If there is one suburb that really doesn’t need much help these days, it’s the City of Willoughby. As one of the few suburbs in Northeast Ohio with a well-developed downtown, Willoughby offers its residents unique access to numerous restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues — many of which are on a par with, or even surpass, the many choices in trendy Cleveland neighborhoods like Tremont and Ohio City.
Without residents living nearby, even the most successful entertainment destinations can be doomed to failure. But thanks to a new neighborhood called Chagrin Riverwalk, the City of Willoughby’s downtown entertainment district should only continue to grow well into the future.
Chagrin Riverwalk is proudly presented by Vintage Development Group, a company that has played an instrumental role in the renovation and renaissance of the city’s downtown.
A total $60 million investment in Willoughby that also includes commercial and retail space, Chagrin Riverwalk, when it’s built out, will offer an estimated 400-plus residents easy, walkable access to downtown Willoughby. Located on Route 20 directly across the bridge from downtown, it also offers upscale amenities on site that cater to an active, urban lifestyle — while still featuring easy access to green space.
Individually, the Residences at Chagrin Riverwalk offer features like granite countertops, wood-inspired flooring, patios, peninsula breakfast bars, supreme-sized rooms, oversized closets, custom cabinetry and cathedral ceilings. But residents also have access to shared spaces that enhance the overall lifestyle experience.
“Building 8, which is the bigger building toward the west end of the development, offers a community space that includes a movie theater, business center and living room area,” says Adelbert “Chip” Marous Jr., managing member of Vintage Development Group. “Downstairs, there is a 24-hour fitness center, and off the main lobby there’s a terrace and a public area that offers 7,000 square feet of outdoor living space with a pool, grilling station, gas fire pit and a sun deck with ample seating.”
In addition to its easy walkable access to Historic Downtown Willoughby, Chagrin Riverwalk residents have access to more than four acres of green space to the west that includes hiking trails, a dog park and even a pond. There’s also access to the Chagrin River for activities like fishing.
But there’s more to come.
This month there are plans to start construction of a commercial portion of the development that will include 60,000 square feet of office space as well as 33,000 square feet of retail. The retail will include high-end boutiques and services that will benefit both Chagrin Riverwalk tenants as well as area residents. “We really see this development as an extension of Downtown Willoughby,” says Marous. “We also plan to move our headquarters into the office space.”
Chagrin Riverwalk was a natural fit for Vintage Development, which falls under the Marous Family of Cos. It was also long overdue for an organization that has played a key role in the redevelopment of Downtown Willoughby.
“We grew up in Willoughby Hills and went to Willoughby South, so this is our backyard,” says Marous, who founded Marous Brothers Construction with brother Scott in 1980. Brother Ken joined the organization in 1997.
“We bought our first piece of real estate in 1983 in Downtown Willoughby, when you could bowl down the streets.”
Even then, Marous knew that the City of Willoughby was something special, seeing potential where others saw only aging real estate.
“There were a lot of people who looked at us when we were buying properties down here in the early 1980s and asked us, ‘Why are you wasting your time?’” says Marous. “Then, after we had rehabbed a few properties, they said, ‘Boy, that sure looks great.’ And that’s when the renaissance began. People started looking at property in Downtown Willoughby. It’s great to see.”
Vintage Development also is involved in Battery Park, an upscale $150 million development on Cleveland’s West Shoreway that offers pedestrian access to Cleveland Metropark’s Edgewater Beach. “We’re also developing EDGE32, a mid-rise project on Detroit and West 32nd, as well as the Shaker Townhomes of Van Aken,” adds Marous.
The Marous Family of Cos., including Marous Brothers Construction and Vintage Development Group, employ more than 430 people, making the companies easily among the top two or three employers in the city. It’s a success story that started with a vision that can be seen in the ongoing development at Chagrin Riverwalk.
“We keep reinvesting in Willoughby because we believe in the area and because we want success for the area as a whole,” says Marous. And the company is far from done. Indeed, all of Lake County may soon benefit from Vintage Development Group’s projects.
“Willoughby may be near and dear to our hearts,” says Marous, “but there is also a great opportunity for us to expand in all of Lake County.” This bodes well for both business and property values in Lake County.