Waterford Bluffs – Crain’s Cleveland

Published: July 17, 2020

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

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


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.”