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Issue Date: March 2008 Issue


Places to live

Unlike some of the developments happening throughout Northeast Ohio, The Coral Company invests and develops in the inner-city and inner-ring suburbs. This is part of its corporate commitment to the community — a philosophy that defines these neighborhoods as their targets for redevelopment and growth.

It has always been the case for this company. That’s because years ago The Coral Company’s president and CEO, Peter L. Rubin, recognized that the success of his business depended upon the redevelopment of these neighborhoods. “We thought ahead of the curve,” he acknowledges. “We looked at urban markets and looked closer and closer at first-ring suburbs like Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Shaker Heights.”

Ten years ago, The Coral Company ventured into residential real estate development, focusing on changing the landscape in these areas. Initial development began in the Cincinnati first-ring suburbs of Wyoming and Mount Lookout, two cities that Rubin describes as being similar to Cleveland Heights.

Goldenview Townhomes in Mount Lookout are nestled high atop Cincinnati and are a short drive to downtown and Hyde Park. The 16 luxury, three-story townhomes feature wraparound decks, a 10-year tax abatement and a maintenance-free lifestyle.

The city of Wyoming selected The Coral Company as its developer for Wyoming Glen and Victoria Estates, a two-phase project. Wyoming Glen is developed on a former 11-acre commercial site. These ranch-style patio homes are the only new construction within the city. The second phase of the development, Victoria Estates, adds 31 more homes. Residents have access to the properties’ clubhouse, pool, fitness and community rooms.

In 2001, The Coral Company began building homes in Cleveland, specifically The Courtyards in Cleveland Heights. Those familiar with Severance Center may recall an office building, owned and occupied by an engineering firm, at the shopping center’s northeast entrance. “It was a phenomenal building, but it was obsolete,” says Alexis Boothe, vice president of development, explaining that the firm relocated to another eastern suburb. But the site caught Coral’s attention. The prospect of finding available land in this established community was almost unheard of, yet The Coral Company was presented with an opportunity to develop a new residential neighborhood on 12 acres.

The $22 million project, composed of 68 townhomes arranged around European-style courtyards on the original John L. Severance estate, is still being developed. Rubin’s commitment to the development’s success is evident. He is among its 40 current homeowners.

The Coral Company began working with the city of Euclid in 2003 to redevelop a parcel of lakefront land off of East 206th Street and Edgecliff Drive. Originally home to a dilapidated 100-year-old apartment building, this site is now The Shores of Edgecliff, a beautiful residential community of 13 maintenance-free homes that boasts a deck overlooking a private beach and Lake Erie.

“Our job in all these instances was to take each city’s vision and turn it into something viable for the community,” says Boothe.

These residential communities were a part of a plan to evolve the company. The next step was to develop what was predicted as a trend in real estate: mixed-used properties that blend commercial and residential real estate in the same development.

“We wanted to learn about residential real estate. We saw the trend of mixing retail and residential and so, slowly and quietly, Coral entered the residential real estate market,” Boothe explains.

The Coral Company continues to grow — maybe not as quietly as it had intended — and stay true to its course of refurbishing, investing, building and managing properties in the inner-ring suburbs.

With a management portfolio that began a mere three years ago and now extends from downtown into the suburbs, Coral has made significant headway in this area of real estate.

Coral became the management and leasing company for the Statler Arms Apartments. Built in 1912 as the Statler Hotel, the building had undergone major renovation in 2001. Yet even with the more attractive amenities, Statler Arms was facing foreclosure action. According to Jack C. Cornachio, president of Coral Asset Management LLC, “We had existing relationships that made Coral a natural choice for management.” The Company has taken the Statler from near foreclosure to 92 percent occupancy within months of taking over.

Blocks away, near Cleveland State University, Coral manages another residential apartment building, the 1900 Euclid Avenue Lofts Building, a 1920s-era refurbished office structure. With its investment in Shaker Square, Coral became the logical choice to manage and lease Shaker North Apartments and Shaker West Apartments, both established properties that added 250 residential units to Coral’s residential management portfolio.

In 2006, when the 1800-1836 Coventry Road building was purchased by out-of-town investors, The Coral Company became its face in the local market, managing and leasing this 22,000-square-foot, mixed-use Cleveland Heights property. Coral’s newest residential community.

Its portfolio is growing. Westhampton at Crocker Park, marks a move beyond the inner-ring suburbs. However, because of the mixed-use ,design of Crocker Park, the location is very much an urban lifestyle.

Targeting empty-nesters and young professionals, Coral has found a workable niche in today’s sagging housing market. “This is one area that continues to see traffic,” says Nicole Sommers, director of sales for Westhampton at Crocker Park.

“Westhampton has already sold 15 homes out of the 22 in the first phase, all without an available model to tour,” says Sommers.

“Everyone is amazed by the community. The thoughtful architecture, materials, the gardens and the sense of community that has been created is unlike anything else in the city of Cleveland. Westhampton is like a quaint Philadelphia street with the excitement and amenities of the city center, all within walking distance of your door,” she says.

Named for the first certified croquet club in the United States, Westhampton Mallet Club, its central feature is a regulation-size croquet lawn. “Every new property owner receives a croquet set,” says Sommers.

With success at every turn, it seems The Coral Company has yet to encounter a sticky wicket.

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