skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
playlist_play chevron_left

Hey Shaker Podcast Episodes

What’s Next For the Van Aken District?

HeyShaker February 18, 2020 5

share close

What shops or restaurants are opening? What’s the next phase of development? Are we building anymore buildings? Find out on today’s episode with RMS, the developer’s behind The Van Aken District.

Brad Owens (00:00):
Former guests on the podcast. Picnic Hill market cafe, has a big announcement to make March 7th they are going to start offering brunch. So come on out. Join us March 7th for their brunch. Now if you’re curious what they’re gonna have for you, check this out. First bread pudding pancakes. That’s pancakes made with bread pudding batter. Yummy. They’ll have a bird of paradise, which they are taking the traditional chicken and waffles and they’re putting fruit compote on top. So then they’ll have a Thanksgiving waffle, which is a waffle made with dressing. You know the dress and you get on Thanksgiving, it’s going to have sliced roast Turkey on top. Homemade gravy and cranberry maple syrup. Oh my goodness. Sounds amazing. And then my probably my favorite and my GoTo is going to be the oatmeal Brulee. It’s creamy oatmeal that has got Brulee sugar on top. Yes, please. Okay, so for drinks, you know they’re going to have champagne, it’s brunch. So we’ve got mimosas with orange juice, we’ve got Bellinis with white peach juice. And then we’ve got miss T’s, whiskey milk punch. That’s new Orleans style. It’s got milk punch with nutmeg. And powdered sugar and if you come March 7th you’re going to listen to Barbara Barrett is some live music. She’s going to sing live classical, live jazz. They’ll have you covered, so come on out. March 7th for brunch starting to Picnic Hill Market cafe. We’ll see you there.

Julie Kauffman (01:09):
Hey shaker, my name is Julie Kauffman. I love Shaker Heights because every day I talk to new cool people.

Brad Owens (01:36):
Hey Shaker, welcome to the first and only podcast bringing you what’s happening in Shaker Heights. I’m your host Brad Owens and with me is your other host,

Jenny Owens (01:45):
Jenny Owens.

New Speaker (01:46):
and in this episode today we are going to start off with just a real quick update from one of the members of our community.

Lisa Vahey (01:53):
Hello shaker neighbors. My name is Lisa Vahey and I’m working with other neighbors and we are very excited to welcome racial justice educator and author Debbie Irving to shake her on March 11th she’ll be at the Atlas theater at 7:00 PM and the event is free thanks to our generous sponsors. If you’re interested in connecting with others, deepening your learning about racial equity and considering actions that you can take to make Shaker a stronger beloved community for all. We hope you’ll join us. Registration info is available at the , all lower case. Also check the neighborhood Facebook pages for updates that we’ll be providing between now and March 11th. Hope to see you 7:00 PM to connect with Debbie Irving.

Speaker 3 (02:47):
[Inaudib Le].

Jenny Owens (02:47):
Hey Brad.

Brad Owens (02:48):
Yes, Jenny.

Jenny Owens (02:50):
So Van Aken district is great.

Brad Owens (02:52):

Jenny Owens (02:53):
But there’s still a couple empty spots.

Brad Owens (02:55):
Right? There’s big ones,

Jenny Owens (02:57):
Right? And I’m really curious when the Shushi place is going in. Can you tell me more?

Brad Owens (03:02):
Yes. Guess what? I had Mackenzie Makepeace. Who’s the director of development for RMS, Sit down with me and tell me exactly when these things are coming, what they’re going to do with these empty lots and what comes next. I’m excited. Let’s listen in. All right, Shaker, we get a lot of questions here at the Hey Shaker podcast. If you haven’t already, go to Send us an email, but we get a lot of questions on what’s going down with Van Aken? Well, we have sought out what’s going on with Van Aken and I’ve got the director of development here, Mackenzie Makepeace and she’s going to answer a few of the questions that you all have and maybe go in a little detail that we haven’t already talked about, but hello, welcome.

Mackenzie Makepeace (03:41):
Hi. Thanks for having me on!

Brad Owens (03:42):
Yeah, just the first time. You’re going to be on here lots of times if you can get in as many questions. So how is development going with Van Aken? Are we on track where you want it to be or things slower than you want it to be? I mean, obviously we can all look control, we can control, but where do you, how do you feel about where we’re shaping up now?

Mackenzie Makepeace (03:59):
Yeah, so I guess I can only speak for myself, but I’ll I think that we’re really happy where we are. You know, this was something really new for the city of shaker. And all of us really believed in what we were doing in terms of the first phase of development, but we had nothing to compare ourselves to. And so I think you know, at least in terms of our team, we feel like we’ve created a really great success that we can build upon. So when we refer to the first phase of the the Van Aken District we think about three buildings the, what we call parcel a, which is the apartment building with the ground floor retail. And then what we call parcel C, which is the Market Hall building that, you know, everyone has come to love. And the office building with the garage on the back again with ground floor retail and then what we call parcel B, which are the glass buildings that face Farnsleigh where Sawyers is. And so that’s, we’re still in the process of kind of wrapping that up, but it’s great that all the buildings have topped off, that we have tenants in all of the buildings. We still have some leasing to do, which I’m sure we’ll cover later in the podcast, but you know, phase one was thought of to be a standalone phase if it needed to be. So if we didn’t see the kind of demand that you know, would, would push us to kind of build on what we’ve already created it would be great. It has retail, it has places to live. It has, you know, a place for people to work. It’s connected to the RTA. Uso we felt like if, if we all we could do is phase one, we wanted it to be a great standalone project and I think that’s what it has been. But luckily with,uthe success of the office, the retail and,uespecially the apartments, we feel really great about moving on to additional projects. Uand so, you know,uour, our most immediate next phase will be,uhopefully across the street across Farnsleigh. On what we call the Farnsleigh parking lot. So,uit’s,uadjacent to the golf course,uan existing co,ucondo building and,uthe Ohio savings bank. Ubut there are a couple of other parcels that, that we’re eyeing to continue the growth that we’ve created.

Brad Owens (06:15):
Perfect. All right. We’ll leave that as a tease then cause we’ll get to phase two, but we gotta make sure we close down phase one. So what is left to come? I mean, there’s a couple of difference that you mentioned. The glass budding besides Sawyer’s, there’s still that one that’s boarded up there on the corner of Farnsleigh. What do we have coming? What do we have to look forward to?

Mackenzie Makepeace (06:31):
Yeah, so if we start with the, the, I guess the most barricade would be on the, the Walker street. So people are familiar with Cleveland clothing and then right now there’s kind of this unattractive blue barricade and we’re really excited to be able to put glass line in there. So that space is about 8,000 square feet and it’s going to be coworking space. So we’re working with coworking operators out of Pittsburgh called the beauty shop. They currently have a location in Ohio city. This will be their second location in Cleveland. The space will not be branded the beauty shop, but it will be the same operators. So we really worked with them to try to create a design that catered towards the, the shaker Heights client and we’re really excited with, with what they came up with. Um,they’re currently working with contractors to,uget this, the construction started. So we’re a couple months away. Uand uwe will soon have, you know, a great glass line in there and a really cool coworking option for residents. Uwhich I think is going to just be something really unique to Van Aken. So we have the, the places to go to lunch. We have all of the cool retail, we have the great service providers here. But,ua lot of people in shaker either work remotely all the time or a couple of days a week and to have,usomewhere outside of the market hall and really like nature’s Oasis has become the, I think the defacto a coworking space, but to have somewhere where you could have like a real private meeting or uquiet call will be a cool,

Brad Owens (08:10):
Yeah. Our Nature’s Oasis, our recording studio away from home, that’s where we’re like 90% of these are done. That’s incredible. Okay, so you say a couple of months away, so people will have leases, may be coming up the end of the summer, fall that are going to expire then hold off. Let’s see if we can get them down here in the Van Aken District, maybe?.

Mackenzie Makepeace (08:27):
Yes, that would be great. So we’re hoping to put up some contact information relatively soon on Walker. And just keep your eyes peeled. So if we move kind of across to the glass building, so the building that Sawyers is in and that stump is in you’ll notice if you come to the district a lot that the barricade for the upstairs portion of Sawyers has been removed and that there is now glass there. So that is going be a rooftop wine bar and it should be opening here towards the beginning of spring. And I think that’s going to be kind of a, a really unique patio experience that we really don’t have on the East side. So when it opens, come out and check it out it will be associated with Sawyers. So it’ll be its kind of own feel, but you’ll be able to get food from Sawyers, which is always great. And then kind of across from the rooftop bar and from Sawyers, like right down from stump, we have a, a kind of a mirror of the space. And so that is kind of our last premier restaurant space. So we know that we want that to be food and beverage. And we’ve talked to a number of people and we have a couple of good prospects. So we’re hoping that we can announce something hopefully in the first half of this year of who’s going to be coming in there. So we’ve been listening to all of the feedback from the community. We know you want something you know that, that will really help round out the experience there and we’re listening to you.

Brad Owens (10:09):
That’s exciting. You’re going to save me a permanent spot on the wine bar roof. Okay. Little known fact. I actually proposed to my wife on a roof in downtown Cleveland that does the exact same thing. So yeah, I will have to have a permanent space.

Mackenzie Makepeace (10:21):
Okay, we’ll get you an honorary seat.

Brad Owens (10:23):
Done. Yeah. I will sponsor it. Yes. I want it. All right. That’s awesome. What’s left with market hall? What do we have going on? Yeah.

Mackenzie Makepeace (10:31):
So though I guess the space that everyone is aware of that hasn’t opened yet, that I think there’s the most excitement about is the Domo yakitori and sushi space. So we’re under construction there and we’re really pushing to get that open by the end of the winter. Carmen who’s the proprietor is awesome. And I personally am extremely excited. I love sushi. And it’s just great to have some additional mix. I think we’ve done a really great job of trying to curate the best of local in there and he’s, he is the best of local. We have are starting to push the idea of potentially a pizza stall. So I know that that is something that everyone is excited about. And it will be a nice fast option, good for families. And then we have some really interesting best of local that is interested in the Cleveland old Cleveland flea space. So adjacent to Domo we have some deals in the works that’ll help round out the market hall.

Brad Owens (11:42):
It’s gonna be really fun.

Mackenzie Makepeace (11:42):
And then I think you know, the other interesting thing that we’re planning on building is a pop up opportunity. So right now we’ve had a lot of like hard and soft good pop up in the market hall, especially over the holidays. But we are limited in what we can do in terms of food and beverage popups just because of health codes. So we’re working on building the stall between chutney B and on the rise as a pop up opportunity for food and beverage. Oh, how cool. Yeah. So it’ll be great to add, you know, that variety on a consistent basis.

Brad Owens (12:18):
Yeah, that’d be fun. All right, so that covers all of our ground floor opportunities. Oh, we got more.

Mackenzie Makepeace (12:23):
So I’m on the corner of Farnsleigh and Warrensville. So if we move kind of to that, to the edge of the development towards Warrensville, there is still barricade up and we’re negotiating with tenants there and are really hoping that beginning of this year we can, we can make some announcements there too. Again, that’ll allow us to kind of take down some of the final barricades up on the project and put in that glass and it, it’ll really help welcome the community in on the Farnsleigh/Warrensville side of the project. So it’s great to have brassica kind of anchoring the new development on the Warrensville/Mead side, but to, to kind of, when you’re coming down, be able to see glass instead of barricade is going to be really impressive. I think

Brad Owens (13:10):
That takes care of all the ground floor. How about let’s work our way up now. So we’ve got the upstairs apartment building. Oh, how’s that looking?

Mackenzie Makepeace (13:17):
Yeah, upstairs is, is crushing it. We’re so excited about the demand that we’ve had for new apartments on site and we just think that it adds so much vibrancy to have people living here full time. We, we leased up sooner than we expected and we’ve stayed very leased. So yeah, we’re, we’re pretty much full. We have some, you know, potential leases coming up in the spring, but we stay effectively full. So if you’re interested in an apartment go and get on the wait list now.

Brad Owens (13:49):
Goodness, that’s crazy. How about office space then? How are we looking with getting all this filled?

Mackenzie Makepeace (13:53):
Yeah. So we’re, I’m about 95% full in our office, which is great. And we have two small spaces that are left. We have one on the third floor that’s 2,500 square feet and one yeah. And one on the second floor that’s slightly smaller than that. So while they’re limited, they would be a great space for, you know, a smaller office and again, get to take advantage of all the benefits of the district.

Brad Owens (14:16):
Yeah. And if I had a business like that I’d be in there in a heartbeat. Yeah. That’s perfect. Well, awesome. Well, what else do we have to look forward to? That kind of covers everything I think people had questions on. Is there anything else that we need to know about?

Mackenzie Makepeace (14:27):
Yeah, I think the other thing that we’re trying to do is really work with the city of shaker and the RTA to make the experience at the train station better and to really make sure that the shaker Plaza feels like it’s a part of the whole district, which it is. So we have a lot of new retailers over at Shaker Plaza. Like around the table yarns. There are not that new anymore. They’re pretty established, but woof gang bakery to, to name a couple. And so we have two new tenants that will be opening over there relatively soon, a clique nails and Cilantro Taqueria. And a couple of vacant spaces there that we’re looking to lease up. So we’ll be working on that this year. But again, shaker Plaza is, is a part of our district and we’re really excited to add a new tenant mix over there and to you know, kind of work on this connection between the new development and the Plaza.

Brad Owens (15:26):
So. Awesome. All right. Phase one out of the way, phase two, you said we’ve got ideas for phase two. What does phase two of Van Aken District look like?

Mackenzie Makepeace (15:34):
Yes. So as I kind of teased earlier, phase two as I look at it is really the Farnsleigh lot. And so we’re, we’re really excited about what happened at upstairs and how quickly we were able to lease up and how much you know, demand there was for, for apartment units at the Van Aken District. So we’re really focused on adding more residential density across the street. So right now we’re in the very beginning stages of planning apartments over on the Farnsleigh` parking lot. And we think this will do is obviously create more options for people who want to live at the district, but simultaneously it’ll create more activity in the district. So having people living here creates that kind of 18 hour feel. So I don’t think we’re really going for the New York 24 hour activity, but to have people waking up here early in the morning enjoying a class at groove ride, getting a drink at restore or at rising star and nature’s Oasis and really starting their morning here as a resident and kind of coming home and having all of these great food and beverage and retail opportunities just across the street and at their fingertips is gonna really help our retailers and also help the community feel more vibrant. The great part about the Farnsleigh lot is that it has awesome views of the golf course, but then also views into what we’ve already created. So there’s going to be really no bad view in this building. And the other unique part about Farnsleigh is that a shaker Heights as we know is called the Heights because it sits higher than the city. So you get really unique views and we have those right now at upstairs, but we’ll be able to offer more of that with more apartments.

Brad Owens (17:26):
Yeah. How high is that planning to go? How many floors?

Mackenzie Makepeace (17:29):
So we’re still we’re still kind of in the planning mode, but we should be able to share more soon.

Brad Owens (17:35):
Cool. Yeah. All right. And that, is that going to be ground floor retail as well? Are we going to do 100% apartments?

Mackenzie Makepeace (17:40):
So right now we’re thinking that it’s going to be majority apartments. I think we haven’t rolled out ground floor retail. We definitely want to make sure that the first floor feels activated. So you, you know, you don’t feel like you’re walking in, you’re just passing a parking garage or something like that. But we feel like we have a lot of retail concentrated here and we want to make sure that we ever aren’t oversaturating we also have more ground floor retail plan for kind of the, the South parcel. So the hard corner of Warrensville and chagrin would ultimately be a phase that had ground floor retail.

Brad Owens (18:17):
All right, well there you have it. Everybody you had questions, we got answers for you. So Mackenzie, thanks so much for taking time out and filling us in on what’s going on.

Brad Owens (18:27):
Thanks Mackenzie. That was great. I know that answered a lot of people’s questions.

Jenny Owens (18:30):
And thank you to our sponsor picnic Hill market cafe, whose brunch service is starting on March 7th the brunch menu features delicious options like a Thanksgiving waffle, which is a waffle made with dressing topped with Turkey breast, homemade gravy and cranberry maple syrup. Yum. They also have an oatmeal Brulee, which is genius. It’s oatmeal with that Brulee sugar top on it so you get to crack it sounds amazing. They’ve got a bird of paradise, which is chicken and waffles with a fruit compote on top and also a bread pudding pancake. Just pancakes made with bread pudding batter. This all sounds amazing. To drink, they have Mimosas, they’ve got Bellinis, they’ve got whiskey milk punch, which is a new Orleans style milk punch with nutmeg and powdered sugar and when they kick off again, that’s March 7th they’re going to have live music. They’re going to have live classical dig and have live jazz. Barbara Barrett is going to be there singing. This is going to be amazing. I cannot wait to go down and check it out. Starting March 7th at picnic Hill market cafe.

Brad Owens (19:21):
Yep. And thank you for listening. You can subscribe to future episodes in your favorite podcast app of choice,

Jenny Owens (19:27):
or you can always find episodes on our website that’s at, on Heyy shaker. You can also continue the conversation with your shaker neighbors in the comment section of each episode. .

Brad Owens (19:36):
And you know, we’re everywhere. So find us on Instagram. We’re out on Facebook, we’re just at HeyShaker.

Jenny Owens (19:42):
We want to hear from you. Do you have an upcoming event that you want to highlight? Do you have a story idea? Do you have follow up comments on any of our previous episodes? Shoot us an email at

Brad Owens (19:53):
So until next time, I’m Brad Owens and.

Jenny Owens (19:55):
I’m Jenny Owens.

Brad Owens (19:55):
and this has been the Hey Shaker Podcast letting you know what’s happening.

Jenny Owens (19:58):
in Shaker Heights.

Tagged as: .

Rate it
Previous episode

Post comments

This post currently has no comments.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.