City's original goals for TOH have been lost
What's refreshing about ascending Cedar Glen is that you're entering a new realm—a realm of greenery.
The city of Cleveland Heights and its Top of the Hill (TOH) developer have chosen to monetize the TOH land to the max by placing a confrontational wall-like structure at the city's most valuable and prominent property—a site which should be welcoming, not in-your-face.
City council members, in desperation to get TOH done on their watch, somehow lost control of the design process and its original development goals. Goals included in April 2018, but now gone (or nearly so), were:
- twenty (20) for-sale, 1,500-sq. ft. townhomes;
- other buildings approximately five-stories high;
- a boutique hotel, offices, multiple shops, and green space.
Living, working, shopping, dining; this is what is thought of as mixed use, such as exists at Van Aken and at Pinecrest. What CH has been left with is a very bland, not robust, form of mixed use.
Because CH Planning Department staff, as well as city council and the city manager, have repeatedly refused to require the developer to provide an architectural massing scale model for the $75 million (or is it now $85 million?) project, and since the height of the Point building has doubled since April 2018, from five to 10 stories, I would suggest you take a drive down Edgehill/Cornell to Circle Drive, turn right, and proceed to Mayfield Road.
Look at the Centric apartments from the Circle Drive viewpoint (not askance from Mayfield).You will see seven stories, stepped down to six—whereas our city is offering us nine or 10 stories (as of Feb. 6). Viewing the Centric from Circle Drive gives you a frontal view, as opposed to a peripheral view. (Peripheral is what you get when you drive by the eight-story Waldorf Towers on Overlook.)
The city's main draw for homebuyers and renters has been the quality and character of its architecture, or, as city branding would tell you, "its enduring charm." The decisions to monetize, at all costs, betray and threaten existing neighborhoods and their quality of life.
These decisions drive many concerned citizens right into the open arms of Citizens for an Elected Mayor.
Will the Architectural Review Board (ABR) be able to save the city from itself? A meeting , Tuesday, July 9, 7 p.m. at the CH Community Center is the next, and possibly culminating, step in this TOH project.
Stephen Rajki is a retired CWRU university architect, and a Cleveland Heights resident.