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New Apartments Planned for Cargominium Site

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Apartments Planned for Cargominium SiteThe new building planned for 1562 Old Leonard Ave. Rendering by KO Builders.
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A new building will soon be rising on the site of the recently-demolished Cargominium project on Old Leonard Avenue.

Opportunity Zone Development Group has formed a joint venture partnership with the nonprofit organization Nothing into Something Real Estate (NISRE) to develop the site, and the team is now moving forward on a different design using different materials.

The new 13,600-square-foot building will be constructed using insulating concrete form (ICF), and will hold ten 5-bedroom units as well as office space for NISRE, which had worked with a different developer and contractor on the Cargominium project.

That building had “too many issues” to fix, according to Opportunity Zone Development Group COO Brian White, who said that some of those issues were related to the fact that shipping containers were used as the primary construction material, but others were “just quality…how it was put together, things were not done properly.” 

White said that the new design will allow for a quick construction timeline, and that they hope to wrap up work on the building by the end of the year.

The leasing of units in the building will be handled by NISRE, which provides housing and supportive services for the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness.

“These are not market rate apartments, this is furthering the mission of NSIRE,” said White, who added that the project is privately-funded and not supported by any public dollars. “It will be housing individuals that need and deserve a second chance.”

Graham Allison, the CEO of Opportunity Zone Development Group, said that his company became involved after meeting NISRE CEO Michele Reynolds in late 2018.

“We came together in early 2019 with the idea of raising an opportunity fund to recapatilize the project and to complete that going forward,” he said. “We had a mutual interest in investing in the neighborhoods that need it most.”

Opportunity Zone Development Group raised a $3 million opportunity fund (a fund designed to take advantage of the Opportunity Zones created in the 2017 tax overhaul), attracting two-thirds of the money from outside of Ohio. The total project cost is expected to be $5.8 million.

Graham said he enjoys working with nonprofits and hopes to replicate the model being used to develop this site in other neighborhoods.

“We are looking for other affordable projects, and also mixed-income communities,” he said. “It’s important that we’re not displacing people; we’re looking at projects that will enhance the neighborhood.”

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