CLEVELAND, Ohio — A new plan for the former Lakewood Hospital site includes hundreds of apartments and the headquarters of a growing health insurance company.
The plan would see Roundstone Insurance move a few blocks east from the century-old First Church of Christ, Scientist building to the 5.7-acre former hospital site at Detroit and Belle avenues, according to renderings and documents posted Wednesday to the inner-ring suburb’s site.
The insurance company, which has more than 100 employees and aims to add nearly 100 more over the next five years, would buy 65,000 square feet of office space from the developers, the documents state.
The developers behind the multi-building project, CASTO Communities of Columbus and North Pointe Realty of Mayfield Heights, also plan to build more than 200 apartments on the downtown site – at least 20% of which would be reserved for lower-income residents.
They also want to build nearly 30,000 square feet of storefront and restaurant space on the ground floor, a 20,000-square-foot plaza and a 540-space parking garage. The plans also call for preserving the facade of the historic Curtis Block building on the site.
The city would sell the property to the developers, which will retain ownership on everything except for Roundstone’s offices. All of this must be completed by the end of 2025, according to a term sheet included in the documents.
The announcement means that residents and passersby could finally start seeing progress at a site that has mostly sat vacant after demolition in 2019 of the Cleveland Clinic-run hospital that closed in early 2016.
A previous deal to develop the land fell apart after a dispute over environmental cleanup and finances.
Mayor Meghan George’s administration will formally present City Council the proposed plan and agreement with developers during a meeting Monday. Should Council approve the agreement in short order, construction could begin this year, according to the city.
“This agreement is a significant win for Lakewood on multiple levels, meeting goals that the community set out during the initial visioning process,” George wrote on the city’s website, of the roughly $90 million project.
Lakewood Planning Director Shawn Leininger said on the website post that Roundstone would have likely had to leave the city if not for the new development, as no other site in the suburb had enough space for its growing needs. He said Roundstone is expected to become the second largest source of private payroll taxes for Lakewood.
To keep the company in the city, George proposed giving it a $1.5 million grant over eight years. The city also proposed a 15-year tax break to help pay for building the lower-income apartments and an additional tax increment financing incentive. City Council must sign off on the terms of the deal.
CASTO and North Pointe previously submitted plans to the city for the site but Lakewood officials in 2017 chose a separate proposal from Carnegie Management and Development Corp. of Westlake.
Under Carnegie, the site was to become “One Lakewood Place,” a $72 million development with 200 apartments, a dozen townhomes, storefronts and office spaces.
However, the city’s relationship with Carnegie fell apart after a dispute over cleaning up environmental contamination and finances. Demolition contractors working on the site in September 2019 found tetrachloroethylene – a chemical used for dry cleaning before becoming more strictly regulated in the 1970s – under stone slabs and in the soil in an area that used to be under a laundry room. The land was later remediated and the city moved on with the current developers.