A mix of owned and rented units, with an infusion of retail, is coming together in Uptown, the neighborhood forming along Euclid Avenue at University Circle. In addition, the area is lifting its academic face, effectively consolidating the campuses of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art through property swaps.

Ground was to be broken on June 26 for a new CIA building to the west of CIA’s Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts at 11610 Euclid Ave. The new, 80,000-square-foot George Gund building, replacing one at 11141 East Blvd., will house the Peter B. Lewis Theater, the new home of CIA’s Cinematheque film program. It also will accommodate CIA departments, a cafe, a gallery and the American Greetings Welcome Center. It aims to integrate CIA into the whole development, anchored at its west end by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

Meanwhile, construction is well underway on a six-story building that tapers to three stories at Ford Drive and Euclid Avenue. According to Ari Maron, a partner in MRN Ltd., a family-owned development company, the frame is done and the structure is topped off. This freshly expanded phase of Uptown will consist of ground-floor retail, 43 rental apartments and CIA housing accommodating 130 students in single and quad units.

The school demands that first-year students live in CIA-sanctioned housing.

Maron said MRN recently acquired a $5-million loan from the Cleveland International Fund, swelling Uptown Phase II to $26 million. The $5 million CIF amassed from foreign investors will enable MRN to finish spaces for tenants, including new ones like Corner Alley and Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

A Corner Alley anchors MRN’s East 4th Street project on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland. Also at East 4th: a Potbelly.

“Bowling has a really long and great history in Cleveland,” said Maron, adding he’s “thrilled” by Uptown’s progress.

The CIA moves will unify a campus that has been scattered, suggested Grafton Nunes, CIA’s president. “Now we’re operating out of two buildings eight blocks apart,” he said. “We have the Joseph McCullough building – the former Ford Motor Plant – on Euclid at (East) 116th (Street), and the Gund building, which we have been in since 1955, on East Boulevard and Bellflower (Road) across from the Cleveland Museum of Art.” The distance caused “disjunction and dysfunction because we’re not all together.”

The first phase of the college’s freshening began seven years ago with renovation of the McCullough building, which required raising $30 million. Raising funds became extraordinarily difficult when the “Great Recession” hit, slowing CIA’s capital campaign significantly, Nunes said.

The new CIA dorm under construction at Ford and Euclid will replace student housing CIA leases from Case Western; according to Nunes, Case will reclaim that housing, on Juniper Road, for its “own increasing number of entering students.”

The new CIA dorm is scheduled to open in August or September 2014, Nunes said. The new Gund building has passed review by both University Circle and the Cleveland Planning Commission, he added.

“Things are proceeding as planned,” Nunes said. “I’d say we’re on schedule. We fully intend to have the new building completed in May of 2015 and open for business and teaching in that building in August-September of 2015. We’ll be moving over the summer.”

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