Lakewood’s Studio West 117 LGBTQ entertainment complex receives $5 million state historic tax credit

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The queer urban development Studio West 117 entertainment complex, involving the adaptive reuse of the former Mack Products and Phantasy Nightclub buildings, received a shot in the arm yesterday (June 22) with the news that the project has received a $5 million state historic tax credit.

“The state historic tax credit award is critical for us being able to renovate the Phantasy,” said Daniel Budish, who, along with Betsy Figgie, is developing the expansive project.

“It works in conjunction with the federal historic tax credit we received on that property.

“We’re also probably going to be applying for a larger award on the Phantasy. The state tax credit just came out with the legislation doubling the amount of the maximum awards from $5 million to $10 million and increasing the percentage of the award from 25 to 35 percent,” Budish said.

“What that does is it helps even further be able to make these projects possible, especially in the light of construction cost and interest rate increases.”

Also on Studio West 117′s radar are Transformational Mixed-Use Development (TMUD) tax credits that go against development costs incurred during the construction of a project and act as a catalyst for future development in the area.

“That credit is for the entire campus,” Budish said. “All of these things come together to form what’s called a baklava capital stack. Basically, it’s all of these different layers that you need in order to reduce the cost of capital for these projects.

“With a project like ours, we can then pass the savings that we can get in terms of annual debt service directly to our tenants to make it affordable for our small businesses and entrepreneurs to actually be able to afford space in a newly renovated building. ”

Studio West 117’s LGBTQ entertainment complex involves the adaptive reuse of the former Mack Products and Phantasy Nightclub buildings in Lakewood. (John Benson/

Described as a groundbreaking project for the LGBTQ+ community, Studio West 117 represents a new 21st-century prototype for queer urban development.

A $13 million investment, the first two phases encompassing more than 100,000 square feet, beginning with The Fieldhouse — three restaurant concepts, an outdoor dining patio, a rooftop deck and an indoor and outdoor sports complex.

The venue will house a new LGBTQ+ youth sports league, as well as rentable sports courts, a demonstration kitchen to provide opportunities for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to try out recipes and teach the community about healthy cooking, the largest and only publicly accessible rooftop patio in Lakewood and three Latin-inspired restaurants.

“We’re doing very well with our construction of The Fieldhouse,” Budish said. “The floor just went in and should be finished curing in the next week or so. The courtyard is then going to be finished a few weeks after that.

“Then the restaurants should be completed, with construction by early September. We’re planning a grand opening in October for the facility.”

The second phase of the project is the renovation of the 56,000-square-foot Phantasy Entertainment Complex, with Budish noting that Studio West 117 is currently working on specifications for brownfield remediation.

The third phase of Studio West 117 project involves the vacant NTB property along Detroit Avenue in Lakewood

The third phase of the Studio West 117 project involves the vacant NTB property along Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. (John Benson/

The same goes for a third phase involving the construction of a seven-story residential building providing more than 275,000 square feet of housing, with parking across the street.

The estimated $46 million project includes demolition of the currently vacant 14,878-square-foot NTB store, which sits on 1.1 acres.

The latter two phases find Studio West 117 applying for $4 million in new Ohio Brownfield Remediation Program funding, which helps local communities clean up contaminated properties to make way for future economic development.

“We’re starting the process, which will basically be the kickstart for the construction of both of those phases,” Budish said.

“After we finish all of the asbestos remediation, as well as the selective demolition at the Phantasy, that will enable us then to go right into the full renovation of that building.

“We’re expecting a completion date sometime in 2024 for the Phantasy and then probably sometime in 2025 for the project across the street.”

Read more news from the Sun Post Herald.

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