A Lakewood artist looking to convert a 100-year-old machine shop in Birdtown into a live/work artist studio, got the green light from the city’s planning commission.
Lakewood resident Kim Schoel shared her plans with the city for a development proposal that includes a gallery featuring jewelry and paintings.
According to her proposal to the city, Schoel intends to bid in the property at 12507 Plover Street — the current home of Atlas Machine.
“My familiarity with Birdtown — a formerly unknown and economically challenged part of Lakewood — derives from my participation in the Lake Erie Screw Factory’s annual Open Studio events, which have attracted thousands of people from the Northeast Ohio region,” she said in a letter to the planning commission.
The commission unanimously approved her request for a variance to allow retail sales and a second-floor dwelling unit.
“Her proposal is exactly the kind of creative use in Birdtown that we’re looking for,” said Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development. “We’re hopeful that her investment is the beginning of more development in one of our most historic neighborhoods."
Among the proposed exterior renovations, Schoel would “integrate the character of the building and improve its appearance” by fixing up the windows and creating a wheelchair accessible ramp.
The inside of the building would look entirely different, according to the plans.
The first floor would be “sectioned off” into a 1,200-square-foot gallery space. The 1,000-square-foot center of the building would accommodate jewelry production; and the rear of the structure would house a 2,000-square-foot painting studio.
“It’s everything that the live-work community has talked about for years," said Siley.