University Circle, Cleveland’s bustling arts, education and medical district, is welcoming a major ingredient to its eclectic mix: 700 units of new housing options.
Two major apartment complexes are slated to open during the summer or early fall: One University Circle, on Euclid Avenue near East 107th Street, and Centric Apartments, on Mayfield Road just east of Euclid Avenue near the Museum of Contemporary Art. These new units add to more than 2,000 existing residential and student dwellings in the area.
One University Circle, at the highest end of available rentals in the area, stands 20 stories high and offers 276 units of luxury housing. It is an imposing sight as one approaches it driving east on Chester Avenue. Its concave shape pays tribute to the historic circular trolley turnaround area on which it stands and for which University Circle was named.
Amenities include a fifth-floor deck with a swimming pool, 20th-floor common area for residents and great views. Residents on some of the higher floors even will be able to see the lake. Parking makes up a portion of the first four floors, which also encompasses a lobby and amenity space on the ground and second floors, residential liner units on floors three and four, and all-rental residential units on the remaining 15 floors.
A grand opening is planned for July. One University Circle is Cleveland’s first new high-rise apartment tower to be built in decades. The $116 million project is backed by developers First Interstate Properties Ltd. and Petros Homes.
Just down Euclid Avenue, Centric Apartments will bring an additional seven stories and 272 units of housing to the area. It’s a seven-story building with two-story ground floor retail and residential units starting on the third floor. A 360-spot parking garage also is being built behind the building. It is expected to open by late summer or early fall. Midwest Development Partners, along with Coral Co. and Panzica Construction, led the project’s development team.
“We are building community and restoring more of the residential fabric that was once here, and lost for a time to institutional parking lots,” says Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc., the area’s nonprofit community service organization.
The land under both apartment projects is owned by UCI, which leases it to both developers via a long-term, 100-year ground lease. One of UCI’s functions is to serve as a land bank that purchases and holds available land in University Circle for future expansion.
“We really credit the developers of these projects for taking a chance on these two major urban developments,” he adds.
Another bold addition coming to University Circle this summer is the Nord Family Greenway, slated to open in May. It is an innovative, urban, 20.3-acre greenspace that will connect the western end of Case Western Reserve University’s campus to East 105th Street and Hough. It will span from the CWRU University Center through the Cleveland Museum of Art’s front grounds, across Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and the Cultural Gardens and up to the historic Temple-Tifereth Israel. CWRU acquired the Ansel Road temple space for its Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center in 2010.
“We’re connecting neighborhoods,” says Ronayne of the project.
The design for the Greenway by Sasaki Associates of Boston prevailed among many options considered, including one that featured an elevated pedestrian walkway. The final design was found to be the most accessible and able to serve multiple functions. The $21 million project is one of the largest public parks and landscape projects in Cleveland.
Much of the Greenway’s grounds had to be leveled and cleaned up to make it walkable, as well as bike and wheelchair accessible. While some trees were cleared for the project, Ronayne says, 150 trees were preserved, with a net gain of 90 trees on the site.
The Nord Greenway is being considered as one of the venues for this summer’s FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art exhibition, which will run July 14 to Sept. 30. The event will feature artists from around the world and showcase contemporary art, performance art, film, music and public programs at multiple locations throughout the region.
One of the outdoor art installations planned for University Circle is a giant sculptural hand that will be placed at Toby’s Plaza in the uptown district by MOCA. University Circle institutions Cleveland Museum of Art, MOCA, Cleveland Institute of Art and CWRU are partners in the exhibition and may be venues for events or exhibits.
The FRONT Porch, a new facility situated in the PNC, Glenville Arts Campus, also will host programing for the event, along with venues in Akron, downtown Cleveland, Oberlin College and Ohio City.
Add all of this to University Circle’s regularly scheduled annual summer fare, such as its signature summer kick-off event, Parade the Circle, and Wade Oval Wednesdays, its popular free summer concert series.
Ronayne, who is the area’s biggest booster, says it will be an exciting summer in the Circle, which he calls “Ohio’s most spectacular square mile.” He adds that UCI is committed to continuing the progress.
“We will keep working block by block,” he promises.