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Cleveland Heights-South Euclid: Oakwood Commons

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Well the worst possible scenario for Oakwood country club. 

 

I know the trust for public land was trying to raise funds to buy it.  They were also trying to involve the metroparks, but they ran out of time.  Just what we need more retail. 

 

Oakwood Country Club sold to commercial developer

Published: Thursday, December 30, 2010, 12:01 AM

 

Shopping center developer First Interstate Properties of Lyndhurst plans upscale apartments near the country club's old mansion and a new shopping center on part of the golf course. The shopping center would be anchored by three or four large national retailers, roughly 20 medium to smaller stores and four to six restaurants.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/12/oakwood_country_club_sold_to_c.html

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Wow.  Can't imagine what kind of retail is going to end up there.  I might need to brush up on my Ohio land use law to better understand what kind of rezoning fight First Interstate is in for.

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I'd say low income and section 8 housing and halfway homes are probably worst case scenarios.  More retail is....well....let's see who's coming

 

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Hmm...actually sounds legit...  From the comments section of that Cleveland.com article:

 

I am Mitchell Schneider, President of First Interstate Properties. I am the developer who purchased the S. Euclid portion of Oakwood Country Club and I have a purchase agreement in place for the portion of the club that’s in Cleveland Heights.

While I disagree with most of the comments written above on this blog, I appreciate the fact those people have taken time to comment.

With all due respect to the previous commenters, I want to take particular exception to their assertions that this area is over-retailed, that empty storefronts on Mayfield Road have bearing on the success of the Oakwood project or that my project will harm the redevelopment of the north side of Cedar Center. I’ll even toss in another one that hasn’t been raised – the empty spaces in University Square (the Target-Macy’s development at Cedar and Warrensville, across from Whole Foods).

The fact of the matter is this: In a five-mile radius from the present Oakwood property, there are very few modern small to medium empty retail spaces, and even fewer large available retail spaces. As a matter of fact, many national retailers and restaurants very much want to come to Cleveland Heights, South Euclid and University Heights -- but they require standard store sizes and footprints. This project is an opportunity for local residents to gain access to the same quality goods, merchandise and services that are readily available in the outer-ring suburbs. We also expect this development to have a positive impact on other commercial properties in the area by attracting more shoppers to the neighborhood.

To put it another way, the retailers and restaurants that will come to Oakwood Commons (as the retail portion of the project will be called) can not operate their standard size stores at either Cedar Center or in the empty storefronts on Mayfield Road. If you speak to anyone in the real estate industry who deals with medium-to-large retail and chain restaurants, they will tell you that the creation of Oakwood Commons will help fill Cedar Center and the surrounding retail areas. Quite simply, there is a herd mentality with retailers. They locate where the customers are and this retail project will bring more cusomers back from their drives to the outer ring suburbs and keep their shopping local.

I would also urge readers to avoid using the empty spaces at University Commons to draw erroneous conclusions. The empty spaces at University Commons have nothing to do with the lack of interest or purchasing power from the surrounding neighborhoods. Those spaces are empty because that project, while well-intentioned, has architectural problems that looked good on paper, but didn’t work in reality. People dislike the dark, confusing parking garage, potential tenants now see that plainly and they’ve made the decision not to fill the empty spaces.

The enormous density of housing in Cleveland Heights, S. Euclid and University Heights are very, very attractive to retailers and restaurants. And it’s a fact that residents of those three cities DO patronize those establishments, but in order to do so, they have to drive to Mayfield and SOM, the corner of Harvard & Richmond and even my own project, Steelyard Commons, on the far side of downtown Cleveland.

There will be a number of public hearings coming up over the next few months in S. Euclid and Cleveland Heights. I urge everyone to have an open mind, come to these meetings and better understand our plans for retail and restaurants, and especially learn about how this project will preserve forever 45% of the current g club as permanent green space that will open for use by the residents of the community, how this project will be built in a LEED-certified, sustainable manner and how we plan to retain the beautiful country club facilities and surround them with housing. Please also take the time to check out our web site. We are proud of the work we have done, the reputation we have build as responsible developers, and the community assets we have created throughout Northeast Ohio.

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I don't like it, but I imagine one positive will be that chain link fence along Warrensville will be gone.  I mean... they have to open up the land to Warrensville Ctr Rd.  How else will they create an entrace worthy of retail?

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I split this off into a separate thread as I can envision this being a very hot topic of discussion.

 

Carry on....


"Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege." -- Tommy Douglas, Scottish-born Canadian Baptist minister and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan

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While Schneider does tend to get things done, I really can't understand (despite his explanation) the retail component and his source of funding for it.  He might have a funding source which eludes other developers today in Cleveland and nationwide since he seems so positive. I am really skeptical that this is going to get done, or get done anytime soon.

 

The only part that does make sense is the rental apartments.  I constantly hear comments from people (out of towners going to school primarily) that want (and CH lacks) modern apartment choices so they find places more distant from University Circle.  Obviously even Schneider understands that condos are a no go given the number of stalled condo and townhouse developments in CH.

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^This would indeed be a nice property tax boon for the cities, I'd guess.  Even the proposed residential, which doesn't sound like it would be very kid heavy.

 

I found Schneider's comment (assuming it's really him) pretty interesting.  As saturated as the broader area is with retail, he's probably right that a lot of mid/big box chains are missing from the inner ring.  There's no inherent reason why residents of an area this dense should have drive to Eastgate or Beachwood to find a Bed Bath & Beyond.

 

Can't say a new strip of chain restaurants will thrill me though.

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I am skeptical on the retail as well even though Mr. Schneider has given a nice explanation for his reasoning.  I thought it would have been ideal for JCU to buy at least part of the land for student housing, which they have a severe need for.  As for the land trust, I didn't see them raising the funds that the club was asking.  The bottom line is the club had debt on the property that needed to get paid off soon so this was obviously the best, or at least highest bid option that they were presented.  The fact is there is a lot of green space there and when all is said and done, 40% or so should remain as that, which is a positive. 

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The fact is there is a lot of green space there and when all is said and done, 40% or so should remain as that, which is a positive.

 

And that's greenspace that was private before and now will be public.  So it's not 154 acres of new public parkland, but it is 69 acres and that's better than zero.

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First Interstate Properties plans big development at former Oakwood Country Club

4:30 am, December 30, 2010

 

First Interstate Properties, the company that developed Legacy Village in Lyndhurst and Steelyard Commons in Cleveland's Flats, has revealed plans for a large, mixed-use development on the site of the former Oakwood Country Club.

 

First Interstate said it has bought 62 acres of the former Oakwood property in South Euclid and has a contract in place to purchase the remaining 92 acres in Cleveland Heights.

 

The plan for the property calls for 69 acres — or nearly half the land — to be preserved as dedicated green space for use by the public. Another 63 acres would become a multitenant retail development and the remaining 22 acres would be what First Interstate described as “a high-end residential development.”

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20101230/FREE/101229874


"Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege." -- Tommy Douglas, Scottish-born Canadian Baptist minister and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan

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Come to think of it, the "high end" residential development won't be totally out of place.  Not many people realize this but there is a private brick road abutting Oakwood on the west which is lined with homes that would easily fit in on Fairmount.  You have to enter the club to get there.  Its also not far from the historic neighborhood to the north of Lutheran East

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I live in South Euclid in the tracts directly east of Oakwood and can say that I have never felt like I suffered for want of retail options.  Then again, I personally love the University Square concept and the fact that people stay away from it reinforces my belief that, man, people are stupid.

 

But I have a sense that what he means by "modern" when he talks about retail is Harvard Park, Steelyard Commons-esque dreck.

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I love University Square too, and I think it would be extremely successful... downtown.  But that's another matter.  Oakwood Commons seems intended to bury U Square once and for all.  I agree it's unnecessary and perhaps unwise as an investment.  I understand how different types and configuations of retail spaces meet different needs, but how is this any different from Severance?  The need here seems met, aside from a few chain restaurants maybe.

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^Are there really no national retailers missing from the area between downtown and Richmond Rd?  If I'm one of the tens of thousands of middle class families in the western heights, I'm not so sure my needs are met all that well if I ever have to go to Mayfield Hts., Solon or even Beachwood to do any non-luxury shopping.

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I'm sure there are some retailers missing, but between Severance and U Square and various plazas (plus the one yet to be built on Cedar) it seems like the Heights has a pretty competitive non-luxury mix.  Especially when you compare with Lakewood.  Neither Steelyard nor Westgate is "right there," and the Great Northern area is really a trek.

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Cleveland Heights residents speak out against development proposal for former Oakwood Country Club land

Published: Wednesday, January 05, 2011, 12:09 PM    Updated: Wednesday, January 05, 2011, 12:14 PM

By Lindsay Betz, Sun News

 

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS -- Residents flooded City Council chambers Monday to speak out against a retail and housing development that has been proposed for the former Oakwood Country Club property.

 

Lyndhurst-based developer First Interstate Properties plans to preserve about half of the 154-acre property that lies on the border between here and South Euclid as green space. The rest would be developed as a combination of commercial buildings and high-density housing.

 

An overflow crowd of about 75 people attended Monday’s council meeting. Twenty one residents spoke out against the proposed development, including two from South Euclid. Many were opposed to the idea of more big box stores in the area. Many also said the city does not need more development, but it does need more green space.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.cleveland.com/sun/all/index.ssf/2011/01/cleveland_heights_residents_sp.html


"Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege." -- Tommy Douglas, Scottish-born Canadian Baptist minister and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan

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Good for them for at least acknowkedging that moaning about it won't stop the private developer from doing what he wants with his land.  At least they started a capital campaign to buy the property.  Me.... I say go ahead and develop this land and drop a bomb on severance circle for the desired greenspace :)

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Those bad boys are popping up everywhere (there's one in Eaton now too)

 

The 'net said that AJ Wright was supposed to replace Borders at one point, but those stores are closing everywhere, so I dunno.

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Focus, people. Focus. ;)


"Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege." -- Tommy Douglas, Scottish-born Canadian Baptist minister and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan

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Schneider is going to be on WCPN tomorrow morning (the 9:00 a.m. show after Morning Edition...I can't remember its name) explaining the project and I am sure taking calls from irate Heights residents.  Should be interesting.

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Why not?  The Mayfield costco is so crowded all the time that the lines almost discourage you from shopping there.  There is a Walmart in each neighborhood and they both seem to do well.

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I don't know the exact philosophy of these warehouse stores  (Sam Club, BJ's, Costco) but they seem to have only two or three per city in metro areas like Cleveland so as not to over saturated (there are already three in Metro Cleveland serving the east south and west side) and they also seem to locate next to freeways.  Cleveland Hts does not seem like the "model" to me.

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I agree.... but Costco is somewhat of a mix of the big bulk stores and Walmart.

 

I was just as surprised to hear this, but it did come from someone I would think has his ear to the ground as far as development in that area FWIW. 

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I'm hearing some rumors of Costco being the anchor tenant.  That will make the Heights folks more against this development.

 

Ugh, that's going to make me against this development

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As much as I love to shop, it pains me to say, I wouldn't spend a nickle here. You have Severance, Cedar Center and University Square, not to mention commercial districts near by.  This a huge waste

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I think it's fiscally irresponsible for residents to dismiss development of the site.  While I am not really in favor of a big-box development, and would prefer some sort of office/flex park, there is not demand for something like that in this area. 

 

He is a letter I sent to the Heights Obsever.

 

Cleveland Heights needs more money, not green space

 

by Kevin Smith

 

I was delighted to hear about the plans by First Interstate Properties to develop Oakwood Country Club, a site that I suspect most residents of Cleveland Heights have never set foot on as it has historically been a private country club. I can appreciate the sentiment of many residents that this property should remain green space, but Cleveland Heights already has more parks than most inner-ring suburbs—Cain Park, Caledonia Park, Cumberland Park, Denison Park and Forest Hills Park, not to mention Shaker Lakes located nearby. Further, I applaud the developer for recognizing the importance of green space to residents and agreeing to donate 69 acres for use as green space.

 

http://www.heightsobserver.org/read/4/2/cleveland-heights-needs-more-money-not-green-space

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I think it's fiscally irresponsible for residents to dismiss development of the site.  While I am not really in favor of a big-box development, and would prefer some sort of office/flex park, there is not demand for something like that in this area. 

http://www.heightsobserver.org/read/4/2/cleveland-heights-needs-more-money-not-green-space

 

Smith, Im just curious, but do you really feel there is demand for retail/big box stores in the area?  Maybe there is, I would just be surprised though.

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Well first I was saying there's no demand for office/flex.  I think one of the biggest issues with ever getting office/flex space in the Heights is the lack of highway access.  I like that the Heights lacks highway access but it's a double edged sword.

 

As to retail, someone mentioned Costco and I have heard rumors of other big-box retailers that could have an interest.  I think the developer is not going to build this on spec and will have several large tenants lined up beforehand.  Yes, there's lots of vacant storefronts on Mayfield and other areas, but these spaces are older and not as functional as a newly constructed building.

 

If you want to talk about University Square (I think that's the name) - they have vacancies, but again the vacant spaces are not desirable.  The old Topp's is not convenient for grocery shoppers and the vacant ground floor retail is in a terrible location.

 

Like I said, I'm not 100% sold on big-box by any means and would prefer something else, but I am more concerned with the fiscal impact to the city of green space, which I think too many people are overlooking.

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If I'm the mayor of Cleveland Heights, I'm in full agreement.  Bring on the revenue.  But from a more regional perspective, even if that region is just the east side burbs, this really seems like retail overload. 

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