Link59 – Hemingway Development

HemmingwayHemingway Development’s Link59 project fills several needs for Cleveland’s Health-Tech Corridor of Midtown.

By Tim O’Connor

For decades, Cleveland had two urban cores: downtown and University Circle, a neighborhood that’s home to several museums, hospitals, cultural institutions and university hospitals. In the 2000s, the city began to think hard about how to connect those cores to drive economic development, culminating with the Euclid Corridor project, which included the installation of a bus rapid transit line and $197 million worth of renovations.

The plan worked, pumping more than $4 billion of development into the corridor within the first few years. It quickly became one of the hottest areas for new projects in the city, especially in the health and medical industry. The stretch’s proximity to University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and the Seidman Cancer Center made it suitable as a health-tech corridor, luring dozens of medical-related businesses to the area.Hemmingway info box

Hemingway Development is among the developers that have seen the most activity along the corridor. The company made a commitment to the city of Cleveland to build one building annually over five years, creating a half-million square feet of new space and 5,000 jobs in the Health Tech Corridor. “Together, as a group, we said this is going to be our focus,” Principal Fred Geis says.

Transforming Cleveland

Hemingway’s projects have helped transform Euclid Avenue from an urban thoroughfare to a modern community with green buildings, commuter access and space for bicycles and cars alike. “It’s given us the opportunity to forget about some of the legacy of the city and create new product,” Geis notes.

The latest and greatest of Hemingway’s projects is Link59, a four-building development on 12 acres on East 59th Street just north of Euclid. The project will include space for a variety of a uses. A former restaurant supply business is being renovated into the Phoenix Building, an office building that will house tenants such as a medical device company. The Link59 building will be anchored by MCPc, a large cybersecurity firm.

The buildings on the campus will house medical labs, research facilities, a retailer, a supermarket and a Rainbow Center for Women and Children. In all, the project will have 250,000 square feet of leasable space. “We’d like to do as much technology as possible, but we want a good blend of clients,” Geis says.

Geis says the project will function as problem-solver for the corridor, bringing in jobs, a grocery store and much-needed retail and office space. “The whole Link59 complex is just another part of what seems to be a growing area,” Geis says.

Community Conscious

As a vertically integrated company, Hemingway is acting as the developer, designer and project manager of Link59. Work began in April and the first clients are expected to move in this February. Construction progress has been steady. The shells for the Link59 and Phoenix buildings, which will contain most of the office space, were completed by late November and the Rainbow Center for Women and Children building was about 40 percent finished. Construction on the supermarket site was also set to begin in late November.

The project is designed to boost the surrounding community and fill several needs, so it is natural that Hemingway has engaged local residents and businesses throughout the design and building process. The company signed an agreement with the city and community that committed it to hire minority-owned businesses and trades to work on at least 25 percent of the project.

Further, it is working with union contractors that have apprenticeship programs, ensuring that the people involved in the project learn new skills that they can carry with them to their next job. “Our biggest commitment is how do we get some of the people from the neighborhood working on buildings in their neighborhood?” Geis asks.

Link59’s responsibility to the community extends beyond the roles it fills and the jobs it creates. Hemingway has designed the project with its impact on the area’s flooding issues in mind. The site will include permeable pavement to limit rain runoff and an underground retention basin will ensure that all the water will be contained on site and not overload the neighborhood’s combined sewer systems. “We’re actually improving the situation because currently the water runs off the site and we’re managing it all on-site,” Geis explains.

Hemingway has taken care to address both the economic and public impacts of the project because what’s good for the community is ultimately good for Link59 and Hemingway itself. The company develops projects across the entire country, but northeast Ohio has been its home for 50 years.

Its principals believe in leveraging the profitability of those national projects to create developments with a bigger impact back at home – even if the margins aren’t as high. “It’s got to be more than just money and development,” Geis says. “It has to be a commitment from the organization.”

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