CHAGRIN FALLS — The village Architectural Review Board Chairman Dr. Steve King said it best upon unanimous approval this week of the final two buildings of the RiverHaus townhome project on the south bank of the Chagrin River and Cleveland Street.

“The gestation period for elephants is 18 months. Congratulations on beating that,” he told members of the Brickhaus Partners Development team during the Tuesday board meeting.

His joke spoke volumes to the more than12 months it has taken to come up with an architectural design for the highly visible three-story buildings at the Cleveland Street entrance to the six-building development.

The sticking point had been the contemporary design of the buildings and its glass window walls. The board asked the Brickhaus architects to refocus their efforts on structures that “looked more like Chagrin Falls.”

“I appreciate the changes and am glad to see less glass, Dr. King commented. “This is a beautiful project.”

“I was excited to show you this today and very happy with the way this looks now,” said Brickhaus partner and Managing Director Alexandra Yonkov, who thanked the board for their suggestions over the past several months of meetings.

Among the design improvements are entry level porches and fewer pane and mullion windows.

“This has a traditional look and there is a better balance of glass,” commented George Clemens, an architect and consulting member of the board.

The river side of the buildings feature open balconies projecting 8 feet from the exterior north-facing wall. Wood, brick and stone elements are used throughout the development.

“This is a huge difference,” according to ARB member Wendy Naylor. “This is interesting and it blends with our Chagrin architecture.”

The RiverHaus townhome development will be back before the board for approval of its final construction documents and village engineers must sign off on those as well, among other elements of the project including hillside regulations and soil borings.

The developers will also need an additional variance for the height and setback of a retaining wall requiring an easement agreement with the south side neighbors.

The village board of zoning appeals is expected to hear the variance request on Sept. 22.

Developer Andrew Brickman announced earlier this summer that three RiverHaus units had been pre-sold. The townhomes vary in interior designs and start at $779,000.

Groundbreaking is pending and has been a moving target and is still unknown, according to Mr. Brickman, who explained the approvals process was deferred during the COVID-19 lockdown this spring.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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