August 2012 Archives
30 August 2012
Five to 10 new independent retailers will open along St. Clair Avenue between East 61st Street and Addison Avenue through a new program of the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation. Inspired by Oakland's Popuphood initiative, the program includes six months free rent, storefront renovations, marketing assistance, security, and business training for merchants.
Update: more than 80 people applied for the program.
27 August 2012
An analysis of U.S. EPA data by the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked states by the amount of toxic emissions generated by their electric sectors. Ohio had the second-highest levels, trailing only Kentucky. All of the states bordering Ohio appeared in the list's top 10. The NRDC expects toxic emissions to decline dramatically because of new federal standards.
Cleveland leaders are considering a development agreement with Geis Companies for a proposed waterfront office park near Burke Lakefront Airport. The company would receive a one-year lease on the 20-acre site. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "significant and exciting" news that "could be the start of something truly grand," while Alec Pacella of SB Equities listed six things to consider about the plan.
Update: City officials said that the nearby USS Cod will continue to have a place on the lakefront.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Office's announced that 12 suburban communities will share $1 million of the $5 million the office committed as a local match for housing demolition funding from the national mortgage settlement. The communities receiving grants between $50,000 and $100,000 are Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Newburgh Heights, North Olmsted, North Royalton, Parma, Parma Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, and Warrensville Heights.
Fresh Water explored how Glenville residents are creating farms, gardens, and greenspaces in their neighborhood, while Channel 8 visited the Vineyards of Chateau Hough.
20 August 2012
More than 250 supporters celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 0.6-mile stretch of the Towpath Trail on the Scranton Peninsula in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County posted video of the event. The $9.1 million project will also restore 2,800 feet of natural shoreline and create new fish habitats. Construction is scheduled to begin in September and a late summer 2013 opening is planned. A Plain Dealer editorial offered praise.
A report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (PDF) said that while American metropolitan economies continue to improve (PDF), funding shortfalls are making the nation's transportation infrastructure less competitive. It said that in 2011, the five-county Cleveland metropolitan area's $106.6 billion gross metropolitan product was the 27th largest in the U.S., and about equal to the GDP of Bangladesh. Meanwhile, American Society of Civil Engineers President Andrew Herrmann made similar remarks at the Build Up Greater Cleveland annual meeting, telling attendees that the country needs to invest more in maintaining its infrastructure.
A libertarian group joined a liberal organization in filing an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the JobsOhio program and who has legal standing to issue a challenge. Two lower courts said that the groups lacked legal standing.
Because of the legal challenges, Ohio Department of Commerce Director David Goodman has declined to sign an agreement transferring state liquor revenues to JobsOhio. The Kasich administration responded by asking the Ohio Supreme Court to rule on the program's constitutionality. An Akron Beacon Journal concluded that this "presents an opening for the high court, finally, to get the matter settled." Joe Koncelik considered its implications for brownfield redevelopment funding.
The West Creek Preservation Committee soon may purchase a 60,800-square-foot lot near the southern end of the Cleveland Metroparks West Creek Reservation in Parma. Adding the property to the park will create more options for extending the West Creek Greenway Trail.
Mayor Alai of Broadview Heights said that he is committed to implementing the City's 2010 Town Center Master Plan. The Broadview Heights Planning Commission is studying zoning code changes that would permit mixed-use development.
14 August 2012
Cuyahoga County officially launched its property consolidation effort, offering 13 properties for sale and requesting proposals for new office and storage space. The buildings for sale include the County Administration Building, the Ameritrust complex, and the former Juvenile Justice Center. They are being presented to potential purchasers at a series of open houses. The County is seeking 225,000 square feet of downtown office space and 200,000 square feet of storage space. County officials intend to discuss the proposals in private, but County Executive FitzGerald pledged to make public all proposals before presenting them to County Council. County leaders are also considering a real-estate consulting contract.
Erick Trickey of Cleveland Magazine wrote about the lack of transparency and compared the process to old county government practices. A Plain Dealer called it "a huge opportunity for the county to secure its own bottom line and to boost downtown."
Update WKSU's Kevin Niedermier explored how the building sales could affect downtown Cleveland.
The former Ivex mill in Chagrin Falls was added to the National Register of Historic Places, listed as the Adams Bag Company Paper Mill and Sack Factory (PDF). It is being redeveloped as the mixed-use Spillway project.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board recommended four Cuyahoga County sites for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places: the former Richman Bros. factory (PDF) on East 55th Street in Cleveland, the Neal Terrace and Oppmann Terrace (PDFs) apartments, both located on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland, and the Euclid Heights Historic District (PDF) in Cleveland Heights. It would be the City's 11th historic district.
08 August 2012
Greater Cleveland residential projects in the news:
- Forest City Enterprises is considering a plan to convert the Halle Building in downtown Cleveland to 200 apartments.
- The City of Cleveland Heights selected the Orlean Company to redevelop the vacant lot at Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard. The proposed $11.4 million project calls for a four-story building with apartments over retail. The City is seeking an 11-year, 80% tax abatement agreement from the school district.
- Lakewood City Council heard an update on the Rockport Square development. The future of the project remains unclear. Meanwhile, the Lakewood Architectural Review Board approved small changes to the Clifton Pointe townhouse project.
- The developer of the proposed Quarry Park subdivision withdrew his plans after the North Royalton Board of Zoning Appeals denied a request for a zoning variance. The project had been tabled indefinitely last year.
- The Rocky River Planning Commission approved preliminary plans for a 274-unit apartment building on the site of the former Giant Eagle store at the Rockport Shopping Center. Wald & Fisher plans to redevelop the other half of the shopping center.
- The Solon Planning Commission approved plans for the Lake Neptune Estates subdivision, a 13-house development proposed for the southwest corner of Neptune Drive and Miles Road. City Council is considering the plans.
- In Strongsville, work on the Cedar Creek Estates subdivision continues and City Council approved plans for the seven-house second phase of the Siedel Farms subdivision.
- Westlake voters will decide a rezoning issue on a proposal to build 22 apartments above the former Borders store at The Promenade.
Update 2: Cleveland Heights Patch has more information about the plans for the Meadowbrook-Lee development.
RTA reports that ridership figures continue to increase. Overall ridership in the first half of 2012 was 6% higher than the same period last year. The system has experienced 15 consecutive months of ridership growth.
02 August 2012
The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted to place a five-year, 0.67 mill tax levy on the November ballot. The levy would increase a property owner's tax from $3.50 per $100,000 of assessed value to $20 per $100,000 of assessed value. The new funding (PDF) would be used to implement recommendations (PDF) in the strategic plan the port authority adopted last year, including capital improvements to port facilities, a new sediment disposal program, and Cuyahoga River ship channel restoration and slope stabilization. Steven Litt said it is "a credible, well-conceived plan to rethink and rebuild critical pieces of infrastructure on the lakefront and along the river," while Erick Trickey called it "pretty smart political packaging and coalition-building."
The sixth report in the Paying More for the American Dream series "examines systemic inequities in the mortgage market" (PDF) in seven American cities, including Cleveland. It found that African-American and Latino homebuyers were significantly more likely to receive government-backed loans than white homebuyers. The government-backed loans are typically more expensive than conventional mortgages.
Cleveland developer/architect Dick Pace spoke with Fresh Water about his role in renovating historic local properties for contemporary users.
At the first of three public hearings convened by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald on the future of the Ohio Turnpike, residents expressed opposition to privatizing the toll road. Turnpike Commission Executive Director Rick Hodges said that the study being conducted for the state by KPMG should be completed by the end of the year, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that Governor Kasich faces "hurdles in making his case" to lease the turnpike.
A study of job accessibility by Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution found that "over three-quarters of all jobs in the 100 largest metropolitan areas are in neighborhoods with transit service" but added that "the typical job is accessible to only about 27 percent of its metropolitan workforce by transit in 90 minutes or less." In the five-county Greater Cleveland area (PDF), the figures were 74.7% and 26.0%, respectively, ranking 42nd and 40th.