April 26, 2012 [Lee Chilcote, Freshwater Cleveland]
As the Circle East Townhomes near completion, 60 percent of the units are pre-leased, and eight of the 12 leased units have been snatched up by University Circle area employees. This proves the viability of new housing options in the area, says Chris Ronayne, Executive Director of University Circle Inc. (UCI).
“This is a great moment in time where the Circle is meeting East Cleveland,” says Ronayne of the project, which features 20 townhouse-style apartments that are being developed on a former parking lot on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. “The fact that Circle area employees are leasing the apartments means that our Greater Circle Living program is working. Employees can get one month’s free rent through this effort, and institutions and foundations are putting money into it.”
Circle East Townhomes are being built on 1.5 acres of land along Euclid between Lakeview Road and Auburndale Avenue. The $5 million project is being co-developed by UCI and the Finch Group, and partial funding comes from federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds. The three-story units have 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and two car garages. Rental rates are $930 per month, and tenants can earn up to 120 percent of area median income (about $60,000) and still qualify.
“Circle East is really a new neighborhood where University Circle meets East Cleveland,” says Ronayne, who adds that the project would have remained on the drawing board without the leadership of East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton and support from Cuyahoga County and the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “We’ve been planning this for a while, and now we’re starting to see development.”
UCI and East Cleveland are now seeking planning grants for Phase II of the project, which would bring an additional 20 units to the site. Ronayne ultimately envisions a mixed-use housing and office development, including technology companies or services related to University Circle’s anchor institutions.
The first residents are expected to move into Circle East Townhomes by June 15th.