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Historic Variety Theatre Redevelopment
Cuyahoga County is proud to announce providing Brownfield Environmental Assessment Assistance on behalf of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and their large-scale renovation project of Variety Theatre, located at 118th – 119th block of Lorain Avenue. The County will conduct Phase II Environmental Site Assessment of the first floor retail units, previously occupied by two dry cleaner businesses. The assessment work is aimed to evaluate the level of contamination, which if needed, will assist in the creation of an environmental cleanup plan for the site.
“The redevelopment of the Variety Theatre project will transform the iconic mixed-use structure into the new town center for the diverse Westown neighborhood. The building, originally constructed in 1927, housed the massive 20,900 square foot Variety Theatre along with several ground floor retail tenants and thirteen (13) second story rental apartments. The building’s immense presence along Lorain Avenue – the neighborhood’s main commercial corridor - will result in a catalytic project aimed at promoting further private investment within the Variety Village”, said Jeff Ramsey, Executive Director at Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization.
“Upon completion the Variety Theatre building will contain ten (10) renovated storefronts, ten (10) second-floor apartments, a cabaret –style movie theatre in the balcony, and the immense 20,900 square foot theatre will be adaptively reused into a destination restaurant and entertainment venue. The structure will provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs, bring new residents to the neighborhood, and provide endless opportunities for entertainment and dining within the building. Along with the renovation, the project includes the construction of a new “green” parking facility across the street for all within the district”, added Jeff Ramsey.
“In December 2015, the project was awarded $1.45 million dollars through the competitive Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program”, according to Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. “This important financing has ignited the project… The project financing includes: Federal and State Historic tax credit equity, New Markets Tax Credit financing, State of Ohio Capital Grant, and City of Cleveland Financing.”
“In 2016, the Cleveland City Council strongly supported the renovation of the Historic Variety Theatre Complex located in one of the Cleveland’s most severely distressed census tracts”, said Kevin Kelley, Cleveland City Council President. Cleveland City Council passed a resolution No. 187-16 on February 22, 2016, “confirming its support”. Jeff Ramsey stated that “the project has been identified as the City of Cleveland’s priority project to the National Development Council.”
Cuyahoga County believes that project will change the face of Lorain Avenue and revitalize not only the Variety Theatre Complex but also the area surrounding the property.