The 'sun is shining on the Northeast Ohio apartment industry

Crain's Cleveland Business

Competition and improved economy have meant a surge in investments

From the hills of North Royalton to the mid-rise apartment towers of Euclid, workers are swinging hammers, replacing sinks and tacking down carpet at levels not seen in years in Northeast Ohio multifamily properties.

Driven partly by competition from a bevy of new multifamily projects in a region that historically sees few, suites housing tenants from high-end renters by choice to low-income tenants with subsidies are getting updates. Some improvements had been delayed by the housing bust while others are designed to meet the desires of the echo boom just graduating from college; still, others are being undertaken by new property owners. Ralph McGreevy, executive vice president of the Northeast Ohio Apartment Association trade group, said the renewed activity is a function of good times in the apartment industry.

“Things have never been better for apartments. Owners are investing and getting ready for what comes next,” McGreevy said. “Remember the old saying about the best time to put on a roof? It’s when the sun is shining. The sun is shining on the industry now.” The story is similar at the much-larger Triumph Towers, 25400 Euclid Ave. in Euclid, where an affiliate of Canton-based RLI Enterprises in the past year has shooed homeless people from its stairwells, replaced light fixtures, updated suites and repaved a crater-filled parking lot since buying the property out of receivership.

Favorable terms

Ken Ippolito, the owner of RLI, specializes in turning around severely distressed properties for resale and said he was shocked at the condition of Triumph. Thirty-two suites of the 126-unit property were empty at the inception, but it’s now full with a waiting list, said Ippolito, a long-term multifamily Cleveland-area investor who used the purchase to return to Euclid after spending the last decade turning around seven buildings, some 718 suites, in Canton.

“LeBron came back and so did I,” said Ippolito, whose Jaguar bares the vanity plate “APT KING.”

Rock On and Ippolito are in the hunt for more deals.