Developers seek to add mix of apartments, townhomes in Little Italy


Rendering of proposed apartment building at Woodhill and East 123rd Street in Little Italy.

Rendering of proposed apartment building at Woodhill and East 123rd Street in Little Italy.

Developers are proposing to build 80 apartments and 17 townhomes on the former Woodhill Supply site in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, along with neighborhood amenities such as a dog park, playground and sculpture garden.

The project, which is located between East 123rd Street and Coltman Avenue, received mostly warm comments as well as some suggestions for improvement at a Cleveland Landmarks Commission meeting Thursday, April 22.


Rendering of proposed townhomes along East 123rd Street in Little Italy.

Rendering of proposed townhomes along East 123rd Street in Little Italy.

The development group, which consists of Knez Homes, Geis Companies, M. Panzica, SixMo, City Six, and Gustav Development, told the commission that they’d met with the neighborhood and area community development corporations several times. As a result of feedback they received, they reduced the number of apartments, increased the number of for-sale townhomes, and set the apartments further back from the street.


Proposed site plan for development at East 123rd and Woodhill Avenue in Little Italy.

Proposed site plan for development at East 123rd and Woodhill Avenue in Little Italy.

“There will be two pocket parks, and these will be gathering spaces not only for the residents but also the neighborhood,” Brandon Kline with Geis Companies told the commission. “We really tried to create a pedestrian experience that connects the north and south ends of the street. It will be warm and welcoming.”


Woodhill site plan.jpg

The development might also include a playground. The developers are proposing to curate the sculpture garden in partnership with the nearby Sculpture Center, a nonprofit organization that “provides a nurturing and professional environment where early and mid-career sculptors of Ohio and the greater region are encouraged to create new work,” according to its website.

The proposed apartment building would include a mix of studios and one and two bedroom apartments, many of them with balconies. The site would have 61 parking spaces. The 2,400 square foot townhomes would have two-car garages, two bedrooms with an option for a third, two and a half baths, and roof decks with views of the neighborhood and downtown Cleveland.

Kline stressed that the materials, including a type of brick that has some natural color variation, would help to ensure that the development blends in with the surrounding neighborhood.

“We appreciate the public amenities,” said Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Incorporated (UCI). “I’ve seen dog parks that are private to the development itself, and I’m glad this is open to the community. The developers made numerous changes, and I’m grateful for that.”

The project is on the former site of Woodhill Supply, which burned down in 2015. A previous proposal called for 205 apartments on the site, but it did not move forward.

In their feedback, committee members asked the developers to vary the townhome design so that they stand out more as individual units; reduce the complexity of materials; and consider increasing the amount of public green space. The feedback was conceptual; no vote was taken, and the project still must be considered for final approval.

Lee Chilcote is a freelance writer and editor of The Land.

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