Unique and underestimated construction projects in Northeast Ohio.

One of the most unique and underestimated construction projects in Northeast Ohio.

Just seven months ago, on the 16 acre site of the former American Sprinkler Headquarters, Jeff Badger started on rebuilding the existing building into one of Northeast Ohio’s premier and only campus for car collectors. Inside the existing 37,000 sf building are garages known as “car Condos” priced around $160,000 that are over 85% complete through construction and already sold to buyers. Phase Two, more than 50 more condos is about to begin construction to meet the hot demand.

Known as Club Motor Estates, Badger’s $25 million car lovers playground is defying the early skeptics and on pace for a third Phase before the end of 2016. “There were a ton of skeptics,” said Badger, a builder/developer who is Club Motor Estates founder and CEO. “People said you’ll never find the land for this and you’ll never get the city to approve it. Then people said this is so speculative, you’ll never find any investors — but we did! We even found a financial institution to make the necessary loan to extend us through Phase Three and beyond.”

Magnificent Machines

“The skeptics come and go, and many of those skeptics are now our customers. They went from skeptics to visionaries but they lost their first choice in selecting their desired condo.” Badger said.

The concept behind Club Motor Estates is to create a place where deep-pocketed car buffs can store, show off their vehicles, create their own personalized “car cribs” and, socialize with those who share their passion. There are multiple car condo communities across the country, although few of them feature their own venue for large indoor events, have a 3,500sf Club House, Conference Facilities and a Full Kitchen, and even fewer are situated in urban areas within a 25 minute drive time.

The car condos at Club Motor Estates are climate-controlled garages that can store four or more vehicles, depending on condo size and whether a lift is installed. They are usually outfitted with comforts such as big-screen TVs, pool tables, plush furniture and even golf simulators and basketball courts. Important to all, there is secured entry gate, full campus security, and full fire suppression in every unit. The only restriction is that buyers can’t actually live in their condo because of zoning rules but, weekend getaways are not uncommon. Of the 40 car condo buyers so far, several have been women.

“Ninety-five percent (of buyers) are making these man caves, offices or corporate hospitality suites,” Badger said. “We are looking at auto suppliers who are treating this like a suite at Progressive Field or the Gund, except for here they can actually put their product in it surrounded by like minded car guys.”

Mike, chairman and CEO of his company, has bought two condos that will store his collection of 8 high-performance vehicles, including a Ferrari, Porsche 911 GT3 and a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. He said he initially planned to just buy one condo, but his excitement grew as he witnessed the construction progress.

“I think a lot of people weren’t able to appreciate it when it was only on paper,” Mike said, “but once you see the actual spaces under construction, and even come to an event, like the The Bee Gees, you have a greater appreciation for what it is.”

Several of Mike’s friends also have bought condos, anticipating that Phase III could eventually sell out as well.

“I really think the demand is going to outstrip the supply,” he said. “And once they’re gone, there’s probably not going to be a lot of turnover.”

The car condos range in size from 800 square feet to 3,600+ square feet and are priced from $105,000 to $550,000. Badger said the typical unit is $140,000 in Phase One, and buyers generally put another $50,000 to $100,000 worth of work into them.

Club Motor Estates facts

  • All car condos in Phase I sold out last year.
  • 20 of the 50 Phase II condos are still available.
  • A typical condo costs $155,000 in Phase Two.
  • Project could hit $25-million investment and 170 total units with future Phase III.