2017 Residential Development that Overcame Significant Obstacles
West 25th St Lofts
Developer: Uncle Hanover Development LLC
A property that was emblematic of a former struggling development area in Cleveland, West 25th Street Lofts, overcame years of adversity and financing struggles to win the Historic Rehabilitation Award for residential development that overcame significant obstacles for Uncle Hanover Development LLC (a joint venture among Christopher Smythe, Rick Foran, Richard Levitz and several Foran family members). West 25th Street Lofts is the transformation of two historic buildings into 83 market-rate, loft-style apartment suites, plus parking and 9,605 square feet of commercial retail space.
Planning for the property began in 2007 and was completed in 2016, thanks to state and federal HTC equity and a HUD 221(d)(4) FHA loan guarantee, as well as the expansion of an adjacent historic district. Along the way, the developers survived the Great Recession, a landmark HTC ruling and other issues to develop in a once-blighted section of the Ohio City neighborhood in downtown Cleveland. The property not only was successful on its own, but spurred additional development in the area.
“What a great project,” said John Lisella, a Historic Rehabilitation Awards judge. “The developers wouldn't give up and saw this through. Not only did they convince the [National Park Service] to create an adjacent historic district–which took a year–but there were engineering delays, environmental delays, financing delays and more.”