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Man Holdings adds solar array in Euclid office building redo

Aug 10, 2023

Haim and Amanda Mayan have installed a solar array on unneeded parking space at Lake View Enterprise Campus in Euclid. The project reboots a high-vacancy former medical office building as a home for small businesses.

Since Haim and Amanda Mayan, through Euclid Office Campus LLC, bought the 200,000-square-foot office tower formerly known as the Euclid Medical & Office Plaza, they have focused on updating the 1975-vintage building.

The latest addition is a truly contemporary feature for the black glass curtain-walled structure: a $2 million solar array that stretches about half the length of the interconnected two-building complex.

It is a big commitment for the property, which sits on 10 acres.

The entire building cost $1.5 million for the couple, who operate Man Holdings of Cleveland, to acquire at the end of 2021. They have since updated suites in the structure as they land tenants; replaced dated lighting with energy-saving LEDs; upgraded elevators; and made a lengthy list of other improvements. It is now called Lake View Enterprise Campus.

And the solar set-up itself has changed the view of the structure. It stands on the building's south side, above it on the slope Brush Road takes to Richmond Heights past the property at 26250 Euclid Ave. The 1,740-panel solar array faces east and west to maximize exposure to the sun.

Adding the solar installation also beat other options for that part of the sprawling property.

"The parking lot needed improvements, but asphalt is very expensive," Haim Mayan said in a phone interview. "So, we asked ourselves, why not use the parking lot infrastructure as an asset. There's more parking here than the building will ever need because of outdated zoning codes."

The Mayans had to receive a variance from the Euclid Zoning Commission to slash more than 180 spaces from the parking lot on the building's back side, and it still has more than 500 spaces on the building's front, or northern, side.

J. Scott Muscatello, Euclid zoning commissioner, said this was the first request the city has received to replace part of a parking lot with a solar power installation.

"The lot has probably never been filled," Muscatello said. "The building was built under old zoning codes which were put in terms of minimums as opposed to maximums. Medical use also requires more parking as clients come and go than other types of office use. The zoning commission (in April) had no problem approving the change."

Even with the Cleveland area's famously cloudy skies, Amanda Mayan said the couple estimates the solar installation will provide 52% of the building's electrical needs. They estimate solar power will allow them to cut their electric bill by $135,000 annually at current electrical rates.

"There is a clear payback in a financial sense, and this meets our personal value to support sustainability," Amanda Mayan said. "And it's a big item for some office tenants, particularly for nonprofits because their funders want to see sustainability."

The project will benefit from solar tax credits and from being in a federal opportunity zone, which supports such investments. For his part, Haim Mayan said the solar approach will ease the building's vulnerability to future electricity price hikes.

The rate of growth of solar installations paused during the pandemic thanks to material price hikes and delivery hiccups, and then fell 13% in 2022. Still, the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group in Washington, D.C., estimates that a record number of installs for the first quarter has put 2023 on track to have another record year for installations, surpassing 30 gigawatts of solar power.

However, not all are fans.

Gino Faciana, president of corporate facilities management firm Pleasant Valley Corp. of Medina, said he worked with solar installations for several years but dropped the effort.

"I could not get enough savings for an adequate return on investment," he said. "In Ohio, it helps shave some dollars from the bill. There's just not enough sunlight here unless you have a perfect location."

The Mayans also improved their project's ROI by using a construction company they operate to install the solar panels. They also have put four staffers through a solar apprenticeship program because they plan to use it on other acquisitions.

"There are a lot of moving parts in this type of project," Haim Mayan said, and constructing the array with their own crew helped retain control. Wiring the panels should be done by Friday, Aug. 4, and a few weeks after that FirstEnergy's Illuminating Co. is scheduled to connect the array to the building.

The Lake View Enterprise Campus building was about 50% leased when Man Holdings acquired it 18 months ago. Amanda Mayan said they are happy with leasing and have leased about 40,000 square feet for a Regus location, which provides services to small businesses who rent space on a short-term basis.

"We feel that small tenants will grow and take office space in the building," Amanda Mayan said. "We've seen it before with other properties." She declined to disclose how much of the building is currently leased.