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January 03, 2020

Snavely Building Company is the General Contractor for a new Community arts and cultural center inside the former Astrup Awning Company. The Foran Groups wants to bring a new identity to Seymour Avenue.

When Clevelanders celebrate the seventh anniversary of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight escaping from a home on Seymour Avenue after being held captive there for years, construction work a few feet from where those women were held will be forging a new identity for the community.

While the world was learning about the horrors the women endured on Seymour Avenue, the building that the Astrup Awning Company was housed in from 1883 through 1995 stood in the background.  

The Astrup factory is the white building with a green awning in the background.

The factory has seen better days.  Astrup's machine factory floor was covered with wood blocks. Foran thinks they helped soak up liquids from machinery, mitigate vibration from heavy equipment and estimates the blocks have been in the building since the early 1900's.

Wood blocks that made up the machine shop floors are damaged by some small flooding that happened after developer Rick Foran says people broke in to strip the building of its copper pipes. Paint is peeling off the wall next to occasional memories, like old envelopes, from a time when the Astrup Awning Company turned out finished products from the corner of West 25th Street and Seymour Avenue.

In the 80,000-square-foot building, Foran saw a huge opportunity to bring positive attention to an area known mostly for what had gone wrong there.  "What can we do to make this area turn around, because what happened there was not Cleveland," said Foran.

The empty field to the left is where the home stood where Berry, DeJesus, and Knight were held captive. The white building with a green awning to the right is the Astrup building.

His answer ended up being an arts and cultural center in the old Astrup building. Art exhibits will be just around the corner from a working theater, theater company, dance company, and many more organizations.

The brick wall along West 25th Street is going to get a new design, seeming to pivot the brick wall, welcoming in the surrounding community and symbolizing the "pivot" developers hope the project allows the neighborhood to make.

"Even from bad, good can come," said LatinUs Theater Company Executive Director Monica Torres.  Her company is just one example of the "Cleveland" Foran wants to show off.

What is now a large garage used for storage will be turned into an art exhibit and black box theater for LatinUs Theater Company.

In what's now a huge garage for storage, LatinUs will have the first Latino/Hispanic Theater in Ohio. They'll use it to feature pieces written by Latin artists, performed in Spanish, with English subtitles.  The unique performance spreads their culture without leaving anyone out.

LatinUs performs its plays in Spanish with English subtitles (shown above) to be as inclusive as possible.

"We want to include everybody who doesn't speak Spanish, including the new generation of Latinos that most of them, sometimes, they don't even speak Spanish," said Torres.

The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland has been in the Clark-Fulton Neighborhood for 40 years but their new location in the Astrup building will be the first arts-centric club, using a new approach to help kids in class.

Renderings show what the arts center could look like once it opens at the end of 2020.

"It's really the impact that arts have on a young person's life," said Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland President Ron Soeder. "They tend to be more focused in school."

What used to be a machine shop will house Bill Wade's Inlet Dance Theater .

Plans show how a former machine shop and work area will be transformed into office and rehearsal space for Inlet Dance Theater.

Foran looks at an old map of the Astrup factory in front of a poster from December of 1996.

"This part of the city, on a professional arts and culture sector, has been a bit of a dessert," said Wade.

Instead, the $13 million project will do it's part to make the neighborhood lush with culture and a new feeling on the block.

It'll be the first time in Inlet's 18-year history that the whole company will be under one roof. The space in the Astrup building made sense because Wade was looking for a community that could benefit from this company's performances and its mission of helping people build themselves up through dance.

Foran flips through plans for the $13 million dollar renovation on the 80,000 square foot Astrup building.

That's why Gina DeJesus' organization, the Cleveland Family Center for Missing Children and Adults , is intentionally located right next door to where Gina was held captive.

A view from the roof of the Astrup building shows the grass lot where Ariel Castro's home once stood.

At first, DeJesus' cousin and co-founder, Sylvia Colon, was against picking that location.

"I said, 'Are you sure? Are you sure?," said Colon. "And [Gina] said, 'I'm already decorating. This is where we have to be."

"If we do something like this, then we bring hope to people on the street," said DeJesus.

"There is something very redeeming about coming into a place where somebody tried to take life and be part of what's happening in this building, to give life back," said Wade.

A picture outside DeJesus' office in the Astrup building shows the moment she returned home after she was freed, holding her thumb up to the crowd there to greet her.

Foran says construction is expected to take up much of 2020, but the center is expected to be open near the end of the year or in early 2021.

A few years after the project is off the ground, Foran says tenants will have the opportunity to buy their space and not just rent it out. He says that will help these artistic institutions build equity and not have to fight rising rents when the rest of the neighborhood gets more expensive.

October 20, 2019

Cleveland Vibrator Company: Crain's Cleveland Business

Cleveland Vibrator Co., a decades-long resident of Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood, has sold its building and land-rich surroundings at 2828 Clinton Ave. for $3 million, according to Cuyahoga County land records, to a joint venture that includes principals of developer-builder Snavely Group of Chagrin Falls.

However, this is not a case of a legacy manufacturer making for the suburbs. Cleveland Vibrator will remain in the city of Cleveland at the Hinckley Industrial Park near Spring Road and I-77.

Cleveland Vibrator separately acquired, through 4528 Hinckton LLC, a 54,000-square-foot building at 4544 Hinckley Industrial Parkway for $2.59 million on Wednesday, Sept. 18, according to online county land records.

The current home of Cleveland Vibrator is a 1930-vintage, 55,000-square-foot building on a nearly 3-acre site, according to the CoStar real estate data service. The property, much of it grass-covered, incorporates much of the block between West 29th Street, the heart of the Hingetown area, West 28th Street, Church Avenue and Clinton.

Craig Macklin, Cleveland Vibrator CEO, confirmed that the company plans to move to its new building this winter. He declined to discuss the move in detail before a news release is issued on Monday, Sept. 23.

Cleveland Vibrator dates from 1923 and designs, manufactures and offers services to help companies handle their material handling needs, according to its website.

"We bought some land and our partner is (ad executive) Joe Kubic," Peter Snavely Jr. said in a Friday, Sept. 20, phone interview. He declined to discuss the plans for the site.

Karen Desotell, secretary of the Franklin-Clinton Block Club that serves the area surrounding the Cleveland Vibrator site, said Snavely has not discussed plans for the site with the group.

"We expect we'll see Snavely when he has detailed plans for it," Desotell said. "We're open to seeing it and what impact it will have on the neighborhood. Our goal is to ensure the stability of the neighborhood. Part of the stability we are concerned about is balancing the new apartments with single-family homes in our very old neighborhood. Several single-family homes are being built, but an apartment building with several hundred units has greater impact on the area. It's not a case of not wanting apartment renters in the neighborhood. It's great to see all the new faces and people walking through the neighborhood."

Snavely has previously developed The Quarter at West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue, a $60 million mixed-use project with 123 apartment units. It is also preparing to develop another phase of The Quarter with construction of 79 suites that incorporates updating of the Painters Union Building at 2601 Detroit Ave. The western edge of the next phase of The Quarter will abut West 28th near the Vibrator site.

September 09, 2019

Stella Maris Breaks Ground for New Detoxification Unit

On September 9th, 2019, at 1:30pm, Stella Maris, Inc. will host a groundbreaking ceremony for The Building Campaign to Rebuild More Lives at 1320 Washington Ave.

Stella Maris celebrates the construction of a new 13,000 square foot detoxification unit and kitchen, representing the first phase of the expansion plan that will allow increased comprehensive services for substance use disorders. The second phase of the capital plan includes renovation of the existing detoxification building to create permanent space for the partial hospitalization program and a wellness center. The construction is projected to be completed by June 2020 and the second phase is projected to be completed by December 2020.

Stella Maris competitively awarded the site construction contract to Platform Contracting and the general construction contract to the Snavely Group. Hengst Streff Bajko is the architect and Harlan & Associates is acting as the owners’ representative. The estimated project cost, including equipment and furnishings, will be approximately $6.0 million.

Founded in 1948 during Alcoholics Anonymous’ early years, Stella Maris has continuously provided hope, housing and support for those recovering from substance use disorders. Over the past decade, Stella Maris has been at the forefront of combating the growing opiate epidemic and has encountered a younger population of those afflicted. “The treatment of addiction and the prevention of relapses has become increasingly complex. This dilemma has required Stella Maris to provide a wider array of recovery programs and longer term housing for our clients. Consequently, we must adapt to this ever changing and devastating Opiate Epidemic.” Says Executive Director, Daniel Lettenberger-Klein.

“With an appropriation from the State of Ohio’s 2018 capital budget, generous support from a mix of foundations and private donors and hard work from the volunteer members of the Board of Directors and staff, we have been able to act quickly to start and complete this construction,” Board President Susan Gragel noted. “We appreciate the dedication of Ohio Senators Matt Dolan and Sandra Williams, Representatives Thomas F. Patton and Terrence Upchurch and Cuyahoga Common Pleas Drug Court Judge David T. Matia and many other community officials and
leaders.” According to Gragel, “Senator Dolan and Judge Matia were law school classmates and friends. Although their roles now are different, they each are leading and inspiring Ohioans to meet and overcome the challenges of addiction and we are grateful.”

Recovery is challenging but there is hope. Stella Maris provides quality chemical dependency treatment and mental health services to our community regardless of race, gender, religion or ability to pay. For more information about Stella Maris’ capital campaign, please visit

About Stella Maris: Founded in 1948, Stella Maris is Northeast Ohio’s oldest provider of addiction treatment and recovery services. As chemical dependency has evolved across the past 70 years, so has Stella Maris’ programs. Today, the organization provides detoxification for men and women, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient counseling, case management, family counseling and supportive housing for men and women. Stella Maris’ continuum of care serves anyone in the community without discrimination and regardless of ability to pay. To learn more about Stella Maris, please visit or call (216) 781-0550.

August 11, 2019

The Quarter's next step looms

In what may become a $20 million project, The Snavely Group is putting together the pieces to construct a 79-suite expansion to The Quarter, its Cleveland mixed-use apartment complex. The project will consist of a new five-story building and renovation of an existing building.

Through W25 D III LLC, the Chagrin Falls real estate development and ownership concern shelled out $2.15 million July 31 to acquire the three-story Painters Union Building, which has been at 2605 Detroit Ave. since 1925, and adjoining parking lots covering almost an acre, according to Cuyahoga County land records.

The seller was TEG Properties Inc. of Cleveland, which assembled the site in multiple stages since 1991.

Peter Snavely Jr., vice president of development at the family-owned real estate development and building concern, said, "We're in closing mode," referring to closing financial documents to fund construction of the building. He declined to say how much the company raised for the project or its development cost. Some of the investors in the project have used their own Opportunity Zone funds to invest in it, he said. Constructing a five-story building with almost 80 units would cost $20 million based on industry efforts.

Key city approvals are in place for the next phase of The Quarter, a $60 million complex of 194 apartments and 30,000 square feet of commercial space. The project's first phase transformed a derelict parking lot and park on the northwest corner of Detroit and West 25th Street near the foot of Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects the West Side with downtown. Another part of the project, now underway, is adding affordable housing units to the landmark Forest City Building, which houses commercial tenants from the Ohio City Galley to the Beauty Shoppe, a co-working provider.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission on June 25 approved a certificate of appropriateness for the project at 2605 and 2615 Detroit. The plan calls for upgrading existing apartments in the Painters Union Building and adding new retail tenants in it. One has already taken up a position in the structure: the Joy Machines Bike Shop. West and south of the existing building will rise a five-floor structure with apartment amenities, offices or retail space on the ground level. The site is near Hingetown and is just east of the 11-story Church-State apartments being constructed by a joint venture of several developers led by Hemingway Development of Cleveland.

The new Snavely structure would mirror The Quarter's recently completed buildings. Cleveland's Board of Zoning Appeals signed off on variances for the project July 15, primarily one that allows the new building to continue the building line established by the Painters Union Building west on West 26th Street.

Snavely said the company wanted to build on the success it's had with The Quarter. He noted the first phase was 100% leased until tenant leases began to expire and it still remains more than 93% leased.

Asked about all the other apartment units going in downtown and in nearby neighborhoods, Snavely said his company thinks there is continued demand for more apartments.

He added the project's proximity to downtown will benefit it as relatively few downtown workers live downtown, according to recent research by Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

"We just like the area between the area retail, the bike path, the (proposed Irishtown Bend) park and access to downtown," Snavely said. "To me, the most exciting thing over there is the planned park. It's going to be a big connector for the neighborhood and builds on what is going on around it."

Tom McNair, executive director of the Ohio City Inc. neighborhood development corporation, called the project a "really important piece in the development of the Detroit Avenue corridor. It will fill a significant missing tooth in the street, which has seen $200 million development and 800 units of apartments over the last five years."

McNair said OCI is encouraged by Snavely moving on another phase because the firm has proven to be a "good neighbor to the neighborhood." The concept also won support, he said, when Snavely took the plan to the Franklin-Clinton Block Club last spring.

The first units in the new building will be available in August 2020 and construction will be completed by October 2020, according to a document Snavely provided.

The project's next phase will include studio and one-bedroom suites, the statement said.

February 12, 2019

A picture of workers on site at The Quarter made the finalist list in PlanGrid's 5th Annual Axe Contest.   This year's competition showcased extraordinary imagery captured in construction, focusing on the theme of Picture Perfect and Day in the Life.  

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