John Domo, the 37-year-old president of the Domo Corporation, was invited to visit the Hanna home at 11505 Lake Shore Boulevard in 1986 and he began to envision a special development on the surrounding land. The established zoning was for multifamily housing and the potential for private homes in a unified community became most apparent to him.
Domo, a history buff, was intrigued by the Hanna house designed by McKim, Mead & White who had created many of the Newport, Rhode Island mansions. The Hanna mansion influence prompted him to create a Newport style development of an outstanding community of prestige homes.
The acquisition of land began in 1987, and it took two years to quietly assemble the 25 parcels that would form the development site and assessing the significant hurdles in terms of the posture of the village, which was considered a closed community. Domo’s team took a sensitive approach in their design to the topography and the history of the area – everything the residents treasured – and tried to enhance it.
Now he had to face the real test, which was to go before the residents and make a proposal that was far-reaching and multi-faceted in its approach.
About 80 Bratenahl residents attended a public hearing on March 22, 1988, to consider Domo’s proposal for an $83 million development comprising a private marina, club, and about 300 homes. The project dubbed “Newport” would be the largest ever development in the village and the first major one in twelve years. Domo had just sold his interest in the Le Marin condominium project on Catawba Island, a project which won him national acclaim in 1985.
On September 28, 1988, Domo revealed a master plan to Bratenahl Planning Commission to build Newport, a $60 million luxury housing development with a private boat basin and a member-owned club. Accompanying him were Architect Anthony Paskevich; Architectural Design Inc., of Dallas; Environmental Design Group, an engineering and land-planning firm in Stow, Ohio; the Martin Organization from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Becker Engineering Group, a coastal and marine engineering firm from Windsor, Ontario.
Domo planned to divide the residences into four zones, with each one named for an old local family. According to the zoning allowance, Domo’s site allowed for the construction of 630 homes. Still, he planned on building only 160 units, including ten units in an existing carriage and coach houses on the property for an average density of 2.1 units per acre.
He planned to build fifteen single-family residences, twenty cluster homes, and twenty townhouses on properties from Eddy Road to the middle of Nine Mile Brook on the north side of the boulevard. Also, he proposed to construct 100 clustered townhouses on the south side of Lake Shore Boulevard, formerly the golf course. All of the homes were to be of the shingle architecture, a revival of the New England look.
The architectural designs were to reflect a “classic” turn-of-the-century styling by borrowing textures and shapes from Bratenahl’s architectural history. The Shingle and Tudor styles of architecture were revived, resulting in comfortable, fashionable dwellings which enhance the continuity between Newport and Bratenahl itself.
The Shingle Style is an eclectic style of architecture which includes Tudor, Colonial, and Gothic features. Gambrel roofs, porches, bays, and dormers are interwoven into a continuity of exterior and interior spaces. Mansions on Lake Shore Boulevard reveal numerous examples of this style so popular in Newport, Rhode Island, to which Bratenahl was compared.
Under the plan, each of the complimenting residential zones featured fee-simple ownership with each zone having its own homeowner’s association.
A 700-member lakefront country club on the site of Samuel Mather’s Shoreby mansion and a private marina added to the amenities. The marina and club were embellishments to the central premise of the development. The acreage, which Domo owned or had options on, was in a planned residential development district. A proposed amendment would allow the marina and club pending numerous conditions.
The plans represented one of the most detailed and comprehensive ideas that had ever been presented to the Bratenahl Planning Commission.
Before any home were to be built, the design for Newport was such that it respected the existing buildings while at the same time preserving the landscape with its open, green spaces, mature trees, and views of the lake.
The Becker Engineering Group designed a $1.7 million, 1,700 foot, shoreline protection structure that could withstand a once-in-a-100-year gale force storm.
The Garden Club of Cleveland provided the developers with advice on the preservation of shrubbery and trees, some of which were not native to Ohio yet had survives the harsh winters and scorching summers.
Planning Commission approved and recommended approval or the Newport Planned Development, private boat basin, and private club with specific conditions on April 24, 1989.
May 27, 1989, council approved the Planning Commission report that outlined conditions Domo had to meet to get the council’s final approval. Council approved the plan on October 19, 1989.
Groundbreaking was held in January 1990. With almost 50% of Newport sold, the utility and road work began on the week of January 22, 1990, followed by the start of site work for housing development. Roads and utilities for all of Newport’s north phase and part of its south phase were completed by June 1990. At this time, builders began home construction with first families scheduled to move in during late autumn.
Newport was the first development in Bratenahl in more than ten years. A final sellout of Newport was completed by the late spring of 1997.
There are four residential zones, a marina and the Shoreby Club made up the Newport Development. For detailed information, click on one of the areas below.