Knickerbocker Apartments to hold grand re-opening ceremony

The Knickerbocker Senior Apartments will be holding a grand re-opening ceremony at 27100 Knickerbocker Road in Bay Village on Thursday, May 26, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. This event will celebrate the major renovations that took place between 2018 and 2020.

During reconstruction all the apartments were remodeled with new kitchens and bathrooms, all safety and mechanical systems were replaced, and the common areas greatly expanded. Additionally, 42 of the studio units were converted into 21 large one-bedroom apartments, eight of which are fully handicapped accessible.

“We are pleased with the completion of the $11,000,000 renovation that has transformed the Knickerbocker apartments now and for the future. The renovation doubled first floor space which provides a variety of opportunities for residents to develop a stronger community within the building,” said Jay Magee, President of the Bay Interfaith Housing board of trustees.

Bay Village city officials will participate in the re-opening ceremony, which will be an open house with tours of the first-floor common areas and displays of the renovated apartments, catered food, and a performance by the Bay Village Community Band. The event is open to the community.

The Knickerbocker is an eight story, 148-unit residential property for seniors age 62 and over, with 50% realizing rental subsidies. The project was conceived in 1968 by four Bay Village churches to provide quality affordable housing for the city’s seniors, as well as enriching their lives with a senior center for activities and fellowship. Those four churches (Bay Methodist, Bay Presbyterian, Bethesda on the Bay Lutheran, and St. Barnabas Episcopal, now Christ Church Westshore Anglican) formed Bay Interfaith Housing Corporation (BIH), a non-profit corporation to construct, own and operate the property.

At the time, it was considered controversial to construct an 8-story, subsidized housing project in a bedroom community like Bay Village. However, with the support of the City Council and city administration, voters passed a referendum to approve zoning regulations to allow the project. The building was completed in 1972 and has been home to several thousand seniors over the last 50 years.  In 1994 the BIH Board engaged LSC Service Corporation of Lakewood to manage the operations of the Knickerbocker. LSC also owns or manages five other senior apartment properties in the area.

In order to undertake a project of this magnitude, BIH partnered with PIRHL of Cleveland, who was the developer and general contractor for the project, as well as being a limited equity partner. The renovation was challenging as the Knickerbocker maintained operations throughout the construction to minimize disruption and displacement of the residents. 

Improvements included enclosing the open-air central atrium, which greatly expanded the common area space. This allowed for the expansion of resident amenities including an exercise room, medical clinic, social worker office, media room, game room, dining hall and expanded laundry room.

“It was truly an honor to join this esteemed team in the renovation and substantial improvement of this incredibly important affordable housing asset. We’re proud to be a part of Knickerbocker’s legacy of enrichening the lives of area seniors,” said David Burg, President of Development and founder of PIRHL.

In addition to a FHA insured loan with KeyBank, the renovations were made financially feasible by an $11,000,000 award of Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to the Knickerbocker in 2017. KeyBank purchased the tax credits and provided the construction financing for the project. Additional financing was provided by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and by Cuyahoga County.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:47 AM, 05.17.2022