Bolivar Road apartment project could be gamechanger for Gateway District

Conceptual rendering of proposed apartment building on south side of Bolivar. Contributed by Desmone Architects.

Conceptual rendering of proposed apartment building on south side of Bolivar. Contributed by Desmone Architects.

SomeraRoad, a development firm based in New York City and Nashville, is proposing building 203 apartment units on Bolivar Road in the Gateway District next to an office building they recently renovated. The project would bring new residents and street activity to a part of downtown that is mostly filled with daytime office uses.

The proposed project, which is located at 1060 and 1124 Bolivar Road, aims to support the “live-work-play” environment of Gateway, create a “stronger connection” along Bolivar and Erie Street between Playhouse Square and Gateway, and bring new life to this quiet section of downtown, according to an application to the Cleveland Planning Commission seeking conceptual design approval.

Chris McCune, vice president of development and construction management with SomeraRoad, told the Planning Commission Friday, Sept. 17 that the group recently completed a 106,000 square foot office project at 1020 Bolivar Road. “We’re looking to further our investment in the area,” he said. “It’s a great area with connectivity to nightlife, sports and entertainment. A multifamily development could be another complementary use here along Bolivard Road and improve the overall experience.”

The developers are proposing a 272,000 square foot building that would be 7 stories tall and would have 203 units and 254 parking spaces. The buildings would stretch from Bolivar Road to Erie Street, allowing for a street-level presence on both roadways.

“The pedestrian experience is very lacking here,” said Travis Kreidler with Desmone Architects. “We’d like to introduce modern materials to the design of the building, creating an aesthetic that’s more of a modern, industrial look.”

Consisting of a mix of one and two bedroom apartments, the building could also incorporate a rooftop deck with a swimming pool as well as an outdoor courtyard. According to the plans submitted, Somera Road would retain a three-story, 208 space garage at 1060 Bolivar and add four floors of apartments on top, and tear down a one story garage at 1124 Bolivar and replace it with two levels of parking and five floors of housing.

Crain’s Cleveland Business reported last week that there are multiple development deals afoot in the area. This project, along with news last week that Bedrock and the city were working on a public-private partnership to transform the riverfront behind Tower City, represented some much-needed good news for downtown Cleveland, which is beginning to return to normal, according to the recent State of Downtown presentation.

Tom Starinsky, vice president of urban planning and design for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, told Crain’s that the project along the south side of Bolivar could help transform the street into “an actual place,” instead of a parking zone and cut-through for Cleveland Indians fans.

“I think it’s a great project,” he said. “We’ve always envisioned the area around the Erie Street Cemetery as being an enclave of residential development.”

Downtown Cleveland Alliance is an underwriter of The Land, supporting coverage of the downtown neighborhood.

Lee Chilcote is editor of The Land.

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