Conversion of former Union Trust building on Euclid Avenue to affordable housing gets green light from planning committee

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – An iconic office building that symbolized Cleveland’s economic might in the 1920s took a major step on Friday towards a $ 450 million conversion that included affordable apartments, as well as airplane and auto exhibits period in a bank on the ground floor.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously on Friday to approve plans for the initial exterior restoration of the Centennial, at 925 Euclid Avenue, originally built in 1924 as the Union Trust Building, and later known as the name of Huntington Building.

“We are delighted to have reached this point in the conversion process of what was once Cleveland’s most desirable commercial location,” said Tom Mignogna, Senior Tax Credit Developer for Millennia Housing Development, Ltd., in a statement issued after the meeting. .

The vote set the stage for the restoration to begin by the end of the year, said Valerie Jerome, director of marketing and communications, Cleveland-based Millennia Cos., Who has purchased the vacant building since. long in 2018 for $ 40 million.

Millennia expects the first units to be ready for occupancy by the end of 2023 or early 2024, she said. The conversion of the 1.4 million square foot building will include 868 apartments, 95,000 square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of food and beverage and retail space and 35,000 square feet defined as ” exhibition space / club ”.

The main goal of the company is to provide affordable housing for downtown workers in service companies who could walk to work or use public transportation on the bus rapid transit line of the adjacent Euclid avenue.

“It’s an incredible project,” said Lillian Kuri, a member of the planning committee. “I can not wait to see it.”

The building was originally designed in the neoclassical style by Chicago-based architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst and White.

A rendering of the exhibit hall featured in The Millennia, formerly the Union Trust building.Sandvick Architects

The same company designed the Terminal Tower, completed in 1931, and succeeded one established by Daniel Burnham, co-designer of the Group Plan District and the downtown Cleveland Mall.

When completed, Union Trust was the second tallest office building in the world, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Guide to Cleveland Architecture.

The building’s barrel-vaulted main banking hall, with murals by New York artist Jules Guerin and towering Corinthian fluted columns of Italian marble, was the largest in the United States at the time.

Peter Ketter, director of historic preservation at Cleveland-based Sandvick Architects, said Millennia plans to set up the main banking hall with exhibits hosted by the Western Reserve Historical Society. The renderings of the exhibits could include vintage airplanes and automobiles.

During the 1970s, Huntington Bank considered carving up the Great Banking Lobby by installing office floors attached to monumental columns. Cleveland architect Peter van Dijk, who helped lead the restoration of the Playhouse Square theaters, persuaded the bank to keep the Great Hall in its original state.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Millennia revised their previous plans to install luxury apartments and a hotel in the building.

The company said it was working to close a complex financing program that included historic federal and state tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, debt issued through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, an Ohio Brownfield Loan, funding from the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga. County, bonds issued by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

“There is significant support and momentum to close the financing and begin construction within the next six months,” Millennia said in a statement on Friday.

Under guidelines required by its funding, Millennia plans to offer a mix of apartments at prices for residents earning 50 percent, 60 percent or 80 percent of the Cleveland area median income.

A one-bedroom room could be rented for as little as $ 691, while a three-bedroom room could be rented for a hefty price of $ 1,185, but Jerome warned the numbers could change.


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