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Cleveland: Flats South/Stones Levee: Development and News

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Forest City sells Flats properties to Cleveland-area investor group eyeing development (photos)

By Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer

on December 21, 2016 at 3:50 PM

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Jumping at the chance to own a large potential development site near the Cuyahoga River, local investors have purchased 7.7 acres and eight buildings in the Flats from Forest City Realty Trust, Inc.

 

Public records show that an investor group led by Joel Scheer paid $3.5 million Tuesday for a motley collection of industrial buildings and roughly 500 parking spaces along Stones Levee, West Third Street and Canal Road. The properties, south of Tower City, sit in the shadow of the Lorain-Carnegie (Hope Memorial) Bridge and near the end of the East Ninth Street Extension.

 

Publicly traded Forest City, based in Cleveland, acquired many of the parcels in the early 2000s to provide parking around the now-demolished Tower City Amphitheater. The decade-old outdoor concert venue closed in 2011, after Forest City sold the amphitheater site and surrounding land to an affiliate of Michigan businessman Dan Gilbert's casino-gaming operation.

 

MORE:

http://realestate.cleveland.com/realestate-news/2016/12/forest_city_sells_flats_proper.html

 

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I wonder if this property will be involved??

 

Is that Tower City Ampitheatre?

 

RIP

 

No, that's by the river. This has an Ontario Street address and is listed as:

 

PPN 10131014

HAROLD S LAPINE TRUSTEE

 

Here's the flyer for the property (has a map showing the property outline):

http://x.lnimg.com/attachments/3D6F7BA2-DD71-41AC-AA20-3359A60DBB58.pdf

 

The county values the property at $37,800 for taxes (it's listed for sale at $4 million!).

Property taxes are billed to Lapine and to a Michael L. Miller, Trustee, the secondary owner, at MLO PROPERTIES, 614 W Superior Ave, Suite 200, Cleveland, OH 44113 (same address & suite # as Benjamin F Cappadora Real Estate and Rockefeller Building Associates, a company begun in 2011. Names listed to Rockefiller Building Associates are agent Benjamin F. Cappadora and trustee Diane L. Miller). Diane Miller is probably the wife of Michael Miller who also appears to have died (though if he did it was very recently according to this article, look under the subhead "Honoring Lawyers": http://www.cleveland.com/chagrin-falls/index.ssf/2016/03/dancing_wheels_performs_in_cha.html).

 

Lapine was (I assume he's dead since his ownership is listed as "trustee"? I also see he was born in 1927) a Gates Mills man who founded and ran Apollo Property Management (http://www.apm-mgt.com/) among other real estate and investment companies.

 

OK.........

 

So here's the interesting part: This property appears to be an air-rights parcel. Why? Because within the quadrant of the Eagle, Ontario, Lorain/Carnegie, Canal street rights of way, there is no GCRTA ownership nor any other legacy rail right of way ownerships. The location of this parcel is just west of the recently-removed roadway of East Fourth Street/Pittsburgh Avenue that were south of the old Central Market (1856-1949). The only thing west of that now-gone roadway is the slope down to the RTA tracks and the tracks themselves, plus the adjoining Cleveland Union Terminal ROW (opened to railroad traffic 1930-1977). The age of the parcel seems to go back to May 1930 when it was owned by Union Properties Inc., part of the Union Trust Bank. After 1959, Union Properties Inc. was a tradename of Huntington Bank. Lapine/Miller acquired the property in February of 1987. That was right around the time that the Cleveland Union Terminal railroads rights of way were transferred to GCRTA. It should be noted that when the Van Swerigen brothers built Cleveland Union Terminal, they not only built over the station tracks structures like Terminal Tower and the Landmark Offices. They also anticipated building structures southeasterly along Ontario Street, and above the CUT railroad/rapid transit tracks.

 

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Well all that land would be immeasurably more valuable if the phase 2 of the casino ever were to take place.

  Perhaps with phase 2 of the Q Gilbert will decide to expand the casino as well.

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Well all that land would be immeasurably more valuable if the phase 2 of the casino ever were to take place.

  Perhaps with phase 2 of the Q Gilbert will decide to expand the casino as well.

 

I don't know if this was ever physically possible but I would've loved if they had've relocated the racino there. Now it's probably gonna be mixed use but I'm like you, I want to see something done there like yesterday lol

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I wouldn't be surprised if 2053 West 3rd (yellow Cab Building) goes up on the market soon because of this development. In this age of Uber/Lyft/etc, plus a $25000 annual tax bill, I cannot imagine how they are remaining afloat anymore.

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I see FCE still owns the parking lot across the street along West 3rd. The industrial flats east of Columbus road is so ridiculously underutilized. Any positive movement at this point is welcome.

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I see FCE still owns the parking lot across the street along West 3rd. The industrial flats east of Columbus road is so ridiculously underutilized. Any positive movement at this point is welcome.

 

Agree. There's a tremendous "X-factor" with this part of town. You connect Gateway to the river, and that's a game changer.

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All of the flats peninsulas are definitely a huge untapped resource to the residents and future residents of this city. So much potential that hasn't even come close to being fully realized in all of Cleveland's history.

 

The 4 potential Flats Boroughs or dare I say 5 boroughs if we were ever to open up the old river to inhabitants.  For a second think about the uniqueness that is the Flats. Not many cities have this type of interesting landscape right on the edge of their downtown. I often forgot how special our location is from a natural landscape standpoint.

 

And to make my post relevant to this Stones Levee thread! In my mind this peninsula has the best risk/reward ratio of all 4 peninsulas. It is on the doorstep of downtown and the largest transit hub in the state. The infrastructure for building on that immediate slope is a little daunting but the payoff s are huge. Defiantly high-rises along Ontario from Carnegie to Fed Courthouse. Rail stop underneath near Carnegie. Then dense mid-rise behind that along Canal, Stones Levee, 3rd, under the bridges until you reach the river or the too industrial areas. I hope the developers will have the finances and vision to build this location out to its full potential.

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The views and the bends are special. There was residential--but mostly industrial--prior to 1913. That's an important year. I encourage development and would love to see residential down there, but anyone that buys or lives there needs to understand that that is a flood plain. Elevation is key. I think developers can build to mitigate the issue, but will they? The lowest parcels should be greenspace. If/when there is another flood, those classic bends will be ignored.

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Much of the flood risk was abated by the widening of the river. Even the 1913 flood didn't cause as much damage along the lower Cuyahoga as it on the upper parts or on other rivers because it had already been widened significantly by then. More widenings came right after WWII when the city funded a huge bond issue, replacing or modernizing road and rail lift bridges, and making curves more gradual for big lake carrier ships. Opening up Collision Bend below Cleveland Union Terminal and creating a bigger ship-turning basin near the Jefferson Avenue bridge were among the biggest channel widenings.

 

There weren't as many residential areas in the Flats as many people think. There were only three pre-1850 residential areas that I can think of -- south of the old river channel which became the Irishtown Bend slums after 1850, Cleveland Centre on the Columbus Road peninsula which was designed in the 1830s to be an international market centered at Gravity Place from which the streets German, British, French, China and Russia radiated. It was home to many Irish and German working-class immigrants and the first Roman Catholic church in Cleveland, St. Mary's on the Flats. Believe it or not, the oldest and most developed residential area in the Flats wasn't at the mouth of the river. It was farther upstream, away from the swamps, mosquitoes and malaria that plagued the lower Cuyahoga until the early 1800s. Before that, the most attractive settlement was Newburg. But the biggest threat to New England settlers was wolves from the surrounding wilderness. It's development accelerated in 1799 when mills were built at Mill Creek waterfalls and a stagecoach road (Broadway) was cut through the area.

 

By the 1850s, railroads were buying up lands in the Flats for rail yards, servicing facilities and roundhouses for locomotives. Much of Scranton Peninsula was developed by the Cleveland Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad, while the areas south of Stones Levee were developed by the Cleveland & Mahoning Valley Railroad, and soon thereafter by the Standard Oil Company for its first refineries. All of the residential areas near the mouth of the river and in lower Newburg were heavily industrialized by the 1880s, although the uphill portions of Irishtown Bend lasted into the early 20th century.

 

Cleveland in 1827. Note that the residential areas are all north of Scranton Peninsula. After 1827, came the Ohio Canal, the railroads and the Flats' land uses quickly turned over to commercial uses. The undeveloped areas never morphed to residential first. They went straight to commercial development.

thesis03a.jpg

 

Below is a map to understand locations along the river, for those not from Cleveland. The Tremont peninsula isn't really it's name. I never knew it had a name, and I couldn't find any historical references otherwise. It was developed pretty late for the Flats. It was very wet lands until the 1920s, and was crossed by the Wheeling & Lake Erie RR on a long, low wooden trestle rather than a dirt fill. It's pre-war uses were limited to eastern side to drydocks for the Interlake Engineering Co., for whom George Steinbrenner Sr. of American Shipbuilding served on its board. His son and now grandson went on to own the New York Yankees. It later added Sohio petroleum storage tanks...

31475416570_d0839836a0_b.jpg

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Great info. Love that 1827 map. I always thought SO #1 was on the Tremont Peninsula. Thanks for the clarification.

 

I've seen the river just a couple feet from the top of the bulkhead recently. It's said that the 1913 flood was a 500 year flood, but there's no reason to think that it won't happen for 400 more years. The fact that the CVSR is replete with wetlands and less agriculture should help a bit. However, the amount of forest along the top of the valley has been largely replaced with well draining subdivisions. That flood was the result of a weather system stalling over Ohio and dropping an unprecedented amount of rain.

 

Whoever builds down there needs to realize the risk that exists. Wood frames and OSB sheeting should be nowhere near the ground. Not saying they shouldn't build there, but no one should buy a finished property without knowing at bit about the history of that area.

 

I wasn't around in 1913 and that flood gets more notoriety for what it did to Dayton, but it did clear out a lot of structures that were not yet built in 1827.

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Is that entire peninsula usually called Stones Levee, or are you just calling it that as a convenience, KJP?  The name Stones Levee is interesting.  I wonder what the levee was.  According to Google it could have been any of four things:

 

        an embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.

        a ridge of sediment deposited naturally alongside a river by overflowing water.

        a landing place; a quay.

        a ridge of earth surrounding a field to be irrigated.

 

Also, I wonder if the levee was made of stones, or if it was Stone's.

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Great info. Love that 1827 map. I always thought SO #1 was on the Tremont Peninsula. Thanks for the clarification.

 

I've seen the river just a couple feet from the top of the bulkhead recently. It's said that the 1913 flood was a 500 year flood, but there's no reason to think that it won't happen for 400 more years. The fact that the CVSR is replete with wetlands and less agriculture should help a bit. However, the amount of forest along the top of the valley has been largely replaced with well draining subdivisions. That flood was the result of a weather system stalling over Ohio and dropping an unprecedented amount of rain.

 

Whoever builds down there needs to realize the risk that exists. Wood frames and OSB sheeting should be nowhere near the ground. Not saying they shouldn't build there, but no one should buy a finished property without knowing at bit about the history of that area.

 

I wasn't around in 1913 and that flood gets more notoriety for what it did to Dayton, but it did clear out a lot of structures that were not yet built in 1827.

 

I'm familiar with that photo and remember the damage in it. Considering how much damage was done to the Ohio Canal farther upstream, as well as in other locations nearby, the flood damage in the lower Cuyahoga River was less. And that was before the major river-widening projects post-1913. I don't mean to make light of the flood threat, but I think it's less here than it is at the mouth of other major Ohio rivers that drain into Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

 

Is that entire peninsula usually called Stones Levee, or are you just calling it that as a convenience, KJP?  The name Stones Levee is interesting.  I wonder what the levee was.  According to Google it could have been any of four things:

 

        an embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.

        a ridge of sediment deposited naturally alongside a river by overflowing water.

        a landing place; a quay.

        a ridge of earth surrounding a field to be irrigated.

 

Also, I wonder if the levee was made of stones, or if it was Stone's.

 

For purposes of convenience. I'm going to take a guess that it was named after Amasa Stone who built dozens of road and rail bridges, including with his brother-in-law William Howe to design the Howe truss bridge. I'm guessing that the predecessor of the current 1908 truss bridge on Stone's Levee Road was one of Stone's. The current bridge wasn't his, as he killed himself in 1883. In 1876, a Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad bridge designed by Stone collapsed at Ashtabula as a train crossed it, killing 92. Stone was accused of using an overly long span. Later several steel mills he controlled failed, and that's when he killed himself.

 

EDIT: BTW the Columbus Road peninsula has also historically been referred to as the "Oxbow Peninsula" owing to the large oxbow bend in the river there.

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So I looked at the 1886 Sanborn's Fire Insurance Maps and Stone's Levee, as it was called on that map, was lined with lumber yards- Saginaw Bay Co., Sturtevant Lumber Co.,  National Box Co. and ends at the CCC and IRR Co.,'s shipping slip and a railroad yard.  The river's edge is lined with a dashed off area called a "lumber dock".  Those last two things definitely point to definition 3.  It's only called Stone's Levee between Seneca (W. 3rd), and the slip.  Further east it is called Factory St., though there appear to be several Factory St.'s in this area so it may be generic.  This section has the Fisher, Wilson, and Co.'s lumber yard and a large indoor lumber shed, Collister and Foster's Planing Mill, and the Taylor and Boggis Foundery Co. There is a small pull off along the river just off of Factory St. noted as a "lumber dock".  There is a small iron bridge over the Valley Railroad Co.'s tracks.

 

edit 1- the 1881 city atlas shows Stones Levee going around the entire circumference of the peninsula, with rail lines making a circle around the middle of the peninsula, which is labeled as S.S. Stone's Survey and "Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, & Indianapolis RR."

 

edit 4- an 1876 Map of the City of Cleveland shows essentially the same configuration as above, but no ownership labels.

 

edit 2- D.J. Lake's 1874 Atlas of Cuyahoga County shows the entire peninsula from the canal west marked as S.S. Stone's Survey, with only one rail line and Stones Levee laid out around the periphery.  The roads and parcels appear to be divided for small lot living, though, not large industrial yards.  Little was actually built according to this plan, apparently.

 

edit 3- the Map of the City of Cleveland (1862) shows nothing on the peninsula west of the canal.

 

edit 5- and 1852 map of the City shows this land as belonging to L.Case & Others with nothing of note on it.

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edit 2- D.J. Lake's 1874 Atlas of Cuyahoga County shows the entire peninsula from the canal west marked as S.S. Stone's Survey, with only one rail line and Stones Levee laid out around the periphery.  The roads and parcels appear to be divided for small lot living, though, not large industrial yards.  Little was actually built according to this plan, apparently.

 

That's a smoking gun. To add to that, I found this map from nearly two decades earlier. It was described as "Cleveland May 20, 1856 S. S. Stone's Survey of Central Tract, Canal Tract and College Tract" (larger image is here: ClevelandFlats-1856platmap )

 

31526303510_380268b1e4_b.jpgClevelandFlats-1856platmap by Ken Prendergast, on Flickr

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Turns out S.S. Stone along with his relative Hiram Stone were real estate investors first, and surveyors second....

 

http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=SSS

 

STONE, SILAS SAFFORD (13 Feb. 1815-18 Feb. 1884), real estate dealer, leased property to the U.S. government for military use during the CIVIL WAR. He engineered what was then the largest real estate sale in the history of the city when he sold one block of property valued at one-half million dollars to the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis Railroad (see RAILROADS). Born in Charlotte, VT, Stone came to Cleveland in 1832 and entered the forwarding and commissioning business. He became associated with Dennison and Foster and the Troy and Erie Transportation Company. By 1848 he was a member of the City of Cleveland Board of Trade. In the 1850s Stone began buying up large parcels of land in and around Cleveland. In August 1861, he leased property on University Heights in Brooklyn Township to the U. S. government. Camp Wade was built here for the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Calvary (see CIVIL WAR CAMPS IN CLEVELAND). In the summer of 1862 the U.S. GENERAL HOSPITAL AT CLEVELAND was also built on this property, directly across from Camp Cleveland. Stone died at his Prospect Ave. home.

 

FYI: Camp Cleveland was in Tremont where Lincoln Park is today.

 

Aaron Merchant (1817-1875), son of Ahaz Merchant, was a prominent land surveyor in Cuyahoga County during the mid-nineteenth century. Born near Morristown, New Jersey, Aaron was a graduate of Meadville College in Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in civil engineering. Aaron's major accomplishments in land surveying took place while he was county surveyor for Cuyahoga County from 1854-1869. As county surveyor, Aaron Merchant was involved with the street and residential zoning for Newburgh, Brooklyn, and Rockport Townships, particularly in the S. S. Stone and Hiram Stone allotments. Besides his responsibilities as county surveyor, Aaron Merchant also established a private surveying firm on Ontario Street in Cleveland with his sons, Corwin and Frank.

 

 

Annual Report of the Trade & Commerce of Cleveland

Cleveland Board of Trade, 1892

In 1853, Leonard Case Sr. sold S. S. Stone fifty-one acres on the side hill and flats, west of Pittsburg street o the river, for $51,000.

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=wLZJAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA136&lpg=PA136&dq=s.+s.+stone,+allotment+Cleveland&source=bl&ots=qaPl-OSK7p&sig=dbZypigBYJCxnCuGAbM4rOZhDsc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi85Zi7kZPRAhXk64MKHfD6CzsQ6AEIJzAC#v=onepage&q=s.%20s.%20stone%2C%20allotment%20Cleveland&f=false

 

 

And to show you how legal titles endure, consider this:

http://www.themichaelkaimteam.com/s-s-stones-college-allotment-cleveland/

 

 

ASSOCIATION OF ENGINEERING SOCIETIES

Vol. III August 1884

Pg. 232

 

The Original Surveys of Cleveland

By Samuel J. Baker, member of the Civil Engineers' Club of Cleveland

Read April 22, 1884

 

I will speak but briefly of that part of our city west of the river. It lies in the Township of Brooklyn. That part of the Land Company's Tract west of the Cuyahoga was surveyed in 1806 by Abraham Tappan, of Painesville, in continuation of the plan east of the Cuyahoga. A large portion of the Township of Brooklyn was incorporated as the "City of Ohio" in 1836, and annexed to Cleveland in 1854. Nearly all of this City of Ohio is embraced in the following large and important subdivisions -- namely, "The Buffalo Company's," "Barber and Lord's," "Willeyville," "Taylor Farm." "S.S. Stone's" and "Benedict and Root's," the first being made in 1833, and the others subsequently. Ahaz Merchant was the surveyor of all these allotments.

https://books.google.com/books?id=_uhBAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA232&lpg=PA232&dq=s.+s.+stone,+allotment+Cleveland&source=bl&ots=33Y2gycLQE&sig=NnoZCFYxEZJT68HRYRXGgMznRO8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi85Zi7kZPRAhXk64MKHfD6CzsQ6AEIPzAI#v=onepage&q=s.%20s.%20stone%2C%20allotment%20Cleveland&f=false

 

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I would love to see Stone's Levee (or Scranton Peninsula) developed the way it would have in the 1850s, when its small-lot development was first planned but soon gave way to large-lot commercial development.

 

That includes single-family homes designed in the Federalist style with lots of brick, like this home in Ohio City designed by DH Ellison:

56f6c96527a60.jpg

 

Just up the hill from Stone's Levee is the intersection of Woodland Avenue and Eagle Avenue. This is how that area looked in 1878 -- love the storefronts and pedestrianism, back when we knew how to build cities. Nothing wrong with copying this land use/exterior model, but with contemporary interiors or conveniences, in a location that offers the potential to build an entire urban neighborhood almost completely from scratch:

Cleveland-EagleatWoodland-1878-OttoBacher.jpg

 

Another map of the area, this one from 1860:

Cleveland-central-market-Map1860.jpg

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I just realized that the weird right turn area off of Ontario southbound at Carnegie that used to be there until the innerbelt bridge construction (and is now a sidewalk) was a remnant of Central Place.

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There's also this listing for 2338 Canal Road.  According to the county, at least one of the parcels was purchased in May of 2016 for $125,000 by an LLC owned by Rick Pietro.  Now listed with some new renderings for $750,000.

 

http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/19835602/2338-Canal-RD-Cleveland-OH/?LinkCode=31817

 

Some new graphics up for this listing....

 

2338 Canal RD.

Cleveland, OH 44113 · 46,000 SF · Office For Sale $750,000

http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/19835602/2338-Canal-RD-Cleveland-OH/

 

163519abf41e4036b879026fcc8d608b.jpg

 

acc40d2e32fe4e95be74d8d1517a38e9.jpg

 

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^ Great info KJP. I knew a little about the rolling road but not nearly to the extent I do now! There is still a few places in the flats that could use a modern funicular :)

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My great-great uncle used to sled down the abandoned remains of the Rolling Road in the wintertime way back in the 20s. I do hope somthing happens with this corner of the Flats, be it a park, or bike trails, or infill, or whatever. The Eagle Avenue bridge is my third-favorite lift bridge after the swing bridge and the jackknife bridge next to the Nautica Pavilion, and it'd make a great centerpiece even inactive.

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Glad to see 601 Stones Levee is left standing in the rendering! The good old Malcom is one of my favorite sights from the path across the river. It has a ton of character.

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The combination of renovated low rise industrial space with modern housing towers and modern "liner" townhouses really reminds me of Vancouver.

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So not really sure how much demolition is slated for this property as part of the Flats South District.  There is a demo request which lists the address as 1900 W 3rd. for 22k sq ft. Although the real estate listing shows it at 30k sq ft.  Wonder if this movement is similar to what's happening across the river at the Thunderbird. Joel Scheer may be preparing this land for market,  cleaning it up and putting up some world class signage.

There is a PDF a few posts back about the project if you need a refresh.

IMG_20180718_224438_352.thumb.JPG.cf9ff230e39b80011b6dfa4c6a1854eb.JPG

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Wonder why he's razing this building now? It's been on the market for a long time. Is something brewing?

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The pictures get more interesting the farther down you go -- and be sure to read the detail of the last image.

 

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/designreview/drcagenda/2018/09072018/index.php

 

DOWNTOWN | FLATS DESIGN REVIEW

 

DF2018-068 - 1900-1960 W. 3rd St. Demolition: Seeking Final Approval

Project Address: 1900-1960 W. 3rd Street

Project Representative: Joel Sheer, Flats South Cleveland LLC

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_01.jpg

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_02.jpg

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_03.jpg

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_04.jpg

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_05.jpg

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_06.jpg

 

1900_W_3rd_Demo_IMG_07.jpg

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Always a bit sad for me to see these old Flats buildings get knocked down, especially the pre-war ones, like the northernmost building in this group.  But as was observed upthread, there'a already a partial roof collapse, so was inevitable.

 

Hard to imagine those schematic plans are anything other than eyewash to meet the letter of the toothless demolition law, but I guess there's always a slim chance there's something real on the horizon.

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Are they proposing to build a Red Line station there?  I would love that!  It could be an asset to their development, Gateway, and the rest of the Stone's Levee area.  If the Eagle Ave. Viaduct Lift Bridge ever gets repaired it could also support development on the west side of Scranton Peninsula.

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A cleared property is more marketable than one cluttered with structurally unsound ones.

 

I am curious why Scheer has specified a first-phase building at this point? Does he have tenants/financing lined up? And he doesn't ID the site where he previously has proposed a 13-story residential building, marking it only as "Garage and Mixed Use." He doesn't even call it "Future Phase" as he has done elsewhere on the map. I'd love to know more about what, if anything, he intends to do next.

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