Last year, Stark Enterprises was ready to build this scaled-down version of nuCLEus featuring a 24-story office tower above a pedestal of retail and parking. But a Stark representative blamed the pandemic and difficulties competing with Steelyard Commons in attracting retail to downtown Cleveland.
A Stark Enterprises executive has confirmed the firm’s dramatic and ambitious nuCLEus development planned for downtown Cleveland is on hold.
The project was originally proposed in 2014 as a multi-structure, 2-million-square-foot, mixed-use development marked by a 54-story tower. Since, nuCLEus was shrunk twice to a single 24-story office tower atop a pedestal of parking and retail as Stark searched for a public subsidy to overcome Cleveland’s high construction costs and low rents.
“It’s in a holding pattern,” said Ezra Stark, chief operating officer of Cleveland-based Stark Enterprises during Crain’s real estate forum recorded Sept. 27 but broadcast online today. “We were shovel-ready at one point.”
The question about nuCLEus was posed by moderator and Crain’s Cleveland Business reporter Michelle Jarboe five days after NEOtrans broke the news that nuCLEus was likely losing its largest pledged tenant for nuCLEus. Law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP is reportedly expanding its offices and hundreds of employees to Cleveland’s tallest and most prestigious skyscraper — Key Tower, 127 Public Square. The firm has outgrown the four floors and about 120,000 square feet it occupies at the 45-story 200 Public Square.
The next day, NEOtrans reported information from sources who said Stark wasn’t even going to submit an application for the new Transformational Mixed Use Development (TMUD) tax credit, a public subsidy that was Stark’s brainchild to close an equity gap in nuCLEus’ financing. It took several years of efforts to get the TMUD legislation through the Ohio General Assembly before it was finally passed at the end of last year.
In the days leading up tresentatives that they were indeed ready to announce a groundbreaking for a scaled-down version of no the pandemic-induced economic shutdown last year, there were signs from Stark repuCLEus. In early March 2020, Ezra Stark told NEOtrans to “touch base next week to discuss” rumors about an official groundbreaking announcement.
In 2014, through a joint venture, Stark Enterprises and J-Dek Investments Ltd. bought from Los Angeles-based L&R Properties multiple downtown assets with most bounded by Huron Road, Prospect Avenue and East 4th Street just north of then-Quicken Loans Arena, now Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
More about the nuCLEus project at NEO-trans.blog.