Renovation in full swing on Euclid Ave. between East 4th and Playhouse Square

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

By: Kevin Barry, News Channel 5

The buildings lit up now by construction lights and blowtorches caught Alto Partners C.E.O. and managing partner Michael Sabracos' eye because they used to be the only buildings on Euclid Avenue not lit up at all.



The buildings lit up now by construction lights and blowtorches caught Alto Partners C.E.O. and managing partner Michael Sabracos' eye because they used to be the only buildings on Euclid Avenue not lit up at all.


"It was just screaming for someone to bring it back to life," said Sabracos.

The buildings are hard to miss. They're on Euclid between East 4th Street and Playhouse Square, across the street from the Heinen's downtown.


Alto Partners focuses on redeveloping large historic properties and realized the walls that have been vacant for roughly a decade still have a lot to offer.


"We looked at it as the missing tooth in Cleveland," said Sabracos.

To fill the space, Alto Partners has come up with a $77 million project, including nearly 240 apartments with parking in the basement and plenty of amenities to keep the new renters happy.


It's supposed to be finished in early 2020, with the help of roughly $18 million in Historic Tax Credits, which have already sparked millions of dollars in development just downtown.


"Without that little piece, there's not enough money to do the development," said Sabracos. "We would be losing money."


The project joins a handful of other Historic Tax Credit projects connecting Public Square to Playhouse Square, making an unbroken path for pedestrians that will soon have no empty buildings.


"It's a sense of mental security knowing that there's not a dead building," said Downtown Cleveland Residents Association President Jonathan Whigham. "If I'm walking by, I feel safe."


The renovation also has the chance to bring in plenty of new residents, which Whigham says are badly needed.


"We've got to get to that 20,000 mark before major retailers really look at us and really take us seriously as a full neighborhood," said Whigham.


He estimates that about 18,000 people live downtown right now, but he's been told that the bigger stores shoppers go to malls for won't open up downtown until there's a bigger potential customer base.


"Some of those suburban expectations, you don't get downtown yet," said Whigham.

The 20,000 square feet of retail included in the plans in Alto Partners' building will help provide a new place for those major retailers to land when the time is right.


"Cleveland's not on their radar, and we need to put it on their radar because it's a great city to be in," said Sabracos.


Sabracos says Alto Partners is helping to set the example. Since jumping into the Cleveland market, they already control 700,000 square feet, including office space, and they plan to more than triple that amount.


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