historic shaker square apartment building gets green makeover

Situated on the edges of Cleveland and Shaker Heights, and home to a diverse, international community of residents, Shaker Square has long been a community gathering place for people of different backgrounds.

So it only makes sense, in a way, that Bruce Altchouler (a Clevelander and electrical contractor with a knack for project management) and Ziv Sarig (an Israeli businessman with a finance background) would meet and discover they shared a passion for historic Shaker Square and fixing up older buildings.

Together, the two entrepreneurs, who are neighbors in Cleveland Heights, have formed BruZiv Partners. The nascent development company recently wrapped up renovations on an historic, nine-suite apartment building located at 2646 N. Moreland Boulevard, just off Shaker Square. It is the first multi-family building in Cleveland to meet the Enterprise Foundation’s Green Community Standards.

“We saw an opportunity to take an older property that had declined over the years and do something positive for us and the community,” says Altchouler. “Once we’d purchased it, we decided to step it up and do a green rehab.”

Within the preserved shell of the historic building, the developers installed high-efficiency windows, insulation, a new boiler and Energy Star appliances. The units also feature high-end maple cabinetry and granite countertops.

“We wanted to attract high-quality tenants to the area, and you do that by showing a good product,” says Altchouler. “Renters are also becoming more aware of ‘green,’ and appreciate the fact that we use healthy, low-VOC paints.”

Getting to this point wasn’t easy, but it was worth it, Altchouler says. To meet the Green Community Standards, BruZiv had to adhere to lengthy guidelines and hire an independent rater to assess the project.

In exchange, the City of Cleveland granted a tax abatement on the improved value of the building. The developers also obtained low-interest financing from Dollar Bank through Cleveland Action to Support Housing (CASH), a nonprofit whose mission is to revitalize urban neighborhoods through rehabilitation lending.

Fresh Water Cleveland, 7/14/11

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