City Planning Commission by the end of 2022, Michael said. Schipper, RTA’s deputy general manager for engineering and project management.
The letter also stated that the schedule was for the property to be officially turned over to MNR by July 1, 2023, and construction to begin before that date.
While this will put the new development on track to start construction five years after the start of the site development trial process, âat least we have a structure to move forward and we’ll see what we can. put together, âSchipper said.
The largely tree-lined site is 85 feet wide and 700 feet long. It descends 30 feet from Columbus Road south of Abbey Avenue to the edge of the 2.25 mile Red Line Greenway, which officially opened last month, and the Red Line trails.
Ari Maron, who runs MRN with his younger brother Jori, said he plans to create plans for the RTA site after completing plans for another project, a vacant building on West 25th Street, once operated by the builder. aerospace Voss Industries.
Maron didn’t want to commit to a timeline during an interview this week.
âI think this will be the hottest neighborhood in the state of Ohio,â Maron said of Ohio City, noting the construction of the Intro Mass Timber Project across the avenue. Lorain from the West Side Market which will have nearly 300 apartments. âThere is so much energy right now. We are very excited to try and implement a vision for this part of the neighborhood.
One of the reasons RTA’s plan for the site has taken so long is the fact that the agency previously hired another company to develop it. In March 2019, RTA entered into an agreement with Carnegie Management and Development Corp. to write the site plans. But the Westlake-based company pulled out of the project last year, citing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the difficulties developing the site due to its unusual shape.
RTA officials said in September they had started talks with MRN, best known for development along downtown East Fourth Street and Uptown to University Circle. MRN had been RTA’s second choice, after Carnegie, when the agency first sought proposals to develop the site.
It then took the RTA another eight months to sign the letter of intent with the MRN.
Even throughout this period, a core of residents and activists remained opposed to the development of the project. They want the land to remain as it is, like green space in an increasingly dense urban neighborhood.
âThe rush to sell green space smelled a little fishy to everyone,â said Sam McNulty, owner of several restaurants along West 25th Street. He also co-developed seven townhouses on Columbus Road and Abbey Avenue, across from the RTA site. “The stench hasn’t gone away.”
McNulty said he and others would like to see a local land preservation group buy the land and donate it to the Cleveland Metroparks.
He cited MNR’s purchase of other sites in the area, including the old Voss Industries building on West 25th Street. The company bought the 4-acre site for $ 7.5 million in March and plans to partially convert it into apartments. MRN also owns several other buildings on West 25th Street south of Lorain Avenue.
âYou think that would be enough to sate his appetite and leave this green space alone,â McNulty said.
Maron, in response, deferred to RTA officials. Schipper declined to comment, but noted that the letter of intent required a “significant amount of public awareness”.
Khalid Hawthorne, director of real estate development for Tremont West Development Corp., said he had not seen any plans for the site.
âUntil we see a proposal and there is a dialogue with the community, we wouldn’t make a supporting decision until then,â said Hawthorne. âIt’s still very early.
City council member Kerry McCormack, whose neighborhood includes Tremont and Ohio City, also said he had not seen any plans from Maron for the site. However, McCormack said there will be ample opportunity for the community to have their say before the project goes for approvals.
One real possibility, however, is that the finished product on the RTA site connects and is incorporated into whatever MRN decides to do with its properties on West 25th Street. However, Ari Maron said plans like this take time.
âThis is how long these things take,â Maron said of his work on the RTA property. âIt’s a complicated urban property. We are barely at the start of this process.
Cleveland Metroparks will celebrate the completion of the Red Line Greenway on Wednesday with a ceremony at 11 a.m.
Greater Cleveland RTA will initiate discussions with MRN Ltd. on the development of a controversial site next to the Red Line Greenway
RTA approves Carnegie Management to make plans for mixed-use complex near Red Line Greenway Trail
RTA Redline Greenway development causes conflict of positive values: Steven Litt
Voss Industries property in Ohio City sells for nearly $ 4.8 million
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