Redevelopment Proposals Receive Mixed Reception

Two groups presented divergent plans for the former site of Lakewood Hospital at a July 25 joint meeting of the city’s Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board.

Carnegie Management and Development Corporation proposed a “transformative” project, in its team’s own words, emphasizing glass-walled buildings and a Detroit Avenue plaza. During a question-and-answer session which followed, members of the public, the Planning Commission and the Architectural Board questioned that transformative character, repeatedly.

Both of the committees expressed reservations about the proposed plaza, and a general sense that the Carnegie plan would be a self-contained anomaly in Lakewood’s landscape. The Carnegie team described the project as simultaneously “transformative” and “seamlessly integrated,” but struggled at times to explain how both could be achieved.

A noticeably different reception greeted the second proposal, by CASTO and North Pointe Realty, Inc.

Throughout its presentation, the CASTO team focused on how their plan would relate to the existing community around it, on social, commercial and architectural levels. While also including public space, their design proposed a green “courtyard,” behind buildings that would sustain the line of Detroit Avenue storefronts.

Judging by the mellower question-and-answer session which followed, the CASTO team seemed successful in its goal of harmony over transformation.

The goal of preserving the Lakewood Hospital building in some form, however, largely eluded both developers. Carnegie proposed reusing bricks from the building, and the arches of its facade. The CASTO team proposed a faithful renovation of the nearby Curtiss Block, but admitted difficulty in repurposing any of the hospital building itself.

The CASTO proposal also offered few specifics about restoring economic activity lost by the decision to close Lakewood Hospital, which was the city’s largest employer. The Carnegie team spoke of replacing or exceeding the number of jobs lost, but later in its presentation referenced a figure well short of that goal.

The possible slip was not the only one of the evening, as many attendees questioned the words “expand the footprint” included on one of Carnegie’s slides. The group explained this as a reference to still-confidential efforts to acquire further property in the neighborhood, and suggested that it should have been left out of the presentation. The gaffe may add to questions raised by Carnegie’s hiring of former Lakewood mayor Ed Fitzgerald, who helped oppose efforts to keep the hospital open.

The City of Lakewood has announced plans to select a developer this fall, and invites citizens to direct further comments and questions to

Lakewood resident Matt Kuhns is a freelance graphic designer, and occasional author.

Matt Kuhns

Lakewood resident Matt Kuhns is a freelance graphic designer, and occasional author.

Read More on City
Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 5:08 PM, 08.01.2017