Tag Archives: Historic Architecture

Prospect Yard: Paying Homage to Cleveland’s Automotive History

Prospect Yard Rendering
Rendering of Prospect Yard, coming soon

Once upon a time, Cleveland was known as the epicenter of the automotive industry. By the early 20th century, Cleveland was home to seven major car manufacturers and added many industry innovations, including the spark ignition, flexible steering column, and various engine types. This formative period in Cleveland’s automotive manufacturing heyday was also when Frank E. Stuyvesant established the Stuyvesant Motor Co. and later became the primary Cleveland distributor for the merged Hudson-Stuyvesant Motor Car Company. Such an enterprise required a facility that could sell and service these high-end vehicles, which is where our story begins. 

Located on Prospect Avenue within Downtown Cleveland’s current “Campus District” stands the historic former Stuyvesant Motor Company building. Constructed in 1917, the building was originally built as a sales showroom, service center, garage, and storage facility for the manufacturer’s cars. Prior to the eventual dominance of the “big three” (Ford, Chrysler, General Motors), the Stuyvesant Motor Co. embodies the shift from small, local automotive manufacturer to the larger assembly-line based corporations whose legacy remains in today’s brands. Within a local framework, the building significantly contributed to the manufacturing, service, and support of automobiles, and represents the rise and decline of small, independent auto manufacturers in Cleveland. Expansion of the four-story building to its existing five stories in 1919 underscores the significance of this company as other local manufacturers failed. 

After the Great Depression, the Stuyvesant Motor Company Building became home to various other businesses associated with the automobile industry and service functions until the late 1930s. The building was then occupied by the Coast Guard, the U.S. Government and even a print shop until it sat vacant for decades.

Stuyvesant Motor Company building circa 1964

Today, the historic property is undergoing a substantial rehabilitation to begin its new life as Prospect Yard, scheduled to be completed early this summer. The adaptive reuse project started out as a conversion to “market rate” housing. The developer recognized that many Cleveland residents were being displaced by the volumes of new work downtown and lack of affordable housing options in the area. The project then became “income eligible” housing to offer affordable options to those in the service industries who are essential to the life of Cleveland’s retail, hospitality, and even health care industries.

The open, industrial layout of the Stuyvesant Motor Co. building lends itself well to its rebirth as housing. It also serves as a prime example of how historic preservation and adaptive reuse can address the housing affordability crisis occurring in cities nationwide. Additionally, the original and restored features of the building give the apartments a high-end, industrial loft feel not often accessible to residents in modern affordable housing developments.

Among the restored features are the original car lift elevator, covered underground parking once used for car storage, exposed interior concrete columns, and joist and slab ceilings. Throughout the building, original exterior masonry materials, including window sills, brick pilasters, and stone ornament remain intact.

Prospect-yard-Windows-Cleveland-Ohio
Under construction: The original giant steel sash windows flood the new apartment units with natural light and views of Downtown Cleveland.

Arguably, the most striking feature of the entire project is the giant steel sash windows framing views of the Cleveland skyline and flooding the apartments with natural light.

The original features and structure of Prospect Yard make it a unique property steeped in local history. In its new role, The Stuyvesant Motor Company building retains the rich history and memorable characteristics of Cleveland’s automobile industry. 

Stay tuned for more details and updates on the completion of Prospect Yard. In the meantime, check out our other historic preservation work


Have a historic fixer-upper begging for a new life? Get in touch, we’d love to help.

Wayne Agency Co. Building Awarded at Cleveland Restoration Society’s Celebration of Preservation

May 23, 2019 – The annual Celebration of Preservation awards took place at the beautifully restored Ohio Theater last night! The event, hosted by AIA Cleveland/Akron and the Cleveland Restoration Society, recognizes outstanding historic preservation projects throughout the region. Perspectus Historic Architecture and building owner Keith Saffles of Crooked River Holdings were honored with the “Main Street Rehabilitation” award for their work on the Wayne Agency Building in Cuyahoga Falls.

When the Wayne Agency Building was originally constructed in 1922, its prominent Front Street address positioned it right along the main artery of commerce for downtown Cuyahoga Falls. In the late 1970s, Front Street was converted into a pedestrian mall, and the building, along with the rest of the block, fell victim to vacancies as businesses flocked to increasingly popular indoor malls.

The historic rehabilitation of The Wayne Agency Building was only one component of a much larger community effort by the city of Cuyahoga Falls to stimulate economic development and bring new retail to the Downtown Historic District. Building owner Keith Saffles is committed to the growth of the city and has filled the building with local Cuyahoga Falls small-business tenants. The newly restored first floor retail spaces are currently occupied by the Yum Yum Sweet Shop, Pav’s Creamery and Good Co. Salon. The spaces on the upper floor are now home to a music school and various business offices.

The overwhelming success of the building’s restoration has inspired a cascade of restoration and redevelopment projects on historic Front Street, which has since been restored to its original use as the main thoroughfare of historic downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

Perspectus Architecture-NewHire-Broadus

Perspectus Architecture Welcomes Brian Broadus to the Team

Perspectus Architecture-NewHire-Broadus

July 2018 – Perspectus Architecture is proud to welcome Brian Broadus, AIA, LEED AP BD+C to our team.

Broadus brings over 30 years of experience in historic architecture and a reputation of strong project management and design skills. His skills and experience add great value to our firm as we continue to grow our historic and education studios. In his new role at Perspectus, Broadus will design and manage restoration and adaptive reuse projects of all building types including higher education projects.

Throughout his career, Broadus has worked on multiple award-winning projects including the relocation and restoration of the 1858 Student Infirmary at the University of Virginia, the restoration of the 1844 Lexington Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Virginia, and the Walter L. Rice Education Building at Virginia Commonwealth University. Broadus formerly served as a member of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources and looks forward to joining similar organizations in Cleveland and Ohio.

Broadus received his bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and his Master of Architecture and Master of Architectural History from the University of Virginia. Most recently, Broadus was a Senior Project Manager with ThenDesign Architecture.

When asked what inspires him, Broadus says, “Considering architecture’s role in the city and as a political act. I enjoy seeing the virtuoso work of earlier architects and builders, understanding construction and maintenance in its full cultural context. I embrace architectural preservation as part of keeping up community life and identity, so work that succeeds in accomplishing that task excites me to try and equal it.”

Welcome to Perspectus, Brian! We’re proud to have you on our team!

Cleveland Bishop Dedicates St. Sebastian Parish Historic Renovation


The $1 million restoration of St. Sebastian church in Akron, Ohio led by
Perspectus Historic Architecture: Chambers, Murphy & Burge Studio
is now complete. The restoration project marks the 90th anniversary of St. Sebastian Parish, established in 1928.

To kick off the celebration, Bishop Nelson Perez of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, celebrated Mass and the dedication of the restored church (c. 1960) on Saturday, June 30th. Joining Bishop Perez was the parish’s pastor, Father John Valencheck; pastor emeritus, Father William Karg; and parochial vicar, Father Anthony Simone.

Posted by Saint Sebastian Parish on Monday, July 2, 2018

The project included cleaning the carved and ashlar stone at the front façade all the way to the bell tower. The St. Sebastian shield just under the peak of the roof has been conserved, reviving its finishes and the gold trim was patched with new leaf. A new wheelchair ramp has been added to access the main entry.

The granite front steps are restored, and the plaza is expanded and repaved with porcelain pavers in a pattern that resembles the ceramic tile pattern at the church entry.

One of the most impressive parts of the project is the magnificent tesserae mosaic behind the altar. The tiles were cleaned, patched, replaced those that had fallen off, and the matrix restored. The lighting that shines on the mosaic was updated to show off its beauty.

St. Sebastian Parish Mosaic Close Up - Before

Posted by Saint Sebastian Parish on Thursday, June 14, 2018

The ornamental bronze and brass work on both the interior and exterior of the church was conserved with Renaissance wax to improve and protect its natural color.

Over 10,000 square-feet of terrazzo floor has been refinished.

All 113 pews and kneelers were taken offsite where the anachronistic finishes added throughout the years were stripped and the pews restored to their original finish.

The funds for the project were raised through St. Sebastian Parish’s capital campaign, “Cornerstone of our Faith,” launched last May.