An expansive six-story apartment building with a ground-floor Meijer grocery store at Cedar Avenue is one of many developments getting underway along and near East 105th Street at the east end of the new Opportunity Corridor Boulevard. Ground will be broken for this new building on Dec. 14.
One day after Cleveland City Council approved tax incentives for a new apartment building with a Meijer urban-format grocery store on the ground floor, a contractor for the developer applied to the city for permits for that project’s groundbreaking ceremony. The event will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the project site — the southwest corner of East 105th Street and Cedar Avenue.
Caterer/event coordinator AAble Rents of Euclid submitted a permit application yesterday on behalf of developer Fairmount Properties for a 30-by-50-foot tent and interior layout of the tent and noted the event’s time, date and location. That’s the same contractor handling the Sherwin-Williams HQ groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for one day later in downtown Cleveland.
On 2.7 acres of land at East 105th and Cedar, Fairmount plans to build a six-story, 190,000-square-foot building with 190 market-rate apartments, a 40,000-square-foot Meijer store and an attached three-level, 209-space parking garage. The grocery store is dubbed the Fairfax Market. Construction is due to be completed in early 2023.
Two days ago, City Council agreed to a 30-year tax increment financing package for the project. It allows the developer to allocate the non-school taxes the project would generate to service the project’s financing. Council’s action followed a recommendation by the City Planning Commission Nov. 5.
Earlier this month, the $59 million project won $37 million in bond financing through the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. The port will sell bonds to investors which will be backed by revenues from the real estate development. The developer will repay the bonds over time at a lower interest rate than it could get through a private lender.
For Meijer, this will be the Michigan-based chain’s first store in the city of Cleveland and the second in Cuyahoga County. The county’s first Meijer store, a 155,000-square-foot SuperCenter featuring clothing, household goods, electronic items, toys, sporting goods and a grocery store, opened in May in suburban Seven Hills.
The urban Meijer store will exclusively be a grocery store much like the chain’s first four urban stores in Michigan. A 42,000-square-foot store that opened last month in downtown Detroit may provide a comparison to the Cleveland store. The Detroit store offers fresh and prepared foods, a 4,700-square foot produce department, coffee bar plus beer, wine and liquor.
“Reflecting the goal of creating a community vibe, the (Detroit) store features about 2,000 local, artisan items, including health and beauty products from nearby black women-owned businesses, and is designed with murals painted by area artists,” wrote Lynne Petrak for the Progressive Grocer, a grocery industry publication.
It is similar in size and format to the planned Fairfax Market. The Detroit store measures 42,000 square feet while the Fairfax Market is proposed to be 40,000 square feet.
Fairfax is a low-income neighborhood and in an area that’s called a “food desert” because it suffers from a lack of grocers offering healthy food choices. Meijer was attracted to the neighborhood by the city exercising a $9 million low-interest loan from its allocation of Empowerment Zone resources from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meijer was also attracted by being at the east end of the newly opened Opportunity Corridor and by the promise of more developments bringing more residents to within walking distance of the store.
Two blocks north of the Fairfax Market site is one of the largest development districts in Cleveland — the Circle Square development which rivals the $300-plus-million investment of the new Sherwin-Williams headquarters campus downtown. Construction has started on the Artisan, a 24-story apartment tower that will overtake the nearby, 2020-built, 20-story One University Circle apartments as the tallest in University Circle.
Next up at Circle Square is the 11-story Library Lofts. However, Steve Rubin, chief operating officer at Circle Square’s lead developer Midwest Development Partners said this week that they do not yet have a groundbreaking date for it.
“Still working on it,” he said. “Hopefully close.”
Immediately south of the Fairmount development, construction is about to begin on the 80-unit, four-story Square 105 building by McCormack Baron Salazar and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. As the first phase of the 223-unit Innovation Square complex, it will have a significant street presence on East 105th, including a ground-floor commercial space. Two blocks to the east, the Stokes West development is planned.
A second phase by Fairmount appears to be in the works on the block immediately west, bounded by Cedar, East 103rd, East 101st Street and Wain. According to Cuyahoga County property records, an affiliate of Fairmount Properties called FMCFP, LLC earlier this year acquired 2176 E. 103rd St.
That’s the only property in that block that still had a house standing on it. But the house was vacant and in poor condition. The house and its 0.094-acre parcel were purchased by Fairmount for $50,000, county records show.
According to city building department records, the city earlier this month boarded up an open side door on that house after an officer on patrol reported the structure as “O.V.V.” — open, vacant and vandalized. The city issued a building violation notice to Fairmount and noted that the structure was subject to condemnation. All of the other parcels in that block are empty lots owned by the City Land Bank, Fairfax Renaissance or Cleveland Clinic.
Fairmount’s development is the result of efforts going back nearly two years by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. The health care giant organized focus groups of neighborhood residents, property owners and others to determine how to develop the edges of its campus, including the southeast corner near the Opportunity Corridor Boulevard. The development will also benefit from the State of Ohio designating the surrounding area as an Innovation District, promising thousands of new jobs.
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