Nestled along the shores of Lake Erie, the city of Avon Lake is located in northern Ohio, west of Cleveland.
With a population of approximately 24,000, the City of Avon Lake’s amenities include a MetroPark, 220 additional acres of parklands, a public beach, 20 miles of bike trails, and a boat launch.
The city also “boasts” the huge, decrepit, coal-fired power plant called Avon Lake Generating Station.
Redeveloping that ugly monstrosity is Job #1 for the city. Doing it properly would simultaneously remove and eyesore and make 131 prime waterfront acres available for public recreation and economic revitalization.
Now, it looks like that regeneration might finally happen, and in a spectacular fashion.
On July 19, 2022, the Avon Lake Environmental Redevelopment Group, LLC (ALERG) presented a project overview and initial redevelopment options for the Avon Lake Generating Station property at a public meeting, along with representatives from the city, global commercial real estate services firm Avison Young, and global architecture, design and planning firm Gensler.
According to Scott Reschly, ALERG Vice President of Operations, “The City of Avon Lake, ALERG, Avison Young and Gensler have been planning for the future use of the site for many months and identifying options for the best use of the property with the intent to benefit all members of the community, drive economic impact, increase the tax base and create jobs while sustainably redeveloping the site for the betterment of the environment.”
“This project is a generational opportunity to reframe the former power plant site into a regional attraction while restoring the lakefront ecosystem, and we are excited to share the strategy and initial redevelopment options with the public. We look forward to feedback that this meeting will provide as we continue working with the city to maximize the benefits for the citizens of the City of Avon Lake and the entire community,” he added.
The five principles guiding the redevelopment strategy are:
- Create a New Vision for the City of Avon Lake;
- Create an Accessible Public Realm along the Lakefront;
- Extend the City of Avon Lake to the Waterfront;
- Use an Eco-Friendly Adaptive Design Strategy; and
- Explore the Option of an Adaptive Reuse of the Historic Turbine Hall and Transformer Building.
City of Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka remarked, “This is a pivotal moment for the future of the city, and we are delighted to have this opportunity to craft a new vision for the power plant site and our community. We aim to revitalize the lakefront, connect the city to Lake Erie, and create the largest open space and public lakefront project that our region has seen in decades while serving as a catalyst for economic growth.”
In April 2022, ALERG completed the full acquisition of the Avon Lake Generating Station and adjacent property from GenOn and began environmental remediation and sustainable redevelopment of the property.
Richard Shields, the Development Executive with Avison Young who oversees the marketing and redevelopment strategy states, “The opportunity to re-imagine the 131 acres of the former powerplant site will attract local and national attention and investment to Avon Lake and leverage the unique aspects of the community and the significant environmental and social benefits that redevelopment will bring.”
As part of this agreement, ALERG acquired the property located on Lake Erie and is responsible for the shutdown and decommissioning of the coal power plant and performing all environmental remediation and demolition work at the site.
Gensler Principal and Board Director Andre Brumfield states, “With the decommissioning of the coal-fired power plant on site, there is an opportunity for Avon Lake to reinvent itself for the 21st Century. The size of this site offers a significant redevelopment opportunity to further bolster the economic and social heart of the city and its surrounding communities. Most critically, the vision for the site will connect the City of Avon Lake back to the shorelines of Lake Erie. The primary driver of this effort is to create a new public realm along the lakefront that will serve as a catalyst for new development and create a regional destination for Greater Cleveland and a new identity for Avon Lake.”
Following the presentation, the public participated in breakout sessions to provide an opportunity for feedback and community insights about the plan. There, they met the presenters and representatives of the Avon Lake Community Improvement Corporation.
The opening presentation in the PAC was broadcast on the City of Avon Lake’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AvonLake.
The Avon Lake Environmental Redevelopment Group, LLC (ALERG) is an indirect subsidiary of Charah Solutions, Inc. For over 30 years, Charah Solutions has been a provider of environmental services and byproduct recycling to the power generation industry.
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Charah Solutions says the firm is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for a cleaner energy future. Charah Solutions assists utilities and independent power producers with all aspects of sustainably managing and recycling ash byproducts generated from the combustion of coal in the production of electricity.
The company also designs and implements solutions for ash pond management and closure, landfill construction, structural fill projects, power plant remediation and site redevelopment.
Christopher Livingston, Principal and Managing Director of Avison Young’s Cleveland office adds, “These next steps in the development planning process are critical for Avon Lake and the entire region. The legacy impact relative to this effort cannot be overstated.”
Avison Young is a global, principal-owned real estate services firm that supports Charah Solutions by creating real economic, social and environmental value in their projects as its global real estate advisor.
Avison Young claims to create healthy, productive workplaces for employees, cities that are centers for prosperity for their citizens, and built spaces and places that create a net benefit to the economy, the environment and the community.
All images courtesy of Gensler.