BEACHWOOD, Ohio — City Council on Monday (November 21st) approved a development agreement with local contractor Chad Kertesz that paves the way for the complete redevelopment of the former DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel site at 3663 Park East Drive.
A 7-0 vote in favor of the deal allows Kertesz’s My Place, LLC to move forward with a plan estimated at $200 million that will clear the land from the hotel and redevelop it with the construction of four new buildings.
The new construction will include an apartment building on the east side of the property, adjacent to I-271, which will include housing on retail space; an office building above retail on the northwest corner of the site, along Park East Drive; A two-story retail pavilion also along Park East Drive and just south of the office building; and a boutique hotel on the southwest side of the property, also in front of Park East Drive.
A large, central public space is also included. This area will be suitable for outdoor programming.
Also during the meeting, the council approved, without objection, a new zoning classification and rezoning of the 10-acre property at 3663 Park East to this new classification, known as U-4C. U-4C is an integrated mixed-use, multi-family residential, office, retail, recreation business district. The property was zoned as a U-9 or motor service, meaning it would serve local I-271 drivers by providing motels or gas stations.
After the meeting, Kertesz happily said that work on the project, which had been discussed for more than a year and was completely overhauled in August from originally planned, could now begin.
“We got the approval and now we’re going to the races,” Kertesz said after Monday’s meeting. “We’ve been in this process for a long time and we’re ready for the next step.” The next step, starting with the demolition of the hotel building, could begin within the next month.
“Since the original plan, we will now demolish all buildings on the site and start all new construction,” he said.
The new plan increased the project’s original estimated cost of $125 million by approximately $75 million. Much of this cost increase can be attributed to the new plan’s inclusion of underground parking. The original plan required a good amount of surface parking.
Mayor Justin Berns met with Kertesz in August and told him the old plan did not have City Council support. Berns told the contractor that the municipality will only approve the plans if the hotel is demolished and construction begins on open land and surface parking is reduced.
Initially, Kertesz aimed to transform the DoubleTree Hotel building into 181 luxury apartments and construct a new building that would house 151 high-end condominium units, as well as office space and ground floor retail/restaurant space.
Talking about the new zoning classification, Urban Planner George Smerigan said, “It’s probably the first real mixed-use district we’ve ever had (in Beachwood). It combines residential, office and retail.
“The other thing is, this is Beachwood’s first planned development area where you rezoned according to a plan. We have neighborhoods that we allow all uses, but then someone comes up with a plan. In this case, we rezonate according to a specific plan. We haven’t done this before. ”
“I want to thank Chad Kertesz,” Berns said at the start of Monday’s council meeting. It was a pleasure working with him. He was extremely open to the requests of the management. We suggested at the beginning of August that he should raze the existing buildings and clean up this space and build something transformative, and I believe that’s what we’ve got and that’s what’s before the council tonight.”
electric car charger
The city will soon have its first electric car charger, with one installed on the lot near the Beachwood Family Aquatic Center west of town hall. About 18 months ago, Beachwood received a grant from the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection to pay part of the $34,759 cost. There will be a station with two chargers installed.
Council voted 5-2 to move forward with the charger on Monday. Councilor Mike Burkons and Mayor Alec Isaacson voted against the measure, citing concerns about the need to take more than the city’s single bid to install the charger. Burkons and Isaacson agree that a charger is needed in the city.
While there was talk of postponing the vote to see if more proposals could be received, Councilor June Taylor said there are many residents with electric vehicles in the city and Beachwood needs to move on to the project as soon as possible.
“I want us to move forward because at this point we are not leaders in (city) charging stations,” he said. “Other cities ahead.”
Taylor said residents want more charging stations to be built on the grounds of the Beachwood Place shopping center for convenience while shopping.
Chief Financial Officer Larry Heiser said Beachwood paid $12,628 for a dueling port charging station from his Chargepoint company. The Ohio EPA grant totaled $15,000. Heiser said another grant will be awarded, and a public-private partnership could lead to the addition of more charging stations near the water center or on private property such as a shopping mall.
The charger near the water inlet will likely be installed next month. The charger is expected to be used for urban vehicles and the municipality is expected to set a rate structure for the use of the charger by city dwellers and outsiders.
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