Three Alums Plan to Erect The Tappan


Photo courtesy of Sustainable Community Associates

Plans for the development of The Tappan.

Three Oberlin alumni, Josh Rosen and Ben Ezinga, OC ’01, and Naomi Sabel, OC ’02, of Sustainable Community Associates have proposed a new development project called The Tappan in Tremont, Cleveland. The proposed building will house 95 apartments and is expected to cost 22 million dollars in financing.

This is the trio’s fifth project together. Although the group predominantly focuses on historic restoration, the SCA is responsible for the East College Street Project, which houses local businesses like Slow Train Cafe.

“It’s not really affordable housing, but what we would call ‘workforce housing,’” Rosen said. “Typically, the rents in projects like the one we are proposing are significantly more money than what we will be charging.”

The group was motivated to devote part of their project to the middle-income residents to help make urban housing more broadly accessible.

“Middle-class housing is surprisingly needed in Cleveland,” Sabel said. “It’s making new and high-quality housing available for everyone.”

The building will not only be mixed-income, but also mixed-use. The first floor of the property will house a bakery, created by a first-time business owner from Cleveland.

“We like the idea of mixed-use buildings,” Rosen said. “We are hoping the bakery does for that project what Slow Train did for East College Street. It becomes known for the uses rather than anything else. So, ‘the building that Slow Train is in.’ We would love it to be ‘the building the bakery is in.’”

The group named the project after Tappan Square, referencing the park at the center of the undergraduate campus they all shared.

“We have such fondness and affection for Oberlin, and it’s still so much a part of what we do,” Sabel said.

The alumni hope that The Tappan will cultivate the same joyful feeling that Tappan Square brings to Oberlin.

“We wanted to name it after something that feels warm and happy,” Rosen added. “The three of us all went to Oberlin, and loved Tappan Square, so it brought back good memories. We also like that the Tappan [family] were abolitionists, and thought that was kind of cool. It ended up being an homage to our Oberlin experience.”

The SCA hopes that The Tappan will open in June 2020.