By Carlo Wolff
The floor plan is open, the appliances are state of the art, the palette is bright, the amenities are first class, the place is ultra-modern – and it feels like home as soon as you enter. Welcome to The Luxe, developer Jason Friedman’s 82-unit townhome development at Cedar and Brainard roads in Pepper Pike.
Friedman says his project, which has 40 units in its first phase and 42 in its second phase, is already a hit. The first phase units are 100% occupied, while phase two is still under construction and is scheduled to be complete in August. Sixty percent are already leased in phase two.
Since construction is considered an essential business, Friedman says the building process continued throughout the pandemic, and tenants continued to move into now-leased units, although tours were virtual.
The project began in 2017 with 20 side-by-side duplexes. Originally designed as for-sale condominiums, they’re all rentals. “Early in our marketing, we found that people wanted luxury rentals, so we pivoted to that use,” Friedman says, adding he has developed more than $1 billion of such projects all over the country. This is the first of its type in the Cleveland area, he adds.
Friedman, who attends B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike, was born to real estate. He formed JA Friedman Capital and Addison Properties in 2015 after he and his father, Jeffrey, sold Associated Estates Realty Corp., their former company, to Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Corp.
Amenities at The Luxe include gated access, pet friendliness, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, an outdoor entertaining area, high-speed internet access and proximity to shopping, medical facilities and freeways. The cost is $3,400 to $6,200 a month. The size ranges from 1,860 square feet to 2,500 square feet, and the townhomes are a combination of one and two stories, with two to three bedrooms. All units feature 2½ bathrooms, walk-in closets and two-car garages.
Friedman says The Luxe townhomes are leasing as fast as he can build them. No matter the demographic – and there are many – they appeal because they are substantial but, at the same time, they also support a flexible lifestyle. They are large, and by no means inexpensive. People who rent them seek a home that’s comfortable, contemporary and easy to navigate. They rent because that and the utilities are the only costs. Addison Properties takes care of all the rest.
“Renting at Luxe is a choice,” Friedman says. “People want flexibility. Some people travel, and others don’t want to be tied down with a house. We handle everything for our residents. Each unit is smart and we have security cameras around the property inside a gated community. If you are in Florida for the winter, we watch out for you. At The Luxe, you don’t have to worry about landscaping, real estate taxes, insurance or upkeep. Renting makes your life easy. Most importantly, there is nothing like this anywhere in Cleveland. We also are a community that has families, and people want to know their neighbors.
“We have people who literally say we will never move out of here. People plan to live here for a very long time.”
Fans of The Luxe also include empty nesters tired of rattling around a big house or who feel cramped in older homes that need tender, loving care they’re reluctant to provide.
“Most people, particularly women, walk in here and say, ‘This is nicer than my house,’” Friedman says. “What they’re really saying is that they live in a big house, and this is nicer. Or theirs is old and too big, they don’t want that anymore. So they end up coming here and falling in love.”
One family that likes The Luxe for its hominess and, above all, its ease, is the Loebs. Julie and Aram Loeb are doctors accustomed to renting. The Luxe is a way station for them, giving them time to “make a great decision before settling on our permanent home,” Julie writes in an email.
Julie practices family medicine at University Hospitals; Aram works at the urology institute at UH and is an assistant professor of urology at Case Western Reserve University. They have a nine-month-old son and a three-year-old daughter.
“We moved because we were done with our medical training and ready to settle down,” Julie writes. “We grew up in Pepper Pike and my parents still live here, so it was an easy choice to move back. We were living in Florida, so house/apartment hunting was difficult.”
They rent a three-bedroom unit with an unfinished basement “great for storage,” and their children particularly enjoy playing in the loft area on the second floor. “The townhouse is great because of the open floor plan and all the natural light we have the majority of the day thanks to abundant windows,” Julie says.
To Julie, The Luxe is indeed a community. Management does “a great job of throwing events throughout the year that bring neighbors together,” she writes. “Also, during the warmer months people are out and about, either walking their dogs or with kids. Everyone is in a similar transitional state in the neighborhood and it definitely bonds everyone together. We’ve had two sets of great neighbors in the unit adjacent to ours and have been lucky to meet many other people in the development.”
Does she regret the move? She misses the “year-round blue skies” of Tampa, “but with young kids, having family nearby definitely wins out.”
A place to recharge
Families are by no means The Luxe’s only market. Singles – particularly people going through a divorce – are prominent in the development’s tenant mix. Friedman has helped personal friends getting through difficult divorces find a home, usually one of the smaller units, at The Luxe.
“This is a happy place to go, even for people in the midst of a divorce or in a position that may be not so happy,” says Bonnie Ursetti, the on-site property manager. The Luxe is “either comparable to or better than where they were, versus scrambling to find something that they’re not happy with.”
“Or a place their kids won’t like,” Friedman amplifies. “It’s about keeping themselves feeling good about where they live. These are people who can afford to rent or buy, and this is the best option – and there’s nothing else like it in the area.”