Story by Carlo Wolff | Photography by Michael C. Butz
It’s a familiar story: You get to a certain age and you’d rather enjoy life, not just maintain it. First case in point: Dennis and Laura Brooks, occupants of a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment on the third floor of 4th & Park, the new luxury apartment complex at Pinecrest, a mixed-use development by Fairmount Properties in Orange. Second case in point: Bob Cohen, a temporary renter who finds 4th & Park ideal for his needs.
Dennis is a retired orthopedic surgeon and Laura was operating room director at the long-shuttered Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland. They moved into 4th & Park in August after selling their Pepper Pike home to the first person who saw it the day it went on the market. The couple was tired of home maintenance, the three children they raised over two marriages were long gone and they were eager to see more of the sky.
“We talked about selling for two years, and when these (apartments) started to be built, we read about the development,” Laura says. “I said I wanted to look here. Then, when I learned it was going to have a bowling alley, a theater, all the restaurants (and) all the retail, I really started to investigate.”
The Brookses, who attend The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, checked out other residential opportunities in the area, particularly around Beachwood Place, but even there, they would have had to get in a car and drive for shopping, let alone for entertainment and dining. At 4th & Park, all those are a walk away.
Besides the diversity of Pinecrest – in offerings as well as demographics – what ultimately prompted their move was “location, location, location,” Laura says. “I wanted to be in a vibrant neighborhood, I wanted to see the sunsets … (in Pepper Pike) we had a whole lot of trees and I never saw a sunset in 20 years.”
The large windows in their earth-toned apartment, filled with memorabilia from the couple’s travels, family photographs and contemporary art, face southwest, providing views that give Laura pleasure, as does the complex itself. Dennis enjoys the monthly community get-togethers, while Laura likes the entertainment and culinary offerings. “I just walk out and it’s all there,” she said.
Just the other day, she walked across the street to a furniture store, bought two chairs, “and they delivered them.” The chairs are a welcome addition to a newly compact home in which comfortable, vintage furniture and carpeting easily coexist with state-of-the-art appliances, and the kitchen and living room are a continuous, flowing space.
At the same time, downsizing has had its challenges. “I’ve learned that you have to get accustomed to living in an apartment again,” Laura says. Dennis, meanwhile, likes his new environment but wishes for a few more conveniences, like a men’s store, pharmacy and dry cleaner’s. And there’s much less space.
“It’s good,” Laura says of their new living quarters. “It’s bad,” Dennis quips. “I can’t have a man cave.”
Despite that man cave deficiency, residents of 4th & Park enjoy a community room with a fireplace and bar, a “Bark Park” for their canine occupants, a state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor grills, on-site management and numerous shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Shopping spans Eye Candy Optical, Apricot Lane Boutique and REI Co-op. Graeter’s Ice Cream, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill and Pinstripes Bistro are some of the dining options, and entertainment comes courtesy of the high-end Silverspot Cinema.
Home away from home
Where Dennis Brooks grouses – if with a wink – about 4th & Park, Bob Cohen has no reservations. He views his Pinecrest residence as a second home and retains a primary dwelling in Medina. Because he’s a temporary executive, he often finds himself occupying a rental for an amount of time determined by the contract he signs with a company. He has just completed a year’s work as a senior executive with Park-Ohio Holdings Co., a publicly traded international manufacturing firm with offices in Mayfield Heights, and he needed a place nearby. Driving home to Medina at the end of a busy day was not something he looked forward to.
Over the past few years, “like all of us,” he watched Pinecrest come into being. Its location near major highways appealed to him, prompting him to lease his own two-bedroom, two-bath, third-floor apartment. “There’s a certain type of energy there,” he says of 4th & Park, which he called a special type of community.
While it appeals to empty nesters like the Brookses and temporary executives like Cohen, “you get all kinds of people,” Cohen said. Pets, too. The dog park at the rear of the complex is a major draw.
“It’s an upscale apartment complex, and because of that, they have a competitive rate, but it’s not inexpensive,” said Cohen, a member of the Shul Boys Motorcycle Club and of the board of trustees and executive committee at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike. “It’s not for somebody who has trouble making payments.”
As of the end of March, monthly rental costs for one-bedroom units started at $1,808; two-bedroom units at $2,205; and three-bedrooms at $3,407. There are 36 one-bedroom apartments, 45 two-bedroom apartment and six three-bedroom units. Respective starting sizes are 882 square feet; 1,207 square feet; and 1,586 square feet, according to Mary Wojtila, residential property manager.
Cohen likes the attached heated garage, and like the Brookses, calls management “just wonderful.” If there are any issues, he says, “staff helps you resolve any problem.”
So what sets 4th & Park apart? What distinguishes it from other, similarly appointed and amenitied upscale apartment complexes? Adam Fishman, principal with Fairmount Properties, may have the answer.
“A big part of what’s different about 4th & Park is that these apartments – living spaces, really – are immersed in a true live-work-play environment,” Fishman says. “They’re right in the midst of a dozen different dining options, entertainment opportunities, shopping destinations.” This is not a typical apartment building situated in a “sea of asphalt” flanked by parking lots.
“This is an entirely different option,” Fishman said. “This is living amongst a dozen different opportunities to dine, with a state-of-the-art Whole Foods outside your front door.” There also is “a plethora” of fitness and wellness opportunities, including that fitness center in the 4th & Park building.
The target market is young professionals and successful empty-nesters “who want to live in a vibrant environment and would appreciate and enjoy being part of this new way of living,” Fishman says. “It is being at a place where, if you wanted to, you would never have to get in your car to enjoy great entertainment, great shopping, exercise trails, a dog park.” It’s a walkable, self-contained environment.
With more than 90 percent of its apartments leased since the 4th & Park building opened in June, “we’re just enjoying how positively the community is reacting to Pinecrest,” Fishman says. “We feel that our offering is so different that we don’t really directly compete with other traditional apartment developments.” JS