Monday, September 21, 2015 – Today, our staff had a walking tour through the Tremont neighborhood to learn about new developments that might be of interest to our clients, executives relocating to NE Ohio, especially in terms of housing. Thanks to Tremont West Development Corporation’s Executive Director, Cory Riordan, and Development Director, Sammy Catania, who helped make this happen for us. Here’s what we learned:
Much of Tremont’s historic district has been built out with very few empty lots or affordable homes to rehab north of I-490, so the next two target areas to be developed are Duck Island and the Scranton Road area.
Although Duck Island is in TWDC’s service area and sits between Ohio City and Tremont, it is disconnected from both of these neighbors largely due to topography. Duck Island is just southwest of the end of the Hope Memorial Bridge (if you turn left on W. 20th at the end of the bridge, you have entered Duck Island) and is surrounded on the north, east and south sides by a steep drop off down into the industrial Flats and on the west border by the RTA Redline light rail Rapid train. That topography has created many dead end and single block long streets which creates an island feel, but on the plus side, it has incredibly striking views of downtown, including the beautiful stone pilons that anchor the bridge (AKA Guardians of Transportation) and the Flats. The building stock is mostly single family homes, non-descript and aging…but just wait, change is coming!
Years of planning in Duck Island is starting to show itself, with new construction and renovation happening throughout the area. While building single family homes on scattered sites throughout the neighborhood, developer, builder and Duck Island resident, Matt Berges, is also planning a larger mixed-use development on a 1.7 acre site in the center of Duck Island – mostly single family but also apartments and retail store fronts on the corner of Abbey and West 19th. He and his partners have been clearing the old houses to make way for the new. On that block alone, an additional 29 single family homes could be filling in the remainder of the soon to be empty block. When Berges began development in the area, there weren’t too many vacant lots but plenty of vacant, abandoned and distressed properties. As these houses come down, lot values go up. To get into a new house now, with land and a custom home, prices are in the $400,000s. The neighborhood has grown dramatically in appreciation, not just because of the market and the high demand to be in a walkable neighborhood in the shadow of downtown but because of the hard work and collaboration of many stakeholders who wanted to see positive things happen, despite the many barriers that held this neighborhood back for so many years. Learn more about the “Green” high performance homes that Berges specializes in at Bergesllc.com, and see the neighborhood plan and development news and updates at DuckIslandDevelopment.com.
Sam McNulty is the developer behind another chunk of land In Duck Island, at the corner of Abbey and Columbus. Seven town homes will be built on what is currently an empty neglected parking lot.
The reason for this appreciation in value might be because downtown housing is 98% occupied. Many who want to live in an urban neighborhood with the convenience of nearby shops, restaurants and transit are looking at Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway, & Tremont–the 3 neighborhoods closest to downtown. All of these neighborhoods have seen a large influx of newcomers (and new housing) in the past ten years. Vacant lots, like those still available in Duck Island, are hard to come by.
Considered part of Tremont, Duck Island has been helped by the efforts of Tremont West Development and Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. A community master plan has been developed with the input of residents and community leaders. Among larger plans for the neighborhood is a fund that asks developers to contribute $1,500 back towards the neighborhood’s master plan to help with improvements of public spaces.
A typical lot size in Tremont is 30′ x 100′ so you can kiss the lawn mower goodbye, grow only the veggies and perennials you want, and enjoy all the extra free time.
Urban legend has it that Duck Island got its name from Early Prohibition Days when rum runners would quickly duck into this island like neighborhood to avoid run-ins with the police, and the name has stuck around for 100 years! Others like to think of Duck Island’s prime location, nestled right between Tremont and Ohio City, as its own private island.
And, in the Scranton Road area is The Fairmount Creamery, a 1930s dairy building on the Register of Historic Places that has been renovated into a 32 unit apartment complex complete with indoor parking. The building has great amenities including a 14,000 SF gym, the Tremont Athletic Club. Founder Nick White, a former attorney and now a full time fitness guru, is busy signing members up (900 in their first year). It’s the only gym of its size in the neighborhood and shows the pent of demand. Rooftop sunrise yoga classes overlooking the city’s skyline make this a popular place for those in Ohio City and Tremont to get in shape. The gym’s very affordable ($60-$75 month) dues are all inclusive, no add-on costs for classes (those extra dollars we all shell out for the add-on yoga, spinning and Pilates classes add up, but not here!).
And, the Good to Go Cafe is run by local chef Anna Harouvis who has built a solid reputation on using raw, organic ingredients and non GMO products (just ask the devotees of her cleansing juices). It serves to-go breakfast, lunch and light dinners, and plenty of juices to grab after a work out.
The Ohio Awning Building will soon be known as The Wagner Building and is being developed by the Creamery developers. It will include 59 apartments in a giant old warehouse, continuing the housing west of I-90 in Tremont with an opening scheduled for sometime in 2016.
Where can you kids go to school if you live here? Lots of good choices (many with waiting lists) including Urban Community School (K-8 Catholic), Campus International, Tremont Montessori, Menlo Park Academy, St. Ignatius High School, St. Edward High School, etc. If you are a client of EA and need more insights on school options, call us!
TWDC’s Cory Riordan also shared info on the plans for the Towpath which will have a trailhead in Tremont, one of the few spots on the whole 110 mile trail where the path will emerge into a neighborhood with restaurants, shops, etc. (most trailheads are very rural/pastoral or come up into industrial settings). The trailhead will be completed when ODOT finishes the work on the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge in the 2016-17 time frame and will be north of Sokolowski’s University Inn and turn the entire part of University Road that hugs the ridgeline overlooking the city into a bike/walk path. The property values of the homes on University just went up 25% as the MetroParks will now maintain their ‘frontyards’ with a great trail!
And finally, although more Ohio City, developer Andrew Brickman is slowly amassing a large group of lots (almost four acres) at the northwest end of the Hope Memorial Bridge (giant trash strewn parking lot now with a billboard on it) to build townhomes, apartments, retail and restaurants all less than a block from the beloved Westside Market.
If you are interested in hearing more about how Executive Arrangements can share exciting info like this with your recruits and employees transferring into NE Ohio, please call us at 216.231.9311.