New Student Housing Coming to Euclid Avenue
Last month, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for the demolition of two landmark Euclid Avenue buildings – the Jewish Federation Building and the Playhouse Square Building (also known as the Rogers Building) at 1720 and 1750 Euclid. Clayco Realty group will be constructing new student housing units with a connected parking garage.
Clayco Realty, a Chicago-based full-service development and construction company, was drawn to the location because of the area’s ideal infrastructure, transportation and nearby student amenities as well as the increasing enrollment at Cleveland State University. Vice President of Development Rob Lochner and other associates from Clayco Realty presented designs for the new housing and garage space at a December design review meeting at City Hall.
The group proposed plans to build an eight-level apartment complex with 200 plus units and ground floor public space. Lochner said the new housing is intended to serve as a “security exemplar” for the area, as the company’s main focus is security and student safety. An attached garage will allow for safe transit between parking and living space.
The proposed design featured an internal courtyard, café, study space and common areas. Outdoor trees, grates and seating along Euclid were also implemented. Lochner estimated that the finished building would allow for a 500 student capacity or higher.
The design review board members were supportive of the idea of new student housing. However, many asked for changes to the initial design of the new buildings with a better focus on urban living.
Several board members felt that the rendering of the proposed apartments resembled a non-descript office building rather than thriving living space. They wanted to see an exterior with a less austere presence. The board’s main request was that a new design incorporate a more inviting façade with street level retail in order to create a welcoming transition point that connects living space with urban activity.
Robert Brown, director of the Cleveland City Planning Commission, was in agreement with the design committee. In addition to hopes for more visual interest on the Euclid Avenue front, Brown wished to see improvements to the Prospect frontage as well, such as additional retail and other pedestrian-friendly amenities.
After changes are made, Brown is confident that the new housing will be highly beneficial to the downtown area. “The City supports the project as it brings 500 new residents to downtown on a key Euclid Avenue site, with the building in an appropriately urban placement, directly on the sidewalk edge,” said Brown.
While the design review board did not approve Clayco’s initial design, the City Planning Commission did grant approval for demolition at a later meeting. Clayco hopes to have demolition completed by April.
Lochner expressed confidence that Clayco would reach a final design that is transformational and reflects the values of a thriving urban community. Both the design committee and the city planning commission will review final designs later this month. After approval is given, Clayco hopes to begin construction this spring and to have the project completed in summer of 2015.
Donna Dieball is a recent graduate of Cleveland State University and the editor of the Campus District Observer.