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Historic Warehouse District
21. 425 Lakeside Apartments
425 Lakeside Ave.
The basics: This was one of the first downtown build?ngs renovated into apartments, and constant updates keep the place in tip-top shape. Its 57 lofts have open ceilings, newer carpeting and exposed ductwork. Wooden beams and columns add a cozy touch to these urban apartments, whose enormous windows overlook Lake Erie and Cleveland Browns Stadium. Some units also have a private balcony. There's a fitness room in the building and a laundry on each floor. Residents receive a Nautica Entertainment Complex Platinum Card, good for discounts at hot spots in the Flats. Parking costs $100 in the garage under the building or $75 per month in the gated lot across the street, and a dry-cleaning service is offered. Cats are welcome for a $25 refundable deposit.
What's unique: Douglas Samstag, the second person to move into the building nine years ago, contends that 425 Lakeside is still one of the best options downtown because of its quality suites and service. "Nobody took me by the hand to move here," Samstag explains. "I saw them renovating this. Value for your dollar is here. There are some nice people here."
A resident says: "Everybody thinks it's cool," Samstag says of his one-bedroom suite and expansive lake view. "People who come here enjoy it because it's very comfortable." He speaks highly of the building's accommodating management.
22. Bradley Building
1220 W. Sixth St.
The basics: The Bradley Building may not have a fitness center, but many of its 37 suites are large enough for residents to do cartwheels across the floor. An average two-bedroom suite offers 2,000 to 2,200 square feet of space with exposed brick, ductwork and wooden beams. Every unit comes with a washer/ dryer and has either hardwood floors or carpet. Many suites also feature a fireplace. Parking in the adjacent garage costs $150 per month for a 24-hour space, or $85 for evenings and weekends only. Twenty-four-hour rooftop parking costs $80 per month. Declawed adult cats are permitted in suites without carpeting; the pet deposit varies according to suite size. No kittens.
What's unique: Completed in 1886, the Bradley Building retains many historic architectural features, giving each unit a few unexpected quirks. In the suite we visited, the enormous wheel of the former elevator shaft hangs above what is now a guest bedroom. The Bradley Building also houses Cabaret Dada, Cafe Van Gogh and Fusion Tapas & Martinis.
A resident says: "The space just sort of blew me away," recalls Nicole Hirsh. The Bradley Building offers many of the features most important to Hirsh and her fiance, including plenty of storage space and windows in both bedrooms. "Every room gets natural light, which is so important to me," she adds. "I feel like it's a house, not just a cubbyhole where I put my stuff. The only thing now is we need more furniture."
23. Bridgeview Apartments
1300 W. Ninth St.
(216) 781-8510, ext. 226
The basics: Stepping into Bridgeview's enormous common area, it's easy to imagine that it was once a grocery storage warehouse. Apartments on floors five through seven overlook an atrium, while other units are tucked discreetly into the building's labyrinthine floor plan. The complex, which is actually five interconnected buildings, contains so many hidden doors and passageways that the fitness center, restaurant, hair salon, art gallery and clothing boutique aren't immediately apparent. But they're in there, as are dry-cleaning services and three laundry rooms. Many of Bridgeview's 247 suites also feature hookups for washer/dryers, which may be rented for $50 per month. Underground parking costs $105 per month. Cats and select dog breeds are permitted for double the standard deposit and $25 per month.
What's unique: Bridgeview sits on a hill connecting the Warehouse District to the Flats, so it's possible to access the higher floors without a long elevator ride. The multilevel construction also makes for a variety of city views.
A resident says: "What struck me is the look of the interior -- the common area, but also the individual apartments," says David Mills, whose suite boasts exposed ductwork, brick and a sunken living room. "I liked the fact that the room layouts were different. I didn't feel like I was living in a hotel," he says.
24. Crittenden Court
955 W. St. Clair Ave.
The basics: Crittenden Court is proof positive that quality and affordability can coexist downtown. With 17 floors and a beauty salon, this high-rise has the feel of a well-kept metropolitan hotel. The 208 carpeted suites contain light wood finishes, washer/dryer hookups and ample closet space. The kitchens are smallish, but they're fully equipped with modern appliances. Laundry and fitness rooms are also on-site, and dry-cleaning service is available. Attached, covered parking costs $50 per month. Cats are welcome for no additional deposit.
What's unique: Crittenden Court was constructed in 1995, so it features some pleasantries you won't find in older buildings. The windows open all the way, which is not always standard in other downtown apartments. But the real treat is the view you get from those windows: skyscrapers, bridges, a bird's-eye view of the Flats -- even the murky Cuyahoga River looks lovely from 17 stories up.
A resident says: "It's a new building and definitely looks very, very appealing from the street. And also, the interior is nice," says Douglas Younger III, who was signing his lease on the day we stopped by for a tour. "For someone my age, this is a very exciting place to live ? very exciting for individuals that are hard workers but also like to enjoy life." According to Younger, Crittenden offers something for everyone. "I would definitely highly recommend it," he says.
25. The Cloak Factory
635 W. Lakeside Ave.
The basics: The Cloak Factory incorporates contemporary amenities into the building's vintage architecture without making the updates seem forced. The exposed brick, wood and ductwork have all been refurbished, and an old elevator shaft is now a cozy nook in many suites. Each of the 21 units features hardwood floors, granite kitchen and bathroom countertops, multiple ceiling fans and walk-in closets. There is also a washer/dryer in each suite, and some possess a balcony. Parking in the attached garage costs $150 per month for a 24-hour space, or $85 for evenings and weekends only. Rooftop parking costs $80 for a 24-hour space. Small dogs and declawed cats are permitted; the pet deposit varies according to suite size.
What's unique: Instead of the traditional living- and dining-room areas, each unit has a great room that allows residents to customize their own floor plan. It's probably wise to save at least one couch for the hearth area; there's a marble fireplace in every suite.
A resident says: "It's upscale," observes Maggie Hesse. "It's quiet, and people are so courteous and friendly." This geniality puts Hesse at ease. "Everybody watches out for you," she says.
26. The Hat Factory
1235 W. Sixth St.
The basics: Exposed brickwork and timeworn wooden columns add charm to the common areas and 33 suites of this intimate, charismatic building. The Hat Factory emphasizes cleanliness and high-quality basics rather than lavish amenities. Each suite comes with a washer/dryer, ample closet space and a storage locker on the lower level. This is not to say the units lack personality. The one we visited had a multilevel living-/dining-room area and bedroom, exposed brick and ductwork, and large windows. The wooden columns add extra flair to some rooms, but they also can be a nuisance in the kitchen. Declawed cats are welcome for no additional deposit. Parking in the nearby garage costs $80 per month.
What's unique: Renovated in 1987, The Hat Factory was one of the first buildings in the Warehouse District to be converted for residential use. It's also one of the smallest apartment houses in all of downtown.
A resident says: According to Marty Elson, The Hat Factory's smallness is one of its best assets. "You're not walking through hallways. You're not bumping into 100,000 tenants a day," he says. "And the few people you bump into, you get to know."
27. Marshall Place Apartments
1211 W. Ninth St.
The basics: If you don't have tickets to the Browns game, the next best thing may be to watch it from one of Marshall Place's 41 suites, preferably one with a balcony overlooking the stadium for that "virtually there" feeling. Another alternative would be throwing a Dawg Pound bash in the building's furnished community room. Other amenities include a fitness center and laundry facilities. In-suite washer/dryers are available for $40 per month. Most residents arrange to park in one of the several adjacent garages or lots.
What's unique: Private balconies are fairly rare in downtown's older buildings, but Marshall Place offers four suites with balconies and eight with decks.
A resident says: "It's almost impossible to find apartments with some type of deck," says Greg Cekada, who enjoys watching Browns and Indians games on the television he installed over his balcony. "That definitely sold me on this place. It's just great to have a deck."
28. National Terminal Warehouse Apartments
1215 W. 10th St.
The basics: Mammoth. Colossal. Large and in charge. However you put it, National Terminal is one huge building. It's big enough to house 249 carpeted units, two laundry rooms, a guest suite and a fitness facility. With 96 different layouts, these apartments offer enough variety to satisfy even the choosiest of residents. Some suites also feature a private balcony, and select 10th-floor units offer skylights that open. And just in case you forget where you are, conspicuous signs blaring the name "National" illuminate the hallways. The prime lake views from the expansive rooftop patio also make quite an impression. There's even a restroom up there. Cats are welcome for a $150 nonrefundable deposit, and management will even feed Fluffy when you're out of town. Parking costs $80 per month in the attached garage or $65 in the lot. Rent covers all utilities except electricity and phone. Dry-cleaning service is available.
What's unique: National Terminal used to be a refrigeration house for food-service companies. To keep the place cold, the company bought steam from the city. Today, the red and yellow steam engines that once chilled the building are nestled in a second-story room. Residents who come downstairs to use the vending machines can get a peek into the past.
A resident says: According to Kristen Barr, National Terminal's No. 1 asset is its professional, courteous staff. "In an impersonal world, it makes at least your living accommodations personal," she says. "If you have any problems, they respond quickly." Barr adds that she also appreciates the nightly security patrol: "For a young woman, it's nice to have that security."
29. Perry-Payne Building
740 W. Superior Ave.
The basics: The design and amenities of this building didn't knock our socks off, but Perry-Payne is still a clean, quiet, well-maintained place to call home. The lobby is attractive, with a marble floor and bright modern art adding a splash of color to the walls. There's also a small rooftop deck with wooden picnic furniture; it's not the best view in town, but it's a low-key way to get some fresh air and catch a glimpse of Lake Erie. Other features include a laundry room and small fitness room in the basement, package delivery and 24-hour, on-site maintenance. As for the 93 suites, the single-occupancy unit we visited was long and narrow with exposed ductwork and a quaint little kitchen. Because of Perry-Payne's location at the edge of the Warehouse District, there are a variety of river and bridge views. Parking in the gated lot costs $100 per month.
What's unique: In addition to cats and lap dogs, Perry-Payne welcomes most large pooches. There is a $25 per month fee for pets.
A resident says: Linda Gopalakrishnan, 24, is living on her own for the first time in a comfortable studio loft. "It's small, but I don't consider it small and contained. I consider it cozy," she says.
30. Water Street Apartments
1133 W. Ninth St.
The basics: Water Street's management is constantly on its toes, updating the flooring and slapping on fresh coats of paint in the common areas. Today, the entryway showcases wooden walls and gorgeous color photographs of the city. The 100 carpeted suites offer open floor plans and boast high ceilings, exposed ductwork and walk-in closets. The building also houses a fitness room. In the first-floor laundry room, washers and dryers work on a prepaid card rather than quarters. A dry-cleaning service is also available. Outdoor parking costs $100 per month. Cats and most dogs are welcome for a deposit of one month's rent and a monthly fee.
What's unique: Perched on the northern edge of the Warehouse District, Water Street offers some impressive lake views and hassle-free access to the highway.
A resident says: "It very much reminds me of a hotel," says Melody Thomas, who lives and works in the building. Thomas enjoys Water Street's neutral decor and absence of trendy metal appliances. "It's very simple. There are no crazy, modern colors. It's just very simple," she says.
31. Worthington Square Apartments
844 St. Clair Ave.
The basics: Worthington Square has just the amount of character one would expect from a historic building. The 53 apartment units feature aged pillars and exposed white brick, both of which are rustic but not dilapidated. Open ceilings and exposed ductwork, pipes and wood beams add further charm to the carpeted lofts. The suites are also heavy on modern amenities, with electric kitchen appliances and track lighting. There's a laundry room on each floor, and a dry-cleaning service is available. In addition, the first floor houses a small fitness room. Parking in the adjacent lot costs $75 per month.
What's unique: Worthington Square is adjacent to Surroundings Home Decor, which is great for picking up last-minute birthday gifts. D'vine Wine Bar is also in the complex, so there's no need to panic when unexpected company drops by. "I'm attached to a wine bar. That's never a bad thing," jokes resident Emily Smayda.
A resident says: "The big selling point is the closet space in this building. It's amazing," Smayda says. Her closet runs the length of the bedroom and came with installed shelves. "It's so organized. Everything has its place." In addition to ample storage space, Worthington Square residents also receive a free Nautica Entertainment Complex Platinum Card for discounts at local hot spots.
32. Bingham Building
1278 W. Ninth St.
Expected to open: Fall 2004
The Bingham Building, an eight-story, brick building on the West Ninth Street side and 12 stories high downhill at West 10th, will be home to 340 upscale apartments, a fitness room, community room and sun decks. There will also be a moderate-size grocery store on-site. Indoor parking will be available.
2. Erie Building Condominiums
1260 W. Fourth St.
Expected to open: Spring 2004
This intimate building houses 19 loft condos, each with a gas stove and fireplace, stainless-steel kitchen appliances and exposed stainless-steel ductwork. The suites, which range from one to three bedrooms and 1,050 to 2,200 square feet, will also feature hardwood floors in the common areas, ceramic tile in the bathrooms and carpeted bedrooms. In addition, residents may custom-design their space. Feel like knocking out a wall? That can be arranged. Sixth-floor units also have roof decks. Erie Building condos cost $177,000 to $460,000; ask about the 12-year tiered tax abatement program. An on-site garage and lot parking are available.
3. Grand Arcade Condominiums
408 W. St. Clair Ave.
The Grand Arcade Building has had its share of extreme makeovers. Built in the mid-19th century, the building was renovated for apartments in the early 1990s. Those suites were converted into 82 condos beginning in 1999, and now the final units are being snatched up. Available units range from 500 to 1,800 square feet and sell for $79,900 to $259,900. The building offers high ceilings, laundry on each floor and a fitness center. Some suites contain the original white-pine floors from the 1800s. Dogs and cats are welcome. Maintenance fees range from $130 to $400, and a partial tax abatement is available. Parking spaces in the lot across the street go for $100 per month.
4. Kirkham Place
1405 W. 10th St.
Built in 1997, Kirkham Place contains six townhouses. Each is four stories high and has a two-story living room, a roof deck overlooking the Cuyahoga River and private garage space. The cost is $459,000 for two bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. Because these are "fee-simple" townhouses, there is no additional maintenance fee. A tax abatement is available until 2012.
5. Pinnacle Building (coming soon)
701 W. Lakeside Ave.
Expected to open: January 2005
This brand-new construction houses 40 condos, as well as commercial space on the ground floor. Units will contain two or three bedrooms and two to 3 1/2 bathrooms. Each suite in this 13-story, Floridian-inspired building will also come with a terrace and two garage spaces. Prices start at $330,000 and go up to $1.3 million, with monthly maintenance fees at or below $275. A 15-year tax abatement and reduced-rate financing are available.
6. Rockwell Building Condominiums
1403 E. Sixth St.
Expected to open: Spring 2004
For this luxury condo project, two stories are being added to the old Channel 3 building to create a total of 51 units. Each suite will contain one to three bedrooms and 1 1/2 to three bathrooms. Prices for these homes range from the $230,000s to $1 million, with additional monthly maintenance fees of $550 to $750. Each unit comes with one garage parking space; additional spaces available for $100 per month. Owners pay most of their own utilities, but there is a 12-year tax abatement.