By Kevin Kelley
The luxury condominiums planned for the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home property at the eastern end of Fairview Park may not be built after all.
Developer Andrew Brickman, managing partner of Abode Living, said he is now considering construction of an office building for the site.
At Monday night’s Fairview Park City Council meeting, legislation regarding the rezoning of the funeral home site and an adjacent property was placed on first reading. The properties are currently rezoned for multifamily use. The legislation would place a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot asking voters to rezone the properties for office building use. The “office building 3” zoning category would permit a building three stories tall.
Brickman, the developer behind the 11 River luxury townhouse project in Rocky River, told West Life the condominium project has not been ruled out for the funeral home property. He said he has a list of 20 individuals interested in purchasing condominiums once built at the Lorain Road site but has signed no contracts with any potential buyers.
“I just want some more flexibility,” Brickman said of the office building option. “I’m just trying to explore all the options available to me.”
Brickman said that in order to be flexible in the real estate market today, a developer needs to be flexible as market conditions change.
“Whatever we do, I can tell you it’s going to be first-class for Fairview Park,” he said.
Jim Kennedy, Fairview Park’s economic development director, told West Life that Brickman contacted the city about a month ago with the potential change of plans. A “high-end client” had approached Brickman with a proposal for an office building.
“It’s a very high-caliber end user,” Kennedy said, adding he was not at liberty to say more.
This is not the first time Brickman considered an office building for the property, for which he has an option to purchase. His luxury condominium plan conflicted with a property easement the adjacent Cleveland Metroparks held on the funeral home property that limited the owner’s right to build on the property. If the Metroparks refused to modify the easement, Brickman’s fall-back plan was the build one office building on the property. Legislation was prepared this past fall that would have put a rezoning measure before voters at a special election in February.
City officials actively lobbied on Brickman’s behalf to have the luxury condominium project go forward. Mayor Eileen Patton personally attended a Cleveland Metroparks Board of Trustees meeting in November to encourage trustees to modify the easement, which they did. Thus, the special election in February was not needed.
While city officials pushed hard for the condominium project, Kennedy said he believes an office building would ultimately bring in more tax revenue to the city.
Ward 1 Councilman Brian McDonough agreed.
“For the city, the best use of the property is an office building,” McDonough said.
Before the rezoning measure reaches the Nov. 5 ballot, it must be approved by City Council and reviewed by the city’s Planning and Design Commission. A public hearing must also be held on the ballot issue.