The wraps have just come off The Artisan, a modern glass-covered 24-story luxury apartment building on the corner of Chester Avenue and Stokes Boulevard on the northwest edge of University Circle.
An invitation-only grand opening party on Thursday, June 8, at the estimated $100 million project gave the project's investors, heads of neighboring University Circle institutions and city officials a first look inside the building and its 298 units.
Developed by a joint venture consisting of Ponsky Capital Partners and Midwest Development Partners of Cleveland with White Oak Realty Partners of Chicago and Cleveland, the structure includes studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites encased in a building studded with balconies, halls lined with artwork and comforting, soft contemporary furnishings.
It also features a rooftop amenity deck that includes what building architect FitzGerald of Chicago and Denver described as a "Chautauqua Garden," with plants and an array of seating designed to facilitate discussion among residents and others. (Bialosky Cleveland is also a consultant on the project.)
With hammocks hanging over a slip of real grass, a pool, a hot tub and grills, the top floor includes a social center with doors opening to the garden and tall floor-to-ceiling windows with expansive views. That level also boasts a co-working area with private offices for work or study, as well as banks of casual seating.
Other items on the lengthy list of amenities include a dog wash station, yoga room, bike room, sports simulator room, fitness room and a gear room where tenants may borrow board games or backpacks and rent electric scooters to enjoy the surroundings.
Zac Ponsky, president and CEO of Ponsky Capital, put the emphasis on the building's surroundings rather than itself.
"In 1883, two universities in Cleveland, Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology were moved to University Circle," Ponsky said in a prepared statement. "From there, Rockefeller, Wade, and other leaders paved the way to relocate the arts and cultural institutions to UC. Today, we feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to continue to enhance this neighborhood to a level that is representative of the quality institutions surrounding us and creating the neighborhood that this area deserves for generations to come."
Moreover, floor-to-ceiling windows in the suites offer varying views of the surroundings that most Clevelanders would relish.
From one suite or another, occupants can look across or down on Case Western Reserve University buildings, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall and the nearby Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and the VA Hospital.
The top-floor social center — a deserved play on words for the traditional multifamily party center — has high ceilings and windows that provide views of the downtown Cleveland skyline 4 miles away.
Jim Boland, a Ponsky Capital partner and chief operating officer, said, "Artisan speaks for itself. It is a stunning building, crafted with incredible thoughtfulness of design and quality that will ensure it has a competitive advantage for generations."
The high-rise also has rents to match. According to its listing on Apartments.com, rents at The Artisan range from $1,675 monthly for a studio with one bathroom to $2,030 for a one-bedroom, one bath suite and $2,750 for a two-bedroom with two baths. Three-bedroom suites with two baths top off the rents at $5,675 monthly.
From the building, observers can follow view corridors along the city's major streets such as Chester and Euclid avenues. FitzGerald in a news release said the building is positioned to have views of downtown Cleveland, Lake Erie, Wade Lagoon and surrounding campuses.
The building is also designed, FitzGerald said, to support sustainability and "personal well-being." It has been awarded a "Green Globe" certification for sustainability by the Green Building Initiative nonprofit. It exceeds U.S. EPA Energy Star performance levels. It is also seeking a multifamily health and wellness certification from the Fitwel nonprofit.
The Artisan is the second market-rate residential high-rise opened in University Circle. It follows One University Circle, which opened in 2016 just steps away.
Both are the latest in a 20-year drive by the University Circle Inc. nonprofit, along with multiple other buildings, to add housing to the cultural district to promote round-the-clock activity.
The Artisan is also the first phase of a master-planned development by the development trio called Circle Square that will expand on surrounding properties to grow to a total of 700 suites with an estimated cost of $500 million.
The next phase, Library Lofts, will rise above a new Martin Luther King branch of the Cleveland Public Library, which is under construction of the Euclid Avenue side of the block. The current library will be razed for future development.
Circle Square has been in the works since 2015. That is when the developers won a request for proposal from the city of Cleveland to redevelop the site of the 3rd District Police Station, since relocated, and the library.
Cleveland architect Paul Volpe, who worked on urban planning for Circle Square, said in an interview at the grand opening that the project provides a new level of density for the circle and in his own four-decade-long local career.
Future plans to redo the intersection of Chester and Stokes, also part of Circle Square, will be a "marvelous enhancement" of University Circle, he said.