Half a dozen residents attended the council meeting Monday night to voice objections to allowing more stand-alone restaurants and hotels on Chagrin Boulevard.
Developer Scott Berkowitz presented to council a tentative plan for an Aloft — a “lifestyle” hotel chain operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. that is also being developed at Cleveland's The Flats — at Signature Square.
Residents of Halburton Road, which is adjacent to Signature Square, said that crime and traffic could become problems if this or other hotels are built in the area.
“We bought a house on Halburton because it was a very residential street,” said Karen Tindel. “Continuing to develop that will change the landscape of our neighborhood. It will not seem as residential. There will be increases of traffic, increases of noise.”
Halburton Road resident David Ashpis said he worries that the hotel will not live up to developers’ — and the city’s — hopes. “Their predictions are about to be wrong, and then the city and the residents of the city end up holding the bag.
“For example, the Pavilion mall rezoning was promised as a savior of the original Pavilion Mall. It didn’t happen. It was a failure even before the financial crisis, and it can happen similarly with this hotel.”
Eric Bell of Goldberg Properties, which owns the Signature Square parcel at the corner of Chagrin Boulevard and Richmond Road, said that he came to the city hoping for a zoning exemption to put the hotel and two high-end restaurants there.
As previously reported, City Council is considering lifting the zoning restrictions that prohibit stand-alone restaurants and hotels on much of Chagrin Boulevard. A public hearing about the proposed zoning changes is scheduled for the Aug. 15 council meeting.
If the zoning changes are approved and Aloft is developed, the hotel would be a four-story, 70,000-square-foot building with 135 rooms on the eastern edge of the Signature Square property. Bell hopes to develop two stand-alone restaurants – with space totaling about 17,000 square feet – on the land with the hotel.
Beachwood approved Goldberg Properties' plans for five office buildings at Signature Square in the early 1980s, but only two were built. The western and eastern edges remain undeveloped today.
The City of Beachwood approved a plan in 1997 for a 120,000-square-foot office building on these easternmost six acres of Signature Square that was never built. Bell said Monday that there is not a demand for office space in Beachwood like there was 15 years ago.
Goldberg Properties also owns Chagrin Plaza, Enterprise Place and the Pavilion Office Building in Beachwood.