BEACHWOOD, Ohio – There has been a change of plans – and in the eyes of city leaders, for the better – for the redevelopment of the former site of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on Park East Drive.
In March, Beachwood developer Chad Kertesz informed the city council of a $125 million plan to convert the former hotel building at 3663 Park East Drive into a luxury apartment building of 181 units. The plan also called for the construction of a new building which would house an additional 151 high quality apartments, as well as office and retail/restaurant space on the ground floor.
Appearing before the board’s special committee on Tuesday (Sept. 6), Kertesz spoke about a new plan — still mixed-use — that will likely cost at least $200 million. The cost of the project has increased because plans now call for the old hotel building to be demolished so that construction can begin again on a 10-acre parcel of cleared land, and because the project will now include a large amount of underground parking.
The idea of a new plan, which will include 568,000 square feet of new construction, suits Mayor Justin Berns and city planner George Smerigan well. Berns, who chairs the city’s planning commission, was not entirely convinced by the first plan and voted alone against it in June at a commission meeting.
The improved plan will include the construction of four buildings. They include an apartment building to the east, adjacent to I-271, featuring residential over retail; an office building above retail on the northwest corner of the site, along Park East Drive; a two-story retail pavilion, also along Park East Drive and just south of the office building; and a boutique hotel on the southwest portion of the property, also overlooking Park East Drive.
A large public space with a north-south cross street would be located between the commercial pavilion and the apartments. The outdoor space could be used to hold programming. A restaurant has been mentioned as a possible tenant at the development. Kertesz said he has already heard of companies interested in moving to the site.
The east side of the property will include more than 1,000 parking spaces underground, at ground level or one level above ground level. The site would include more than 1,400 places, in total.
“I’m very happy,” Berns said of the new plan. “I had a discussion with Chad Kertesz several days after his presentation to city council (in March) and expressed my concerns because I didn’t feel like he had the votes on city council (for approve mixed use on the site) for this project, and I don’t want to see this site vacant for the foreseeable future, or even longer.
“I suggested to him that the only way council would agree to approve this was to clean up the site, demo(lish) and get rid of all the existing buildings, which he obviously complied with TO DO. But this has a cost. »
Kertesz’s previous plan called for lots of surface parking, and Berns thinks parking under the new plan is much better distributed. “It has the parking lot, for the building almost fully enclosed, which I think is very important for a first-class Beachwood apartment building,” Berns said.
Kertesz is also the redeveloper of the 3800 Park East apartment development, a converted old retirement home. Residents began moving into this site late last week. The 3800 apartments do not have indoor parking.
“But if you look at the other apartment projects in Beachwood, for the most part they have (indoor parking),” Berns said. “The Vantage has indoor parking, the Four Seasons has indoor parking, East Haven has indoor parking. The DeVille and The Vue, The Astor on Park East (Drive) have indoor parking. I think it is necessary to have a first class property in Beachwood.”
“I had concerns about the mix of uses,” Smerigan told the old plan’s board committee. “I had concerns about the functionality of the design, the distribution of parking and the lack of covered parking.
“The new plan addressed all the concerns I had raised. The mix of uses has gone from 80 (percent residential)-20 (percent non-residential) to two-thirds/one-third — so one-third of the site is non-residential or revenue-generating development (under the new plan). This (new) combination is therefore in line with what the professional urban planning organizations recommend.
“They fit what we think is the most reasonable and successful way to do mixed-use development.” Retail will account for approximately 30% of development.
Kertesz said plans now call for 414 apartments, down from the old plan of about 340. The 414 units could include 277 one-bedroom units; 95 T2; 21 three bedrooms; and 21 studios. Kertesz said planning still needs to be done and more two- and three-bedroom units will likely be added. The units, he said, will feature the best materials and fixtures, such as thick floors, steel fixtures and wands in every shower.
He said it would take about eight months to design and then about two years to build the new development. Council approval and permits must be obtained before design begins.
Councilor June Taylor asked Kertesz to describe what he’s trying to accomplish on the site. Kertesz spoke about his roots in the city, saying his father lives in Beachwood and his late grandparents had lived in the city since the 1960s.
“That sense of pride and connection to Beachwood is, for me, a thrill, it’s an opportunity that I didn’t necessarily see early in my career,” he said. “So to be here and be able to grow and contribute to the community is something remarkable, transformational. It is enormous. It’s a great opportunity.
“Beachwood has one of the best locations for jobs, and supporting those jobs is critical for the city,” Kertesz said, noting that Ahuja Medical Center has talked about adding 1,000 new jobs. As a developer, he says, he knows where people want to live and what amenities they are looking for.
“Creating a sense of community with the park (planned for 3663 Park East), attractions, amenities, retail, is what we believe will continue to attract people to want to live in Beachwood and expand the (number of) people doing.”
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