By Kevin Kelley
Fairview Hospital, thought to be the potential tenant for a Lorain Road office building proposed by developer Andrew Brickman, is no longer interested in the project, the hospital’s president said.
Jan Murphy told West Life that the Clinic-owned facility did hold some preliminary discussions with Brickman about constructing a medical office building on the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home and an adjacent property at the eastern end of Lorain Road. However, the hospital “put the brakes on that,” she said.
“That really is off the table right now,” said Murphy, who will move to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to lead a Cleveland Clinic-run hospital there Sept. 1.
Fairview Hospital is completing a master plan for future use of space that does not include a facility at the funeral home site, Murphy said.
Construction of an office building will require voters to approve rezoning of the property. Following a request by Brickman’s Abode Living, City Council last month passed legislation that places two measures that would rezone the developer’s properties on the Nov. 5 ballot. Currently zoned multifamily garden, the measures, if approved by voters, would change the zoning to the office building 3 zoning category. That category allows for buildings up to 35 feet in height, or about three floors.
This past fall, Brickman said he planned to build luxury townhouses on the funeral home site. He successfully petitioned the Cleveland Metroparks to ease a longstanding restriction against building on some sections of the property overlooking the Rocky River Valley. This spring the developer switched gears to pursue construction of an office building.
Now Brickman must decide what he wants to build on the property.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections’ deadline for printing ballots for the Nov. 5 election is Sept. 6. However, the rezoning measure could be withdrawn as late as Nov. 4, a election board spokesman told West Life. If the measure is withdrawn between Sept. 7 and Nov. 4, the question would appear on the ballot, but the votes would not be counted, the spokesman said.
In comments last month before both City Council and the Planning and Design Commission, Brickman said he was not at liberty to name the potential client but said the proposed office building would house a single tenant. However, comments by commission member Chet Sadonick pointed toward a medical office building for Fairview Hospital.
“I look at 10,000 people a day turning 65 in this country, and the need for medical care is going to be tremendous,” said Sadonick, who, with the rest of the commission, voted in favor of the rezoning. “And it just seems to me that this is the proper use of the land as the hospital moves both ways, east and west. I would encourage them to come across the bridge because it does generate the revenue.”
Last week, Brickman confirmed he had talks with Fairview Hospital/Cleveland Clinic about the property. However, several other entities have also expressed interest in the site, the developer said.
Despite the hospital president’s statement that the institution is no longer interested in the property, Brickman was giving the impression that he’s in the driver’s seat.
“I haven’t made my mind up yet,” he said of his plans for the site. He said he expects to announce a decision in the coming weeks.
Brickman said he is in regular contact on the matter with Mayor Eileen Patton, who attended a groundbreaking ceremony and tour of Abode’s Clifton Pointe condominium development in Lakewood Thursday. Clifton Pointe, like Abode’s Eleven River condominiums in Rocky River and the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home property, offer spectacular views of the Rocky River Valley.
The developer added that he’s excited his company will be constructing something on the property, located just west of the Lorain Road bridge that connects Fairview Park with Cleveland.
“It’s a great location,” he said of the site.