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residential News Archive

In a paper conducted for Harvard University, local researchers examined post-foreclosure transactions on 38,931 houses that were acquired from financial institutions. They found that "nearly one-third experienced a negative outcome: abandonment, condemnation, demolition or tax delinquency" and that those purchased by out-of-state investors were more likely to experience a negative outcome. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the "regulatory changes identified in the study should be implemented."

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency allocated $49.5 million in federal Hardest Hit Funds to 11 counties with established land banks. The Cuyahoga Land Bank received $10.1 million. Last year, the state obtained permission from the U.S. Treasury Department to use a portion of the foreclosure-prevention funding to demolish blighted properties. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a smart investment in stabilizing neighborhoods."

Meanwhile, the Ohio Attorney General's office awarded an additional $3.8 million from the 2012 national mortgage settlement to support demolition programs in 87 counties. Cuyahoga County received $602,202. Counties must use the funding by the end of September.

In his final State of the County address, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said that he "directed [his] staff to find an additional $50 million in bonding capacity to fund the most sweeping effort to not just demolish, but to demolish, protect, and restore our neighborhoods."

In addition, an Ohio coalition is seeking $200 million from a $13 billion federal mortgage-fraud settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase. The proposed Ohio Plan (PDF) would use $144 million to support demolition programs. A Plain Dealer editorial concluded that it "may be a long shot, but it's a shot."

The Cleveland Restoration Society, Cuyahoga County, and First Federal Lakewood partnered to expand the Heritage Home Purchase Program. The program, which began in South Euclid, offers assistance to potential homeowners in purchasing and rehabilitating houses built at least 50 years ago. Participants receive a home purchase loan, a home improvement loan, plus free technical assistance from the Restoration Society.

Developers have resumed the $50 million renovation of downtown Cleveland's Schofield Building. The 14-story building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue will become a 122-room Kimpton hotel and 55 luxury apartments. They expect to complete the project by the end of 2014.

Members of Northeast Ohio's congressional delegation, including Senators Brown and Portman, are urging state leaders to seek a waiver for diverting federal foreclosure-prevention funds to support housing demolition programs. Federal officials approved a similar request in Michigan. Some housing housing counselors and foreclosure-prevention officials object to the proposal. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "smart public policy."

As Ohio communities try to meet an end-of-year deadline to spend state housing demolition funds, some Cleveland councilmen are calling for an approach that includes saving houses with 'good bones'. In a pair of Plain Dealer op-eds, Councilman Jeffrey Johnson advocated for rehabilitation and Jim Rokakis made the case for demolition. He also spoke about demolition efforts on the public radio program Here & Now. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto wrote about the "need to focus on the demand side of the market."

Update: the U.S. Treasury Department approved the diversion of $60 million from Ohio's remaining $375 million of Hardest Hit Funds to demolition programs.

Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland examined urban decline in Rust Belt cities, and included a closer exploration of the changes in Greater Cleveland. Another report from the Federal Reserve Bank offered an analysis of housing policy "areas that merit careful consideration in Ohio" and "identified some opportunities for Ohio to improve its ability to deal with foreclosed, vacant, and abandoned properties."

Plans for senior housing developments:

Update: Strongsville voters will decide the rezoning issue in November.

In its annual report on foreclosures, the Ohio Supreme Court said that foreclosure filings in Ohio decreased by 1.5% in 2012. In Cuyahoga County, the figure fell from 11,544 in 2011 to 11,427 in 2012, a 1.0% decrease, but still the largest number in the state. Policy Matters Ohio used the data in its annual foreclosure report. It said that "Ohio foreclosures remain at crisis levels" and that the "number of filings remained more than four times higher than it was in the mid-1990s." Meanwhile, Slate published an excerpt of Edward McClelland's Nothin' but Blue Skies about the origins of the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood.

Residential project roundup:

Update: a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Clifton Pointe II on July 24.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Jim Rokakis described the region's problems with abandoned houses and presented the arguments for a strategic demolition program.

The Housing Research & Advocacy Center issued two of its yearly reports. The 2013 State of Fair Housing in Northeast Ohio (PDF) said that 2012 was the fourth consecutive year with a decline in the number of housing discrimination complaints, but estimated "that there are annually at least 33,690 instances of housing discrimination" in Greater Cleveland. Its Racial & Ethnic Disparities in 2011 Ohio Mortgage Lending (PDF) report said that "African Americans and Hispanics continue to have limited access to fair and equal credit."

Local developer David Lewanski's proposed Pinecrest development in Orange would replace a 76-acre residential area with retail, offices, and housing. If Village officials and voters approve a rezoning, it would add 390,500 square feet of upscale retail, 30,000 square feet of office space and 266 residential units (PDF) to an area near the Chagrin Highlands. Lewanski said he has acquired has long-term purchase options on most of the area's existing houses and that he will not seek development incentives for the project.

A local developer, a Cleveland CDC, and the Cuyahoga Land Bank collaborated in the low-cost conversion of a neglected house into a loft-style home. They are converting more houses through the Loft Home Rehabilitation Pilot Program (PDF). A Plain Dealer editorial called it "one way to make an impact in blighted neighborhoods."

Two sites in University Circle have the potential to attract luxury residential towers. An unidentified developer is exploring the feasibility of a 28-story, 300-unit tower at Euclid Avenue and Stokes Boulevard. In addition, the Cleveland Institute of Art's Gund Building site could be redeveloped as high-rise residential, although no plans have been presented. Charles Belson, the president of AIA Cleveland, dislikes the idea, saying that it "could be a big step in the wrong direction."

The Cities of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland will use funds from a mortgage fraud settlement to raze distressed houses and apartments in the North Coventry neighborhood. The properties will remain as greenspace. A Sun News editorial said the effort represents "regional collaboration at its finest".

Slavic Village Recovery, a new private-nonprofit partnership, intends to acquire, renovate, and sell or rent 50 vacant houses in the Cleveland neighborhood in its first year. The partners hope that the project can serve as a model for other neighborhoods.

Local housing news:

HUD reached a new nine-month agreement with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and will continue to sell low-value houses to the Land Bank for $100. Late last year, HUD announced it would end the program, but Sherrod Brown helped facilitate its extension. Christopher Evans of The Plain Dealer visited a distressed HUD-owned house in Cleveland to highlight the importance of the partnership.

An ESOP summary of foreclosure rates reports that although the total number of foreclosure filings in Cuyahoga County declined in 2012, residential mortgage foreclosures rose from 9,405 in 2011 to 9,905 in 2012. It says that the 5.3% increase means that the "foreclosure crisis is still thriving in Cuyahoga County and many years from fully resolving." Meanwhile, new research from the Federal Reserve Bank said that mortgage delinquencies continue to decline in Ohio, while figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicated that levels remain elevated in Greater Cleveland.

Cleveland City Council voted to contribute $50,000 to a study designed to evaluate the relationship between foreclosure rates and housing demolition initiatives in Cuyahoga County. Richey Piiparinen described the need for the study, which is being championed by Jim Rokakis. Councilman Brian Cummins shared some of the City's housing strategies, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that a "plan to deal with the vacant and abandoned properties that crater Cleveland neighborhoods is long overdue."

Update: members of Greater Cleveland's Congressional delegation introduced legislation that would provide federal funding for housing demolition. A Plain Dealer editorial cheered the news.

Update 2: Researcher Richey Piiparinen said that "demolition and preservation are not mutually exclusive."

Steven Litt visited the Butler-Nissen House in Cleveland Heights, the area's second passive house. It was built on the site of the demolished Walker and Weeks-designed James H. Foster house. He called it "a classic example of two positive values in conflict - preservation versus sustainability." Meanwhile, Fresh Water looked at life in a passive house.

Steven Litt critiqued the preliminary plans for the Upper Chester development in Cleveland. He called the design "deeply underwhelming" but added that it "clearly has enormous potential" and that its developer would be wise to emulate the "high-quality thinking and institutional collaboration that went into Uptown."

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development informed the Cuyahoga Land Bank that it would cancel a program that allowed the land bank to acquire low-value houses for $100 each. The agreement kept distressed housing away from flippers, but HUD says it can no longer afford the program. A Plain Dealer editorial denounced the decision, while the Northeast Shores Development Corp. urged residents to contact their congressional representatives.

The developer of the planned Edgebrook subdivision in Strongsville hopes to begin construction soon. The 80-unit cluster home development off of Westwood Drive across from Hollo Oval will include a variety of housing styles.

In National Journal, George E. Condon Jr. examined how Cleveland's Slavic Village suffered from the foreclosure crisis and how officials are using targeted demolitions to help revive the neighborhood.

Cleveland State University razed Viking Hall and the Wolfe Music Building on Euclid Avenue to make way for the planned Center for Innovation in Health Professions. On Chester Avenue, The Langston saw its first tenants move in this past fall. The market-rate apartment project is scheduled to be completed in June. The University is also proceeding with plans to convert Mather Mansion to a boutique hotel, and reached a development agreement with the Chesler Group.

Lakewood officials are considering two requests concerning an Edgewater Drive mansion. Its owners have submitted a demolition request, while neighbors are seeking a historic landmark designation. The Lakewood Planning Commission determined that it's eligible to be named a landmark, but the owners hope to postpone a decision. In 2011, a developer proposed demolishing the mansion and building townhouses on the site, but eventually abandoned the plans. Meanwhile, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge upheld the City's landmark designation of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building.

Update: Lakewood's Architectural Board of Review delayed a decision on the demolition permit and the Planning Commission deferred a decision on the landmark designation.

O'Neill Management is planning a $20 million redevelopment of the former Garnett School site in Fairview Park. The proposed Garnett Health Campus would be larger than 100,000 square feet, with 118 nursing home beds and 38 assisted living suites. The company intends to seek a seven-year tax abatement for the project. Some residents expressed concerns about the development.

The Finch Group of Florida submitted updated plans for the Upper Chester development on 38 acres north of Chester Avenue, between East 93rd and East 101st streets. The Cleveland City Planning Commission and Cleveland City Council approved plans for the $94 million first phase that would include apartments and retail. Construction could begin in late 2013.

Cuyahoga County residential development projects in the media:

University Circle institutions relaunched the Greater Circle Living initiative, a program that provides incentives to employees who make their homes in University Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods. Participants are now eligible for increased financial assistance. The program began in 2008.

Update: University Circle Inc. issued a press release.

In a paper, Alan Mallach of the Brookings Institution presented the case for targeted urban demolition programs, saying that "large-scale demolition, thoughtfully and responsibly carried out, is a necessary step in the process of rebuilding the nation's distressed older cities." A short report (PDF) prepared for the City of Cleveland highlighted the costs of housing abandonment and demolition. Local officials used the report to advocate for increased federal support, while others questioned the report's conclusions.

Update: the Plain Dealer clarified Councilman Tony Brancatelli's position on the report.

Local residential projects in the news:

Update: Solon City Council approved the preliminary plat for the Neptune Oval Estates subdivision.

In a recent report, the Greater New Orleans Data Center examined the City of New Orleans' progress in reducing its number of blighted properties, and compared the numbers to those of other cities, including Cleveland.

Through its new Owner Occupant Buyer Advantage Program, the Cuyahoga Land Bank is offering houses in its inventory to prospective owner-occupants. The selected houses require renovations, but not major repairs. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "it's homeowners, especially those with sweat equity in their properties and plans to stay for the long term, who really rebuild neighborhoods."

A couple purchased the historic Sears-Adams House in Chagrin Falls, saving it from potential demolition. They plan to renovate it as their home. The Greek Revival house was built in 1844. In May, Heritage Ohio identified it as one of the state's top preservation opportunities.

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.

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.

Greater Cleveland residential projects in the news:

Update: a West Shore Sun editorial says that "things are looking up" for Rockport Shopping Center in Rocky River.

Update 2: Cleveland Heights Patch has more information about the plans for the Meadowbrook-Lee development.

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.

The U.S. Department of Justice reached a $175 million fair housing settlement with Wells Fargo Bank to resolve allegations that the bank discriminated against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers. The settlement includes $50 million to help neighborhoods in eight metropolitan areas with large numbers of discrimination victims, including Greater Cleveland. The area could receive more than $6 million.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $50,000 Our Town grant to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. The funds will be used to to design an affordable artist live/work space in the Templin Bradley Building on Detroit Avenue. The Cleveland Botanical Garden received a $59,680 grant from the U.S. EPA to improve 12 vacant lots in Cleveland and reduce stormwater runoff.

Experts from Cleveland and Akron participated on a recent Sound of Ideas program on WCPN, discussing the merits of demolition and historic preservation programs.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer said that the ongoing renovation of the former St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood "embodies a compassionate vision that combines historic preservation, strong contemporary architecture and urban design, high educational aspirations for Cleveland's children, affordable housing and an emphasis on mass transit." Joel Ratner of Neighborhood Progress Inc. described the project in the Cleveland Jewish News.

Westlake City Council approved plans for Kings Tree Apartments, a 36-unit complex on Center Ridge Road. Construction may begin this summer.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank will provide $6.8 million and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office committed $5 million as the local match for housing demolition funding from the national mortgage settlement.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says it "initiates a regional strategy that encourages collaboration and sets priorities."

Several local construction projects celebrated milestones:

Update: The Ohio Department of Transportation began work on bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in Cleveland.

Local officials celebrated the reopening of the renovated Sylvia Apartments on Franklin Avenue in Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. The $3 million project reconfigured the building, reducing its number of units from 24 to 18. The apartments will be mixed-income rentals.

Under guidelines released by the Ohio Attorney General's office, Cuyahoga County is eligible to receive $11.85 million of the $75 million the office budgeted to assist communities in the demolition of abandoned houses. The funds will be awarded on August 1. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the Cuyahoga Land Bank is the "perfect entity to administer the demolition grant."

Lakewood officials are focusing on maintaining the quality of the City's housing stock. They recently completed a citywide housing survey, which rated the condition of 12,661 homes (PDF). They also held a community forum to discuss the City's housing strategy and assistance programs available to residents. The fourth annual Old House Fair took place earlier this month, as well.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History sold its SmartHome to a couple from Maryland for $331,000. The passive house was relocated from the museum grounds to its permanent site on Wade Park Avenue in October.

HousingWire and NPR looked at how Cleveland is demolishing houses that are considered beyond saving.

(via the Cleveland Restoration Society)

Policy Matters Ohio's annual analysis of foreclosure statistics says that while foreclosure filings in Ohio declined in 2011, the levels remain elevated. Cuyahoga County had both the largest number of filings and the highest rate of filings per capita.

Neighborhood Progress Inc. may begin working with communities like Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. It would be the organization's first activity in inner-ring suburbs. The City of Shaker Heights is increasing its funding for property acquisition, upkeep, and demolition.

The K&D Group of Willoughby recently signed a contract to buy the vacant 1717 East 9th Building and its 550-space parking garage from Sovereign Partners. K&D plans to convert the former East Ohio Building into a 223-unit apartment building. The company has one year to complete its purchase of the downtown office tower.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the plans.

Beachwood City Council approved a rezoning for apartments on the current site of the Commerce Park I, II, and III office buildings.

U.S. Representatives Marcia Fudge and Steve LaTourette held a press conference in Cleveland on Monday, where they announced that they will sponsor a bill that would provide $4 billion to help communities demolish abandoned housing. Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County allocated $14 million for housing demolition. They hope to obtain matching funds from the mortgage fraud settlement. A Plain Dealer editorial supported the efforts.

WXZ Development plans to complete its Circle 118 townhouse project in University Circle by building an additional 30 units. The earlier buildings were built as condominiums, but the final phase will be apartments.

Plans for several local housing subdivisions have been in the news:

In its yearly report on racial disparities in mortgage lending (PDF), the Housing Advocacy and Research Center found that "African Americans and Hispanics continue to have limited access to fair and equal credit" in Ohio and that they "faced higher denial rates and high-cost lending rates than whites."

Channel 5 looked at how residents on Cleveland's West Clifton Avenue and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization have worked to maintain the quality of the street's housing during the foreclosure crisis.

Ohio will receive a $335 million share of the $25 billion federal settlement with mortgage companies, and Attorney General DeWine intends to set aside $75 million to demolish abandoned properties across the state. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County hope to receive at least $12.5 million from the fund. Former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, now head of the Thriving Communities Institute, is working with Representative LaTourette on legislation that would supply federal funding for additional demolitions. Rokakis advocated for the proposal in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Editorials in the Plain Dealer support both efforts, while the National League of Cities reflected on "the lessons that brought the country to this situation."

In a presentation to Cleveland City Council about the region's housing market, Tom Bier said that Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs must work together on redevelopment efforts.

Beachwood's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of a proposed commercial-to-residential rezoning of eight acres at Chagrin Boulevard and Green Road. The planned apartment complex is part of a larger effort to redevelop the Commerce Park area.

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin says that a proposed federal tax credit program presents an opportunity for Ohio cities to address abandoned housing problems.

CMHA received a $300,000 federal planning grant to develop a plan for revitalizing the Cedar Extension public housing development in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. It was one of 13 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants awarded by HUD across the United States. Choice Neighborhoods is a signature program of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

Beachwood leaders are considering a proposal to build a 340-unit apartment building on the site of the three Commerce Park office buildings at Chagrin Boulevard and Green Road. City Council recently referred the project to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The buildings were purchased in September for $4.1 million, and a study prepared for the City last year recommended reinvestment in the area. Meanwhile, a different developer is preparing plans for a 132-unit luxury apartment building near Beachwood Place.

Developer Randy Kertesz intends to begin construction of the 156-house Lakes of Orange development this year. He bills it as Ohio's first green certified residential community.

Policy Matters Ohio reported that Ohio housing foreclosure filings decreased slightly in 2010, but remained at historically high levels. Bill Callahan looked at the 2011 totals for Cuyahoga County, and noted that last year was the county's sixth consecutive year with over 10,000 foreclosure filings.

Despite a series of setbacks in court, the City of Cleveland continues to pursue its lawsuit against a group of major banks and mortgage companies.

The Playhouse Square Foundation agreed to sell the Hanna Building Annex on East 14th Street to the K&D Group of Willoughby. The company plans to convert the office building to 102 apartments. Work may begin in June.

Shelterforce profiled Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka and the strategies he has employed to encourage neighborhood stabilization.

A 60 Minutes segment looked at the impacts of the housing crisis in Cuyahoga County and at how local governments and residents are responding to foreclosures, abandonment, and underwater mortgages. The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin also described the struggles. Rob Pitingolo said that exurban housing construction and regional population declines contributed to the problems.

Update: Businessweek also looked at the local housing market.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development renewed their agreement for a second one-year term. HUD will continue to transfer low-value properties (PDF) to the land bank for $100.

The land bank will also partner with the International Services Center in the new Discovering Home program (PDF). Through the program, the land bank will provide houses to refugees settling in the county, and the refugees will participate in renovating the houses. The first house in the program is on Hopkins Avenue in Lakewood.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brian J. Corrigan dismissed most of the City of Cleveland's lawsuit against 21 banks and mortgage companies.

In the downtown Cleveland apartment market, demand is up and vacancy rates are down. Rent levels have remained stable. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is encouraging developers to focus on housing.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that downtown's "draw is dynamic."

After scaling back the development from 19 to 17 units, Abode Living is finalizing its plans for the Clifton Pointe townhouses in Lakewood. Their plans call for reusing portions of the houses and trees currently on the site, and to begin construction this winter.

Cleveland City Council passed two ordinances intended to enhance the City's ability to recover demolition costs from previous property owners.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the decision.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority broke ground for a senior housing development at Lee Road and Miles Avenue in Cleveland. The three-story Lee Road Senior Building will provide 40 units for seniors (PDF) who want remain in their current neighborhood.

Trailside at Morgana Run is a proposed residential development at East 71st Street and Aetna Road in Slavic Village. Located on a former brownfield site, it will include more than 100 single-family houses.

Cleveland State University held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $50 million mixed-use Campus Village development today. Construction of phase one is scheduled to end in fall 2012 and phase two in fall 2013.

Update: Channel 5 has more information.

Local officials celebrated the groundbreaking for the Euclid Belmore Building on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (PDF) hopes to open the 39-unit senior housing complex in July.

Update: the Land Bank posted video of the event.

Contributors to the New York Times Room for Debate offered opinions about the wisdom of demolishing distressed housing in cities like Cleveland.

The SmartHome Cleveland passive house was moved from the grounds of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to its permanent site on Wade Park Avenue. The museum is seeking certification from the Passive House Institute U.S. The house is for sale, with an asking price of $329,000.

Update: the museum posted videos of the move.

Cleveland Area History's Christopher Busta-Peck photographed the demolition of the Alhambra Apartments on Wade Park Avenue in Hough.

Developer Mitchell Schneider's First Interstate Properties completed its purchase of the Cleveland Heights portion of the Oakwood Club property. The company has not submitted plans for the 92-acre site, but its preliminary concept "calls for a campus setting with a variety of living options for older adults, along with therapy and wellness facilities, retail, restaurants and civic use."

The Cuyahoga County Land Bank continues to gather national attention, as the Washington Post explored the agency's approach to the foreclosure crisis.

Update: the newspaper also published an article on local deconstruction and salvage operations.

The Lakewood Architectural Board of Review approved revised plans for the townhouse development on Sloane Avenue. The project has been renamed again, and is now called Clifton Pointe. A spring groundbreaking is planned.

The City of Cleveland will vacate portions of several streets for the planned Campus Village project at Cleveland State. Developers hope to break ground in the next few weeks.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a report on the housing market in the five-county Cleveland metropolitan area. It says that "the housing market in Cleveland remains fragile (PDF) - with low property values, deeply-discounted foreclosed properties affecting neighborhood values, and many severely underwater mortgages."

Several local residential projects are under construction or being planned.

The Finch Group and University Circle Inc. plan to build a 20-unit townhouse project on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. The $5 million Circle East development near University Circle is being supported with funding from local governments. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the project. Meanwhile, the Cuyahoga County Land Bank is clearing additional land in East Cleveland for potential future redevelopment.

Update: the Plain Dealer, WCPN, and Channel 5 also reported on the demolitions.

Update 2: Construction of the Circle East townhouses broke ground on October 13.

State officials awarded four Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grants, including a $299,377 grant to the City of Cleveland to conduct a Phase II assessment of the Kolthoff Road Landfill property, and a $656,272 grant to Cuyahoga County for demolition and remediation in the Emerald Alliance VII (PDF) project on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland.

The Community Land Trust of Greater Cleveland will merge with Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland. The land trust will become a program of NHSGC.

Update: Neighborhood Housing Services issued a press release.

Lyndhurst boards and commissions and City Council approved plans for the Acacia Country Club Estates subdivision. Construction is expected to begin in September. A long-running legal dispute about the property was resolved in April. A Sun Messenger editorial says it "will be an exciting development for Lyndhurst because there is not much buildable land left in the city."

Officials with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank want to enhance its revenue stream by adding funding from delinquent property taxes. The change would need approval from County Council. County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Neighborhood Progress Inc. CEO Joel Ratner praised the land bank in a Plain Dealer op-ed, while NPR's Morning Edition and Time highlighted the land bank's activities.

Greenbridge Commons (PDF) is a new $12.5 million permanent supporting housing development at East 75th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. The 70-unit facility will provide homes for chronically homeless individuals. It was developed by the Cleveland Housing Network and will by operated by Eden, Inc.

A WXZ Development affiliate secured financing for its planned Hazel at the Circle apartments in University Circle. The company hopes to soon break ground on the 59-unit complex.

Lakewood's Architectural Board of Review approved plans for the next phase of the Rockport Square development on Detroit Avenue. Developers plan to build a four-story building that will include 40 loft-style condominiums.

The Lakewood Planning Commission approved designs for the proposed Sloane Avenue townhouses. Now named Le Metro, the development has also received approval from the City's Architectural Board of Review and Board of Zoning Appeals.

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says that in Cuyahoga County, "foreclosed homes go through more than a year of very high vacancy rates following the auction and are substantially more likely to be vacant up to 60 months after the foreclosure."

The City of Cleveland approved a rezoning for the historic Franklin Castle in Ohio City. An unidentified buyer intends to rehabilitate it as three residential units.

Cool Cleveland interviewed David Beach of GreenCityBlueLake about the SmartHome Cleveland exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Developer Andrew Brickman shared preliminary renderings of his proposed riverfront townhouse project in Lakewood. Tentatively named Metro Luxury Townhomes, the 19-unit Sloan Avenue development would include three-story buildings with units ranging in size from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet.

Update: the Plain Dealer provided more details.

Update 2: the City of Lakewood wants to designate the site as a community reinvestment area.

The Plain Dealer visited Slavic Village to see how the neighborhood is dealing with abandoned and vacant homes, while the PBS Newshour reported on local efforts to demolish distressed housing.

Update: the PBS Newshour has a follow-up story.

Update 2: as Montgomery County sets up its new land bank, the Dayton Daily News examined the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

Update 3: the Cincinnati Enquirer also looked at the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

Two banks will donate vacant foreclosed properties to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank for demolition or rehabilitation. Wells Fargo has donated 26 properties so far and Bank of America will donate up to 100 properties. The banks will contribute $3,500 or $7,500 per property to cover demolition costs.

Developer Andrew Brickman wants to build a 19-unit townhouse development on the west side of Sloane Avenue in Lakewood. The City will hold a community forum on July 6 to discuss the proposed riverfront project.

The City of Lakewood is using GIS to make its housing inspections and other municipal services more efficient.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority dedicated (PDF) its new headquarters and the second phase of its Heritage View Homes in Kinsman. The new construction adds 40 apartment units and 17 single-family houses to the 81 townhouse units opened last year.

Cleveland Heights City Council approved an expanded agreement with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. It's intended to help the City deal with distressed properties.

The SmartHome, the first passive house in Northeast Ohio, opened to the public on Monday. It will be on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History until September, when it will be moved to a permanent lot on Wade Park Avenue. The 2,500-square-foot house is designed to have a monthly heating or cooling cost of $20. Participants on Thursday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the house, and it will be the subject of a June 15 panel discussion at the City Club.

Update: audio (MP3, 53.7 MB) and video of the City Club event are now available.

Update 2: McClatchy Newspapers also reported on the SmartHome.

Cleveland State University's trustees approved plans for the 6.8-acre Campus Village development along Chester Avenue between East 21st and East 24th streets. The $50 million mixed-use development will include 308 housing units in nine three- and four-story buildings. The university owns the property, and will lease it to developer Polaris Real Estate Equities of Gates Mills for at least 50 years. Construction is scheduled to begin early this summer.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the decision.

Strongsville City Council is expected to approve the plans for the Cedar Creek Estates subdivision on Monday. The City's Planning Commission approved the development (PDF) in February.

The City of Lakewood received one response to its RFP for the redevelopment of the former Spitzer dealership on Detroit Avenue, a proposal for low-income senior housing from the NRP Group. The proposed $7.8 million Parkwood Pointe development would be three stories tall and include 40 rental units.

Update: Lakewood Patch published a brief article about the proposal.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday for the redevelopment of the former St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland. The project's $15.1 million first phase will rehabilitate the central wing as 72 units of senior housing that will be called St. Luke's Manor. The Ohio EPA recently declared that brownfield remediation is complete (PDF) for the 5.19-acre site.

On Thursday, the South Euclid Planning Commission unanimously voted to rezone 40.7 acres of the former Oakwood Club property from residential to retail for the proposed Oakwood Commons development and to change the City's comprehensive plan (PDF). The issue now moves to City Council, which will hold public hearings (PDF) on May 18 and May 25.

More than 100 people attended a Thursday FutureHeights forum prompted by the proposed Oakwood Commons development. At the event, Terry Schwarz, Hunter Morrison, and Ed Jerse spoke about land use, regionalism, urban sprawl, and the importance of master planning.

Update: video of the forum is now available.

The City of Cleveland Heights completed work on four houses it was renovating through the use of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding. The houses are now on the market, and proceeds from the sales will be used to renovate or demolish other neglected houses. The City of South Euclid is finalizing the sale of the first house renovated through its Green Neighborhoods Initiative.

Update: information about renovated homes in 11 Cuyahoga County cities is available through the Ideal Homes Program.

Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson resolved his concerns about the proposed Hazel at the Circle apartments in University Circle, and now supports rezoning the 1.4-acre site from single-family residential to multi-family residential.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Cleveland v. Ameriquest, the City of Cleveland's suit against 21 banks and mortgage lenders. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the City in 2010.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial praises "Cleveland officials for their ingenuity and then tenacity in continuing to push this case against the odds."

Developer Andrew Brickman dropped his plans to build the 14-unit Townhomes of Edgewater in Lakewood. City officials said that the property's current zoning would permit no more than 12 units on the site, and the developer decided that the project would not be feasible with fewer than 14 units. Mayor Summers said that he "would welcome the opportunity to work with Mr. Brickman in the future."

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency board approved $350,000 in funding for St. John's Village West Family Homes, a 40-house development that is part of the Villages of Central in Cleveland.

More than 150 people attended a meeting of the South Euclid Planning Commission on Thursday to discuss the proposed Oakwood Commons retail development. Most of those who spoke opposed the project. Consultants with McKenna Associates recently completed a review of the rezoning proposal. Earlier in the week, developer First Interstate Properties announced that it is exercising its option to purchase the 90-acre Cleveland Heights portion of the property. The company has not finalized its concept for the land in Cleveland Heights. Blogger Bob Rosenbaum considered the rhetoric surrounding the proposed development.

Update: the Sun News summarized the report from McKenna Associates.

Update 2: the Sun Messenger continues to support the proposal.

Developer Andrew Brickman would like to demolish an Edgewater Drive estate in Lakewood and build the Townhomes of Edgewater on the 2.6-acre site. The new development would consist of 14 detached 1,800 to 2,000-square-foot townhouses. Lakewood officials are also considering a proposal to raze the former St. Paul Lutheran Church on Detroit Avenue to make way for a new 14,000-square-foot CVS store.

A developer hopes to build Cedar Creek Estates, a 12-house large-lot subdivision in northern Strongsville. In Rocky River, construction and sales of the upscale Eleven River condominiums continue.

Update: the Strongsville Planning Commission approved the plans for Cedar Creek Estates.

Through its Neighbors Invest in Broadway program, Slavic Village Development acquires distressed houses from banks and makes them available for purchase and rehabilitation.

The Plain Dealer published more information about the planned demolition of the Walker and Weeks-designed James H. Foster house in Cleveland Heights. Habitat for Humanity is currently salvaging architectural details from the building.

Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson has concerns about the proposed Hazel at the Circle apartments in University Circle, and delayed a rezoning request for the property. Developers had planned to begin construction of the 59-unit complex on Hazel Drive by this June.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Councilman Johnson should allow the project to proceed.

The renovation of the former St. Luke's Medical Center will begin this week. The project's first phase will convert the central wing to 72 units of senior housing, and should be completed in 2012. The three-phase project could be completed by 2013.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called it "a perfect fit for this family-centered neighborhood."

A new report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University examines bank walkaways and "stalled foreclosure cases in Cuyahoga County in order to describe the factors involved in delayed foreclosure cases."

The owners of the Walker and Weeks-designed James H. Foster house in Cleveland Heights intend to demolish the 1911 structure.

Update: Cleveland Area History has more information about the house (part 1, part 2).

The Housing Research & Advocacy Center prepared an analysis of the occupancy codes of communities (PDF) in six Greater Cleveland counties. The report "examines limits on the total number and configuration of residents allowed in dwellings" and its data was "collected to make the varied requirements easily referenced and comparable."

On the one-year anniversary of the house explosion on West 83rd Street in Cleveland, Councilman Matt Zone and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization are raising funds to build new homes to replace the condemned and razed houses.

In May 2009, the Lakewood Board of Building Standards ruled that five neglected buildings required either rehabilitation or demolition. observed the results.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will build a passive house on its grounds as part of the Climate Change exhibit coming to the museum this summer. The energy-efficient SmartHome Cleveland will be built without a furnace, and will be moved to a permanent site on Wade Park Avenue in September.

Developer Randy Kertesz intends to request another extension for his stalled Lakes of Orange subdivision at Miles and Brainard roads. He plans to obtain green building certification for the project's 156 proposed units.

The Coral Company is resuming construction of homes at its Westhampton at Crocker Park development in Westlake. Other local residential developers have also revived stalled projects.

Update: the Coral Company anticipates completing the 125-unit Westhampton development in four to five years.

Developer First Interstate Properties of Lyndhurst is purchasing the 154-acre former Oakwood Club site. It paid $1.8 million for 62 acres in South Euclid and has a contract to buy the other 92 acres in Cleveland Heights. The company plans to develop the property as Oakwood Commons, which would consist of 22 acres of apartments around the former clubhouse building, 63 acres of retail with 500,000 square feet of stores, and 69 acres of parkland. The Cleveland Heights portion is zoned for residential use, and would require a rezoning. Neighbors of the property are trying to preserve the entire site as a park, and say that the development would destroy too much greenspace.

Update: many residents are opposed to the development, although not as vehemently as in the 1990s. They shared their concerns at at Cleveland Heights City Council meeting, which drew about 75 people. Blogger Hank Drake considered whether the area has too much retail.

The Cleveland Housing Renewal Project and the City of Cleveland refiled their lawsuit against Deutsche Bank in a federal court. In addition, the amended filing now includes nine mortgage servicing companies.

The City of Cleveland may adopt a new tactic for dealing with companies that purchase foreclosed houses in bulk and then neglect them. City officials are considering legal action against the company owners.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial addressed the subject.

Middleburg Heights leaders are considering a proposal to rezone the former C. A. Thomas School property from single-family residential to governmental. The City has offered to purchase the 10-acre site from the Berea City School District.

Next American City presents the current status of a Neighborhood Progress Incorporated subsidiary's lawsuits against Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank. Scene reports on the City of Cleveland's plans to appeal the latest ruling in its case against 21 banks.

CMHA recently celebrated the grand opening of its Heritage View Homes, the redevelopment of the Garden Valley Estates in Cleveland. The first phase of the development along Kinsman Road includes 81 units of public housing (PDF) in 20 townhouse buildings.

Bloomberg reported on residential demolitions in Cleveland and other Midwestern cities.

A study by the U.S. General Accounting Office identified Ohio and Greater Cleveland as being among the areas that have experienced the most bank walkaways. It recommends that federal agencies should require mortgage servicers "to notify borrowers and communities when foreclosures are halted and to obtain updated valuations for selected properties before initiating foreclosure." Sherrod Brown said that the practice exacerbates neighborhood blight.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called the report "a welcome first step, but still just a beginning."

The City of Cleveland Heights is using its federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to to renovate 12 houses and demolish 12 others. The City of Parma is using its award to demolish more than 20 houses.

A new report from the National Housing Law Project highlights five Neighborhood Stabilization Program grantees that "used innovative strategies to meet their obligations to provide housing for very low-income families." It profiles programs in Cleveland, Knoxville, Phoenix, Greenville County, South Carolina and Hamilton County, Ohio.

(via ReBuild Ohio)

Researchers at the Case Center for Reducing Health Disparities.are studying the impacts of foreclosures on residents who remained in neighborhoods with high foreclosure rates. Their work will focus on Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway and Hough neighborhoods.

Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka barred three out-of-state companies from conducting real estate deals in the city. The companies, which own a total of 126 properties in Cleveland, have failed to appear in court, address property violations, and pay taxes or assessments.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial praises Judge Pianka's approach.

The Chagrin Solon Sun urges Moreland Hills residents to approve Issue 88, which would establish an open space conservation zoning classification. It also asks Solon voters to reject Issue 129, a proposal to rezone a property from single-family to two-family residential. The Sun Post-Herald encourages Fairview Park voters to pass Issues 54 and 55, which it describes as "housekeeping items that will correct a zoning oversight".

Early this month, Cleveland City Council approved zoning code changes that include adding agriculture as a principal use on all vacant land zoned for residential use. The revised code (PDF) will become effective on November 3.

Homebuilder Pulte Homes began construction of the first five townhouses at the Townes of Pepper Pike at Sterling Lakes. This phase includes a total of 16 units.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court ruled that neighbors of an abandoned house failed to meet the threshold for receiving financial restitution from the house's owner. He also rejected the City of Cleveland's claim.

The Strongsville Planning Commission approved plans for phase four of the Woods of Schneider Reserve subdivision at Whitney and Webster roads. Pulte Homes intends to build 35 single-family houses, and may begin construction as early as next month.

Data compiled by the Housing Research & Advocacy Center indicates that in 2008, Clevelanders received subprime mortgages at a rate more than twice the national average. They also found that minority homebuyers in Cuyahoga County are more likely to obtain high-interest mortgages than whites.

The City of East Cleveland plans to raze about 150 distressed houses this year, and started demolishing the first on Tuesday. The work is funded by grants from the federal federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals overturned a decision by the Northern District Court of Ohio in the case of Cleveland Housing Renewal Project v. Deutsche Bank. The District Court had remanded the case to Cleveland Housing Court, and this new ruling (PDF) sends it back to the District Court.

In the third round of the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $970 million in grants. Allocations in Ohio totaled $52 million, including $6.8 million to the City of Cleveland, $2.6 million to Cuyahoga County, $1 million to the City of East Cleveland, and $1 million to the City of Euclid.

A study conducted for University Circle Incorporated and developer the Fitch Group forecasts that institutions in University Circle will add 2,900 jobs within five years and that the area will offer opportunities for residential development.

Pulte Homes plans to start building townhouses at the Pointe at Sterling Lakes in Pepper Pike. The national homebuilder will begin work on its first five units this month.

A group of Solon residents formed Solon Citizens Against Rezoning to oppose the proposed rezoning of a property at the southeast corner of SOM Center and Miles roads.

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun offers more details.

Cleveland Housing Court started a pilot project to paint boarded-up windows and doors of vacant houses so that they blend into their neighborhoods.

Richard M. Todd of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis examined residential foreclosure trends for non-owner-occupied properties in Cuyahoga County. Building upon research conducted by Case Western Reserve University, he concluded that "the incidence of non-occupant foreclosures in Cuyahoga County was very high by national standards and was even higher for loans to minority borrowers made by non-local lenders in low-cost, low-income, minority neighborhoods" for loans originated in 2005–2006.

(via the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)

The Chagrin Falls Architectural Board of Review approved preliminary designs for the townhouses in the proposed River Walk development on West Orange Street. In Rocky River, construction continues on the Eleven River luxury condominiums.

This morning, NPR's Morning Edition aired a report from Cleveland about Judge Pianka's plans to hold restitution hearings (PDF) for neighbors of neglected houses.

Residents who live near the intersection of Solon and Richmond roads in Solon object to a recommendation for an expanded industrial presence in the area. Another group of residents believes that the City should have appealed a court-ordered rezoning issue instead of placing it on the November ballot.

Update: a Chagrin Solon Sun editorial says that "Solon cannot let the court decide the best use" of the property at SOM Center and Miles roads.

Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka intends to order owners of neglected properties to pay neighbors for financial losses caused by the distressed buildings. He plans to hold restitution hearings this month. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "Pianka risks overstepping the bounds of impartiality should he mix advocacy and judicial roles."

Update: Thursday's Sound of Ideas program looked at the restitutions and other strategies for combating neglect.

The City of Parma is using its federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to purchase and demolish an additional 14 houses. The City of Berea has also started demolishing distressed houses.

FEMA awarded a $1.17 million grant to the Village of Valley View to protect houses from Cuyahoga River flooding. Thirteen homeowners are eligible to use the funds from FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program to elevate their houses. The grant will cover 75% of the costs.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis said that the Cuyahoga County Land Bank is "the most effective and comprehensive program in the country to deal with vacant properties due to its entrepreneurial transactional capabilities and funding." Officials in South Euclid are pleased with the Land Bank's recent agreement with HUD. Next American City cited Cleveland's experience with HUD as an example of "the real danger of this newfound culture of thrift and austerity in Washington."

"Facing the Foreclosure Crisis in Greater Cleveland" (PDF, 29.7 MB) is a new report from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. It "spells out what happened here, relating the symptoms and progressive stages of the crisis as it played out across the region" and "points to representative examples of programs developed and implemented locally to address particular aspects of the crisis."

Landscape architect James Corner of Field Operations, who also developed the Public Square redesign concepts, will design the public spaces of the Uptown development in University Circle. At nearby Hazel Road, WXZ Development announced plans to build 60 upscale apartments near the Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland Institute of Music.

Huntington National Bank announced plans to invest $100 million in affordable housing developments across Ohio over the next 30 months. The funds are expected to leverage an additional $150 million.

After being criticized for ending a program with the City of Cleveland, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reached an agreement with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. Under the new agreement, the land bank can acquire distressed HUD-owned houses for as little as $100. Officials with the land bank, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, anticipate that they will need to demolish at least 80% of the properties they purchase. Sherrod Brown praised the agreement, calling it "a victory for Cuyahoga County."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial congratulates the land bank on its productive first year.

The City of South Euclid is continuing its Green Neighborhoods Initiative with the purchase of three additional distressed houses. Using green building techniques, the City will renovate the bungalows on Warrendale, Colony, and Lambert roads.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ended a program that allowed local governments and nonprofits to take control of foreclosed houses. Cleveland officials were surprised and disappointed by its termination, and Dennis Kucinich asked HUD to reverse its decision.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial is critical of HUD's actions.

Fortune highlighted the efforts of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and similar initiatives in other cities to increase levels of urban greenspace.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court fined two South Carolina real estate companies more than $13 million for neglecting distressed houses in Cleveland. He fined Interstate Investment Group $11.9 million and Paramount Land Holdings more than $1 million.

Residents in Fairview Park will decide two commercial to residential rezoning issues in November, similar to the one they approved in May.

Weekend Edition host Scott Simon examined how the foreclosure crisis has unfolded in Cleveland. He visited with Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis and Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli.

A Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge told the City of Solon to reconsider a rezoning for a property at the southeast corner of SOM Center and Miles roads. It is currently zoned for single-family residential, and City Council rejected a proposed retail rezoning in 2008. The developer that owns the site now wants it rezoned to two-family residential. City Council began the process of placing the rezoning on the November ballot.

Update: a Chagrin Solon Sun editorials says that "city officials must act swiftly to ensure whatever development does go in there is the most appropriate for that property."

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's eighth annual housing policy summit called for "re-examination of that cornerstone of the American Dream: owning a home." It featured panel discussions where experts said that the nation's housing crisis is not over, asserted that new ideas are needed, and discussed methods for preventing a reoccurrence.

Update: the Wall Street Journal's James Hagerty summarized one of the talks.

A Cuyahoga County appeals court overturned a Cleveland Housing Court decision that required Wells Fargo to repair or demolish distressed houses it owns before selling them. The court ruled (PDF) that the plaintiff had improperly taken contradictory positions in two different courts. The implications of the ruling are unclear.

The Middleburg Heights Planning Commission approved preliminary plans for Boulder Creek, an eight-acre, 17-house subdivision near the intersection of Smith Road and Paula Drive.

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision, and ruled that Cleveland Housing Court cannot conduct trials against negligent landowners in absentia. Judge Raymond Pianka has adopted an alternate strategy.

Update: Next American City examined the implications of the decision.

Susan Condon Love of the Plain Dealer wrote about the City of South Euclid's Green Neighborhoods Initiative and the Wilmington Road bungalow undergoing renovations. The City will unveil the makeover at an open house on June 5 (PDF).

The City of Pepper Pike and Forest City last week agreed to revisions of the development plan for the Pointe at Sterling Lakes. It now calls for 102 units in the residential development, down from the 132 units in an earlier proposal.

Cleveland State University selected Polaris Real Estate Equities of Cleveland to develop the first phase of its North Campus Neighborhood. The 6.8-acre residential and retail project will include 275 to 300 market-rate apartments along the north side of Chester Avenue, between East 21st and East 24th streets. They may open in summer 2012.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the announcement is "very good news not only for the school, but for anyone who cares about the future of downtown Cleveland."

The City of South Euclid is nearly finished renovating a Wilmington Road house through its Green Neighborhoods Initiative. The bungalow is for sale, with an asking price of $149,000.

The City of Euclid began renovating the first of 25 to 30 houses under its Housing Acquisition and Rehabilitation Program, an initiative funded by the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Grant Deming's Forest Hill Allotment Historic District in Cleveland Heights was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 13. It is the seventh and largest historic district in the City.

Update: the Sun Press published additional details.

Fairhill Partners continues to raise funds for its planned Kinship Village, which would offer 29 kinship care residences at its Cleveland campus.

Developer Pirhl purchased a property near the intersection of Chagrin Boulevard and Lee Road in Shaker Heights for its planned Library Court senior housing development. The company intends to break ground on the 44-unit project in May.

The March issue of Cleveland Magazine describes the extent of the challenges posed by abandoned houses in Cuyahoga County.

Steven Litt says that the Circle 118 townhouses at Euclid Avenue and East 118th Street have "brightened a once dreary corner" in University Circle. When completed, the development will have 17 units.

Cindy Barber wants artists to relocate to North Collinwood. She proposes making houses owned by the Cuyahoga County Land Bank available to artists at reduced prices.

Shaker Heights officials and John Carroll University administrators reached an agreement that establishes rules for off-campus student housing at Fairmount Circle over the next three years. The City had been considering zoning restrictions on the number of student-occupied units.

Update: a Sun Press editorial says that the agreement is good for both sides.

Parma City Council approved a rezoning that will allow the construction of the planned senior housing development on State Road. It's the first time the City has used its new mixed-use zoning classification.

Pepper Pike City Council did not accept an amended development plan for the Pointe at Sterling Lakes residential development. Developer Forest City wanted to decrease the size and increase the number of townhouse units in the gated subdivision.

In the wake of last month's West 83rd Street house explosion, a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland's abandoned houses need more attention.

Workers have resumed construction of the townhouse portion of the former Ashbury Towers development in Cleveland's Stockyards neighborhood.

While many communities are using their federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants to rehabilitate foreclosed homes, the majority of the local $40.8 million award will be used to demolish abandoned houses.

(via Community Research Partners)

The recession has slowed the planned $500 million residential redevelopment of the Cleveland Quarries site in Lorain County. Industrial Realty Group leaders say that they remain committed to the Quarries at Beaver Creek.

The Solon Planning Commission approved Transcon Builders' plans to develop Hawthorne Valley Country Club as the Hawthorne Estates subdivision.

Development of the Shores of Edgecliff project has not progressed as Euclid leaders hoped it would. The residential lakefront development remains unfinished, and two homeowners are suing the Coral Co., its developer.

The proposed senior housing development on State Road in Parma includes two 50-unit apartment buildings and 12 duplexes. Franciscan Communities hopes to begin construction in 2011.

Developer Fred Rzepka of TransCon Builders presented the Solon Planning Commission with plans for a 211-acre subdivision on the site of Hawthorne Valley Country Club. Hawthorne Estates would consist of 111 single-family houses. Earlier proposals for senior housing at the site were turned down by voters.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency used federal stimulus funds to approve more than $53 million in tax credits. Three projects in Cuyahoga County were among the recipients: Emerald Alliance V on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Independence Place at the Prospect Avenue YWCA in Cleveland, and the Library Court senior housing development on Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $2 billion in the second round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants. Ohio governments received $175 million, and $40.8 million of that went to a consortium (PDF) led by the Cuyahoga County Land Revitalization Corporation. The land bank will invest the funds in 15 Cleveland neighborhoods and parts of five inner-ring suburbs.

The owner of the assisted-living Mount Alverna Villages on State Road in Parma wants to build a senior housing development adjacent to it.

The City of South Euclid's Green Neighborhoods Initiative is underway. The program's first house is on Wilmington Road, and its renovations should be finished by spring.

Three local investors are purchasing and rehabilitating distressed houses in Cleveland's inner-ring suburbs. The partners have bought 38 houses since July.

Chagrin Falls Village Council approved the sale of a Village-owned property on West Orange Street to developer Robert Vitt for $467,000. He intends to incorporate it into a planned 11-unit residential development.

In a first-of-its-kind agreement, Fannie Mae will sell distressed houses to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank for $1. For each house deemed beyond repair, Fannie Mae will contribute $3,500 towards its demolition. The land bank will acquire the first 25 properties under the agreement later this month.

A Plain Dealer investigation concluded that Cleveland's efforts to increase home ownership inadvertently exacerbated the foreclosure crisis.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "officials need to explain such an appalling lack of accountability."

The renovated portion of the University Lofts development is finished and will soon have residents. The apartment/condominium project on Euclid Avenue near Cleveland State also includes new construction, which should be completed early next year.

The Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights is rehabilitating a second home, a 1,380 square-foot house on Edison Road.

Local officials remain disenchanted with the way HUD manages its inventory of vacant houses. Earlier this month, HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Mercedes Marquez defended the department's practices in a Plain Dealer op-ed.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "the problems could be resolved if HUD had open and frequent communication with cities and housing groups".

The City of South Euclid intends to renovate five to seven houses through its $800,000 Green Neighborhoods Initiative, and will apply green building and universal design techniques. The City is also preparing to establish its first community garden at a previously vacant lot on Warrendale Road.

The $21 million renovation of the Union Gospel Press building in Tremont should be completed by the end of the year. About half of the units in the 175,000-square-foot complex have been rented.

Chagrin Falls Village Council approved a zoning overlay for the proposed 11-unit residential development on West Orange Street. Some residents disagreed with the decision.

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun has more information.

The City of Berea is using a streetside inspection program to assist in the enforcement of residential exterior maintenance requirements.

Officials in Solon are discussing a proposed receivership program that the City would employ to address residential abandonment.

Rust Wire recapped the Levin College Forum event yesterday that featured author Alyssa Katz. The next Forum event on October 30 will be a panel discussion about interdisciplinary partnerships for infrastructure investments.

The developer of the planned Village View project in Chagrin Falls was unable to obtain financing for the mixed-use development, and a new developer now wants to acquire the properties on West Orange Street and build 11 condominiums.

The next event in the Levin College Forum's Building Our Future Beyond Foreclosure series will be held on October 8 and is titled Reconsidering the American Dream. It will be a discussion of proposed federal housing policy reform, and author Alyssa Katz will give the keynote address.

American Public Media's Marketplace reported from Cleveland on two foreclosure-related topics. The first story followed up on a report issued earlier this year comparing foreclosures in Collinwood and Braddock, Pennsylvania. The second focused on the potential pitfalls of online real estate purchases.

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis and Dan Moulthroup of WCPN described the new Cuyahoga County Land Bank on The Take Away.

The new Cuyahoga County Land Bank may acquire its first properties this week, and about 250 parcels by the end of the year. Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis thinks that it also can help prevent abandoned houses. The Land Bank's board adopted a new six-month business plan on Friday.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the dormitories under construction at Cleveland State University may enable it to "shed for good its cold commuter-school image and remake itself as an attractive, lively campus."

Shaker Heights and John Carroll University leaders are working to resolve their differences about student housing in university-owned apartments.

Work is scheduled to begin this week on new Cleveland State University dormitories at Euclid Avenue and East 24th Street. The first phase (PDF) consists of three four-story buildings with room for 380 students, plus a 300-space parking garage. They should be completed by fall 2010. The $65 million project will eventually include five residence halls.

An editorial in the Sun Press says that "the City of Shaker Heights is treading on dangerous ground" with its decision to restrict the expansion of student housing near John Carroll University.

The first house renovated by the Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights will be unveiled and open to the public from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. today. The Westover Road house was purchased by its new owners in April. Home in the Heights will next rehabilitate a house on Edison Road.

Over the last 10 years, the Housing Enhancement Loan Program has provided $103 million in low-interest loans to more that 7,500 Cuyahoga County homeowners.

The City of Shaker Heights and John Carroll University were unable to reach an agreement about the increasing amount of student housing at Fairmount Circle, and Shaker Heights City Council passed an ordinance that limits the expansion of student housing.

Chris Warren, Cleveland's Chief of Regional Development, responded to Tom Bier's op-ed from a week earlier. Warren said that "the city of Cleveland has not walked away from its long-standing efforts to promote economic development in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood."

Phase two construction of Rockport Square on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood is continuing. Work on six new townhomes recently started. A date for beginning the third phase of construction has not been established.

Cleveland State's Tom Bier disapproves of the plans to build a psychiatric hospital and subsidized housing along Euclid Avenue in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood. Dr. Bier, Bill Denihan, and Chris Warren were guests on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN, where they discussed the issues.

Next American City summarized the current state of the lawsuit by the Cleveland Housing Renewal Project (a Neighborhood Progress, Inc. subsidiary) against Wells Fargo.

The first apartments at the Residences at Six Six Eight are scheduled to open on August 15. The redevelopment of the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland may be completed by April.

Michigan Radio looked at lessons that Detroit could learn from the Opportunity Homes program in Cleveland and from ESOP's foreclosure prevention actions.

(via Rust Wire)

The City of Cleveland Heights has completed the conversion of three two-family houses into side-by-side condominiums through its East Derbyshire Road Rehabilitation Project.

The City of South Euclid will use a $270,000 First Suburbs Development Council grant to purchase, rehabilitate, and sell abandoned houses. The City will concentrate on five streets north of Cedar Center and the Bexley-Rowland area.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health selected a site along Euclid Avenue between East 55th and East 63rd streets for the new $84 million regional psychiatric hospital. It will replace aging facilities at the MetroHealth campus on Cleveland's west side and in Sagamore Hills Township. The 14-acre site was previously targeted for redevelopment as the Midtown Technology Center. Meanwhile, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded affordable housing tax credits to six projects in Cuyahoga County, including two controversial planned developments in Midtown. Emerald Alliance V, a permanent supportive housing development, received $1 million. A neighboring planned senior housing development received $915,122.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court lifted his injunction against Wells Fargo Bank, and ordered it to post a $1 million bond if it wants to begin selling distressed houses it owns in Cleveland.

The City of Lakewood is using a combination of nuisance abatement techniques and federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program dollars to eliminate blighted structures.

On Thursday, Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued a preliminary injunction against Wells Fargo Bank, ordering the bank to repair or demolish distressed houses it owns before it sells them. Wells Fargo is considering an appeal.

The Plain Dealer looked at the combination of innovative tactics employed by Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka to maintain the quality of the City's housing stock.

A Cincinnati Enquirer editorial says that the foreclosure reform measure passed by the Ohio House last month deserves fair consideration by the Ohio Senate.

(via ReBuild Ohio)

Valdis Krebs used network mapping to illustrate the connections between individuals and organizations involved in illegal house flipping in Slavic Village.

Local municipal officials welcome the new Cuyahoga County Land Bank, viewing it as a good tool for combating housing abandonment.

Cuyahoga County is distributing $1.3 million in federal funds to suburbs with populations below 50,000. The money is being used to demolish distressed housing.

Local stakeholders differ in their visions for the future of the Euclid Avenue corridor in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood. MidTown Cleveland Inc.'s master plan calls for redeveloping the area as a technology and health district, yet current development proposals are more heavily institutional and residential. The City of Cleveland is promoting the proposed Midtown Technology Center site as a location for a new state psychiatric hospital. MidTown Cleveland is not opposing the hospital concept, but objects to the Cleveland Housing Networks plans to build permanent supportive housing and Pirhl's proposed senior housing project. Carole Cohen considers the flexibility of master plans.

A University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist says that there is a link between crime and vacant properties in urban areas. His research indicates that a rise in the number of vacant lots correlates with increased rates of aggravated assaults.

The Home in the Heights subsidiary of the Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights recently sold its first renovated home, a house on Westover Drive that had been vacant for more than two years.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week for the Eleven River townhouses in Rocky River. Construction of the $7 million project is scheduled to begin this summer.

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo Bank, ordering it to stop selling foreclosed houses in the City. It could prevent the bank from selling as many as 183 properties for up to 28 days. Cleveland Housing Renewal Project sued Wells Fargo in December, charging that the bank was dumping distressed properties that it owned in Cleveland.

Update: attorneys for Wells Fargo appeared in court to fight the restraining order.

The Ohio House passed House Bill 3 yesterday by a vote of 54 to 43. The foreclosure reform legislation now goes to the Ohio Senate, which is not expected to immediately consider the bill because members are concentrating on the state budget.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial supports the legislation.

The Stanford Homes development in Old Brooklyn is being deconstructed. Construction of the six-house project on Stanford Avenue began in 2005, but was never completed.

An Ohio House committee approved foreclosure reform legislation yesterday. Among the items in House Bill 3 is a six-month foreclosure moratorium. A provision that would have allowed judges to modify mortgage terms was removed from the bill. Representative Foley of Cleveland, the bill's sponsor, spoke with WTAM about it. The entire House may vote on the legislation next week.

GreenCityBlueLake and Cleveland Real Estate News have recaps of the "Beyond Foreclosure" event on Monday that featured author Alex Kotlowitz.

When it begins work, the new Cuyahoga County land bank will first focus on Cleveland's Slavic Village and Glenville neighborhoods. The Plain Dealer looked at the efforts to reinvigorate Slavic Village with an op-ed by Marie Kittredge of the Slavic Village Development Corporation and a column by Joe Frolik.

By a vote of 52-42, the Ohio House passed a bill that would give more rights to renters living in foreclosed properties. The bill now heads to the state Senate, and a Plain Dealer editorial urges the Senate to pass it.

A panel of mayors of inner-ring Cuyahoga County suburbs discussed the impacts of the foreclosure crisis (MP3, 51.6 MB) on their communities at the City Club on Wednesday. County Treasurer Jim Rokakis was the moderator.

Planning Commissioners Journal Editor Wayne Senville recently made three stops in Northeast Ohio as part of his trip across the country. He visited and wrote about how the public library in Hudson has become a community hub, the flexibility and diversity of Shaker Heights, and the strategies identified in the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative. Map of the Week also reposted several images from the Re-Imagining Cleveland guidelines.

Alex Kotlowitz, author of a recent New York Times article about the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland, will appear at the second event in the Levin College Forum's "Building Our Future Beyond Foreclosure" series on May 11. Registration for the event is free.

Local bloggers provided recaps of several recent events:

Euclid City Council authorized the City's housing department to acquire additional houses for demolition or renovation. The houses will be purchased from HUD and banks in groups of ten.

With the first event in the Levin College Forum's "Building our Future Beyond Foreclosure" series approaching, Kurt Karakul of the Third Federal Foundation and the Forum's Kathryn Hexter wrote a Plain Dealer op-ed about recovering from the foreclosure crisis. They noted that "we have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how this historic community and, indeed, Cleveland itself, can reshape its future and once again become a progressive and dynamic community."

On March 31, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision (PDF) and upheld the results of a March 2008 ballot issue in Solon, where voters had rejected a rezoning for a proposed senior housing development on a site near near Hawthorne Valley Country Club. Supporters of developer TransCon Builders asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.

The Wall Street Journal looked at the role of artists as urban pioneers during the foreclosure crisis, focusing on examples in Cleveland's Collinwood and Detroit-Shoreway neighborhoods.

The first residents have moved into condominiums in the Park Building on Public Square, as the residential conversion of the historic building continues.

The story of a Lakewood house illustrates the difficulties in breaking the cycle of foreclosure and disrepair, as well as one possible solution.

Update: Susan Condon Love wrote more about the house.

The developer of the planned Village View condominiums in Chagrin Falls is continuing to pursue the project, and hopes to begin construction "during this building season."

The owner of Bennington Village in Parma Heights is renovating the condominiums for sale, and has requested a 10-year tax abatement for the property. City Council is considering the implications of his proposal.

Recent reports by Francisca Richter and Lisa Nelson of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland compared the way the foreclosure crisis has played out in Cleveland's North Collinwood neighborhood and the Pittsburgh borough of Braddock. Although the two areas look similar on paper, the foreclosure rate has been much higher in Collinwood. The difference may be attributable to the different regulatory environments of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the first of the Green Cottages in the Cleveland EcoVillage will be held on April 24.

Berea leaders decided not to renew the City's expiring tax abatement program. Several residents spoke out against its renewal.

The Home Repair Resource Center in Cleveland Heights has begun rehabilitation of the first house obtained for the organization's Home in the Heights program. The house on Westover Drive in the Forest Hill neighborhood will be sold when work is completed.

The City of Euclid will purchase at least 10 homes for $1 each through HUD's Dollar Homes program. Some will be demolished and others will be rehabilitated through the use of the City's Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.

A new developer has assumed control of the proposed assisted living facility on Idlewood Drive in Brooklyn. The City's Planning Commission will discuss the project at its April 2 meeting.

Construction of several residential developments in Cleveland will soon be underway. Work on the Circle 118 townhouses in University Circle began last week, and a ceremonial groundbreaking for the nearby 27 Coltman condominiums in Little Italy will be held on Friday. Construction of the University Lofts condominiums near Cleveland State has also started.

The proposed zoning overlay for downtown Independence will appear on the May ballot as Issue 5. Mayor Kurtz recently spoke about the plans at a meeting of the Independence Homeowners Association.

Policy Matters Ohio's annual foreclosure report says that the 85,782 new foreclosure filings in Ohio last year were a record high. Cuyahoga County had the most filings for the fourth consecutive year, but the number of filings in Cuyahoga County was 7.3% lower in 2008 than in 2007. The largest increases in foreclosure filings were in the state's rural counties.

The New York Times Magazine focused national attention on Cleveland with a feature about how the foreclosure crisis has disrupted life in Slavic Village. National and international media outlets have used the neighborhood to highlight the weight of the problem, and many expect that the repercussions experienced in Cleveland will soon be felt in cities across the country. The Plain Dealer, meanwhile, posted maps and databases of the more than 45,000 foreclosures in Cuyahoga County since January 2006, and published a story about the implications of low housing prices. While Cleveland neighborhoods no longer have the nation's highest foreclosure rate, Cuyahoga County remains in the top 35. Rust Wire has a photo essay of the impacts on Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

Update: Charles Buki says that the New York Times article illustrates the need to rethink community development processes and reimagine cities.

Lakewood City Council dropped a proposal that would have allowed residents to raise chickens, due to concerns about regulation, noise and odors, and the need to focus on other issues.

Some Cleveland Heights residents are concerned about the City's lack of public review for proposed residential demolitions.

As anticipated, North Ridgeville City Council voted to ban future planned community developments. Council members said that the City's requirements had been too lenient.

The credit crunch has affected plans to build a 240-unit apartment complex on Center Ridge Road in Westlake. Developer Flaherty & Collins has been unable to obtain funding for the project, and their option to purchase the site next to Porter Public Library has expired. The company remains interested in building the apartments.

North Ridgeville City Council is expected to stop considering proposals for planned community developments. The decision would make permanent the moratorium on their construction.

Oberlin College Professor Anne Trubek did not find what she expected when exploring East 73rd Street in Cleveland. Through the efforts of organized residents, some areas hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis remain viable neighborhoods.

Volunteers and students with Case Western Reserve University are creating an inventory of the more than 2,200 abandoned houses in East Cleveland. The data will be used to prioritize demolitions.

The Cleveland Heights Home Repair Resource Center will soon begin rehabilitating the first of 12 homes it plans to complete this year. The houses were acquired by the City from HUD, and will be sold when the renovations are finished. The City of Cleveland Heights also recently revised its downpayment assistance program.

The City of Euclid has joined the City of Cleveland in asking HUD to demolish distressed houses it owns instead of reselling them. Euclid intends to use its $2.6 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds award to rehabilitate 24 homes and demolish 65 others. Meanwhile, South Euclid City Council authorized officials to purchase properties at up to $25,000 without prior approval from City Council. Officials say that they will use only dollars from grants for the purchases.

Some neighbors of the proposed townhouses at Lorain Avenue and West 47th Street in Cleveland are resisting the development. Councilman Santiago supports it.

The 83 housing starts in Berea last year were the most in Cuyahoga County. Municipal officials credit the City's new tax abatement policy with encouraging the construction.

Foreclosure statistics released by the Ohio Supreme Court show that Ohio experienced a record high number of foreclosures in 2008. It was the 13th consecutive year with an increase. However, the rate of increase slowed to 3.1%, the smallest figure in the 13-year period.

Democrats in the Ohio House have proposed foreclosure prevention legislation that includes a six-month foreclosure moratorium and would allow judges to rewrite mortgage terms when homeowners owe more than property is worth, among other provisions. A Morning Journal editorial says that the moratorium "makes sense in the current economic crisis."

Update: WKSU has additional reactions.

Eleven River is a proposed luxury riverfront condominium development in Rocky River. Its developers are also working on the 27 Coltman condominiums in Little Italy.

Update: the West Shore Sun has more details.

Prompted by a request from Councilman Brancatelli of Cleveland, George Voinovich asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to "demolish its condemned and distressed properties that it owns in Cleveland's Slavic Village and throughout the city." Carole Cohen has many questions about the suggestion.

The Sun Courier has more details about the proposed downtown zoning overlay district that will appear on the May ballot in Independence.

The City of Lakewood may join Cleveland in allowing residents to raise chickens in their yards. City Council discussed the proposal on Monday.

Update: the Lakewood Observer has more details.

The NRP Group has proposed building 30 to 40 townhouses at Lorain Avenue and West 47th Street in Cleveland. A public meeting on the proposal will be held on February 11 at the Urban Community School.

Partners in the Opportunity Homes pilot project are going door-to-door in six Cleveland neighborhoods to help homeowners in high-risk mortgages. They intend to visit nearly 500 homes and hope to prevent 100 foreclosures per year.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Council passed legislation covering urban farming and the allocation of the City's Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. The farming law, which passed by a vote of 18-3, will allow more residents to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, and bees on their properties. City Council adopted Mayor Jackson's proposal for allocating the $25.5 million dollars from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program by a vote of 20-1.

Update: Cleveland City Council issued a press release about the allocation of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.

Persisting Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Ohio Mortgage Lending, a new report from the Housing Research & Advocacy Center, found that upper-income African Americans in the state were denied home mortgages more often than low-income whites. It also found that they were more likely to receive high-cost subprime loans.

Last week, consultants for the City of South Euclid presented an analysis of the City's market potential. They examined lifestyle indicators and determined that in the near future, the City will be most appealing to younger couples and childless singles. The methodology (PDF) and indicator descriptions (PDF) are available for download. South Euclid officials are also seeking funding for a concept for renovating the City's bungalows.

The Tremont West Development Corporation's increased focus on code enforcement has been a source of controversy in the neighborhood. The CDC held its annual meeting last week.

Mayor Jackson proposed using $14.5 million of the $25.5 million that the City of Cleveland received in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to demolish 1,700 structures. He also wants to allocate $1 million for a program to convert vacant properties into community gardens and other uses. On February 12, the City will hold a public hearing (PDF) about uses for the funding.

At a committee work session in University Heights, John Carroll University officials shared a map that shows the University's envisioned footprint in five years. Neighbors of the University say that it's a step in the right direction. The University's expansion plans have been a source of friction with nearby residents, which can be seen in the disagreements over a recent request by the University to demolish six houses for a new athletic field and campus greenspace.

Stelex Equities dropped its plans to build Woodland Preserve, a proposed mixed-use development at Harvard and Brainard roads in Orange.

In a letter to Senator Voinovich, Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli asked area congresspersons to petition the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish distressed properties that it owns in the City.

The McGill Property Group says that it is unable to reimburse the City of Parma Heights for the $133,000 in fees it incurred as part of the Greenbrier Crossing development. The City will attempt to recoup the money in court, and will also proceed with property maintenance violation charges.

Independence City Council is considering legislation to put a downtown zoning overlay district on the May ballot. The overlay would permit retail and multi-family development, including senior housing. Multi-family housing is not currently allowed in the City. Last year, the City surveyed Independence seniors about their preferences.

Update: the overlay district will appear on the May ballot.

The two developers who purchased portions of the former Ashbury Towers project in Cleveland hope to resume townhouse and apartment construction at the site.

The City of Euclid demolished 23 neglected houses in 2008. City officials will continue the program in 2009.

Deconstruction crews are learning how to dismantle old buildings more efficiently. Urban Lumberjacks of Cleveland crews were able to deconstruct two abandoned Glenville houses more quickly and inexpensively than in an earlier pilot project in Slavic Village.

The Washington Independent has more details about the Cleveland Housing Renewal Project's lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo. The banks had the case moved to federal court, but the Housing Renewal Project is seeking to have the case sent back to Cleveland Housing Court.

The Ohio Department of Development will distribute more than $83 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to communities across the state. Cuyahoga County will receive $1.3 million, the City of Cleveland will receive $9.4 million, and Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Lakewood, and Parma will also receive awards. The dollars are in addition to the appropriations directly awarded to cities and counties in September. The Ohio Department of Development also announced that Cuyahoga County will receive a $2.15 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant. It will be used to remediate property along the Cuyahoga River's Old Channel and prepare it for Great Lakes Towing Company's $23 million ship building project.

Update: Cuyahoga County and the Great Lakes Towing Company will supply local matches for the Clean Ohio grant.

The Ashbury Towers property was sold at auction last week. It was divided into two parcels, and a piece with 12 completed and uncompleted townhouses sold for $375,000. The other portion, the site of the former Joseph & Feiss factory, was sold to a second developer for $255,000. The two developers could resume construction of the stalled development.

North Ridgeville City Council rejected a rezoning request for the proposed 218-acre Hampton Place subdivision. They also extended a moratorium on planned community developments for 90 days.

A subsidiary of Neighborhood Progress Incorporated is suing two banks in an attempt to prevent them from selling foreclosed houses at deflated prices. On Monday, Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued a restraining order blocking the sale of 36 houses for at least 14 days.

The jury of the Fairfax intergenerational housing architecture competition awarded first place to a design by Fernando Bonilla of Maryland. The Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation will pursue funding to further develop the plans and build the project.

Beyond REO, a new report from Case's Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, tracked property transfers of Cuyahoga County houses following sheriff's sales. In 2005, 3.62% of these houses sold at extremely depressed prices. By June 2008, the proportion had grown to 42.26%. Many of these properties are in Cleveland's east side neighborhoods. The report identified the proposed countywide land banks as a potential method of returning distressed properties to productive use.

Meanwhile, a new policy discussion paper (PDF) from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland describes the countywide land bank legislation. In addition, University of Missouri - St. Louis Professor Todd Swanstrom compared the ways that Cleveland and St. Louis have responded to the foreclosure crisis (PDF).

Developers secured financing for 27 Coltman, a luxury townhouse development at Coltman Road between East 119th and East 120th Streets in Little Italy. They plan to begin work within a few weeks. Starting prices for the 27 townhouses will be between $299,000 and $499,000.

McGill Properties wants to restructure the tax increment financing agreement for its Greenbriar Crossing development in Parma Heights, without which the company may be unable to proceed with construction.

The Heights Observer shares additional information about the East Derbyshire Road Rehabilitation Project, an effort by the City of Cleveland Heights to stabilize a neighborhood by converting duplexes to condominiums.

The Bainbridge Township Trustees are preparing for a legal challenge of the Township's large-lot residential zoning. In North Ridgeville, City Council is evaluating planned community development legislation. A Council committee recommended extending a moratorium on planned community developments.

Euclid officials plan to use the City's funds from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program to identify, purchase, and demolish 74 foreclosed homes. The City of Brook Park will begin participating in a program that will allow it to take ownership of abandoned homes.

The City of Fairview Park may create a housing council. It would serve as the "line of first response" for rental issues in the City.

With the foreclosure crisis increasing the supply of abandoned homes in Cleveland and East Cleveland, more of the area's homeless are squatting in the vacant houses. Advocates for the homeless are working to establish a program that would allow the skilled homeless to take possession of abandoned homes in exchange for repairing them.

Developers of the proposed subdivision on the 21-acre Windsor Hospital property have named it Falls Walk. The development in Chagrin Falls would consist of 38 single-family houses.

Plans to convert the former Howard Johnson's near the East Shoreway and East 55th Street to condominiums remain on the drawing board.

The Olmsted Township Trustees refused to rezone a property on Stearns Road for a proposed apartment complex, because a project that would provide sewers for the property has not been completed.

The Lakewood Observer has a summary of Mayor FitzGerald's proposed housing initiative. It focuses on encouraging homeowners to reinvest in their properties and on strengthening the City's housing enforcement activities.

Advertising agency Wyse will be the anchor tenant in the K&D Group's redevelopment of the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland. The company signed a 10-year lease for 25,000 square feet on the building's ground floor. The K&D Group is also pursuing nontraditional financing for its planned redevelopment of the nearby Ameritrust complex, including investments from labor union pension funds.

Homebuilder Rysar Properties is struggling in the poor housing market. The company has lost $4 million and is shifting its focus from construction to renovation.

The developer of Circle 118 is preparing to break ground on the townhouse development at Euclid Avenue and East 118th Street in University Circle. Work on the first of four phases could start within the next month.

Update: Crain's Cleveland Business confirmed the news.

The Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation is sponsoring a national architecture competition for an intergenerational housing development. Its objective is to "provide an innovative, affordable, sustainable and supportive environment for families in which grandparents are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren." Kent State's Urban Design Collaborative is coordinating the competition.

Research on the small house on Denison Avenue in Old Brooklyn indicates that it likely was built in 1853 by the son of one of Brooklyn Township's first settlers. Meanwhile, the North Olmsted Landmarks Commission may designate the Standen House on Kennedy Ridge Road as a historic property.

The Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation is striving to increase homeownership and revitalize the east side neighborhood. Among other activities, the CDC rehabilitates neglected houses for resale and manages the Greater Circle Living initiative.

Cleveland Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins is concerned that the Jackson administration is allowing stable neighborhoods to decline by focusing too much on demolishing abandoned houses in already blighted areas.

This week's episode of WVIZ's Applause visits three houses: the straw bale house on Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights, architect Robert Maschke's modernist home near the West Shoreway, and Tremont's Clarence Court townhouses designed by Dan Bickerstaff.

The Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a request from TransCon builders to rezone a site near Hawthorne Valley Country Club in Solon. However, the Court has not begun deliberations on a related lawsuit challenging the validity of the ward veto provision in the City's referendum zoning rules.

The developers of the rejected Oak Knoll subdivision are suing the City of Independence. A judge dismissed two of the developers' claims, but a third suit is still pending.

Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins is looking for more information about a small house on Denison Avenue. It was built in the 1840s, but has been poorly maintained and could be demolished.

Opportunity Homes is a new $20 million public-private partnership designed to counter the effects of foreclosures in six Cleveland neighborhoods over the next three years. In its first year, the program aims to help 100 families avoid foreclosure, demolish 100 blighted houses, and rehabilitate 121 vacant homes.

The North Ridgeville Planning Commission approved the preliminary plan for Hampton Place, a 218 acre planned unit development to be built north of Center Ridge Road. The plans call for the subdivision to include 540 to 550 single-family homes and cluster houses.

The Plain Dealer explored the history of the 85-year old Alcazar apartment/hotel in Cleveland Heights.

Orange Village Council continues to consider a revised residential point-of-sale ordinance. Two residents expressed concerns about the proposed law at a recent meeting.

The New York Times Magazine reports on the fledgling field of building deconstruction, focusing on the efforts of Brad Guy of the Building Materials Reuse Association and his work in Slavic Village.

Zaremba, Inc. announced plans to build ten additional townhouses at the southeastern edge of its Avenue District development in downtown Cleveland.

Ohio received more than $258 million of the $3.92 billion allocated by HUD for foreclosure relief. Cleveland's share was $16.1 million, and Cuyahoga County's was $11.2 million. The cities of Akron, Elyria, Euclid, and Lorain also received funds, as did Lake and Summit counties.

Orange Village Council tabled a vote on a proposed residential point-of-sale ordinance. They may vote on amended legislation on October 1.

A study conducted for the City of Euclid says that there is enough demand for a marina in the planned Harbor Town development.

The City of Cleveland Heights has started offering 100% tax abatements over seven years for new residential construction.

The First Suburbs Development Council and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners gave the City of Shaker Heights a $300,000 grant. It will be "used to facilitate the first step in a multi-phase project that will bring housing to the Moreland neighborhood that encapsulates both best in design and new green building techniques."

The nonprofit Siegel and Shuster Society is raising funds to restore the former Glenville home of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. The first of four auctions raised $34,459 of the $50,000 goal. Owners Hattie and Jefferson Gray agreed to give the Society first rights to buy the house if they decide to sell.

The City of South Euclid's purchase and demolition of nine Greenvale Drive duplexes in 2006 has had the desired effect of reducing crime, and the City continues to maintain the vacant lots. However, the City lacks the funds to repeat the process in other areas.

House flippers are turning to eBay in attempts to make quick profits.

Two residents who live near John Carroll University proposed a study intended to quantify the economic benefits of the neighborhood surrounding the campus.

On September 25, the Levin College Forum at CSU will host the first event in its Beyond Foreclosure series, a panel discussion titled "Small Scale Strategies that Work". It will "focus on small scale housing strategies and projects that are new, creative, environmentally sustainable and invigorating to the marketplace."

The September issue of the Plain Press includes articles about housing code enforcement in Tremont, conflicts caused by construction at the Union Gospel Press building in Tremont, and the status of Ashbury Towers, the stalled redevelopment of the Joseph & Feiss site in Cleveland's Stockyards neighborhood. In addition, WCPN devoted this morning's Sound of Ideas show to a discussion of Tremont issues.

Zaremba Homes has started offering a rent-to-own program intended to make their properties (including the Avenue District in downtown Cleveland) more attractive to buyers.

A report prepared for the City of Cleveland says that over the first five months of this year, City prosecutors rejected over a quarter of the cases prepared by building and housing inspectors against property owners.

The Plain Dealer highlighted the efforts of Winslow Road residents and Shaker Heights officials to improve the neighborhood, and said that it provides "a lesson for other neighborhoods about how to turn around a declining street."

Demolition of the former bank building adjacent to the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland is now underway.

Developer profiled the efforts of five cities, including Cleveland, to revive neighborhoods damaged by foreclosures and abandonment. Some signs indicate that the housing market may be improving, as Greater Cleveland led the nation for home price gains in April and May.

(via Planetizen)

Parma Heights City Council passed a tax increment financing agreement for the Greenbriar Crossing development at West 130th Street and Pearl Road. The agreement also requires the approval of the Parma Board of Education.

Gross Builders is seeking permission to build more lookalike homes than normally allowed at its Carrington Court senior housing development in Solon.

Orange Village Council is considering legislation that would institute residential point-of-sale inspections.

Some residents and leaders in North Ridgeville object to a pair of proposals from developers who want to build around 900 units of housing on the City's south side.

The Francis Court Gables townhouses in South Euclid are not selling well, and only one building has been constructed. Developer Jim Teresi wants the City to adopt a residential tax abatement measure. In addition, the proposed Stoneridge Place subdivision and Liberty Court condominiums are on indefinite hold.

Independence leaders are surveying seniors to learn about their housing needs in order to develop a plan for senior housing in the downtown district.

The Twinsburg Architectural Review Board is concerned about the increasing number of historic homes that have been allowed to fall into disrepair and subsequently demolished. Earlier this year, the City discontinued a home repair loan program.

The Plain Dealer continues its "Elegant Cleveland" series with a piece on the history of the Moreland Courts towers near Shaker Square.

With assistance from the Grow Lakewood Housing Fund, a Lakewood resident is performing the City's second conversion of a duplex to a single-family house. Work on the Cranford Avenue house may be completed in a few months.

The first condominium created from a two-family house on East Derbyshire Road in Cleveland Heights was just placed on the market. Two others will be completed late this month.

Euclid City Council agreed to allow Providence Baptist Church to indefinitely delay its plans to build 100 homes off of Hillandale Drive. The church still intends to build new facilities on the site.

Plans for the redevelopment of downtown Independence may have a senior housing component. City leaders intend to develop a master plan for the area, and may ask voters to approve the senior housing next year.

Parma Heights City Council will be asked to approve a tax increment financing package for the Greenbrier Crossing development at Pearl Road and West 130th Street.

Instead of trying to redevelop all of the vacant residential properties in the City's land bank, Shaker Heights officials are encouraging neighbors to purchase some of the sites as side lots. Other suburbs are also interested in alternatives to replacing razed homes.

The housing bill signed by President Bush yesterday will eventually bring $26.6 million to Cuyahoga County communities for acquisition and rehabilitation or demolition of abandoned houses. The City of Cleveland is expected to receive the majority of the money.

Update: the Plain Dealer analyzed the legislation and clarified that the $26.6 million figure is only an estimate. The Christian Science Monitor also interviewed local officials about its likely implications.

FEMA awarded the City of Valley View approximately $1 million through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The funds will be used to elevate up to 21 homes and for the acquisition and demolition of two others that have suffered repetitive flooding.

The City of Cleveland Heights will work with the nonprofit Home Repair Resource Center to rehabilitate vacant houses acquired through HUD's Dollar Homes initiative. City officials estimate that 40% of the 27 houses acquired or being acquired are beyond repair and will be demolished, but the remaining 60% will be refurbished.

On Friday, Bill Moyers Journal recounted the story of the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland, focusing on the problems in Slavic Village. Video, audio (MP3, 17.9 MB), and a transcript of the PBS broadcast are all available.

Developer Nathan Zaremba remains upbeat about the prospects of his company's Avenue District condominiums in downtown Cleveland.

Enabling legislation for proposed countywide land banks was introduced in both branches of the Ohio Legislature yesterday. Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis has been promoting the concept since last year.

Update: WCPN has more information.

Providence Baptist Church is reconsidering its plans to build houses alongside its new church in Euclid, and is seeking City Council's approval to start by building just the church.

Phase II construction of Tremont Pointe could begin as early as next month. The first phase included 102 units of market rate and subsidized housing, and the second phase will add 78 more units.

The senior housing development proposed for the site of the former Memphis School in Old Brooklyn was not selected to receive tax credits through the state's Housing Tax Credit Program. Councilman Kevin Kelley said, "It's not likely that (housing project) will work out so we may be looking at other options for that site."

South Euclid City Council was informed that it is too late to amend or rescind the exterior point-of-sale home inspection ordinance it passed last November. The City had a 30 day window to alter the law after residents submitted a referendum petition in December. The issue will appear on the November 4 ballot.

This week's Free Times includes another look at the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland and its disproportional impacts on African Americans.

A Slavic Village house is being deconstructed through a pilot project funded by the Cleveland Foundation and managed by Neighborhood Progress Inc. Cleveland's Citywide Plan calls for increased support of deconstruction.

The City of Parma Heights is suing Matt McGill of the McGill Property Group over the poor conditions at the site of the planned Greenbriar Crossing development.

The historic May Company building on Public Square in Cleveland will be redeveloped as retail and residential space. The ground floor is slated to house a restaurant and a nightclub, and the upper stories will be renovated as residences and possibly a small hotel. An earlier renovation attempt called for converting it into the Public Square Tech Center.

The slow housing market has apparently stalled two residential developments in Bedford. Construction of Bentbrook Village behind St. Pius X Catholic Church has halted, and no homes have been built at Bedford Falls, the development planned for the former Taylor Chair site.

The Valley View Planning Commission approved plans for the Preserves at Hathaway Farm subdivision. An earlier proposal called for 23 homes on on 13.2 are site, but the approved design has 20 homes. The property is adjacent to the Kukoleck farmstead in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Superintendent John Debo hopes the development's impacts can be minimized.

The City of Cleveland announced $4.6 million in Housing Trust Fund allocations for ten residential developments. All employ green building techniques. The projects are evenly divided between renovations and new construction.

Update: Crib Notes provides more details.

The Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland recently led a guided tour of six residential developments under construction across the region. has video from the tour.

Pathways to Foreclosure, a new report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University, says that subprime lending accounted for 84% of the foreclosures on home loans within Cuyahoga County in 2005 and 2006. It also says that lenders targeted African American borrowers and neighborhoods for subprime loans, similar to previous redlining problems. Meanwhile, today's Sound of Ideas show discussed a report released last week that detailed the impacts of foreclosures on renters.

One of the side effects of the foreclosure crisis is an increase in overgrown lawns, which has forced local municipalities to spend money and time on maintaining the vacant properties.

The 1,100 acre Lakeview Bluffs development in Fairport Harbor, Painesville, and Painesville Township could take 25 years and $1 billion to complete. Construction is expected to begin in 2010. CSU professor Robert Simons says it "could very well be the largest construction project Lake County sees in the next 100 years."

Collateral Damage, a new report from Policy Matters Ohio, says that renters in Cuyahoga County increasingly face evictions due to lenders foreclosing on their landlords. The report estimates that there were 3,918 foreclosure filings on rental units in Cuyahoga County last year, a 29% increase from 2006.

Cleveland City Living reports that the conversion of several Euclid Avenue buildings to the University Lofts condominiums will begin next month.

The Living Cities Consortium gave a $500,000 grant to Neighborhood Progress Inc. The funds will be used to demolish 100 houses in Cleveland and to renovate 50 others. NPI also expects to receive a $1 million low-interest loan.

Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services held a field hearing in Cleveland about the foreclosure crisis. Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters led the nearly five hour meeting, which was also attended by five members of Ohio's congressional delegation. Recent stories about Cleveland in the national media have drawn attention to the issue, and the Plain Dealer used East 144th Street in Mount Pleasant as an example of the impacts of foreclosures.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the subcommittee's Cleveland appearance "reflects the severe financial and social repercussions across the country."

Arsonists have burned 98 vacant homes in Cleveland this year. Last year, there were fires at 231 vacant homes in the City. Investigators believe that some of the blazes are tied to mortgage or insurance fraud.

Chris Ronayne of University Circle Inc. is interested in creating an "uptown community alliance" that would market Shaker Heights "as housing stock in University Circle."

The City of Bedford completed the renovation of two HUD homes, and will sell them later this month through a sealed bid process. The city is also working on five other HUD homes that it has acquired.

The slow housing market has delayed the start of work on the Cliffs on Rocky River condominiums in Lakewood. Developer Rick Foran now hopes that the first units will be ready for occupancy by 2010.

Update: the Lakewood Sun Post supplies details about the extension of the TIF agreement.

A column by Becky Gaylord of the Plain Dealer says that, "Too often, Cleveland ignores owners of abandoned or neglected houses that lure crime and kill nearby home values." She feels that the City focuses too much on demolitions, and does not employ other tools, like receivership, enforcement crackdowns, and property registration.

Audio of Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis's (MP3, 26.1 MB) recent talk about the foreclosure crisis and the proposed countywide land bank is now available from the City Club.

The Plain Dealer explored the interest in and potential for cohousing in Cleveland in anticipation of today's cohousing forum at CSU.

Update: audio of the session (MP3, 167.2 MB) is now available.

The K&D Group completed its purchase of the 668 Euclid building on Friday. The conversion of the building to about 240 apartments and 65,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space could be finished by early 2010.

Construction of the Casa Romana townhomes on Warren Road in Cleveland began last week. In South Euclid, the 16 unit Stoneridge Place subdivision may not be built.

Brooklyn City Council approved the construction of a $32 million assisted living development behind Ridge Park Square on Idlewood Drive.

On Wednesday, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis told a City Club audience that he is confident that state legislators will pass a law that will enable urban counties to create land banks.

The Levin College Forum at Cleveland State will host a brown bag session about cohousing on June 6. The event is free and registration is available online.

The sluggish residential real estate market is making it difficult for developers to sell new condominiums in inner-ring suburbs. Several cities are offering incentives to spur investment, and developers are trying to entice buyers. Rysar is offering a free Smart car to purchasers at the Bluestone development in Cleveland Heights. Other developers have pulled out of projects. Al Neyer canceled the Terraces on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. Experts predict that the market will rebound.

WCPN concluded its series on the foreclosure crisis with reports on the roles of Fannie Mae and HUD in the crisis and possible solutions to the problem.

WCPN continued its foreclosure crisis coverage with a report on the problems it has created in Cuyahoga County's outer ring suburbs and a discussion of the issues on this morning's Sound of Ideas program. In the Plain Dealer, Cleveland Chief of Regional Development Chris Warren wrote about the Jackson administration's approach to dealing with the foreclosure crisis and abandoned houses.

The Greater Circle Living program was officially launched today. The initiative will supply forgivable loans and rental reimbursements to an estimated 700 homebuyers in portions of seven adjacent neighborhoods in Cleveland and East Cleveland.

This week, WCPN is airing a series of reports about the foreclosure crisis. Yesterday's piece was an examination of the practice of purchasing Cleveland homes in bulk, and today's was a look at the impact of foreclosures in inner-ring suburbs.

Tecco's Next Level Sports Facility on Westwood Drive in Strongsville is being demolished and will be replaced by the Preserve at Westwood, a 90 unit residential subdivision.

While Cleveland officials are struggling to deal with the increase in abandoned homes, they have been able to raise the number of houses that have been boarded up, condemned, and demolished. However, a Plain Dealer editorial says that the City needs to do more. In addition to the other problems caused by abandonment, Cleveland has seen a rise in arson this year.

Euclid City Council authorized the purchase of houses from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $1 each. The City will turn the houses over to Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland for rehabilitation and resale. If the houses are beyond repair, the City will demolish them.

Cleveland's Board of Zoning Appeals approved variances for the planned Mayfield Lofts condominiums in Little Italy, and did not request additional changes in its design.

Because sales of the Lofts at Avalon Station have been below expectations, Shaker Heights City Council allocated $190,000 to be used as incentives to lure buyers to the condominiums.

Steven Litt feels that the developers of the proposed Mayfield Lofts condominiums in Little Italy should be granted the zoning variances that they are seeking. Some residents feels that the six story, 24,000 square foot building at Mayfield Road and East 119th Street would be too tall.

A group of Solon residents that supports the rejected senior housing development is suing the City of Solon and the group Solon Taxpayers Against Rezoning. They are charging that a referendum zoning provision in the City's charter is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs include relatives of TransCon Builders President Fred Rzepka. Some speculate that the case could help the Coral Co. gain approval for its proposed Central Parc development.

The University Circle Design Review Committee unanimously approved colorful designs for the Circle 118 Townhomes, a proposed 17 unit townhouse development at Euclid Avenue and East 118th Street.

A hearing in the Southwoods Case was held last week in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Developer DiSanto Enterprises withdrew its federal case against the City of Solon, but several residents are seeking an injunction against the development.

In a supplement to a report from last year, the Brookings Institution estimated that implementation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy would lead to a $2.1 billion to $3.7 billion increase in residential property values in the Cleveland metropolitan area.

The Plain Dealer profiled five archetypal downtown residents and mapped downtown apartments and condominiums.

Euclid officials recently approved the first phase of Providence Baptist Church's plans for a branch church and about 110 houses on 68 acres on the City's southeast side

Although sales have been slow and the company may be experiencing financial difficulties, Gordon Priemer of Heartland Developers says that plans for the Avalon Station condominiums in Shaker Heights are moving ahead at "full force".

A 240 unit upscale apartment complex has been proposed for a 30 acre site on on Center Ridge Road west of Porter Public Library. The Westlake Planning Commission tabled the plans to allow residents more time to supply input on the proposal. The site was the subject of a prolonged legal battle prior to being rezoned in 2005.

The City of Euclid and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland may purchase up to 17 foreclosed homes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and refurbish them for resale.

Parma Heights officials are unhappy with the condition of the Greenbrier Crossing construction site at Pearl Road and West 130th Street.

Anecdotal data indicates that locally, the foreclosure rate is increasing more quickly in the outer-ring suburbs than in Cleveland or its mature suburbs.

Industrial Realty Group has begun demolishing buildings at the Cleveland Quarries site in South Amherst to make way for its planned $500 million residential community. The new development has been named the Quarries at Beaver Creek.

A new house in the Ludlow neighborhood of Shaker Heights may become the first in the state and the 25th residential development in the nation to obtain LEED Gold status. The 1,754 square foot, three bedroom home is named the Dandelion House.

By a vote of 5-2, Olmsted Falls City Council overrode the Architectural Board of Review's decision and approved the demolition of a bungalow in the City's historic district.

Six new single family houses for seniors are under construction at the Jennings Center for Older Adults in Garfield Heights. In Maple Heights, a developer has expressed interest in building apartments for seniors on a three acre site near St. Andrew Eastern Orthodox Church.

12 townhouses have been proposed for a 2.2 acre site across from Bay Middle School. The area is zoned for single-family houses, and a zoning change would require voter approval.

The City of Solon may pay for portions of a proposed new four lane road that would connect the proposed Central Parc development to Route 422. Developer Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. is also scheduled to address the Solon School Board on Monday about tax increment financing for the development. Meanwhile, Solon City Council is examining a proposal to create a low-density multifamily zoning district on the south side of Bainbridge Road.

A group of Solon residents opposed to the Southwoods subdivision filed a request for a temporary restraining order to halt the development.

TransCon Builders is considering legal action against the City of Solon after losing a rezoning issue last week. The company hoped to build senior cluster homes on 62 acres of a site between Hawthorne Valley Country Club and the Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation.

Neighbors of the planned Southwoods subdivision in Solon object to the City's approval of the development. They assert that Southwoods is part of an existing subdivision, and therefore needed consent from residents. In the meantime, DiSanto Enterprises has begun clearing the site.

Steven Litt critiqued City Architecture's preliminary plans for the Upper Chester development near University Circle and found much to like, although he feels that the firm "needs to settle down with a simpler, stronger and cleaner approach" for the project's first apartment building.

Representatives of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attended Cleveland City Council's Fighting Foreclosure Forum yesterday. Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland also announced that it received $600,000 to advertise and to hire more counselors.

Voters in Broadview Heights will decide a rezoning issue on Tuesday. The owners of three properties on Cherry Hill Lane want a portion of their properties rezoned from office to single-family residential.

The City of Berea recently established a housing and social services division within the building, engineering, and planning department. Creation of the housing division was a campaign promise of Mayor Kleem.

Over a dozen out-of-state investment companies that specialize in reselling foreclosed homes are operating in Cleveland. They purchase properties in bulk from banks and then sell the houses without making improvements. The proposed countywide land bank is intended to keep homes out of the hands of speculators.

The company that proposed building senior housing on the Memphis School site in Old Brooklyn also wants to build cluster homes for seniors along Denison Avenue east of Pearl Road. Both developments are outgrowths of the MetroHealth Senior Health and Wellness Center that opened last year at the former Deaconess Hospital.

A moratorium on planned residential developments in Twinsburg Township will be lifted on March 11. It has been in place since December 2006.

$60 Million and Counting (executive summary, 0.6 MB PDF; complete report, 20.2 MB PDF), a new report from ReBuild Ohio and Community Research Partners, says that abandoned homes cost eight diverse Ohio cities $64 million per year and cost Cleveland $35.5 million per year. The total statewide cost may be ten times greater.

Townhomes and lofts at the Avenue District in downtown Cleveland are selling well. The number of units planned for the development has risen from 426 to about 650. Developer Nathan Zaremba feels that nearby parking lots hold the potential for an additional 1,500 homes.

CMHA is planning a five-year, $100 million reconstruction of the 30 acre Garden Valley Family Estates in Kinsman. The plans call for demolishing and replacing the townhomes, and adding a new elementary school and a YMCA branch.

50 housing units for low-income seniors might be developed on the site of the former Memphis School in Old Brooklyn. If approved by Cleveland City Council, the NRP Group could begin construction by 2009.

Attendees at a South Euclid Planning and Zoning Committee meeting suggested that the City consider expanding its plans to create a Mayfield-Green mixed use district in order to create a Crocker Park-like development that would complement Cedar Center. City Council may act on the rezoning proposal at its February 25th meeting.

On Monday, Solon City Council approved a site plan for Carrington Court, Gross Builders' planned 27.2 acre senior housing development. Company officials do not yet know when construction will begin.

Now that Solon City Council has approved the plans for the Southwoods subdivision, developer DiSanto Enterprises is dropping its lawsuits against the City. However, a neighbor of the proposed development said he will appeal the approval in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The Plain Dealer's Becky Gaylord suggests five steps that "could prevent another community-wide foreclosure crisis from ever exploding again."

The City of South Euclid will not enforce its exterior point-of-sale home inspections law prior to the November election, which will include a referendum measure on the ordinance.

The Chagrin Falls Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved a set of variances for the planned Village View condominiums on West Orange Street.

Cleveland officials proposed offering $5.1 million in loans to the K&D Group for the redevelopment of the 668 Euclid complex, in addition to other incentives. Cleveland City Council may vote on the proposal as early as Monday.

Update: City Council unanimously approved the loan.

Channel 8 reports on the construction of the Avenue District development in downtown Cleveland.

(via The Avenue District)

The owner of a River Road bungalow in the Olmsted Falls Historic District wants to demolish the house, because it would be cheaper to replace than expand. The City's Architectural Board of Review rejected the request, and he has appealed to City Council. A public hearing will be held on January 31.

Solon City Council approved the revised plans for the Southwoods cluster house subdivision by a vote of 4-3, authorizing 40 zoning variances.

This week, the Plain Dealer is publishing a series on Cleveland's foreclosure crisis. The series includes articles, slideshows, graphics, and databases. However, Bill Callahan feels that the investigation is overlooking an important question.

The Solon Planning and Zoning Commission approved revised plans for the Southwoods subdivision on Tuesday. The plans will now go before City Council.

The Foran Group is projecting that the Cliffs on Rocky River condominiums will be completed by late 2011.

South Euclid leaders are considering a plan to designate the entire City as a community reinvestment area. Homeowners who reinvest in their properties would be eligible for a property tax reduction. New construction would also qualify for the reduction.

Ohio Green Communities, a collaborative dedicated to funding to affordable green housing, named three Cleveland developments as 2007 Ohio Green Communities Projects. They are Cogswell House, Village Green Elderly, and Tremont Pointe II.

Cuyahoga County officials unsealed bids today for the Ameritrust complex at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. Although they were expecting several bids (PDF), the only package was a $35 million bid from the K&D Group of Willoughby. The company's plans call for converting the Cleveland Trust Tower to a 170 room hotel and 200 residential units. They also want to construct a new 200,000 square foot office tower at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street and build additional parking and residential space.

Update: the Plain Dealer also reported on the bid and reactions to the news.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland leaders must support a countywide land bank to help counter the "devastating impact on local property values" caused by the foreclosure crisis.

Foreclosure and Beyond, a new report from Case Western Reserve University's Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development concluded that rising rates of foreclosure are having a detrimental effect on home values in Cuyahoga County. It suggests that "greater efforts are required to protect the growing number of vacant homes and limit spillover effects to surrounding properties" and that "policies are needed that can speed the movement of these foreclosed homes into the hands of home owners or landlords who can occupy and maintain the properties."

In Lakewood, construction of first two phases of Rockport Square is nearing completion, with phase 2 work scheduled to finish by the end of 2008. The construction of Phase 3 will depend on market demand.

DiSanto Enterprises submitted revised plans for the Southwoods subdivision to the City of Solon. Planning Director Rob Frankland describes them as "a modest modification from the original plan." Meanwhile, a Solon resident says that City Council took too long to decide whether to place a rezoning issue for a proposed senior housing development on the March ballot. He may sue the City.

The family of a Valley View landowner is attempting to rescind a purchase agreement with the developers of the proposed Preserve at Hathaway Farm subdivision.

Gross Builders appears to have separated from a partnership with Stark Enterprises, and intends to return to earlier plans for a senior housing development on 27.2 acres on Aurora Road. The change may force Stark to offer a scaled-back version of its proposed mixed-use Garden District development.

Pre-construction sales of condominiums at The Terraces on Lee Road have not been proceeding as well as anticipated. Builder Al. Neyer, Inc. is considering several options, including scaling back the mixed-use project. Executives with the company will discuss the development with Cleveland Heights officials.

South Euclid residents opposed to the City's new exterior point-of sale home inspections submitted referendum petitions late last month. The City will verify the signatures and then send the petitions to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The K&D Group's plans for renovating the former Atrium Office Plaza on lower Euclid Avenue include the demolition of the adjacent former Continental Savings headquarters building.

The Plain Dealer's Becky Gaylord examined the Genesee County Land Bank in Michigan and how a similar land bank proposed for Cuyahoga County could help Cleveland.

Solon City Council did not select one of the two competing mixed-use development proposals, which means a rezoning issue will not appear on the March ballot. Gross Builders reportedly may withdraw from a partnership with Stark Enterprises. However, City Council did approve a rezoning issue for the proposed senior housing development near Hawthorne Valley Country Club.

The City of Shaker Heights will purchase and demolish six vacant houses in 2008. The properties will be added to the City's land bank.

The Bentleyville Planning and Zoning Commission approved a preliminary site plan for the 14 home Wharton Woods development off of Holbrook Road.

Fairhill Center and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation announced that they have raised enough money to begin work on building a 29-unit Kinship Village in six buildings at Fairhill Center's campus. It's expected to open in 2010.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the program makes sense.

A Plain Dealer editorial praises the Greater University Circle Initiative's homebuyer assistance program, concluding, "When local employers help workers put down roots and revitalize neighborhoods, that helps all of Greater Cleveland."

Updates on proposed residential developments:

South Euclid residents opposed to a recently enacted exterior point-of-sale home inspection ordinance are circulating referendum petitions, and hope to see an issue on the November 2008 ballot.

A senior housing issue will not appear on the March ballot in Independence. Although the City had planned on the March vote, Mayor-elect Kurtz said that the City was not yet ready to go to voters.

The conversion of a Bunts Road duplex to a single-family house has been completed. The property is being marketed for sale at $185,000. Lakewood officials hope that this pilot project will be replicated at other duplexes in the City.

Major University Circle employers cooperating (MP3) through the Greater University Circle Initiative will offer $5 million in grants and forgivable loans over the next five years to employees who purchase, rent, or renovate homes in University Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods. The program is an expansion of Case's Employer Assisted Housing Program.

The K&D Group has filed for $1.1 million in loans from Cuyahoga County for the redevelopment of the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland, which also recently received $16.4 million in state tax credits. The company does not yet own the building, but the sale could close in January. They want to redevelop the vacant structure as 47,000 square feet of retail and 215 apartments.

Demolition of the partially-built Cornerstone project at Pearl Road and West 130th Street is underway. Work should be completed in 30 to 40 days. Parma Heights City Council approved the preliminary development plan for Greenbriar Crossing, which will be built on the site, and the City's Planning Commission will review the final development plan this week.

Commercial to residential rezoning issues for portions of three properties on Cherry Hill Lane will appear on the March ballot in Broadview Heights.

A rezoning issue for a 3.5 acre undeveloped property on Mastick Road may appear on the March ballot in Fairview Park. If City Council approves the measure, residents will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed residential to office rezoning.

Last week, South Euclid City Council unanimously voted to institute exterior point-of-sale home inspections. Residents opposed to the inspections hope to challenge the ordinance via referendum.

University Heights officials say that John Carroll University's decision to rent houses it owns solely to students is not consistent with the properties' current residential zoning.

The Bentleyville Planning and Zoning Commission tabled its review of the preliminary plat of the Wharton Woods subdivision on Holbrook Road. A special meeting will be held on December 12 to finish the review.

Urban planning consultant Kyle Ezell says that Ohioans need to learn how to live in cities for urban residential developments to succeed.

The City of Cleveland Heights will purchase a two-family house on East Derbyshire Road, renovate it, and sell it as condominiums. The work is part of the East Derbyshire Road Rehabilitation Project.

In a three-part series, the News-Herald examined the state of the Greater Cleveland housing market.

Shaker Heights officials say that the main role the City can play in the foreclosure crisis is to protect neighborhoods from the effects of foreclosure.

Last week, CMHA celebrated the opening of 28 subsidized senior housing units at Riverside Park Estates in Bellaire-Puritas.

TransCon Builders would like the City of Solon to create a new senior housing zoning classification for its proposed development adjacent to Hawthorne Valley Country Club.

Earlier today, Mayor Jackson proposed new standards for housing construction and renovation. In order to obtain financial assistance from the City, builders and contractors would have to meet national green building standards. Some builders worry that it would raise their costs. If Cleveland City Council adopts the proposal, the new rules would start in 2009.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says the proposal "isn't a bad idea. But it has to be done carefully.")

This morning's Sound of Ideas on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of the proposed countywide land bank. The show's guests were Genesee County, Michigan Treasurer Dan Kildee, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, and Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli. Bill Callahan shared his reactions.

With Enterprise Community Partners holding its annual conference in Cleveland this week, co-founder Patricia Rouse wrote about the importance of affordable housing, saying, "Permanent affordable housing is the life blood of any movement to end poverty."

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the proposed countywide land bank has the potential to "provide the heft needed to break the cycle of speculation, default and foreclosure".

Solon officials say that alterations to the site plan for the proposed Southwoods cluster home development will require the project to begin the municipal approval process again. Meanwhile, residents are unhappy that they were not included in settlement talks earlier this year.

The Bentleyville Planning and Zoning Commission did not approve the preliminary plat for the proposed 19.6 acre Wharton Woods subdivision, formerly known as Holbrook Estates.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County may form a joint agency that would buy abandoned houses and keep them away from real estate speculators. The role of the proposed countywide land bank will be identified in a new study.

Chagrin Falls Village Council unanimously voted to sell the village-owned properties on West Orange Street to developers Larry Shibley and Brad Remington. They plan to redevelop the site as Village View, a 14 unit luxury condominium project.

Residents of the Solon Park Apartments have begun circulating petitions in opposition of Bob Stark's plans for a mixed-use development. The plans include tearing down the apartments, but Stark has indicated that he intends to provide affordable housing in his proposed Garden District development.

A Geauga County developer agreed to purchase the 20.6 acre former Windsor Behavioral Hospital property in Chagrin Falls. He plans to build 35 single-family homes on the property.

The grand opening of the Tremont Pointe (PDF) mixed-income community was recently celebrated. The first phase of the Cleveland development includes 102 units. Additional phases at the former Valleyview Homes site will add another 218 units.

The renovation of the former Everready powerhouse at Battery Park is scheduled to begin later this month. When completed next year, it will house a community room, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

Construction of the Cliffs on Rocky River was approved by Lakewood and Cuyahoga County officials. The condominium development has grown from a planned 46 units to as many as 60 units. A new access road should be completed by next spring, with the first units ready for occupancy in late 2008.

(Update: the Lakewood Sun Post has more details.)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sold the mortgage on the West Tech Lofts to a Philadelphia real estate firm. Representatives of the company will meet with the property's owners to decide their next steps.

Developers donated a seven acre parcel to Orange Village. In exchange, they were allowed to add 14 units to their planned Lakes of Orange housing development.

Neighbors of Greenbriar Crossing in Parma Heights are concerned that the proposed residential and retail development will increase runoff and traffic problems. The project is under review by the Parma Heights Planning Commission.

Solon officials are scrutinizing the reintroduced plans for senior housing on a site adjacent to Hawthorne Valley Country Club. If they approve the proposal, the proposed rezoning will go before voters.

Orange residents may have the opportunity to vote on a rezoning issue for the proposed Woodland Preserve development in November 2008, instead of the March vote that the developers initially wanted.

(Update: this week's Chagrin Herald Sun has more details.)

Making progress on planned lakefront developments is a priority for Euclid City Council. The Executive & Finance Committee passed a resolution stating that the project should include a marina, public access, a boardwalk, a lakeside restaurant, and public parking.

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will speak to the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance on October 1 at 1:30 p.m. at US Bank Center on Euclid Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

TransCon Builders reintroduced its proposal to build a senior housing subdivision next to Hawthorne Valley Country Club in Solon. The development was rejected by voters in May. They expanded the proposal to cover as many as 184 new homes on 61.6 acres, but also pledged that the country club would be preserved as a golf course or a park.

Several Edgerton Road residents in North Royalton want the City to buy their homes because of potential flash flooding dangers identified in a recent report (PDF).

As Ohio remains among the states with the highest foreclosure rates, Britain's The Guardian examined the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on Cleveland. The Free Times also continued its foreclosure coverage with a look at the work of the East Side Organizing Project. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Cleveland State professor Kathleen Engel says that "Cleveland cannot afford to wait for federal solutions to the subprime problems that are dogging the city."

Developers of the proposed Woodland Preserve development in Orange were informed that they "don't have a chance" of putting a rezoning issue on the March ballot. Stelex Equities is expected to present their plans to Village Council on October 3.

Mayor Welo assured South Euclid residents that the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council will not build a proposed recreation center if they are unable to align grant funding.

The Ohio Foreclosure Task Force has published its recommendations for addressing the statewide foreclosure crisis as a final report (PDF) that includes tasking the State with spending $2 million for immediate efforts, among other proposals. The report also views the possible aftermath of the mortgage meltdown, including the possibility of assessing whether some neighborhoods should remain residential.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that current foreclosure rates are the highest on record, with Ohio, exacerbated by subprime lending and increased job losses, posting the highest levels seen in their surveys. These rates may be levelling off, but predominately-black neighborhoods, with homebuyers who are systematically-charged higher interest rates than white borrowers, may endure an even rougher future.

Environmental advocates assert that the state needs to install more monitors for urban neighborhoods near industrial areas that experience high levels of air pollution.

Although a councilman is questioning the plans, developers of the proposed lakefront Harbor Town project in Euclid are optimistic about its future. They hope to begin clearing the property in the next 60 days so that they can start construction next spring.

The City of Shaker Heights is entering the second phase of its infill housing program with the construction of a single-family house on Lidholm Road.

Some Orange leaders are not pleased with how information about the proposed Woodland Preserve development was released, and that Mayor Mulcahy met with the developer for months prior to last month's presentation.

The groundbreaking for Judson's South Franklin Circle active retirement community in Bainbridge is scheduled for September 20. Phase one construction of the 88 acre development is expected to end in September 2009, with the second phase to be completed by September 2010.

The New York Times took a close look at how the foreclosure crisis is harming Maple Heights, describing it as the epicenter of subprime mortgage meltdown.

Plans for the Woodland Preserve, the proposed development on the Weintraub property in Orange, include 663 housing units, public space, a medical building, and a small retail center. The area is currently zoned for single-family residential development, and developers hope to get a rezoning issue on the March ballot.

In work funded by Neighborhood Progress Inc.'s Strategic Investment Initiative, a 100-year-old home near Battery Park in Cleveland was renovated using green building techniques.

Monday's presentation of a report on foreclosure trends in Shaker Heights was well attended. Meanwhile, Strathavon Road residents are troubled by the impact of the foreclosure crisis on their neighborhood.

Some Pepper Pike residents are opposed to a plan to rezone four properties at Chagrin Boulevard and Lewis Drive from residential to commercial. Officials say that the properties are not suitable for residential development. Owner Joe Lo Galbo wants to build offices on the site.

Because the Ferchill Group scrapped its plans to build Riverside Landing, a proposed $22 million residential development on the Scranton Peninsula, Cuyahoga County rescinded a $1 million brownfields cleanup loan for the project.

A new report from Policy Matters Ohio says that foreclosures in suburban Cuyahoga County were about 17% higher in the first half of 2007 than in the first half of 2006. Foreclosures in Cleveland rose by 5%.

Cleveland Heights City Council passed a resolution implementing the East Derbyshire Road Neighborhood Improvement Project, which will use $700,000 of federal funds to offer grants and abatements to potential homeowners. The neighborhood mostly consists of duplexes, and the City hopes to increase the level of owner occupancy. Euclid, meanwhile, has begun demolishing abandoned houses.

Bentleyville Village Council approved the preliminary plat for Madison Woods, which will include 24 cluster homes. Developer T. J. Asher intends to immediately begin construction of the subdivision.

Subcommittees of the Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Task Force are recommending that the State provide $50 million in funding to demolish or rehabilitate abandoned and foreclosed homes and $10 million to establish counseling for homeowners to prevent additional foreclosures. The Task Force will reconvene on August 27th to finalize recommendations to Governor Ted Strickland.

The Sun Press explored the foreclosure crisis in Shaker Heights with a look at the correlation between race and foreclosure rates and a summary of a new report by a pair of Harvard researchers. The new report, titled "Understanding Mortgage Foreclosure Trends in Shaker Heights, Ohio" (PDF), will be presented on Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

The Bentleyville Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved the preliminary plat for the planned Madison Woods subdivision off of Chagrin River Road. Village Council is expected to discuss the plat on Wednesday.

Michael Schramm and Claudia Coulton of Case's Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences examined the impacts of the foreclosure crisis on the number of houses and condominiums in Cuyahoga County owned by financial institutions. As of February 2007, 9,175 of these properties are held by financial institutions, representing 2.05% of the County's residential properties. The highest percentage was in East Cleveland, where financial institutions own 8.09% of the houses and condominiums.

Ryan Homes will build 147 houses and condominiums at Greenbriar Crossing, the former Cornerstone development in Parma Heights now owned by the McGill Property Group. McGill will also renovate the existing 150,000 square foot retail building on the site.

While community leaders continue to struggle with the ongoing foreclosure crisis, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a new $3 million program aimed at keeping houses out of foreclosure. Half of the program will offer no-interest loans of up to $3,000 to nearly 500 homeowners threatened with foreclosure. The other half will supply $1 million to the City of Cleveland and $500,00 to 15 older suburbs for the demolition or renovation of abandoned houses.

Builders hope to begin work this fall on Highland Ridge, a 302 home subdivision planned for 55 acres on Highland Road at Donna Drive in Richmond Heights. The development could take five years to build.

Plans for the proposed 12 unit condominium project on Lorain Road are scheduled to go before the Fairview Park Board of Zoning Appeals next month. The site of the planned Residences of Chanticleer development is currently occupied by a single-family house.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that while the City of Cleveland is "doing a much better job" of boarding up and demolishing abandoned houses, the City "will have to pick up the pace if it hopes to deal with the 7,000 or more properties in need of attention."

Today's Plain Dealer includes a map of residential developments in Cleveland that have either been proposed, are under construction, or have been dropped.

The developer of a proposed shopping center on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club filed a complaint in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. The complaint asks for $10 million from the Village of Boston Heights if residents are successful in an effort to get the retail rezoning on the ballot via referendum.

A group of residents of Cleveland's Union-Miles neighborhood protested yesterday about the condition of abandoned houses in the neighborhood. They want the City to tear down the houses or board them up more effectively.

The Independence Planning Commission is continuing its attempts to reconcile the differences between the two plans for a senior housing district. While senior housing has been a controversial issue in Independence, it has been readily accepted in other Cuyahoga County suburbs.

Mixed-use and residential development is increasing along Chester Avenue near University Circle. In addition to the nearly complete Park Lane Villa restoration and the planned University Circle Arts and Retail District, Vintage Development Group will soon break ground on the 34 unit Chester 82 condominiums on the site of the former Madonna Hall, and the Finch Group is considering plans to build a mixed-use development somewhere between East 89th Street and East 101st Street.

The City of Cleveland is trying to recover a $700,000 loan from financially troubled Ameri-Con Homes. The company defaulted on the loan after a fire destroyed a part of the Ashbury Towers development. The Stockyard Redevelopment Organization is trying to find another developer to complete the redevelopment of the former Joseph & Feiss factory site.

Two realtors are marketing 53 acres along Pine Crest Drive and Harvard Road in Orage to commercial and retail developers. The land is currently occupied by 27 homes, and most homeowners have signed a three year listing agreement. Voters would have to approve a rezoning issue for construction to occur.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge ruled against the City of Solon and said that DiSanto Enterprises can build cluster homes at the proposed Southwoods subdivision. In September 2005, Solon City Council denied a request for 45 zoning variances that would have allowed the cluster homes. The City is expected to appeal the decision.

Independence officials are working to resolve the differences between two competing plans for a senior housing development. The Independence Planning Commission hopes to reach a compromise by December so that the issue can appear on the March ballot.

A to Z Real Estate & Development may purchase an 18 acre property on Berkeley Avenue from developer Chuck Chudakoff with the intent of building 9 single-family homes on the site.

First Federal of Lakewood and the City of Lakewood are partnering to convert a Bunts Road duplex into a a single-family home. Work is scheduled to be complete in late summer.

In the third article in their series on the foreclosure crisis, the Free Times explores the tactics used by government attorneys in predatory lending investigations, as well as the statistics indicating that minority populations are targeted by predatory lenders.

The foreclosure crisis was the topic of this morning's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN. The guests were Doug Duncan of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis.

Brecksville City Council approved an agreement with Palmieri Builders that will end the company's lawsuit against the City. The agreement calls for the 102 acre former B.F. Goodrich property at the southwest corner of Hillsdale Road and Parkview Drive to be rezoned from office/laboratory to residential. The site will be developed as two subdivisions, one limited to ten houses, and the other limited to 46 houses.

Construction of the green cottages in the Cleveland EcoVillage will begin in August. The houses were designed by architects in the Cleveland Green Building Coalition's Emerging Green Designers Symposium and funded by the city and the state.

The City of Brook Park is caring for abandoned and foreclosed homes by hiring a contractor to mow the lawns at some of the community's 30 abandoned houses and the 180 homes in foreclosure.

By a vote of 3-2, Macedonia City Council approved a controversial 100%, 30 year tax increment financing package for the proposed Mary Maria senior housing complex. The TIF will be used to fund the construction of a road connecting Valley View Road to Route 82.

Several new residential subdivisions have been proposed for Cuyahoga County communities. Chagrin River Ridge, a 10 home development, was proposed for a 27.7 acre site off of Chagrin Road in Moreland Hills. Holbrook Estates is a proposed 14 home subdivision on 17 acres along Holbrook Road in Bentleyville. In Bedford Heights, the proposed Benedict Run subdivision would consist of 24 homes on six acres near Columbus Road.

Demolition of structures has resumed at the former Taylor Chair site in Bedford. It should be completed within the next 30 days.

As part of wetlands remediation for the Carrington Court senior housing development in Solon, Gross Builders and the City reached an agreement that calls for the company to pay $100,000 for an environmental easement on 20.9 acres in the City's blue heron rookery. The agreement requires the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Homeowners in the Maple Heights portion of the Valley Ranch subdivision are also unhappy about work left unfinished by Ameri-Con Homes.

The 50 unit Detroit-Superior Lofts condominium project proposed for the southwest corner of Detroit Avenue and West 28th Street in Ohio City has been enlarged to become a seven story building. The nonprofit A Place For Us is no longer a partner in the development.

(Update: The Plain Dealer offers more information on the withdrawal of A Place for Us from the project.)

Demolition of buildings at the Taylor Chair site in Bedford has halted. City leaders hope that delays in the construction of the Rysar Homes Bedford Falls condominium project are temporary.

Because the Ohio Housing Finance Agency plans to sell loans from its Opportunity Loan Refinance Program in the secondary market, it established very strict rules for applicants.

Strongsville's residential setback provision is the source of controversy among some residents, but City officials say they do not intend to change the zoning code.

Demolition of the partially-constructed Cornerstone development is underway in Parma Heights. The McGill Property Group has not submitted final plans for the development of the site at Pearl Road and West 130th Street, but preliminary plans call for up to 150 residential units in single family homes and townhouses and a small amount of retail.

The Independence Planning Commission recommended authorizing the creation of a senior housing district behind Concordia Lutheran Church, if the proposal is approved by voters. The land is currently owned by the church, and the proposal also requires the approval of church members.

Summit County Council unanimously approved a tax increment financing agreement with a developer planning to build a road as part of a senior housing complex in Macedonia. City Council has not voted on the proposal.

Developer Dennis Oransky purchased three acres on Maplepark Drive in Maple Heights, and hopes to build single or multi-family housing on the site.

A Garfield Heights Municipal Court judge ordered Sandy Krulak and Jeff Simler of Ameri-Con Homes to plant grass, install fencing around two unfinished foundations, and form a homeowners association at their unfinished Valley Ranch subdivision by June 30.

Macedonia City Council is considering a proposed tax increment financing package for public improvements in a new senior housing complex.

The Cleveland Green Building Coalition received $450,000 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and $150,000 from the Cleveland Housing Trust Fund to build five houses designed by architects in their Emerging Green Designers program. The two and three-bedroom houses will be built in the Cleveland EcoVillage, and will be priced from $105,000 to $135,000.

Trulia Hindsight displays an animated map of residential properties, color coded by year of construction. The map for Greater Cleveland shows the outward migration of residential construction.

(via information aesthetics)

Developers are preparing plans for a 12 unit condominium building on Lorain Road in Fairview Park. They will ask the City for a seven year, 100% tax abatement.

Target has expressed an interest in building a store on an 11.23 acre property at the southwest corner of the Brunswick Town Square development. Plans for the project earlier called for the construction of 141 townhouses on the site.

Solon City Council authorized construction of the 22 house Stone Creek Estates subdivision on Canon Road.

As expected, Cleveland City Council voted to extend the existing residential tax abatement program until 2012. Starting in 2010, new housing construction must meet Energy Star standards to be eligible for abatements. Mayor Jackson said he was "very disappointed," but declined to say if he would veto the ordinance.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that City Council "helped not only Cleveland but also the whole region")

The $28 million renovation of University Circle's Park Lane Villa is nearing completion (PDF), and its owners will begin leasing the first of the building's 96 luxury apartments this summer.

The Solon Planning Commission approved plans for Stone Creek Estates, a 20.2 acre, 22 house subdivision on the north side of Cannon Road. City Council will discuss the proposed development on Monday.

Builder Ameri-Con Homes will not complete construction or cleanup of the Valley Ranch subdivision in Garfield Heights because they are out of money. A bank is taking over the development.

In response to a resident's request, the City of Broadview Heights asked state officials to impose a moratorium on oil and gas wells in heavily populated residential areas.

The Senior Coalition in Independence supports the proposed senior single-unit housing overlay ordinance that is under consideration by City Council. The Independence Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on June 5.

Voters in Solon rejected the proposed senior housing rezoning for 32 acres on Aurora Road by a vote of 777 to 2,681.

Yesterday, Boston Heights residents delivered referendum petitions to the Village regarding the rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club. If the signatures are certified, the issue may appear on the November ballot.

The owners of 25 acres of woods in North Royalton want to establish a farm on the property. The site on Abbey Road between Sprague and Albion Roads is zoned for residential construction, and the owners hope to build housing on the property after farming it for three years.

A survey of South Euclid residents found that their top concerns are "neighbors not keeping up their properties" and "loud neighbors". The City's Good Neighbor Committee recommends supplying a "Good Neighbor Guide" to residents, among other suggestions.

Heartland Developers posted a video (Windows Media) of urban evangelist Kyle Ezell's recent talk about urban living.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the newly-designated Cleveland Art Quarter is "a great idea that could have a big economic impact, especially on tourism and redevelopment."

The Village of Chagrin falls has received three proposals for the redevelopment of city-owned land along West Orange Street. Two are resubmissions of previous proposals, and a third calls for the construction of two four-unit townhouses.

The Shaker Heights Neighborhood Revitalization Committee declared 44 properties as public nuisances. If the owners do not address the identified problems, the City will make repairs through its nuisance abatement program.

Real estate investor Sako Satka is close to completing a renovation of the historic Faerber/Morse House on Lake Avenue in Lakewood. An attempt by the home's previous owner to dismantle and auction its architectural details promted Lakewood officials to establish a waiting period for demolitions and to consider creating a landmark designation program.

The Plain Dealer provides a summary of the senior housing debate in Solon. Solon Taxpayers Against Rezoning, opponents of the proposed development, offer their perspective at their website.

(Update: a debate on the proposal was held on Monday.)

Some Independence residents are unhappy about the recently-introduced senior housing legislation, because it would bypass the requirement for voter approval by not including provisions for multi-family housing.

Officials in Beford Heights are considering rezoning a property on Columbus Road near Holy Trinity Church for use as senior housing, but it appears that the process will not be completed soon.

An owner of Ameri-Con Homes agreed to remove construction debris and erect a fence around unfinished foundations at the Valley Ranch subdivision in Garfield Heights. A formal sentencing in the case is scheduled for May 15.

Cleveland City Council is expected to disregard Frank Jackson's proposal to scale back the City's residential tax abatement program and extend the current policy of awarding 15 year abatements. Mayor Jackson has not indicated if he would veto the measure.

(Update: Channel 3's Tom Beres interviews Frank Jackson.)

The City of Cleveland is using a $6 million bond to fund the demolition of abandoned houses. Over 150 have been demolished this year, and Mayor Jackson plans to demolish 700 dangerous properties this year.

Roldo Bartimole reacts to the recent Plain Dealer editorial about Mayor Jackson's residential tax abatement proposal, calling the piece "simplistic and disingenuous."

An area that covers parts of four neighborhoods on Cleveland's near east side has been named the Cleveland Art Quarter, or The Quarter for short, because the live-work district is home to many artists and their studios.

Boston Heights Village Council approved a controversial rezoning of the former Boston Hills County Club, rezoning almost 66 acres from residential to retail. Developers want to build a shopping center on the rezoned portion of the site and 100 houses on the remaining area. Residents opposed to the development plan to fight the rezoning.

In the first of a two part series, the Solon Herald Sun summarizes the senior housing controversy in Solon and explains the views of the proposed development's supporters.

Frank Jackson yesterday proposed scaling back Cleveland's residential tax abatement program. Tax abatements on new construction would be reduced from 15 to seven years, but houses that incorporate green building techniques or elder-friendly designs would be eligible for 12 year abatements. He also wants to extend tax abatements for rehabilitated homes from 10 to 12 years. Some City Council members are skeptical about making changes to the program, and developers oppose the proposed reduction.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges City Council to reject the proposal.)

The Dalad Group and Richard E. Jacobs Group want to develop the 64 acre Crow property on Miller Road between I-77 and Brecksville Road in Brecksville. They would like to build 400,000 square feet of upscale retail on the site and a gated residential community at its north end. Their plans also call for developing part of the neighboring VA property that was recently obtained by the City.

Developers of the proposed senior housing development in Solon may debate opponents of the project on the City's cable television channel, but some City Council members are uncertain if it would be an appropriate use of the channel.

Developer TransCon Builders filed a complaint against Solon Taxpayers Against Rezoning, claiming that literature distributed by the group contains several inaccuracies. TransCon is seeking voter approval for a rezoning that would permit them to build a senior housing development along Aurora Road.

Leaders in Independence introduced legislation that would designate the area behind Concordia Lutheran Church and the Independence Technology Center as a senior housing district. It will go before the Planning Commission on Tuesday.

A Chagrin Falls resident created Preserve Chagrin Falls and started a petition to gauge the level of concern in the community about proposed changes to the Village's zoning code that he says could lead to a rise in mansionization and teardowns.

JETA, Inc. wants its 24 unit cluster home development on Chagrin River Road in Bentleyville to tie into the Chagrin Falls wastewater treatment plant. Chagrin Falls has had a moratorium on connections outside the Village since 1996.

Greater Cleveland's foreclosure crisis attracted the attention of the national media. Last week, the Chicago Tribune explored the problem in several Cleveland neighborhoods, and the New York Times examined its impacts on Cleveland's inner-ring suburbs.

Meanwhile, Policy Matters Ohio released their annual foreclosure analysis, and reported that there were 79,072 foreclosure filings in the state last year, an increase of 23.6% over 2005 figures. Cuyahoga County again had the largest number of filings, 13,610 new cases, up 24.5%.

(Update: WKSU has more details.)

The Stark House, one of Garfield Heights' oldest homes, was razed to accommodate construction of the Bridgeview Crossing shopping center at Granger Road and Transportation Boulevard. The owner of the 1864 house sold it to developers for $150,000 in January.

The May senior housing rezoning issue in Solon will not mention the maximum residential density permitted under the rezoning. At the request of developer TransCon Builders, the Ohio Secretary of State's office ordered the county BOE to remove the "10-units-per-acre" reference from the ballot. TransCon says they plan to build at a lower density, but Solon Councilman Ed Suit countered that the company could legally change their plans if voters approve the rezoning.

Some local housing experts fear that the tighter lending policies that have followed the subprime lending collapse will cause a housing glut in Northeast Ohio, when combined with the foreclosure crisis and new housing construction.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education received proposals from four parties interested in redeveloping the 10.9 acre Millikin School property near Severance Town Center. Kingsbury Development Corp. hopes to redevelop the building as 16 townhouses, Mosdos Ohr Hatorah school wants to relocate there, New Community Bible Fellowship would like the site for its ministry, and Ken Hadden of Heights Garden Center wants to partner with the District to build housing while training high school students.

The principals of Ameri-Con homes appeared in court last week and entered pleas of not guilty in the lawsuit brought against them by the City of Garfield Heights for failing to remove debris and complete common areas in their Valley Ranch subdivision. The case is scheduled to resume on April 10.

A group of Solon residents opposed to the senior housing rezoning proposal for 32 acres along Aurora Road have formed Solon Taxpayers Against Rezoning and registered as a political action committee.

Solon voters will have the opportunity to vote on a senior housing rezoning on May 8. After City Council rejected their request, developers of the proposed senior housing subdivision on Aurora Road were able to collect enough petition signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

Reflecting the national housing slump, new housing starts dropped dramatically in Northeast Ohio in 2006. Nationally, new starts were off by 13%, and Northeast Ohio starts decreased by about 25%. Local builders and realtors are optimistic that 2007 will see more starts.

The City of Garfield Heights' lawsuit against Ameri-Con Homes went to trial earlier this week. Company officials failed to appear at an pretrial hearing last month.

By a vote of 4-3, Solon City Council rejected a request to rezone a site on Aurora Road near Hawthorne Valley Country Club from a residential classification with a one acre minimum lot size to senior housing. TransCon Builders wants to build 116 homes on the 32 acre site, and is circulating petitions to place the rezoning on the May ballot.

Indexco Properties will seek approval from the Independence Planning Commission to build a 12 house subdivision off of East Ash Road. The homes would be built (PDF) on lots ranging from 0.6 acres to 1.6 acres.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park does not support the proposed retail and residential development on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club, because it would cause increased flooding, erosion, and sedimentation problems along Brandywine Creek, and also create traffic congestion, ruin the area's rural character, and degrade the National Park.

North Royalton activists were unable to obtain a grant to create the proposed Chippewa Creek Preserve, so the North Royalton Board of Education sold the 10 acres to Zillich Homes for $285,000 and 3 acres of land.

Euclid leaders hope to work with local housing nonprofits to renovate 100 vacant houses owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They estimate that there are 400 abandoned or foreclosed homes in the City.

Plans for 25-unit condominium development next to St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Cathedral at Warren Road and Montrose Avenue in West Park may have hit several snags.

The developers who purchased the Union Gospel Press building in Tremont in 2003 plan to convert the historic complex into 103 apartments. The City of Cleveland approved the restoration plans, and if the developers are able to obtain financing, the first tenants could move in 12 to 20 months after construction begins.

About 30 Boston Heights residents attended a public meeting on Wednesday about the residential and retail development proposed for the site of Boston Heights Country Club. Many in attendance did not support the plans. "I don't think anyone here wants our community to turn into Macedonia," said one.

Senior housing advocates in Independence want another senior housing issue to appear on the ballot in November, and are preparing to begin campaigning.

Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman introduced a plan on Monday that would rezone stretches along Detroit and Lorain Avenues in Ohio City to prevent used car lots from moving in, saving the land for housing development. Cimperman asserted that the area now has many abandoned buildings that are "ripe for redevelopment".

Vintage Development Corp. has begun renovating the powerhouse building at Battery Park near Edgewater Park. The first 10 of 300 housing units in the powerhouse building are currently under construction and Vintage plans to start building 18 "Gateway" townhouses near the powerhouse sometime next month. Other developments for the site may include a restaurant, community center, and park.

Mayor Zanotti of Parma Heights wants City Council to pass legislation that would allow the City to repair the exteriors of abandoned homes that are in foreclosure. The cost of repairs would be assessed to the property owner.

Last month, state officials approved the creation of five Community Reinvestment Areas in Shaker Heights. Residents in the CRAs are eligible for 75% tax abatements for eight years when investing at least $80,000 in home repairs, and in four of the CRAs, new single-family houses over $200,000 are eligible for 75% tax abatements for five years.

Developers of the Avenue District in downtown Cleveland obtained an option to purchase a vacant 1.4 acre parcel at the southwest corner of St. Clair Avenue and East 12th Street. The prospects for additional condominium development on the site will depend on the sales in earlier phases.

Some residents of the area slated for redevelopment as the Bridgeview Crossing shopping center in Garfield Heights feel that developer Snider-Cannata Interests has not treated them fairly. Eminent domain cases are scheduled to be heard next Wednesday.

Cuyahoga County's first straw bale home is under construction on Cedar Road near Norfolk Road in Cleveland Heights. Volunteers are helping to build the bungalow designed by the firm of Doty & Miller. At today's energy costs, the insulation should pay for itself in seven to ten years.

Some South Euclid residents continue to advocate for a citywide vote on plans to introduce point-of-sale exterior home inspections. A City Council committee is reviewing the legislation, but was cold to the idea of a ballot issue.

Several residential developers strongly urged the Cleveland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee to not alter the City's tax abatement policy. The current tax abatement ordinance will expire on June 15.

Frank Jackson unveiled his redevelopment priorities at a press conference yesterday, where he released a Strategy for Development and Revitalization and a $1.6 billion capital improvement plan. The documents identify specific recommendations for each of Cleveland's 36 neighborhoods, including rehabilitating or demolishing abandoned houses, adding bicycle lanes, building a pedestrian bridge at North Coast Harbor, and reconfiguring the traffic circle at East 105th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The entire Strategy (PDF, 10.8 MB), an executive summary (PDF), and the Capital Projects Database (PDF) are posted at the City's website. Audio (MP3) and video of the press conference are available.

Berea officials are pursuing several tactics for improving the quality of the City's housing stock. They have instituted home inspections, formed a community development corporation, and are considering a residential land bank program and residential tax abatements.

The City of Garfield Heights is suing homebuilder Ameri-Con Homes because the company has been slow to clean up debris and finish common areas in its Valley Ranch subdivision near Turney Road.

Conversion of the Park Building on Public Square to 27 condominiums will begin next month. The first units in the 102 year old downtown Cleveland building will be ready for occupancy this summer.

Cool Cleveland's George Nemeth interviewed the three founders of Sustainable Community Associates about their Oberlin development, their backgrounds, and their philosophies.

The City of Euclid must better market itself for the planned Harbor Town project to succeed, say developers. City officials and developers were counting on federal funds that have not yet materialized to support the development. They are holding private meetings to develop a new strategy.

Yesterday's Plain Dealer included a summary of the many for-sale housing projects under construction or planned for downtown Cleveland. The projects could add an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 units to the downtown housing stock.

Cleveland City Council is expected to consider scaling back the City's residential tax abatement program in June. Developers of some proposed projects reached agreements with the City which would allow them to retain the current 15 year, 100% abatements if the program is changed.

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