By Kevin Kelley
Two significant, highly anticipated development projects are being changed by the developers.
The biggest change is coming to the luxury condominium development planned for the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home property at the eastern end of Fairview Park. Developer Andrew Brickman is now seeking to construct a three- to four-story building on the property.
Legislation regarding the potential rezoning of the funeral home site and an adjacent property, required before Brickman can build an office building, was placed on second reading at City Council’s regular meeting Monday night. 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. A variance would be required to build anything taller.
Brickman, whose Abode Living firm built the Eleven River condominiums in Rocky River, initiated plans to construct luxury condominiums at the funeral home property nearly a year ago. Brickman and city officials successfully lobbied the Cleveland Metroparks Board of Trustees to modify an easement that limited the owner’s right to build on sections of the property.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, James Kastelic, senior park planner for the Metroparks, said if the property zoning is changed, Brickman will have to apply for a new easement modification, even if he seeks no more than he obtained in the first modification.
At a May 13 council committee meeting, Brickman said although he has not completely ruled out townhouses for the funeral home site, he is now looking to build an 80,000-square-foot building for a single tenant his company is in negotiations with. The office could employ up to 250 individuals, many with high incomes, he said.
Brickman said Abode is close to finalizing the purchase of the funeral home property and has recently acquired the adjacent property.
The second big change in planned developments comes to the Garnett Health Campus, planned for the property across from City Hall on Lorain Road. The new facility, being constructed by O’Neill
Management, owner and operator of the Bradley Bay Health Center and Wellington Place, will be built in two phases instead of all at once.
Under the amended plan, the construction of 38 assisted living suites will wait until a later date. The skilled nursing home section, to consist of 118 beds, will go forward as scheduled.
An amended tax abatement agreement with O’Neill Management that reflect the new development schedule was placed on first reading on Monday night’s City Council meeting. In Fairview Park, new construction qualifies for seven years of tax abatement.
According to the two tax abatement application forms O’Neill Management filed with the city, before and after the decision was made to delay the assisted living component, the total square footage of the new facility will be 65,000, down from the planned 100,250 original figure. The value of new construction will be $13.8 million, down from $20.5 million for the original plan.
Delaying the assisted living component means fewer employees will work at the site, at least initially, than originally planned. According to O’Neill Management’s applications, the total number of employees will be 115, down from the 136 figure given last fall. Total estimated annual payroll will be $3,559,000, not $4,189,000.
Rick Meserini, administrator of Garnett Health Campus, emphasized that the company intends to ultimately construct the assisted living community. O’Neill Management wants to focus on the nursing home operations initially, he explained.