Painesville City Council to consider rezoning Victoria Place for new development

·4 min read

May 13—Painesville City Council will consider a request to rezone Victoria Place as applicants look to transform it into a mixed-use development with apartments, offices and retail spaces.

Representatives from Montville Township-based Renew Partners and Ashtabula-based JCI Contractors attended the city's May 4 Planning Commission meeting, where Renew founding member Shawn Neece discussed plans for the Painesville Square property. With commission member Mark Wainwright absent, the body voted 4-0 to recommend that council rezone that parcel and a nearby parking lot from B-3 Central Business to DD Downtown Development.

The rezoning request will be introduced at council on May 15 and receive readings at three meetings, noted city Communications Coordinator Kathleen Sullivan. A public hearing for the request will be held during the June 20 council meeting.

Neece noted that the proposed development will include 70 to 80 "market-rate apartments." The units will range from 700 to 1,400 square feet, and most will be larger than 1,000 square feet.

City consultant Rita McMahon added that no unit can be smaller than 700 square feet, and no more than 10 percent of total units can be that size.

"We're trying to cater on the residential side to young professionals — people that are starting their career, maybe in county government, the local law firms in the area — and providing sort of a downtown residential option for folks to be able to sort of have a walkable life, to be able to walk to work, walk to the local bars and restaurants," Neece said.

He also referenced Renew's Painesville Tower project, which will create housing on the square for 172 Lake Erie College students, as well as Marous Development Group's planned Grand River Walk mixed-use development at nearby 257 E. Main St.

"We could very well have 600-700 people living right here in the downtown, and these are people that have some means, have some money," Neece said. "We think it's going to be really important for placemaking for this whole area."

In addition to the residential units, the project's developers are also looking to attract commercial tenants. Neece said that around one-third of the property will be intended for these uses, including offices, storage, restaurants and other retail spaces.

McMahon added that storage will be permitted in no more than 20,000 square feet of the building's approximately 195,000-square-foot total. All storage must be located in areas without natural light or windows.

She said other permitted uses include event venues, co-work spaces, barber shops, beauty shops, fitness centers, performance studios and areas for government or public use.

As for open space, McMahon said the property is located across from Veterans Park on Painesville Square and near Kiwanis Recreation Park. Additionally, there are plans to include balconies on some units.

She added that the property will need to meet Painesville's downtown historic district design requirements.

Neece said that Renew will manage the property.

"We just are really excited about this project," he said, adding, "We're very, very committed to Painesville. We think that this is a very good option, and it's going to bring sort of that activity and that placemaking, that vibrant placemaking that Painesville could use more of."

City Planning Director Sarah Sitterle said the Victoria Place property, located at 100 S. Park Place, was first constructed in an urban renewal project during the 1960s and 1970s. It was then used as a mall and outlet mall, both of which closed.

It later became a space for offices, stores and restaurants, she added. Lake Hospital System, now University Hospitals Lake Health, was the building's "primary tenant" before it closed nearby Lake East Hospital in 2009.

Renew affiliate Vic Place LLC purchased the property in 2019.

Sitterle said the building is currently used for offices as well as the storage and digitization of county records, but there are no stores or restaurants.

She said the rezoning request also includes a nearby city-owned parking lot, located at 66 S. St. Clair St., in order to meet the minimum size required by the DD zoning district. The property formerly housed a city parking garage that was torn down in 2016.

Sitterle said the commission will review the project's conditional use permit, site plan and elevations later in the development process.