Lakewood’s Studio West 117 LGBTQ entertainment complex receives historic $5 million tax credit

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The Studio West 117 queer urban development entertainment complex, involving the adaptive reuse of former Mack Products and Phantasy Nightclub buildings, was shot in the arm yesterday (June 22) with news that the project received a $5 million historic state tax credit.

“The state historic tax credit is essential for us to renovate the Phantasy,” said Daniel Budish, who along with Betsy Figgie is developing the massive project.

“It works in conjunction with the Federal Historic Tax Credit we received on this property.

“We’ll also likely be applying for a larger award on the Phantasy. The state’s historic tax credit just came out with legislation doubling the maximum award amount from $5 million to $10 million and increasing the percentage of the reward from 25 to 35%,” Budish said.

“What this does is help make these projects even more possible, especially in light of increases in construction costs and interest rates.”

Also on Studio West 117’s radar are Transformational Mixed-Use Development (TMUD) tax credits that go against development costs incurred during the construction of a project and act as a catalyst for future development in the region.

“This credit is for the entire campus,” Budish said. “All of these things come together to form what’s called a capital baklava stack. Basically, it’s all these different layers that you need to lower the cost of capital on these projects.

“With a project like ours, we can then transfer the savings we can get in annual debt service directly to our tenants to make it affordable for our small businesses and entrepreneurs to actually be able to afford l space in a recently renovated building. ”

The Studio West 117 LGBTQ entertainment complex involves the adaptive reuse of the former Mack Products and Phantasy Nightclub buildings in Lakewood. (John Benson/cleveland.com)

Described as a groundbreaking project for the LGBTQ+ community, Studio West 117 represents a new 21st century prototype for queer urban development.

A $13 million investment, the first two phases cover more than 100,000 square feet, beginning with The Fieldhouse – three restaurant concepts, an outdoor patio, a rooftop terrace, and an indoor and outdoor sports complex.

The site will house a new sports league for LGBTQ+ youth, as well as sports courts for rent, a demonstration kitchen to provide LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with the opportunity to try recipes and teach the community about healthy cooking, the largest and only publicly accessible rooftop terrace in Lakewood and three Latin-inspired restaurants.

“We are doing very well with our construction of The Fieldhouse,” Budish said. “The floor has just been laid and should be finished within the next week. The courtyard will then be finished a few weeks later.

“Then the restaurants should be complete, with construction by early September. We are planning a grand opening in October for the facility.

The second phase of the project is the renovation of the 56,000 square foot Phantasy entertainment complex, with Budish noting that Studio West 117 is currently working on specifications for brownfield remediation.

The third phase of the Studio West 117 project is for the vacant NTB property along Detroit Avenue in Lakewood

The third phase of the Studio West 117 project is for the vacant NTB property along Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. (John Benson/cleveland.com)

So is a third phase involving the construction of a seven-story residential building offering over 275,000 square feet of housing, with parking across the street.

The estimated $46 million project includes the demolition of the currently vacant 14,878 square foot NTB store, which sits on 1.1 acres.

In the final two phases, Studio West 117 is requesting $4 million for new funding from Ohio’s Brownfields Remediation Program, which helps local communities clean up contaminated properties to make way for future economic development.

“We’re starting the process, which will basically be the push for the construction of these two phases,” Budish said.

“Once we have completed all the asbestos removal work, as well as the selective demolition at the Phantasy, this will then allow us to move directly into the full renovation of this building.

“We’re looking at a completion date of 2024 for the Phantasy, then probably 2025 for the project across the street.”

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