The Centennial project promises affordable housing to help recruit workers back to downtown Cleveland

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 9:15 PM EDT
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published May 6, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT - Updated May 6 at 10:01 PM on

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Great Health Divide) - The rebound of downtown Cleveland businesses depends upon their ability to recruit a workforce back to the city center, and the developers behind The Centennial, a landmark downtown building, think they can fill a void.

“Plans got derailed in the beginning of 2020 when COVID hit and everything ground to a halt,” said Tom Mignogna, senior tax credit developer for the Millennia Companies.

He says the intention for the former Union Trust Building shifted away from luxury housing and hotel space.

“We took a hard look at what the community needed, resulting in 868 affordable and workforce housing units,” he said.

“Businesses have left and workers are not going downtown the way they did before,” said John Barker, president of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

He says this development will be an important part in bringing downtown hospitality businesses back to pre-pandemic levels.

“Having affordable housing is big issues because if you don’t have it, is people have to figure out transportation,” Barker said.

The building sits on the corner of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue so the walkability and proximity to public transportation are another huge draw to potential residents.

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“We’re working very closely with our partners at the state, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, to provide low income housing tax credits which is a crucial piece of the capital stack for this project,” Mignogna said.

According to Mignogna, pricing will between $0.74 and just under $2.00 per square foot compared, compared to other recent developments priced at $2.50 to $3 per square foot.

Households that make $36,000 to $48,000 dollars a year would qualify for a two-bedroom unit around $855 per month.

“As the job market reopens, folks are going to need access and proximity to where the jobs are,” said Mignogna.

Complete plans for the centennial also include restaurant space, the Cleveland Expo, a museum curated by Western Reserve Historical Society, some retail and boutique office space.

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