Trailblazing partnership yields new TOD in Cleveland neighborhood

By Maria Walliser-Wejebe, GOPC Project Associate

Rendering of Aspen Place, a multi-family affordable housing development in Detroit Shoreway

Rendering of Aspen Place, a multi-family affordable housing development in Detroit Shoreway

There are several reasons to be excited over the rollout of Aspen Place, the new multifamily housing development that will bring future residents of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood in Cleveland greater mobility options while maintaining affordability. Developed, owned, and operated by the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Aspen Place is an example of transit-oriented development which capitalized on neighborhood assets and took advantage of innovative partnerships.

In a trailblazing partnership, DSCDO and Greater Cleveland RTA have joined forces to make this project a reality: DSCDO purchased the development site from RTA; entered into a parking agreement with the authority, and are currently negotiating a per-unit purchase of RTA transit passes, one of the first between RTA and a residential property owner.  While DSCDO has completed multiple development projects in the neighborhood, Aspen Place represents the DSCDO’s first investment on Lorain Avenue. The 100% affordable project will provide 40 units ranging from one to four bedrooms.

The project follows the model of Transit-Oriented Development, a growing trend in creating vibrant and sustainable communities which leverage access to high-quality transit. Located on Lorain Ave, Aspen Place is immediately adjacent to the RTA Red Line W. 65th Street Rapid Transit Station, and is serviced by the Lorain Avenue bus line. Aspen Place is also part of the Detroit Shoreway EcoVillage project, ensuring high standards in energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, and accessibility, meeting Enterprise Green Communities criteria. The EcoVillage project also aims to provide environmentally conscious, pedestrian-friendly design in all new development.

The variety of transportation options adjacent to the site will reduce commuting costs and expand mobility options for the future residents of Aspen Place, making this TOD model especially impactful for seniors and working class families who might not be able to afford car ownership. Adjacency to transit also allowed the project to reduce the amount of parking spaces required for the development, a feat which would have proved impossible on the one-acre lot without reducing the total number of units. The additional partnership with GCRTA to provide passes for each of the units for the full term of low-income housing tax credit equity will provide true affordability for future residents by reducing the combined burden of housing and transportation costs on household budgets. Together with the fact that this project represents infill redevelopment on previously vacant land, Aspen Place is a perfect example of small-scale TOD in an urban neighborhood.

Aspen Place was financed through funding from Enterprise Community Partners, KeyBank, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and the Finance Fund. DSCDO hopes the development of Aspen Place will anchor revitalization efforts along Lorain Avenue, while providing options for long-term affordability in the neighborhood.

See current construction and shots of the apartment interiors in the gallery bellow. The grand opening of Aspen Place is scheduled for Spring of 2019, check the Detroit Shoreway CDO website for more info.

See GOPC six-part series Getting Ohio to Work: Reaching Opportunity through Public Transportation here. To read more about GOPC research and advocacy on the need for transit statewide, visit