Ed Wittenberg Special to Sun News

Project is the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio with caregiver suites.

Ara Bagdasarian, president and co-founder of Solon Community Living, stands in front of the newly constructed clubhouse, which will be part of the community’s pocket neighborhood near Aurora Road and Portz Parkway in Solon. The clubhouse is slated to open March 1. Occupancy of four resident-home buildings is expected to begin in May.
Ed Wittenberg, Special to Sun News

Construction of the Solon Community Living project is in full swing and on schedule, with occupancy expected to begin in May.

Ara Bagdasarian, president and co-founder of Solon Community Living (SCL), said progress on what he called an innovative housing project has been “remarkable.”

“We have been blessed with only minor delays, and because of warmer and drier fall weather, the construction teams — who have been outstanding — have been able to maintain on-time work,” Bagdasar- ian said.

“Virtually all of the remaining work (for Phase 1 of the project) is focused on building interior activities.”

The pocket neighborhood — where adults who have intellectual or develop- mental disabilities will be able to live independently with the support they need — will be along Clearwater Court, near the intersection of Aurora Road and Portz Parkway.

The project was made possible in April 2020 after voters passed a ballot issue — by an 83% margin — to create a new multi-family residential and special-needs zoning district.

Construction began in June. Bagdasarian, who co-founded SCL with his wife, Leslie, said this project will be the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio, in that it will have caregiver suites and a community director onsite.

A grand opening ceremony could take place in June or July, he said.

The exterior construction of four resident-home buildings, each with two townhomes, has been completed, Bagdasarian said.

A total of 7 buildings are planned for community

Ara Bagdasarian, left, and his wife, Leslie, co-founders of Solon Community Living, pose with Tom Hamilton, longtime radio play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Guardians, when SCL hosted an evening of baseball with Hamilton Jan. 5 at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. The event raised more than $40,000.
Solon Community Living

The first eight residents are scheduled to move into those units in May.

“We’ve found really good families, and it’s coming together,” he said.

A community clubhouse, slated to open March 1, is also built, Bagdasarian said.

Interior construction continues on those five buildings.

The clubhouse will include a teaching kitchen, gathering room, sensory and con- ference room and director’s office. It will also have an outdoor terrace.

The complete project will have a total of seven buildings: five duplexes, one quad (four housing units) and the clubhouse. All of the buildings except the clubhouse will have second-floor suites for caregivers.

In total, there will be 14 ADA-compliant, private suites for residents — 10 two-bed- room and four one-bedroom units — plus the six caregiver suites, two of which will be occupied by resident assistants.

Ten of the 14 homes are reserved, and eight of those are part of Phase 1. Two res- idents who have reserved homes will be included in Phase 2.

The remaining two buildings, and four homes, will be part of Phase 2. SCL is still seeking residents for those homes.

Construction of the buildings in that phase is expected to begin around mid-year and should be completed by the end of this year or early next year, Bagdasarian said.

The contractor for Phase 1 is PCS Builders, also known as PCS & Build, of Cleveland. Site work is being done by Marous Brothers Construction of Willoughby.

RDL Architects of Beachwood is designing the project.

Architect Ross Chapin, based in Washington state, developed the pocket neighborhood concept that SCL has adopted, Bagdasarian said. It features the idea of all homes facing one another, he said.

“The road is on the outside, so all the neighbors face in,” he said. “People can see each other coming and going, and it produces a much more conducive interaction among the neighbors.”


Ara and Leslie Bagdasarian founded SCL in 2015 with the needs of their own children in mind.

Both of them, Julie and Alex, have been diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental issues.

Julie, 32, and Alex, 30, will live in this new neighborhood.

“We really wanted to be proactive and set our children up to have their own home and their own community around them,” Ara Bagdasarian said.

“My daughter is scheduled to move in during Phase 1, and my son is scheduled to go in Phase 2, when that happens,” Bagdasarian said. “One (child) at a time is a lot to try to transition.”

Bagdasarian said he’s not sure how smooth the transition for Julie will be, not- ing that she’s “very schedule-oriented.”

“My son will be fine,” he said. “He gets along well with people.

“As for the other (future) residents, some are very excited, some are kind of indifferent and some are not completely comprehending it.”

Bagdasarian noted that SCL has been conducting meetings for the future res- idents and their families in a home on Aurora Road, adjacent to the neighborhood, that he and his wife purchased.

He said Logan Andress, SCL’s community director, has been working with the families on transition planning.

“These adult children will move out of their existing homes, so Logan has designed a process to enable families to transition their child carefully and minimize anxiety over this transformational change,” Bagdasarian said.

“Logan has 20 years’ experience in caregiving and care management. He’s a really huge asset to us, helping families navigate the way of our system here.”


On Jan. 5, SCL hosted an evening of baseball with Tom Hamilton, the longtime radio announcer for the Cleveland Guardians, at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.

Joined by Bob DiBiasio, the Guardians’ senior vice president for public affairs, Hamilton spoke about his career and took questions from the audience. The fundraiser also included silent and live auctions and a raffle for baseballs autographed by Hamilton.

Bagdasarian said 150 people attended, with more than $40,000 raised for SCL.

Bagdasarian said the proceeds helped SCL reach its goal of $100,000 for its annual appeal campaign.

“These funds will be used for operational expenses that are not covered by the standard fees to reside in Solon Community Living,” he said.

“Much of the money will be used to create and implement individualized programs and activities that will foster development and engagement from each resident.

“An important commitment we make to families is to recognize the skills each resident has and to further develop those

skills with programs, educational opportunities and activities that they thrive in.”


This money is separate from SCL’s capital campaign, Bagdasarian said.

He said SCL has raised $3.1 million, or 88.5%, of its capital campaign goal of $3.5 million.

“We still need to raise $400,000 to finish the capital campaign and complete Phase 2,” he said.

“This will enable us to accomplish our goal of being debt-free, which puts us on solid footing for a sustainable future for the families and individuals with disabilities.”

Bagdasarian said he believes there are many families in the area with young adults “who would really be great fits for this (neighborhood).”

“I think some people still don’t really understand the model, because it’s different,” he said. “They just have to either discover it or talk to us.

“I think we’re probably going to do a lot of open houses and tours once we get those first (units) open.”

Another advantage of the neighbor- hood, Bagdasarian said, is it is within walking distance of the Solon Community Center, Solon Community Park, the Solon branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and many stores and pharmacies.

“We’re in such a great location,” he said. “And you’re in the community, so you’re not isolated.”

Bagdasarian said he also hopes that what SCL is doing can be replicated in some ways, “because we want to help other families address this really important issue.”

For more information about SCL and possible residency, visit, or contact Logan Andress at [email protected].