July 28, 2020

Grand Opening of 1609 Hazel is Latest Cornerstone of the CIM Experience

Ribbon cutting
Dignitaries from CIM, NewBrook Partners and University Circle Inc. cut the ribbon to officially open 1609 Hazel. (Photo by Rob Muller.)

It was Ernest Bloch’s birthday. The spirit of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s first musical director filled the air during the grand opening of the 100-year-old legendary conservatory’s new residence hall at 1609 Hazel.

“We planned it that way,” mused Paul W. Hogle, CIM’s president and CEO who said he was actually reminded by Trustee Bob Conrad that July 24 was Bloch’s birthday.

Joining Hogle at the celebration and ribbon cutting were Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc.; Richard Hipple, chair of CIM’s Board of Trustees; Jeffrey Linton, chair of CIM’s Facilities Committee; Guy Totino, principal at Cleveland-based developer NewBrook Partners (NBP); as well as CIM’s Judy A. Bundra, chief academic officer and dean of the Conservatory; Eric Bower, senior vice president; and trombone student Mary Cubero-Navarro (Sullivan), who serves as a resident assistant in the hall.

Dubbed 1609 Hazel – after its street address – the new residence hall includes:

  • 103,000 square feet of space
  • 236 deluxe, fully furnished units with all the comforts of home, including in-suite bathrooms, Wi-Fi, laundry and full kitchens
  • 19 individual and 3 state-of-the-art chamber music-sized practice rooms from internationally known Wenger Corporation – modular-style units that include the most cutting-edge technology in the world, providing students with an optimal environment for playing and self-recording; available around the clock (a rarity in student housing)
  • Secure, controlled access
  • Spacious, relaxing lounges, an exercise studio and a classroom
  • Mantle and built-in glass-fronted bookcase units saved from the old Hazel Annex, restored and installed in the second-floor lounge; the stone steps were also saved and are featured in the landscaping of 1609 Hazel

In brief remarks, Hogle praised CIM and local leaders who came before him as they began planning new housing for CIM students.

“1609 Hazel was only possible because 30 years ago, CIM made the courageous decision to buy the properties on which we stand today and a member of our Board stepped forward to anonymously pay for them,” Hogle said. “Quietly, that family joins today’s guests as cornerstones for this stunning contemporary residence hall.”

He also remembered how, when he arrived here in 2016, two important people encouraged him to study the potential of a partnership to meet CIM’s student needs. One of those individuals was Hipple, who along with his wife Jean are among CIM’s most generous and active supporters.

“Dick was convinced our land in concert with an entrepreneurial developer could be the magic recipe for CIM’s students,” Hogle said.

“It’s a great day for CIM,” Hipple told the crowd. “The new residence hall is absolutely a cornerstone of our strategic plan. Several years ago, our dorm situation was a disadvantage for us, and now, it is a huge strategic advantage for CIM.”

Citing the coronavirus pandemic, Hipple said: “We can bring our students here and they can be part of a very healthy and acceptable environment. This is a large part of our critical mission to create the best environment to nurture and grow the next leaders in the world of classical music.”

Ronayne extolled the virtues of the partnership between UCI and CIM, and thanked everyone associated with the project – NBP, the city of Cleveland, city councilmember Kevin Conwell and the board, staff, faculty and students at CIM.

“This street years ago was really a parking lot, and today it feels more like a community,” said Ronayne. “The fabric is what makes this area special. This is a UCI anchor institution because of CIM’s commitment to stay in place. A globally renowned place like University Circle starts with the incredible music at CIM.”

Linton paid tribute to late board member Bruce Higley, who brought his construction expertise to the table before his passing in May 2019.

“A lot of brain power went into this beautiful building, including Bruce Higley’s,” Linton said. He also praised NBP – the right developer who was open and honest, and ” who never compromise – as well as Eric Bower, who led the project for CIM with “a steady hand.”

Hogle saved his most enthusiastic praise for NewBrook Partners.

“If there such a thing as a cornerstone of the cornerstones, it would be our collaborators at NewBrook Partners,” he said. Introduced to NewBrook by the Cleveland Institute of Art, where NBP also developed a new residence hall, Hogle said NewBrook would be an ensemble with whom we could collaborate that was patient with learning who we were. “They were refreshingly transparent, and the final product was and is a level of excellence to which we all aspire.”

NewBrook Partners owns, manages and leases the building in an imaginative partnership with CIM.

Totino, of NewBrook, said he was struck by the very determined looks on the faces of CIM students when he first visited the Institute nearly three years ago.

“They carried their instruments on their arms, shoulders or on their backs and moved through the halls with a sense of purpose that was very different from other schools we’ve been involved with,” he said. “After seeing how they practiced in the rooms and how they put their education schedules together, it’s truly amazing what they’re doing here. Cleveland should be very proud of the job that this institution does and of the skilled musicians that come out of it. We were delighted to make this investment and we think it’s one of the best ones we’ve made to date.”

Hogle concluded the festivities with a tribute to all who made the new residence hall possible, as well as CIM’s loyal friends and donors.