October 02, 2018 | By STAN BULLARD
Construction workers soon will start restoring to life the John Hartness Brown building complex, one of the last big dead zones on lower Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland, in a $90 million project.
Michael Sabracos, CEO of the U.S. unit of Istanbul-based AltoPartners, said in an interview on Tuesday, Oct. 2, that he expects construction workers hired by Panzica Cos. of Mayfield Village to set to work "within weeks" on the three-building, six-story complex at 1001-1101 Euclid Ave. He expects the project, using state and federal historic tax credits, to be finished in 2020.
"We are very excited to bring this large piece of Cleveland history back to life and fill the missing tooth on Euclid Avenue," Sabracos said.
AltoPartners is the third developer to undertake the long-empty complex since 2006. The buildings are on the north side of Euclid, mid-block between the 925 Euclid Ave. building and The Statler.
Sabracos said the plan include incorporates more than 200 apartments and 200 underground parking spaces, roof top lounge area and social gathering room, a club room with a bar, wine tasting room with private wine lockers and indoor golf simulator, mini duckpin bowling, billiards, foosball, and a TV lounge. Additional amenities include an outdoor courtyard that will be created by cutting an atrium into the center of five floors of the complex. More than 20,000 square feet of retail space will be available for lease on the first floor.
An aluminum skin on the Euclid side of the complex was removed several years ago, and the 1930s-era facade that step revealed will be restored. However, the building's north side still has a brick, terracotta and steel facade that originally graced all of the structure. Iron window sashes and ornaments are too structurally unsound to install new glass in them, so they will be restored but remain open to serve as openings for balconies.
To accommodate the new suites, a new north wall will be constructed that will have windows and patio doors opening on the balconies that will be created behind the original facade, Sabracos said.
He said it's too early to comment on the asking rents for the suites.
Sabracos said that when he first visited Cleveland two years ago to consider buying the property, he was perplexed that it was still available.
"So much is going on around it that this building should have been put back into use some time ago," he said.
Huge plastic sheets have covered empty window openings on Euclid for several years since the modern-style aluminum facade was removed, several billowing in the wind. Meantime, apartment, hotel and retail projects took shape nearby, from The 9, the Kimpton Hotel and Residences, The Ivory and the Halle Building. Construction also is finishing up on The Athlon, a conversion of the old Cleveland Athletic Club building to apartments. Through those years, the John Hartness Brown complex went through different developers, won, lost and again recouped Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits and was the subject of multiple lawsuits.
AltoPartners put an end to the back and forth by buying the complex from Hickory Court LLC for $9 million.
Financing for the project, now called Euclid Grand Apartments, was closed last Thursday, Sept. 27, according to Cleveland Development Advisors, a foundation and corporate-backed source of equity for catalytic real estate projects. CDA contributed
$4 million to the project, which included financing through the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and others.
"Watching the final gaps getting filled in on Euclid validates our early investments and provides some of the units needed to fill continued demand for downtown housing," wrote Yvette Ittu, Cleveland Development Advisors president, in "Every Monday," a newsletter produced by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the region's chamber of commerce.