Developer sees buzz building for development plans around former Eastlake school sites

The buzz in regard to what’s in store for the former Washington Elementary and Taft Elementary school buildings in Eastlake has been beyond anything expected.

That’s the view of Mark Holz, owner of Frontier Land Group, the project’s developer.

Frontier Land Group was the winning bidder for the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools’ Washington and Taft sites when they were auctioned off last year.

“We knew all along we were going to try to develop them into single-family home subdivisions and we began our internal process of laying out a site plan, and talking to different builders we work with,” Holz said. “It’s a great opportunity to have a newer development (the community) can be proud of.”

The projects at Washington and Taft will be built by Ryan Homes.

At both sites, the asbestos remediation and the demolition of the existing structures have been completed, with the parking lots remaining, Holz said. The environmental cleanup has also been completed at both sites.

The Washington Elementary site, which will be called Washington Place, is the first being focused on. It is currently in the engineering design phase

“Polaris Engineering & Surveying, Inc. has completed the design work and the plans have been submitted to all of the various agencies for approval — the City of Eastlake, Lake County Salt and Water, the Ohio EPA,” Holz said. “We are awaiting comments back at which point we will incorporate those comments and submit for final approval.

“We hope to break ground sometime in the next one to two months.”

The Washington site will be a 33-lot, single-family subdivision, Holz said. The plan is to have pavement installed by Thanksgiving. Once that is completed, Ryan Homes will begin construction on the model.

“We anticipate the model opening for sale sometime toward the end of the year or beginning of 2022,” Holz said.

Once the final approvals for Washington are received, design work will begin on the Taft site, which will be called Taft Commons and will be a 29-lot, single-family subdivision.

“We will submit those to the various agencies and be in a position to break ground at Taft in the spring of 2022 with a pave and model opening sometime in the summer of 2022,” Holz said.

Ryan Homes plans to do both a two-story home and a ranch, Holz said. The ranch will start at 1,400 square feet and the single-family homes will be between 1,800 to 2,200 square feet. Houses are expected to cost around $200,000 to $250,000.

“There will be a home owners association at both sites and the buyers can do their customization in terms of bump out patios, stone fronts, rear porches and things like that,” Holz said.

“Between the two sites, we’ve received probably five times as many inquires on this development as we have on any of our other developments in the area. The enthusiasm has been through the roof,” Holz said. “It’s testimony to the pride that people in Eastlake take in their community and that there has not been a sizable, new development in Eastlake in many years. People are excited about that.”

Eastlake’s last new home site dates back to the 1990s, said Mayor Dennis Morley.

“This is good for the city, especially in the areas where the schools are — Longfellow and North,” Morley said. “It’ll be an opportunity for the kids who move into the neighborhood.”

Holz said the projects will appeal to both an older couple who has raised their family in Eastlake and someone young starting a family.

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