Lakewood City Council approves term sheet for proposed $90 million mixed-use project at former hospital site

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Less than a month after Lakewood Mayor Meghan George introduced a resolution authorizing the negotiation of a development agreement tied to the future of the former Lakewood Hospital site, the City Council on Monday unanimously approved the plan to move forward.

The term sheet is the first domino to fall with national real estate developer CASTO Communities and North Pointe Realty toward the eventual construction of a $90 million mixed-use project to be built on a 5.7-acre property located on Detroit and Belle Avenues.

“Generally the feedback has been positive,” George said. “There are some areas where we’re going to look at whether we can make changes or push and pull on the condition sheet itself.

“We look forward to a summer with strong community conversation through the Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board meetings so we can get feedback and this ends up being the best possible development for this space.”

The 5.7-acre property located at Detroit and Belle Avenues is the site of the former Lakewood Hospital, which was demolished in 2019. (John Benson/cleveland.com)

Lakewood City Council Speaker John Litten noted that the council’s priorities for the future include greater density, a high percentage of accessibility, high efficiency standards, the possibility of more office space and regular updates from the administration.

“What I’ve heard from the community is that it really fits the vibe of the neighborhood,” George said.

The proposal includes a commercial development on the ground floor of nearly 30,000 square feet (retail, restaurants), as well as a plaza and community space of 20,000 square feet and at least 200 units of income housing mixed for sale and for rent.

The latter includes affordable housing to meet the rising cost of housing in Lakewood. There is also a new parking garage serving the development, as well as additional public parking in downtown Lakewood.

One of the keys to the project is that the rapidly growing Roundstone Insurance will remain in Lakewood and occupy a new multi-story Class A building with over 65,000 square feet of office space.

The new agreement comes less than a year and a half after Carnegie Management and Development Corporation terminated a development and use agreement related to a previously proposed project at the same site.

A major change on the city side of the draft is that this time around the city council will have a seat at the final table.

“Basically the last time the board was going to approve the administration’s ability to negotiate and sign a development agreement,” George said. “The administration would only have to come back to the council if there was a substantial change to this term sheet.

“As a board member at the time, my concern was that it allowed the administration to negotiate on my behalf. I thought it was important to have the board at the table and to be able to make decisions, so that was important for this change.

The mayor hopes that by late fall or early winter, city council will vote on the development and use agreement, as well as final approval.

“We obviously understand how important this site and development is to our community,” George said. “We have a really big partner in CASTO who we’ve been working with for 15-18 months to make sure we produce the best possible result for this site.

“It’s important for the community to get things moving, so we’re moving as quickly as possible, but as diligently as possible. We are very happy to be at this stage and hope that we can continue through the summer and fall to hopefully have construction on this site within the year.

Read more news from the messenger of the sun here.

Michael J. Chiaramonte