On October 26, 2023, Vesta proudly celebrated the ribbon cutting for The Longfellow Senior Housing, marking a significant milestone for the historic redevelopment. The Longfellow School holds a special place in the hearts of the Collinwood community, as it served as an elementary school for over 85 years. However, the school faced demolition in 2011 until The Cleveland Restoration Society stepped in and had it become a designated historic landmark by the City of Cleveland, and thanks to Vesta’s redevelopment project, Longfellow can continue to provide an essential service to the community.

The Longfellow offers 80 new one- and two-bedroom affordable senior apartments, preserved within the historic Henry W. Longfellow School and a newly constructed building on the property. The site’s redevelopment kept the original building’s integrity while also providing modern amenities that enhance seniors’ social, physical, and mental well-being.

From the creation of a usable senior-focused fitness center to the development of green spaces and community social areas, The Longfellow offers a unique living experience for seniors. Additionally, a wellness room was also included in the plan to provide a confidential on-site space where third-party healthcare providers can conduct examinations and provide essential healthcare services to Longfellow residents.

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The redevelopment of The Longfellow totaled $23.7 million and was a combination of various financing sources, including 4% LIHTC tax credits, 9% LIHTC tax credits, a HUD 221(d)(4) first mortgage from Bellwether, Ohio Housing Finance Agency HDAP loan, City of Cleveland Housing Trust Fund Loan, HUD 202 PRAC Capital Advance Grant, Federal, and State Historic Tax Credits.

The historic preservation of The Longfellow ensures that lifelong Collinwood neighborhood residents are not displaced from the community they have called home for so long. The redevelopment process made every effort to respect the building’s history and significance, ensuring that it continues to be a cherished part of the community for many years to come.

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In the words of Steve Rice, Assistant Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, “We celebrate not only the building but also the memories and the education that many generations of students experienced here. As we cut the ribbon and officially open the doors, we recognize that our community is facing a severe housing crisis. From rising rents to inadequate housing options for seniors, the need for affordable housing has never been greater. This is why The Longfellow school preservation and future projects are essential to our community. It not only preserves the history and legacy but also provides a critical and essential lifeline to those who need it most.”

As we reflect on this momentous occasion, we are grateful for the generosity and dedication of our partners and supporters who made this venture possible. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Councilman Michael D. Polensek and the Cleveland City Council; The Cleveland Restoration Society; the City of Cleveland Department of Community Development; Cleveland Metropolitan School District; our non-profit partner, Lifelong Learning; Ohio Housing Finance Agency; Department of Housing & Urban Development; Keybank; Bellwether Enterprise; Marous Brothers Construction; LDA Architects; and GeoQuest. We also thank the community for their support and partnership, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Collinwood neighborhood with integrity, compassion, and excellence.

The Longfellow ribbon cutting was also recognized by the Governor of Ohio for all the hard work and dedication that went into making this project a success. ‘

Jaime Larkin
Author: Jaime Larkin

Brand Coordinator for Vesta