Mavrik Development to build TREO Apartments on Southwest Corner of 25th St & Swift Ave
by Bruce Checefsky
(Plain Press, February 2021) Lincoln Heights Block Club Chairperson Henry Senyak had an idea. He wanted to ask developers in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood to provide a levy benefit to longtime residents in the form of a fund based, in part, on the size of the new project anywhere from a single unit townhouse to multi resident complex. The levy would be issued against new development projects that receive a 15-year tax abatement from the City of Cleveland.
Senyak petitioned Councilman McCormack who, in turn, supported his idea and brought the conversation to the Reaching Lincoln Heights Land Use Study. David Jurca, former associate director at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collective (CUDC), and founder/principal at Seventh Hill urban design firm was hired by Tremont West Development Corporation to conduct the study. Working closely with Senyak, a draft of the plan was presented to the Lincoln Heights Block Club last February 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Many Block Club members feel the clear definition of the yearly contributions into the Lincoln Developers Fund can mend several of the burnt bridges between our Membership, Property Owners, Developers, and TWDC,” Senyak said last year.
The developers fund is not meant to pay in full for projects but rather augment any costs associated with home maintenance. Fees would include $1,500 for single unit town homes, new single or multifamily homes along with several options for apartment complexes including a $1,000.00 per floor of the project for a period of 10 years or based on number on units versus floors of the project for a period of 10 years. For example, apartment buildings with units 1 thru 20 would pay $1,000.00 per year for a period of 10 years; units 1 thru 40 at $2,000.00 per year for a period of 10 years; units 1 thru 60 – $3,000.00 per year for a period of 10 years; units 1 thru 80 – $4,000.00 per year for a period of 10 years; units 1 thru 100 – $5,000.00 per year for a period of 10 years; and structures over 100 units would max out at $6,500.00 per year for a period of 10 years.
All funds will be held by Tremont West Development Corporation. A committee composed of TWDC Staff, Block Club Chairperson, and a Developer’s representative will define the direction of the funds and review applications made by property owners within the Lincoln Heights Block Club for eligibility. Eligible candidates would require a financial hardship to do minor repairs or to comply with City of Cleveland Violation Notices. There will be a maximum allotment of $7,500 each year of its existence. Applicants would receive a maximum of $1,500.00 per property (pro-rated by the applicant’s yearly income and savings).
Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the Lincoln Developers’ Fund when they approved and supported the Reaching Lincoln Heights Land Use Study in 2020.
Josh Rosen, co-founder of Sustainable Community Associates, a community development firm responsible for Tremont’s Fairmont Creamery, Wagner Awning, Tappan and Lincoln reportedly contributed $4,500 in Giant Eagle Gift Cards towards the fund, which Senyak has since distributed to needy residents of Lincoln Heights.
When Mavrik Developers, a Chicago based development firm, first heard of the Lincoln Developers’ Fund, they were skeptical. Co-founders Robert E. Krueger III, Peter Koch, and Adam Freidberg, all natives of Ohio, felt they were being asked to contribute to a community benefit program at the same time the City of Cleveland Planning Commission was requiring them to build additional road access to their proposed TREO Apartments project along West 25th Street.
“Mavrik Developers felt the new road construction they were being asked to do was community development,” reported Khalid Hawthorne, Housing & Economic Development Director, at a recent Tremont West Development Corporation Economic Development meeting. “They have to build a road to meet city planning requirements as part of their project that will cost them more than $500,000.”
Negotiations continued with Mavrik Development and several days later Adam Friedberg confirmed they would participate in the fund. Once the building is occupied, the developers will contribute $6,500 a year for 10 years, according to Senyak.
“The developers fund will be held by Tremont West Development in a fiduciary account for the Lincoln Heights block club. It may take a few years to build up until we distribute it,” he said. “Funds could be used for a new roof or porch repair, or take care of violation notices as long as they meet the income restriction requirement. We’re looking to distribute $7,500 a year for up to five people.”
Mavrek Development and Schiff Capital Group intend to develop an apartment building known as TREO, situated at the Northeast corner of the intersection of West 25th Street and Swift Avenue. The development is planned to have five stories of residential apartments set above a two-story parking garage, and a small retail space at the first floor located along West 25th Street. The anticipated budget for the project is approximately $38 million.
There will be approximately 171 apartment units and on-site amenities including an in-house fitness center, a private outdoor courtyard, and ground-level retail. The owner intends to employ 10 people for operations and leasing, according to a presentation to the Cleveland Planning Commission last month.
Average unit size will be 682 square feet with rents starting around $1,200 per month and include 33 studio, 13 one bedroom junior, 107 one bedroom, and 18 two bedroom apartments; 152 parking spaces will be provided. TREO is reportedly Mavrik Development’s first project in Cleveland. The Columbus-based Schiff Capital Group is providing financing.
Schiff Capital Group President and CEO Michael S. Schiff helped build a luxury apartment tower in downtown Columbus known as Hubbard Park Place. He’s also responsible for a Class A office building, known as the Lincoln building, in the Short North district, as well as other Columbus based projects. Schiff who had been working on multiple developments in Cincinnati with former Cincinnati Bengal Chinedum Ndukwe recently split from the football player-turned-developer. Ndukwe was at the center of a bribery scheme involving payoffs for help with city development projects when he turned FBI informant. FBI agents arrested Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor, a Republican who joined council in January 2018, after he began soliciting money from developers within months of taking office and, in some instances, accepted bags of cash in return for his vote or other favorable treatment, according to reports published by Cincinnati’s The Enquire.
Porco Lounge and Tiki Room owner Stefan Was is excited about the project. TREO will be built right next door to his restaurant and crafted cocktails bar on West 25th Street.
“TREO will be an amazing link to the West 25th Street business district,” Was said. “This project will bring vibrancy to the neighborhood without a negative impact on the footprint.”
“Nobody knows what business will look like in a year from now,” he pointed out. “I’ve been closed since last March. Until things are safe for my guests and employees, we will remain closed but I’m very excited to have TREO in my front yard.”
The Cleveland City Planning Commission unanimously voted to support the project.