CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Planning Commission on Friday approved a 132-apartment, 10-townhouse project that is slated to rise in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.
Developer Michael Panzica plans to build a five-story, 134,000-square-foot building along Abbey Avenue between West 19th and West 20th streets, along with two smaller complexes to house the townhouses.
Approximately 1,800 square feet of storefront space will also be part of the project, at Abbey Avenue and West 20th Street. The U-shaped building will also have approximately 90 parking spaces.
Panzica has reached an agreement to purchase the approximately 1.7 acres on which the new apartments and townhouses will be located.
Most of this site is vacant land, although current owner Matt Berges has let workers building the nearby 240-unit Waterford Bluffs apartment complex on Lorain Avenue set up their equipment there. It is also the site of the Abbey Market convenience store, now closed, which will be demolished to make way for the new apartment building.
Panzica and its development team have spent the last several months before the Duck Island Block Club, the Near West Design Review Committee and the Planning Commission. They tweaked the design in the process.
Friday’s unanimous approval came with a recommendation that the city’s zoning appeals board or another department allow Panzica to add a parking lot exit on West 20th Street that would require motorists to turn right. . The gated entrances would be on Smith Court.
Architect Brandon Kline of Geis Cos. however, sought blanket approval from the commission, so construction could begin pending a decision on the exit from the parking lot.
It was not immediately clear when construction would begin, but Kline told the commission the development would take 20 months to build. Berges, known in the Duck Island enclave of Tremont for building homes, said he expects the sale of the property to Panzica to close in late spring.
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer contacted Panzica after the meeting.
The development is not far from other large apartment buildings being built on the near west side. In addition to Waterford Bluffs, the 298-unit Intro apartment building is nearby, and developer Ari Maron has a deal to add about 125 apartments on Columbus Road near the West 25th Street Rapid stop.
Some residents, however, have expressed concerns about more cars in the neighborhood with the new building.
Elaine Barowski, president of the Duck Island Block Club, told the commission on Friday that she wanted assurances that city officials would properly address concerns about increased traffic. She said similar complaints had fallen on deaf ears in the past.
“Yes, there may not be a lot of traffic right now, but we can see what’s coming,” Barowski said. “And so we would really appreciate it if everyone at least considers our concerns valid concerns.”
Planning director Joyce Huang said the department she leads will keep residents informed of the traffic survey in the area.
“This is a new administration and we are very interested in delivering on what we promise,” she said.
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