Apartments: The Definitive Guide, Playhouse Square

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Theater District

8. The Chesterfield
1801 E. 12th St.
(216) 619-3805

Leasing specials and discounts for preferred employers and Cleveland State University students

The basics: The foyer of The Chesterfield is something of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the prominent concierge desk makes it feel a bit more like a hotel than home. On the other hand, the 24-hour attendant contributes to the secure feel of this 411-unit high-rise. The building also has a fitness center and club room. The larger suites provide a blank slate upon which to apply one's own decorating flair. Some have washer/dryers. Attached, heated parking is available for $75 per month.

What's unique:?Apartment dwellers may not have their own yards, but The Chesterfield boasts an impressive amount of outdoor recreational space, including tennis courts and a putting green. There are also outdoor grills, a garden and downtown's only heated rooftop swimming pool and sundeck.

A resident says: Graduate student Swapna Bellare prefers The Chesterfield for its affordable rates and proximity to Cleveland State's main classroom building. "It's such a close walking distance to the university," she says.

9. Reserve Square Apartments
1701 E. 12th St.
(216) 861-2715

The basics: Reserve Square's ground-floor marketplace is a bustling microcosm of the city, with people of all ages and colors passing through to use the ATM, eat in one of the restaurants or schedule a car wash. Perhaps the most celebrated feature is the Reserve Square Food Market, a full-size grocery store to which residents and people from other downtown apartments flock. Of course, many of this 762-unit high-rise's conveniences are for the exclusive use of its tenants. These include grocery delivery, housekeeping and laundry services, which are available for nominal fees. Rent covers access to the fitness center and indoor swimming pool and all utilities except phone service. Indoor parking costs $75 per vehicle per month. Cats are permitted for a $75 one-time fee and a $75 deposit.

What's unique: If residents want to breathe new life into their space, Reserve Square's painters will change the wall color for them. There is no charge for this service, but paint must be turned in two weeks before the move-in date. Dark-colored walls must be re-primed before moving out.

A resident says: Kristi Gusty, a graduate student at Cleveland State University, lives alone but feels safe due to round-the-clock concierge service and a television channel that allows her to screen potential visitors while they're still in the lobby. "If you're not a resident here, you're not getting [upstairs] in this place. I like that a lot," Gusty says.

10. The Statler Arms
1127 Euclid Ave.
(216) 696-6800

The basics: Although it has contained modern apartments for more than two years, the Statler Building retains much of the opulence of Hotel Statler, which it housed from 1912 to 1973. If you're too young to remember those days, try conjuring up an image from the movie "Titanic." The lobby's marble floor and crystal chandelier are just the tip of the iceberg. The ground floor also houses a restaurant, a salon and 24-hour concierge service. There's a fitness center on the 14th floor. The Statler's 295 suites run the gamut of floor plans and amenities. Residents can rent a washer/dryer for $35 per month or use one of several laundry rooms. Statler Arms also offers grocery and package delivery and housekeeping services. Attached garage parking costs $75 per month, or $100 per month for a reserved space. There is a $300 one-time fee for cats.

What's unique: Statler Arms' garage is not only for residents but also their friends and family. Heated, indoor guest parking is available for $3 to $5.

A resident says: Statler Arms residents "all paint and redecorate like crazy," according to resident and leasing agent Scott Witkowski, because they don't plan on leaving anytime soon. Witkowski has spruced up his own suite with teardrop chandeliers, dramatic floral arrangements and sophisticated artwork. "No one moves out; they just move up. They all upgrade in the building," he says. "It's very Upper West Side New York."

11.Huron Square Apartments
1001 Huron Road
(216) 575-1175

The basics: Despite the bleak exterior of this late-19th-century Cleveland landmark, the 70 suites inside are attractive and sunny. Glimpses of Jacobs Field make some units even more enticing. "You can actually see home plate at night," says resident Brian Brearey? Not everyone enjoys such an exciting view, but all residents have access to Huron Square's fitness center and laundry room. Assigned indoor parking costs $120 per month. Cats and small dogs are welcome.

What's unique: While a general-interest video store is on the wish list of many downtowners, Huron Square and its sister building, The Osborn, provide their residents with a free movie-rental service. Every two weeks, management supplies a different batch of 25 VHS tapes and five DVDs for occupants to sign out. Videos are delivered to the suite if no one is home on pickup day.

A resident says: "The people that run this building are amazing," Brearey says. "They made my transition very easy to living on my own." The staff will sign for packages, handle dry cleaning and even supervise housekeeping and other outside services. "You're not here waiting for the cable guy," he says.

12. The Osborn
1050 Huron Road
(216) 575-1175

The basics: The Osborn's triangular shape gives each suite its own eccentric dimensions. The S-shaped unit we visited had a long living/ dining room area with bedrooms on either side. Arranging furniture may be a bit tricky, but the space is likable enough to override this potential obstacle. E?ch of the 50 units features exposed ductwork, and there are three two-story units with skylights. Among the amenities are laundry and fitness facilities, a dry-cleaning service, package delivery and free video rental (see The Huron Square Apartments envry). There's no on-site parking, but most residents arrange to park across the street in the Halle Building garage.

What's unique: With its unusual shape and red-brick facade, The Osborn is hard to miss. "When you refer to it as that wedge of a building on Prospect and Huron, everyone knows what you're referring to," says resident P.J. McCarthy.

A resident says: The building's anomalous architecture was a big selling point for McCarthy. "It has a lot of character," he notes. Although he had a hard time arranging furniture in his long apartment, McCarthy's visitors appreciate the effort. "They think it's cool, as opposed to a regular square," he says.

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