ONE SEVENTEEN TRANSFORMS A BUSY CLEVELAND CROSSROADS
Story by Carlo Wolff, Photography by Michael C. Butz
Doug Rosenthal drove by his new home every day last fall and winter, itching to move in. But he had to wait until this grudging spring because One Seventeen, the new Brickhaus Partners development at West 117th Street and Lake Avenue in Cleveland, was still under construction. The excitement mounted until Rosenthal moved into his three-story, two-bedroom home in the first week of April. The excitement has not abated.
Rosenthal, who is director, mortgage banking for Quicken Loans, left his apartment at Flats at East Bank Apartments in Cleveland for a townhome of about 1,900 square feet. His new home is probably three times the size of his old one, he figures. In addition to wanting more room, he craved a different scene.
“I’d been there for three years, and it was time for a change,” he says. “I wanted to buy something, and I wanted a bigger city (and more fully developed urban scene).” One Seventeen, on the eastern edge of Lakewood and a beneficiary of both Cleveland and its densest suburb, called to him. Rosenthal started looking into One Seventeen a little more than a year ago, committing to the purchase last summer. Besides, he knew Andrew Brickman, the “Brick” in Brickhaus. The decision wasn’t hard.
“I had known Andrew previously as a developer and we’d talked about other things in the past,” says Rosenthal, adding mutual friends included “people who’d bought from him in the past.”
One Seventeen’s charms
Rosenthal looked at a few other developments but says he chose this one because of the “location, the structure, size, amenities … it had a little bit of everything that I was looking for.” The architectural plans and renderings convinced him a One Seventeen home was his destiny long before the move.
“I watched it being built step by step,” says Rosenthal, who attends Chabad of Cleveland. “I would drive by, first once a week, then every day.”
It wasn’t simply the location that made One Seventeen so desirable, says the 27-year-old. Proximity to downtown and to attractions like the Gordon Square Arts District and Edgewater Park are distinct lures. But the complex is so unusual it is its own destination, he suggests.
“I like how tall it is, with the high ceilings, and the structure itself is really cool,” Rosenthal says. He also likes his large, rooftop deck. “It’s a huge thing with a really nice view, and the structure is very powerful, just very impactful. The presence and the structure just stand out.”
One Seventeen consists of 11 three-story modern brownstones, each with its own entrance, that pay homage to the Fifth Church of Christ that used to occupy the site in the Edgewater neighborhood of Cleveland. As the church used to, One Seventeen boasts classical features, unlike most other Brickhaus developments.
Each townhome has a thoroughly finished rooftop deck, along with plaster exteriors, arched windows, French doors, ceilings 10 feet high in the main living area and the bedroom, and balconies. Lucky’s Market, a grocery store specializing in value-priced natural and organic foods, is right behind it on Clifton Boulevard. The townhomes cost in the “high $400,000s,” says Brickman, the developer. They range in size from 1,826 square feet to 2,022 square feet. Only one remained unsold as of the end of May.
Brickman likes how the dynamic design of One Seventeen by Scott and Analia Dimit of Dimit Architects contrasts a classical, monumental exterior with an airy, contemporary interior. He also suggests that bringing this project home was challenging, as it involved a national competition.
“The city chose us to develop the site after going through a request for proposal (RFP) process,” Brickman says. Brickhaus beat out some 50 other developers, an honor — but also a lot of work. Still, Brickman is pleased.
Most Brickhaus projects are “quite modern,” Brickman says. “I think this mixes the elements of the best modern design with classic design as well as being an homage to the church that was on the site.”
The church’s datestone — 1926 — is prominently displayed in front of the complex, and decorative sandstone squares from the church are embedded in the façade fronting on West 117th. “There was a lot of history in that church with the neighborhood, so it’s nice to be able to contribute to it in that way.”
Brickhaus Partners is certainly busy. In Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, it is at the drywall stage of converting the Zion United Church of Christ into 40 apartments. Other Brickhaus projects include Twenty Four Hundred, 12 “modern farm homes” off Richmond Road in Beachwood; 700 Lake, a 27-condominium project that also includes 13 three-story townhomes in four buildings on the Lake Erie shore in Rocky River with design elements similar to those at One Seventeen; and RiverHaus Chagrin Falls, six riverfront “modern mountain homes” overlooking the Chagrin River next to Whitesburg Park, across from the former Ivex Co. paper mill.
Extending a legacy
The Edgewater area was the neighborhood where all the movers and shakers — judges and politicians — used to live when to be a mover and shaker required you to live in Cleveland, says Brickman, noting there are a “lot of million-dollar homes” within walking distance.
The market for One Seventeen? “The buyer is anyone from empty nesters to young professionals to a couple young families as well,” says Brickman, acknowledging that One Seventeen is a “luxury product” – and not the priciest in the Brickhaus portfolio.
“I think there’s a lot of people who are embracing the modern architecture,” he says. “I don’t think anybody is doing it to the same level of sophistication and finish that we are.”
Since Brickhaus Partners began 12 years ago, more modern developments have been popping up in Greater Cleveland, which Brickman says flatters him.
He notes that he lives nearby, in 95 Lake, a Brickhaus development at West 95th Street and Lake Avenue. “The fact that I live in one of my own communities, I think, is a testament to the quality of what we’re doing in terms of design and landscaping, in terms of everything.”
What’s not to like about One Seventeen? Nothing, according to Lynard Zingale, an Allstate Insurance executive who runs offices in Lakewood, Parma and Euclid. Zingale wanted the vibrancy of a city larger than Willoughby Hills, the western Lake County suburb where he used to have a large, single-family home. He has downsized, he suggests, but he’s also scaled up and gone contemporary.
The color scheme of Zingale’s home at One Seventeen is black, white and shades of gray, with earth tones sprinkled in; stainless steel accents gleam, and the treated wood banisters are calming yet also dramatic.
The interior of the insurance executive’s residence feels decidedly more modern than the exterior, a medley of bold architectural gestures that provides heft as an anchor of the southwest corner of West 117th and Lake. Zingale also has outfitted his home with state-of-the-art sound, kitchen and exercise equipment.
Zingale travels a lot, so Uber and Lyft rides to the airport are a natural. He likes the urban feel of his new neighborhood.
“It was the ideal location for me,” says Zingale, a buff 45. “A friend, a loan officer from a local bank who knows me, said, ‘I think I have the perfect project for you. They’re building a property at 117th and Lake.” Zingale mentioned it to his Realtor, “(and) my Realtor looked up Brickhaus — that’s all she wrote.”