April 03, 2006

University narrowing list of developers for arts and retail district

Three development teams to be asked to submit final proposals

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Case's plans for developing an arts and entertainment district in the Ford-Euclid-Mayfield area have taken a step closer to reality, now that the university has identified potential developers for the district.

In December the university sent Request for Proposals (RFPs) to 10 local and national real estate development firms. Four developers or teams of developers responded with preliminary proposals, and three of those have been asked to submit final proposals. The remaining teams are:

  • Stark Enterprises, developer of Crocker Park Town Center in Westlake; and Coral Co., a Beachwood-based firm that recently purchased and is redeveloping Shaker Square
  • Developers Diversified Realty, a national real estate firm also headquartered in Beachwood; and Campus Apartments, a Philadelphia company that develops and manages university housing
  • Mesirow Stein Financial, a Chicago financial services firm, and MRN Ltd., a Cleveland firm that redeveloped East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland.

Russell Berusch, vice president for commercial development, said the next step will be to solicit and review final proposals from the three teams. "In the first response, the developers presented their credentials and experience and some preliminary ideas and timetables," he explained. "Now we're asking for a specific physical plan, a plan for retail leasing, for graduate/professional student housing, for accommodating MOCA, and for how they would finance the project."

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) recently announced plans to build a new facility in front of the Triangle Apartment complex at the intersection of Mayfield and Euclid.

The area the university is seeking to develop includes approximately eight acres along both sides of Euclid Avenue between the Ford/Euclid/Mayfield intersection and East 115th St. The university purchased the property on the south side of Euclid Avenue in 2005 and has an agreement with University Circle Inc. to purchase the property on the north side. Also last year the university opened the Village at 115 residential complex, putting about 720 students within easy walking distance of the proposed arts and retail district.

Berusch said the types of businesses the university wants to see in the district include restaurants, bars, entertainment spots, fashion and specialty clothing stores, and general retail. It will also be home to the university's bookstore, which Berusch said will be 22,000 square feet and will sell student and general merchandise in addition to books. Housing will include a mix of residences geared towards graduate and professional school students and market rate.

Berusch said the initial group of developers to receive the RFP consisted of companies with experience in urban redevelopment, in mixed use projects and with the financial and staff capacity to develop a large project.

The RFP responses have been and will continue to be evaluated by a committee that includes representatives from the city, the university, local for-profit and nonprofit organizations, consulting firms, and development companies not involved in the RFP process. Final proposals are due in early May, Berusch said, and about a month later the university hopes to have identified a developer with whom to begin negotiations. "We're all very excited by this project. It will be a great enhancement to the university," he said.

For more information: Jeff Bendix 216-368-6070.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, April 3, 2006 09:51 AM | News Topics: Campus Life, HeadlinesMain, University Circle

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