Waterford Bluffs – Crain’s Cleveland

Crain’s Cleveland | Michelle Jarboe | July 17, 2020

Developers forge ahead on apartment plans on Cleveland’s near West Side

Developers are pushing forward on plans for two noteworthy
apartment projects on Cleveland’s near West Side, despite the pandemic and a
recession that has left other real estate deals on rocky footing.

On Friday, July 17, the Cleveland City Planning Commission
gave an initial thumbs-up to Waterford Bluffs, a five-story apartment building
slated for vacant land at West 20th Street and Lorain Avenue, near the western
end of the Hope Memorial Bridge. And on Thursday, July 16, a city design review
committee got its first glimpse of the Viaduct, a 27-story tower that could
rise on the west bank of the Flats.

Developer Stoneleigh Cos. hopes to break ground in September
for Waterford Bluffs, a 241-unit building at the confluence of the Ohio City,
Tremont and Duck Island neighborhoods. The project, with a roughly $60 million
price tag, could be complete in mid-2022.

Plans drawn up by Cleveland-based architecture firm Vocon
show that 99% of the units will be studios and one-bedroom apartments, with an
average size of 583 square feet.

During a phone conversation, Stoneleigh president Rick
Cavenaugh said the small footprints will allow for lower monthly rents. At a
projected average rate of $2.40 per square foot, a midsize apartment might rent
for about $1,400 a month.

“We certainly don’t want to get to $4,000 rents,”
he said, adding that the Illinois-based company expects to attract tenants who
want to live within walking distance of the West Side Market, a Greater
Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Rapid station and downtown.

Friday’s planning approval followed a Thursday vote from a
design review committee that vets projects in downtown Cleveland and close-lying
areas. That committee also gave Waterford Bluffs a nod, though members asked
Stoneleigh and Vocon to keep studying landscaping, materials and site-access
issues.

Stoneleigh purchased the 4-acre site, which had been
assembled and cleared by local developers, in late March for $7.6 million,
according to public records.

“This site is a long time coming,” Freddy Collier,
the city’s planning director, said during Friday’s meeting. “I was very
pleased with the fact that this was a mid-rise structure rather than a tower,
that was originally proposed for this particular site.”