HAPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Spire Institute was sold late last year, and the new ownership has big plans for the future.
Spire, located north of Interstate 90 in Harpersfield Township, sold for $7,350,000, according to county records.
The complex was sold to Axxella, a Maryland-based company affiliated with Blue Ocean Realty. Axxella operates a number of businesses, said Jonathan Ehrenfeld, founder and managing member of Axxella and CEO of Blue Ocean.
“At Spire, much of our efforts and resources are being directed at developing a strong academy. We’re very focused on the academy model,” Ehrenfeld said.
“In evaluating Spire’s performance over the last few years, we’ve come to the conclusion that the events are nice and we welcome the events, we embrace the events, but just having events and club teams and after-hours programming for high schools is not going to cover the overhead and the cost of operating the vast facilities.
“So we really need a core program that will support, financially, Spire, not just for today, but for years to come and hopefully for generations to come.”
“Spire Academy is an international high school and postgraduate academy focused on developing and preparing student athletes to be successful in college,” according to Spire’s website.
The goal for the academy is to have 300 students enrolled within five years, Ehrenfeld said.
To achieve the goal, Spire plans to construct dorms and classrooms to house and educate students on-site.
Spire has contracted with design and engineering firms to plan the new rooms. The new facilities will be built inside of an empty part of Spire’s aquatic center. Since the new rooms will be built inside an already existing building, Ehrenfeld hopes the permitting will go well.
“It should be a relatively smooth process,” he said.
“Our first phase calls for around 28 dorm rooms, and that will be enough, we suspect, to house our students for the first one or two years.”
Ehrenfeld hopes to have permits for the construction in February, and have the dorm rooms ready for September, he said.
In the long term, there are plans to develop the site further.
There are also plans to sell some of the land Axxella believes is excess to developers.
One such transaction that is in progress is the sale of one of the parcels to be used for a senior-living facility. The facility is being wwwdeveloped by MVAH Partners, Ehrenfeld said.
MVAH, founded in 1993, operates a number of apartment complexes throughout the eastern half of the United States, including numerous senior living apartments, according to the company’s website.
Ehrenfeld decided to purchase Spire because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he said. The welcoming community was a benefit as well.
“We just really enjoyed the people, spending time with the people and just feeling that warm embrace of northeast Ohio,” Ehrenfeld said.
Ehrenfeld stressed that the company is dedicated to making Spire successful.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “We’re committed to the success of Spire.”