The Edison at Gordon Square brings luxury rentals to Detroit-Shoreway
Story by Carlo Wolff
Photography by Michael C. Butz
In late May, sandy paths that will become parts of a city street marked the biggest rental project in a Cleveland neighborhood as laborers worked on The Edison at Gordon Square, a 306-unit development on a former industrial site north of Breakwater Avenue between West 65th and West 58th streets.
The $30 million NRP Group venture, a work in progress for nearly four years, aims to combine urban convenience with resort-style amenities similar to those available at The Vue, a 348-unit rental project in Beachwood that NRP Group developed. And, like Battery Park, a for-sale condominium complex of some 250 units a few blocks to the east, The Edison intends to capitalize on proximity to downtown, to Gordon Square, the thriving cultural district several blocks south, and to Lake Erie, a short walk or bike ride to the north.
Where The Vue aimed to offer urban amenities in a suburban setting, The Edison “is much more engrained into the urban fabric of Gordon Square and is designed to draw our residents out into the neighborhood and Edgewater Park, which we consider our best amenity,” says J. David Heller, co-founder and principal of The NRP Group.
At the same time, The Edison offers amenities unique to the neighborhood, including a resort-style pool with fire pits, outdoor televisions and a grilling pavilion with bar seating. Other lures are a fourth-floor lounge with views of Lake Erie and downtown and a bicycle repair room.
In an on-site tour in late May, Nancy Kelly, director of field marketing for the Garfield Heights-based NRP Group, says The Edison was “well over half-preleased,” adding that all 306 units will be built out by September. The site was busy, with some residents in the already opened 100 units and workmen bent on extending Father David Caruso Drive seven blocks east.
An abandoned factory at the site’s center sports a water tower that can be seen from afar. NRP Group, which also owns that building and tower, may “do something cool down the road” with them, perhaps including retail, says Kelly. But for now, the project is totally residential.
The smoke-free, energy-efficient project feels urban despite its Vue-like amenities, like that outdoor pool with privacy wall, a fitness center, a conference room and public green spaces. Besides easy access to Gordon Square (not to mention a five-minute drive to downtown), The Edison features a bicycle and walking trail designed to get the intrepid urbanite under and through the Shoreway to Edgewater Park to enjoy such events and attractions as Edgewater Live and Lake Erie sunsets. The new West 73rd Street underpass off the Shoreway is another access point.
“We are targeting those renters who are seeking an authentic Cleveland neighborhood near the lake,” says Heller. “With our location, residents can walk to Edgewater Park, (to) restaurants located in Gordon Square, catch a movie at (the) Capitol Theatre, and go to Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios. We are also a close drive and bike ride to Battery Park, Hingetown, Ohio City and downtown Cleveland. We’ve found that with our new product in this location, we are attracting people from downtown and the suburbs alike.”
The Edison is counting on downtown spillover.
During the last six years, downtown Cleveland has maintained an average occupancy rate of more than 95 percent even as it added more than 2,000 apartment units to the market. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance estimates close to 1,100 new apartments will come on the market this year.
Cleveland’s robust rental market, fueled by millennials, certainly helps The Edison, suggests Kelly. The ultramodern complex, a virtual city in itself, is attracting a “lot of renters who still want to be in an urban area but not right downtown,” she says, noting long waiting lists for center-city apartments.
“Our residents so far are very happy,” she says. “They know they’re still living in a construction zone but they’re excited and they feel welcome.”
A group effort
Part of what makes The Edison unusual is the way it works with local artists and neighborhood organizations. Take a two-room model suite, designed by Susie Frazier to showcase her work, along with that of other artists associated with 78th Street Studios, and Cleveland businesses. A Japanese tea set is one of the visual magnets in this 1,136-square-foot unit. So are a magnet board spotlighting the area’s retail options and a closet containing clothing from Whiskey Grade, a store near the West Side Market.
Kelly says the idea is to make residents bond with the neighborhood, similar to the way people who live in Ohio City and Tremont do. “We’re going to be here, we want to work with people, we want to partner, we don’t want to just be another apartment community here,” she says of the project. “It’s very important for us to collaborate with the neighborhood … and now people know Gordon Square.”
“We’ve worked diligently to commission local artists for original pieces and design work at The Edison,” says Heller. “We’re passionate about embracing the neighborhood and the impressive collection of entrepreneurs at our doorstep.”
That attitude also pertains to the whole Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, which can only benefit from The Edison, suggests Adam Rosen, economic development director for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. He says The Edison is the largest rental project in Detroit-Shoreway, which runs along Detroit Avenue between West 45th and West 85th streets. (The neighborhood’s southern border is Clark Avenue.)
“(The Edison) will play a role in the continuing increase of property values in the neighborhood,” Rosen says.
The median value for homes in the district was $45,400 in 2011. In 2016, it was $100,000, Rosen says. His organization has been a “convener” on The Edison, working with the developer, area residents and the city of Cleveland to tackle and overcome problems in design, securing necessary permits and assembling a workforce; the community development organization held a hiring fair “to provide labor for the project,” he says.
The Edison look
A model one-bedroom suite, a 713-square-foot unit renting for $1,375 a month, is a relaxing space, its palette earth-toned and neutral: grays, off-whites, charcoal and black coffee. The tawny highlights in the variegated living room carpet conjure a cornfield, and the laminate floor looks wooden and weathered though it is neither. The frame of the bathroom mirror is bleached and distressed, giving it a comforting feeling of wear, and a kind of ruffian elegance.
Dimit Architects of Cleveland was the architect; David Hawkins of Akron did the interior design (except for that two-bedroom unit Frazier put together). The idea seems to be to blend the low-impact with the energizing, and at its most original, there’s grace to the place’s appointments: “shelves” holding swabs and pads in the long bathroom are suspended like planters, giving that space a special buoyancy.
“Dimit, which already has had a large impact throughout the neighborhood, has taken an even larger step forward with The Edison,” says Heller. “Dimit’s modern design has been executed in a way that incorporates this great development into existing urban fabric of the neighborhood.” Dimit’s offices are on Detroit Avenue.
Rosen says his organization wanted “to see something happen here,” and The Edison is happening indeed. His community advocacy group knew the “retooling of Route 2 (the Shoreway) and Edgewater Park was in the works, and it was fortunate that NRP was willing to invest in the city of Cleveland.”
Now he sees brand-new Edison residents walking their dogs in the neighborhood.
“We’re excited to see it continue,” Rosen says of this ambitious, new-construction development. “This is really a big deal for us.” js
The Edison at Gordon Square offers a variety of options and price points.
Size: 561 to 1,074 square feet
Rent: $1,210 to $2,040
Size: 1,046 to 1,247 square feet
Rent: $1,645 to $2,800
Two- and three-bedroom townhomes
Size: 1,530 to 1,946 square feet
Rent: $2,580 to $3,975
Rents listed are current as of mid-June and subject to change. For more information and options, visit edisongordonsquare.com or call 216-727-3787.