Old Brooklyn Pearl and Memphis Master Plan
The masterplan studies an assemblage of properties in the heart of Old Brooklyn, a suburb known as the greenhouse capital of the world at one time, now seeing a resurgence as one of the more affordable and desirable inner suburbs of Cleveland with it's adjacency to the Cleveland Zoo and nature preserve. The intersection of Pearl and Memphis can be equated to Main and Main and therefore careful consideration of historic preservation, adaptive re-use and providing a desirable end use that meets the needs of the modern community is critical.
The plan considers the consolidation of several lots that have become disjointed and underutilized overtime. The lots have historically been home to two church congregations, St. Luke's which closed it's doors in 2010 and PRUMC - Pearl Road United Methodist Church whose congregation occupies a building set off the road. Originally the building was designed as a school but the church began occupying it soon after it's construction due to a fire which burnt their sanctuary building. This lot was previously rented to a used car dealer and now acts as a place for events such as summer farmers markets. Other structures, such as the Greenline Building occupies the corner of Memphis and Pearl.
AO considered community input, historical and current census data, current economic, accessibility and development statistics to determine a final use and proposed site layout. We looked at the feasibility of maintaining PRUMC within their existing building, which currently houses their entire structure. This structure has become an overwhelming burden in terms of maintenance and utilities.
The plan presents two viable scenarios, one which maintains the St. Luke's building as adaptive re-use and another without. Either scenario makes community space a priority and places street facing retail at the ground level with residential apartments of mixed income above. It was determined that while the housing stock in Old Brooklyn is bountiful, their are very few apartment buildings in the region. Therefore, this intersection provides the perfect location to build density with a connection to retail that supporting a livable community. Parking is pushed to the rear of the development and community space is accessible from the street but tucked into a courtyard that can be shared by all occupants. This reinforces the urban edge while creating community space and a pedestrian centric environment, supporting small business and a thriving ecosystem at the core of Old Brooklyn. Plans are for PRUMC to remain in their existing structure but reduce their footprint to about a third, improving the quality of space, accessibility and visibility from the street. It became clear through community discussions that PRUMC's history and presence in the community are important to maintaining neighborhood history.