CLEVELAND, Ohio – University Circle Inc. announced plans to demolish a 346-space parking lot used by Case Western Reserve University employees, students and visitors.
The East Side development company said in a statement on its website that the garage at 1980 Ford Drive, which dates to the late 1960s, “has exceeded its useful life and there is a need to demolish the structure for the safety of the community”.
A spokeswoman later wrote in an email that the garage remains structurally sound, but University Circle Inc. monitors it weekly and will empty it immediately if conditions change.
Permit holders will be notified of the official garage closure through signs and statements on the agency’s website. Spokeswoman Becky Voldrich said the garage will close on June 30.
The future of the site has not been announced. The spokeswoman said planning is underway.
The land sits across from historic Hessler Road, a segment of the neighborhood that resembles less Cleveland than San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, famous for producing the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane in the 1960s. Residents who previously hosted the annual Hessler Street Fair nurture that feeling, though now the Case Western Reserve University students who live there far outnumber the long-term residents.
Many residents there have strongly opposed plans approved last year for the developer to build a three-story, 12-unit building of “micro” apartments on land on Hessler Road near Ford Drive. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission approved the plans in May, although construction never began.
At the time, University Circle Inc. had committed to making parking spaces available to residents of the new apartments. Voldrich said that commitment “remains intact.
“We are confident in our ability to meet our obligation prior to the completion of the Hessler project,” she wrote.
But the future of this site is now uncertain. Russell Berusch, one of the developers of the approved building plans, put the property up for sale in January, along with two newly renovated buildings on Ford Drive and six townhouses across the street on Hessler Road.
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer contacted Berusch.
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