CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A city design-review committee greenlighted refined plans Thursday for a 187-unit apartment tower on Euclid Avenue, where developer Stark Enterprises hopes to start construction in the spring.
The basics of the Beacon project, a 19-story residential building that will perch atop the 515 Euclid parking garage downtown, haven't changed. But some aesthetic details have shifted since Stark obtained more preliminary design approvals in September.
The most notable adjustment is the color. The metal-clad tower still has an ombre look, transitioning from deeper tones at the base to lighter ones toward the top.
But the original reddish-brown palette is gone. The Beacon has morphed into a bronze-to-silvery building - a switch that some members of the Downtown-Flats Design Review Committee didn't love.
"With the red colors, we really had concerns, and so did our architects, about it becoming pink. A giant, pink building," said Rebecca Hegyes, vice president of development for Cleveland-based Stark. "That is not something that we were interested in."
Committee members described the earlier look as more "vibrant" and expressed concerns that the sparkly metallic coating on the metal panels will become more muted with time and exposure to downtown smog and grime.
"You've got a choice between giant pink and giant grey," said Thomas Zarfoss, a landscape architect who sits on the committee.
Architect Jeffrey Bogart questioned how often Stark will have to clean the building to maintain its sheen. "You've got a bunch of professionals up here telling you that we don't think this neutral, beige-colored building is going to stand the test of time," he said, though he ultimately joined his colleagues in giving the designs a thumbs-up.
"We pride ourselves on our product and how it looks," Hegyes said of Stark, the developer and manager of projects including Crocker Park in Westlake and Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere.
"I can't overstate the amount of time we've spent looking at color palettes," she told the committee.
Architects at Boston-based Nadaaa and Westlake Reed Leskosky in Cleveland also tweaked the lighting scheme and the layout of the building's roof, where mechanical areas will be partially concealed behind a screen and residents will have access to a party room, outdoor deck and small dog park.
Some of those changes were responses to earlier feedback from the design-review committee and the Cleveland City Planning Commission. Other adjustments, such as eliminating a canopy over the storefronts and residential entrance on Euclid, were driven by cost-cutting, said Joshua Haney of Westlake Reed Leskosky.
"Overall, I think it's fantastic," committee member Tom Yablonsky said, noting that nearly 600 apartments are coming online or being planned along East Sixth Street between the Leader Building and Garfield Building redevelopments and the Beacon.
Stark, which separately is pursuing a much larger project called nuCLEus barely a block away, aims to close on financing for the $55 million Beacon in late April or early May and start construction soon after. If that schedule holds, the apartments will be complete in fall of 2018, Hegyes said.
The planning commission is scheduled to review the Beacon designs Friday.
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