The Great Centers of Ohio: Pinecrest

BY Al Urbanski

Earlier this year, real estate editor Al Urbanski set off on Interstate 71 from Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland in search of the greatest retail centers the Buckeye State had to offer. This stop: the Cleveland suburb of Orange Village.

It’s fitting that the last stop on our I-71 retail trail was Pinecrest, Fairmount’s brand new place-to-be in Orange Village, halfway between Shaker Heights and Chagrin Falls. It’s like the son and daughter of Easton and Crocker park, a privileged child brought up with good taste, entering the world having ticked off all the densified, town center boxes. It bills itself as a “shopping, dining, office & living district.”

Pinecrest sits across the road from a major healthcare complex, its workers ready-made tenants for the two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments at the project’s 4th & Park building. Retail tenants include Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill, Silverspot Cinema, OrangeTheory, Shake Shack, City Works Pourhouse, Sephora, Vineyard Vines, and the cutest little freestanding Warby Parker you’ve ever seen. Pinecrest’s Whole Foods has a bar, and it was busy on the weekday afternoon we stopped in.

“This particular trade area is characterized by some of the highest income and education in the state, Fairmount principal Randy Ruttenberg told us. “There are extremely high barriers to entry in this geography and there was some supply deficit. Some of the nation’s most sought-after national retailers wanted to enter this market but couldn’t find the right locations.”

It took Fairmount about eight years to bring the project to fruition and involved the purchase of 42 individually owned homes and passing a local referendum.

“Residents are a mix of young professionals and empty-nesters, the latter of which are moving out of larger homes in the Heights and other suburbs and want to be in an engaging dynamic 24-7,” Ruttenberg said. “We’ll offer them 15 different dining opportunities when all are opened, and there are about 62 retail spaces.”

Ruttenberg reported that 93% of the retail space was leased at Pinecrest, along with 94% of residential and 80% of office. Occupancy rates at the AC Hotel on the site regularly runs around 80%.

“We’ve been humbled by the response,” Ruttenberg said. “Every time you build one of these things, you hold your breath and wait for the register to ring. We’ve been very, very pleased with sales volume across the board at Pinecrest.”


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