02 May Flats East Bank project moving forward with design approval…
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A proposal for new riverfront restaurants and bars in the Flats will head to City Planning Commission on Friday after winning final approval, and praise, from a city design-review committee Thursday.
The latest phase of the Flats East Bank development will add two buildings with four different restaurant, bar and nightclub concepts on a chunk of land abutting the Cuyahoga River. The development site sits between Alley Cat Oyster Bar and FWD Day and Nightclub.
After a design-review committee sent the proposal back to the drawing board last month, HSB Architects returned with a plan that earned a commendation from the committee for the design evolution and how it matches the Flats’ aesthetic. The reworked design features corrugated metal facades in three hues.
“The palette is much simplified and then you’re playing with the flush and the corrugated [metal], so you’re utilizing texture, but keeping the finishes very elegant and refined,” said Jodi van der Wiel, an architect who sits on the committee. “Overall, very well done.”
The buildings feature rooftop patios, gabled roofs that are a nod to the look of fishing villages, and are separated by a pedestrian alleyway that opens onto a boardwalk. The alley features seating, and is envisioned as a beer garden.
“We wanted to make sure we maintained visible connections to the river, being that the big priority of this project is addressing the riverfront, seeing how that’s kind of lacking currently,” sad Gabriel Fey of HSB Architects.
The restaurant and bar concepts that have signed on to the project are the Hampton Social; a speakeasy-style bar called the Bassment, operated by the Hampton Social; a nightclub called Indulge; and an Asian-fusion restaurant, called Jade, from the operator of XO Prime Steaks.
The initial plan was to build condominiums, but Flats East Bank developer Scott Wolstein felt the prime riverfront land was better suited for entertainment.
“I felt that land was too important for giving more access to the river for entertainment and food and beverage,” he said. “I think it’ll be the most exciting waterfront property in Northern Ohio, maybe the Midwest. I’m very excited about it.”
While the details and timeline are still being worked out, Wolstein said he expects to go to Cleveland City Council with a request for financing in the coming months. In December, the Port of Cleveland approved plans to issue up to $15 million in bonds to support the $17.5 million restaurant project, The Plain Dealer reported. Private-equity fund Cleveland International Fund purchased the bonds.
Wolstein also is keeping his eye on pending legislation in the statehouse, Senate Bill 39, that would provide tax credits to certain “transformational” mixed-use developments, for which Flats East Banks possibly could qualify. The bill, a version of which stalled in the House last year, has had two hearings in the Senate Finance Committee. “I would be reluctant to [break ground] before I get some clarity on that,” Wolstein said.
Also in the works is the next component of Flats East Bank, which calls for construction of 320 apartment units and a movie theater. Wolstein hopes to break ground on the apartments this summer, too. Together, the restaurants, apartments and movie theater make up phase three of the approximately $500 million development, which has added dining and entertainment venues, apartments, an Aloft hotel and an office tower to the riverfront.
Wolstein described the upcoming apartment project as millennial-focused, with amenities such as a pool, co-working space that is available to tenants and, possibly, a service that facilitates tenants renting out their apartments on home-sharing services such as Airbnb, with profits being split between the apartment owner and the tenant. Project plans also include a feature that would be new for Cleveland: micro-units (residential) totaling about 350 square feet. There are “a lot of different elements to the project, which I think is going to be very, very well-received,” Wolstein said.