Homes are returning to Euclid Avenue’s Millionaire’s Row. Residential redevelopment of Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue gained speed with the avenue’s $200-million renovation that includes the HealthLine, a transit system from Public Square to University Circle. Large cement planters brim with fresh flowers, buildings sport new facades and the wide street boasts new bus shelters.
One could say the street is going back to its roots. The city’s most connected and wealthiest citizens built homes starting at Public Square in the mid-19th century. Sadly, many of the millionaire mansions that once graced the grand avenue known as “The Showplace of America” were destroyed in the early 20th century due to financial collapse and commercial expansion.
Euclid Avenue homes of the 21st century are more modest, but much easier to afford. While most of the dollars spent by developers have gone into apartments, the Park Building, which overlooks the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Public Square, has been converted into condominiums. A map of the street from 1846-47 (provided by the Western Reserve Historical Society and reprinted in “Showplace of America, Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, 1850-1910” by Jan Cigliano, Kent State University Press, 1991) shows a home on the corner of Euclid and Ontario where the Park Building rests.
David Swetland hired Howells & Howells Enterprises LLC to renovate the Park Building, which his grandfather built in 1904 at the height of commercial expansion when bankers, lawyers and merchants overran Euclid Avenue. As stated on the property’s website, “The Howells family is honored to be working on this prestigious project. It is an opportunity to showcase the high-quality craftsmanship of Mr. Howells’ construction firm, MHA, and to continue the legacy that the Swetlands began over a century ago.”
With the new Euclid Avenue streetscape, downtown Cleveland has been redefined. There is a continuous flow of buildings and energy from Public Square out to Cleveland State University, and Cleveland State has now become the eastern edge of downtown. East of East Ninth Street and closer to the theater district at Playhouse Square, the Statler Arms at 1127 Euclid Avenue was built in 1912 as a luxury hotel. Today it offers apartment residences reached through its historic and luxurious lobby surrounded by boutique stores and a restaurant.
Residential redevelopment down Euclid Avenue from Public Square to Cleveland State is expected to continue. Josh Taylor, PR manager of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, said that the challenges to renovating historic buildings depend on how the building was built. For example, he says, “The 668 Building didn’t take into account the need for natural light, so light atriums were built down to the first floor.”
Historic buildings present many factors for developers to keep in mind. “Challenges depend on how long the building was vacant, its upkeep and the historic tax credit requirement to maintain historic integrity,” explains Taylor. Developers may have to choose between tax credits and architectural changes that enhance a building’s desirability.
The Coral Company has developed 1900 Euclid Avenue Lofts. Formerly an office building, the complex, which was built in the 1920s, features luxury apartments across from Cleveland State University with window views of the downtown skyline, Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga Valley. Further down, the interior space of University Lofts across from Cleveland State University at 2010 and 2020 Euclid Avenue is alive with exposed brick walls and in-suite laundry facilities.
The Stager-Beckwith House remains at 3813 Euclid Avenue. Built during Euclid Avenue’s glory years, the property has been used as a private club. Currently on the market, the building reminds us of how vibrant Cleveland once was. 21st-century lifestyles have lost the extravagance of Cleveland’s forefathers, but that doesn’t mean Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue cannot become a comfortable home for those who value high-style living in an urban neighborhood. We all benefit from the private living going on along the grand avenue-Euclid Avenue.
The Park Building, http://www.theparkbuilding.com/.
Showplace of America, Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, 1850-1910 by Jan Gigliano, Kent State University Press, 1991.
East 4th Street, http://www.east4thstreet.com.
668 Building, http://668ateuclidavenue.com.
The Coral Company, http://www.thecoralcompany.com.
Downtown Cleveland Alliance, http://www.downtownclevelandalliance.com.