Upcycled shipping container apartments coming to St. Clair Superior, plus a mixed-use building in Glenville

Cleveland’s city planning commission on Friday gave conceptual approval to the design of a multi-family apartment building that would be located on East 72nd Street and schematic approval to the design of a 52-unit, mixed-use apartment building on Churchill Avenue.

Rendering of proposed development on East 72nd Street

Rendering of proposed development on East 72nd Street

Cleveland’s city planning commission on Friday gave conceptual approval to the design of a multi-family apartment building that would be located on East 72nd Street and schematic approval to the design of a 52-unit, mixed-use apartment building on Churchill Avenue. 

Proposed by Cleveland-based WRJ Developers and designed by Detroit-based Three Squared Inc., the so-called ArkiTainer apartment building at 877-903 East 72nd Street would contain 64 units. Half of these units would be 960 square-foot, two-bedroom apartments, while the other half would be 640 square-foot studio apartments. The design would also add parking lots on both sides of the building. 

Breck Crandell, architect with Three Square Inc., said during the city planning commission meeting that previous designs for the apartments featured two separate buildings, but the new design has two structures connected by a corridor. 

“The idea here is to really strengthen the streetscape in a way that makes this area walkable for residents,” Crandell said. 

Crandell said the design uses cargo architecture, a style of architecture that incorporates upcycled shipping containers as a structural element. According to its website, Three Squared is “a Detroit-based architecture and design firm whose revolutionary technology uses steel cargo shipping containers to build eye-catching and resilient mixed-use spaces, condominiums, and apartment complexes faster and more cost-effectively than traditional construction.”

The units would be located north of St. Clair Avenue, within a half mile or so of Gordon Park and the Metroparks’ Lakefront Reservation.

Khrys Shefton, director of real estate development at the Famicos Foundation, expressed support for the project on behalf of the Famicos Foundation and Ward 10 Cleveland City Councilperson Anthony Hairston. She said the development team and architecture firm have used the feedback provided in previous designs to create a project that will benefit the community.  

“I just want to commend them for not taking the original feedback given and just walking away, but continuing to push forward and put together something that I know is going to be a stellar product for future residents,” Shefton said. 

Proposed Churchill Gateway development

Proposed Churchill Gateway development

The other proposed apartment project, headed by The NRP Group, is called Churchill Gateway. The four-story building at 10700 Churchill Avenue would contain eight one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units and 20 three-bedroom units. The developers hope to target families, said Scott Skinner of The NRP Group during the meeting.

NRP Group is a large, multi-family developer with projects in more than a dozen states, including 108 developments across the state of Ohio, according to its website. Churchill Gateway would be located in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, an area that has undergone a substantial amount of redevelopment over the last several years as a result of Mayor Frank Jackson’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, Skinner said.

“It’s a really exciting area to be starting a project in,” Skinner said. 

A significant aspect of the project would be a partnership with University Hospitals to build a community-oriented space attached to the apartment building known as an “opportunity center.” The space would be primarily composed of community rooms and provide a variety of programs to members of the community. Skinner said some possible uses for the opportunity center include workforce training and community events such as baby showers. 

“The opportunity center will create a much more dynamic experience for people walking or visiting the building,” Skinner said. 

Units in the apartment would be affordable to people making 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income, Skinner said. The developers also plan to leave space on the site for future phases of development, such as commercial uses. 

Both the East 72nd Street and Churchill Avenue projects will continue to receive feedback from the city planning commission as they continue to move forward in the development process. 

Paige Bennett is a journalist and recent Kent State University graduate. She previously served as general assignment editor for The Kent Stater and KentWired and managing editor for A Magazine. This article was produced through a reporting partnership with the Collaborative News Lab at Kent State University.

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