Apartments: The Definitive Guide, The Quad
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1. 1900 Euclid Avenue Lofts
1900 Euclid Ave.
The basics: At the 1900 Euclid Avenue Lofts, "you don't have to fool with all the stuff that goes with owning a house," says resident Rick Abell. But you still get to reap the benefits. For instance, tenants don't have to help pull weeds, but are welcome to pick vegetables and herbs from the community garden in the atrium. They also get one indoor parking space free with rent, with additional spaces for $50 per month. The building offers a barbecue deck and fitness center. Each of the 80 units also comes with a washer/dryer. The two-bedroom apartment we visited featured exposed ductwork. Its kitchen and bedrooms were on the small side, but large windows and high ceilings made the space sufficient. Views of Lake Erie and the cityscape make the building delightfully urban without being overwhelmed by street noise. Cats and dogs weighing less than 25 pounds are permitted for $25 each. There's no additional pet deposit.
What's unique: The building's uncommon offerings include a gas fireplace in all one- and two-bedroom suites and townhouses, and a sauna and tanning bed for community use.
Residents say: "Neither of us had ever lived in a loft apartment before. We thought it would be fun," says Constance Parsons, who shares a two-bedroom suite with Abell. "We like the floor plan because it has separate rooms. It's got the lake view and it's got the city view." Parsons and Abell, both in their mid-50s, prefer 1900 Euclid Avenue because it's farther from the bar scene than other downtown apartments. "At this location, you don't have to worry about endless streams of people that are barely of legal age to drink," Abell says.
2. Heritage Suites
2200 Prospect Ave.
The basics: Housed in the YMCA building, Heritage Suites offers 148 dormitory-style efficiencies and apartments. They're open to the general public, but these modest, air-conditioned units seem most suitable for happy-go-lucky college students. Each suite is carpeted and comes furnished with a wooden bed, TV cart and a desk or dining table. Every unit also has a private bathroom and kitchenette with a small oven, four burners and a full-size refrigerator. The nine-story building is remarkably quiet, with a spacious TV lounge and long, wide hallways. There's a laundry room on site. Parking in the adjacent lot costs $50 per month.
What's unique: Some apartments may offer a few treadmills and stationary bikes, but Heritage Suites shares a building with the YMCA. Residents receive a discounted membership rate, giving them access to the Y's pool, indoor tracks, exercise machines and weight-lifting equipment. They're also welcome at classes such as step aerobics, yoga, Pilates and spinning. With so many on-site fitness options, leasing an apartment in Heritage Suites may be the ideal remedy for the freshman 15.
A resident says: "I chose it mainly because I'm a student at CSU and it's more convenient for me. I can get to CSU much quicker," says Jabari Sims. "The room I have is just right for me."
3. Intown Place
2901 Euclid Ave.
The basics: Intown Place is definitely not Club?Med, but for someone on a tight budget, one of its 150 efficiencies may be just the ticket. The large lobby has pleasant, Tudor-style architecture, and the apartment units offer the essentials. Each suite is carpeted and comes furnished with a motley assortment of beds, dressers and desks. Utilities are included, but residents arrange their own phone service and parking. There's a laundry room in the basement.
What's unique: Of all the apartments we visited, Intown Place's suites are the most affordable. And with month-to-month leasing, it's a workable option for students and other transient types.
A resident says: The low cost attracted Zulfikarali Dalal, a graduate student at Cleveland State University, to Intown Place. "It's really good for people trying to save money," he says. Dalal's suite features a bedroom/living area, a kitchenette with a half-size stove and a bathroom. "What else does a student need?" he asks.
4. Quay 55
5455 N. Marginal Road
The basics: Merriam-Webster defines a quay (pronounced "key") as "a structure built parallel to the bank of a waterway for use as a landing place," so it's not surprising that Quay 55 is perched on the shores of Lake Erie. Surrounded by water on two sides, the location is prime for watching the sun set. Units on the building's west side have the most spectacular lake view, while eastern-facing suites overlook the marina. Several of Quay 55's manmade amenities are also notable. The fitness center, lakefront conference room, furnished party room and guest suite are available for residents' use. Outdoors are a boardwalk, swimming pool, basketball hoop and grills. The only catch is that Quay 55 isn't within walking distance of any major downtown attractions. Each of the 128 apartment units comes with a washer/dryer and free outzoor parking for residents and guests. Parking in the attached garage costs $100 per month. Up to two cats are permitted.
What's unique: Other apartment buildings may offer a view of Lake Erie, but Quay 55 has the water in its back yard. "This really is engulfed by and surrounded by the lake," says resident Marty Kilbane.
Residents say: Quay 55's friendly staff helps turn this large building into a home, notes Marty's wife, Colleen. "It kind of feels like a family," she says. "I think they've really taken apartment living in Cleveland to the next level," Marty adds.
5. The Tower Press
1900 Superior Ave.
The basics: "Slick." That's how resident Michael Wilson describes The Tower Press, and we'd have to agree. Neither the building's unassuming brick facade nor its bland lobby foreshadows the creative genius housed inside. The Tower Press is a community geared toward artists, although more straight-laced types are welcome, too. About half of the 80 suites have two stories, with an open studio on one level and a more formal living area on the other. And although we weren't expecting to find polished cement floors and stripped wood ceilings in someone's home, the effect is aesthetically fascinating and surprisingly comfortable. The building also includes the more conventional amenities, such as a fitness room, a basement laundry room and a high-speed Internet connection. Parking in the gated lot costs $35 per month; there is also guest parking. Cats are permitted.
What's unique: "I could set up this first floor and you [would] not even realize that I live here," says Wilson, who runs a fashion design company from his apartment. Its downstairs is so strewn with suit jackets, design sketches and a rainbow of threads that the kitchen appliances are fairly inconspicuous. Even the hot tub he installed in the corner goes unnoticed at first. Like Wilson's suite, many units do double duty as both home and an artist's studio or office.
A resident says: "The greatest asset to me is, I can tell anybody who visits Cleveland that I'm at East 19th and Superior," Wilson says. "The location is very easy to find."
6. University Commons
1900 E. 30th St.
The basics: University Commons is not just for students. The building's name is inspired by three nearby institutions ? Cleveland State, Case Western Reserve University and Tri-C ? but people from all walks of life can and do live there. Rates for the building's 100 units are among the lowest in town, probably due to University Commons' lack of frills. The common areas are mediocre, but the suites themselves are perfectly adequate. Most contain hardwood floors; a few are carpeted. The units also feature new kitchen appliances, vertical blinds and ceramic tiles. There's a laundry room in the building. Parking is also a bargain at $40 per month for a space in the attached garage or $20 per month for an outdoor space. One cat is permitted for a $50 to $100 deposit.
What's unique: Residents thirsting for green space can retreat to University Commons' private courtyard, which offers trees and a breath of fresh air. The lawn area is a popular place to get lost in a good book, play chess or just hang out.
A resident says: William Olson, who has lived in University Commons for three years, recently upgraded to a two-bedroom unit after getting married and having a child. "It's been very nice. I don't think I'd want to leave," says Olson, who cherishes the building's affordability and a view of the "urban universe" from his dining-room window. It didn't take much cajoling for several of Olson's friends to move into the building as well. "I'd recommend it to any friend. And I have recommended it. It's the best place in the world at any given time," Olson says.
7. Walker & Weeks Building
2341 Carnegie Ave.
Expected to open: March 2004
The Walker & Weeks Building, which Cleveland's pre-eminent architects of the 1920s designed and used as their offices, will offer 36 spacious suites, some as large as 2,800 square feet. Each unit will feature large windows and washer/dryer hookups. Indoor parking will be available.
12:00 AM EST
December 1, 2003