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Westlake News Archive

Westlake City Council passed a package of ordinances that advance the construction of American Greetings' planned headquarters building at Crocker Park. The approved legislation includes a 30-year TIF, a 15-year income tax credit, issuance of additional bonds to fund public improvements, and authorization for the mayor to sign a development agreement. Stark Enterprises also plans to build more apartments and retail space at Crocker Park. The new construction will be supported by bonds from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

The Avon Lake Municipal Utilities are preparing an agreement for supplying water to the City of Westlake. City leaders want to transfer away from the Cleveland Water Department.

Mayor Summers of Lakewood and Mayor Clough of Westlake participated in a recent League of Women Voters forum (PDF) on regionalism. While they agreed on some aspects like service delivery, they offered different views on topics like tax-base sharing and the role of the central city.

The Westlake Planning Commission approved plans for civic space at Crocker Park. Its Market Square will be a flexible one-acre paved area with a loggia and a stage. The area could host events, a farmers market, and an ice rink. The adjacent Crocker Commons will be a one-acre grassy park. Construction is expected to begin next year. Westlake leaders are optimistic about the delayed American Greetings headquarters project at Crocker Park.

The cities of Westlake and Lakewood continue to advance their bicycle planning initiatives. Westlake's draft Citywide Bike Plan (PDF, 10.3 MB) was approved by the Westlake Planning Commission, and identifies potential on-road and off-road routes for a citywide bicycle network. Lakewood is implementing its Bicycle Master Plan (PDF, 4.7 MB), adopted last year, by introducing a Bike Rack for Business Program and making infrastructure improvements. At the regional level, NOACA recently adopted an update to its Regional Bicycle Transportation Plan (PDF, 71.0 MB).

American Greetings announced that it would postpone construction of its new headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake because of the Weiss family's offer to take the company private. Construction had been scheduled to start in early 2013, and the company "believes that the delay will be short". Westlake officials were prepared to issue up to $60 million in bonds to support the project, but currently have little to do.

Cuyahoga County residential development projects in the media:

Election recap

This month's election included the following issues (PDF):

In Summit County, Green residents voted to ban casino gambling and horse racing.

Visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for complete results.

The revised preliminary development plan for the new American Greetings headquarters building at Crocker Park was approved, first by the Westlake Planning Commission and then by Westlake City Council. The company also will soon receive the second half of $2.5 million state grant.

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.

Westlake City Council hired the engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald to develop plans for reconfiguring the I-90 interchange at Columbia Road.

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

Voters in Solon could see two zoning issues on the November ballot. One would modify permitted uses in the city's C-5 industrial district, while the other would allow pet stores in the city's C-2 commercial district. Voters in Fairview Park may decide a rezoning issue for Journey Church on Lorain Road.

Update: Westlake voters may decide a rezoning issue for a portion of the Promenade shopping center.

The City of Westlake is seeking a declaratory judgment in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court about the City's contract with the Cleveland Division of Water. Westlake leaders remain interested in changing water suppliers.

American Greetings unveiled preliminary designs for its planned new headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake. The renderings show a five-story, 650,000-square-foot building. The company plans to break ground in early 2013 and complete construction in mid-2014.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Cleveland Division of Water and the cities of Macedonia and Westlake to resolve their differences without the cities changing water systems. The paper's Brent Larkin is highly critical of both Mayor Clough and the Division of Water.

Update: officials debated the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

The Plain Dealer summarized the debate about the future of Westlake's water supply. The City is contemplating a switch from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Macedonia is also considering plans to change water suppliers.

Westlake City Council approved a 30-year tax abatement for the planned American Greetings headquarters at Crocker Park. The abatement will begin in 2014, when the new offices are expected to open.

While Westlake City Council continues to discuss a proposed switch in water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities, the City of Cleveland issued a study that challenged the conclusions of a recent report prepared for the City of Westlake. The Cleveland report (PDF) said that Westlake should remain (PDF) with Cleveland Water. Mayor Clough said that the response would not deter him from pursuing the switch.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges Mayors Jackson and Clough to meet and "take another pragmatic look at options."

Construction of the new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is on schedule, and contractors say it should open in spring 2013. The City is still trying to finalize eminent domain agreements with several property owners. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic officially opened its new Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon and closed the Westlake Family Health Center.

Consultants for the City of Westlake recommend that the City should continue to pursue switching water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Avon Lake Patch offers more information.

Update 2: City Council authorized the mayor to begin negotiations with Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Funding for the planned new American Greetings headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake will come from several sources. The Cleveland International Fund intends to raise $65 million for the project, and the state will provide a $15 million loan and a $2.5 million grant. State officials also awarded a $1 million grant to the City for associated road improvements.

Cuyahoga Community College is purchasing 11 acres adjacent to its Westshore Campus in Westlake. The College plans to build new classrooms and a workforce development training center on the site.

Stark Enterprises submitted an expansion plan for its mixed-use Crocker Park development. Under the plan, the development would grow to 3 million square feet, more than doubling its size. New construction would add offices for American Greetings, a hotel, retail, entertainment, and parking garages. The City of Westlake plans to add road capacity to serve the anticipated growth in traffic. Neighbors of the development are concerned about the impacts of the plans.

Westlake City Council approved the strategic plan for St. John Medical Center's five-year, $100 million modernization and expansion project. St. John Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony late last month.

Crocker Park owner Stark Enterprises is in talks to acquire an undeveloped property adjacent to the development. It sits to the south of the planned new American Greetings headquarters site.

Cuyahoga Community College held a grand opening ceremony on Thursday for its new Westshore campus in Westlake.

Update: West Life has more details.

In its attempt to keep American Greetings from leaving, the City of Brooklyn offered the company up to $10 million in incentives.

Northeast Ohio retail developers at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas are focusing on renovations and expansions of existing shopping centers. Stark Enterprises is seeking upscale retailers for the final phase of Crocker Park in Westlake.

American Greetings notified its employees that it will move its headquarters from Brooklyn to Westlake in 2014. The company plans to build a a 700,000-square-foot complex on a 13-acre site at the southern end of Crocker Park, and is in discussions with the City of Westlake and the Westlake City Schools about a 30-year tax increment financing package. The $100 million development will require about $41 million in infrastructure improvements. Mayor Balbier of Brooklyn said his city made every effort to keep American Greetings, but "can't compete with a wealthy suburb like Westlake."

Update: a Morning Journal editorial said it "should make the entire West Shore region of western Cuyahoga and eastern Lorain counties even more appealing". Roldo Bartimole called it a "big theft of public dollars".

A preliminary version of the Westlake Bikeway Plan makes short-term and long-term recommendations for a citywide bicycle transportation network. The TLCI-funded project should be completed in about a month.

Stark Enterprises has revived plans to build a hotel at Crocker Park in Westlake, and hired a consultant to study the idea. Plans for a hotel at the development were first announced in May 2005.

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.

Over the course of five days last week, the Westlake City Schools razed the historic Red Brick school building. The district had planned to demolish it earlier, but was delayed by asbestos abatement.

Update: West Life has details and videos.

St. John Medical Center officials announced a five-year strategic plan for the Westlake campus. The plan calls for investing $100 million in a modernization and expansion of the 29-year-old facility.

Cuyahoga Community College's new Center for Creative Arts in Cleveland is the first of the college's seven building projects currently underway. The work includes new campuses in Westlake and Brunswick, both scheduled to open in January.

Among the building projects in the Westlake Schools Master Facilities Plan are new schools, expansions, renovations, and the clearing of five acres of forested land. Neighbors are concerned about the loss of greenspace.

Plans for redeveloping Westlake's historic Red Brick school as an arts center fell through. The Westlake City School District plans to demolish the building, and may raze it as early as next month.

Traffic consultant HNTB suggests a reconfiguration of the ramps at the I-90 interchange at Columbia Road in Westlake. The Columbia Road Corridor Study will be presented at an open house (PDF) on Monday.

The City of Westlake razed the former Hubbs Motel on Center Ridge Road. There are no plans to immediately redevelop the site, which the City acquired as part of a settlement last year.

Yesterday, RTA's board of trustees approved several resolutions, including contracts for the design of the new Brookpark rapid station, for a study of the Warrensville Center Road-Van Aken Boulevard intersection in Shaker Heights, and for the construction of the new East 55th Street rapid station. The board also authorized spending to complete the overhaul of its light rail fleet and to purchase 6.7 acres for the expansion of the Westlake Park-N-Ride facility.

Westlake's Planning Commission and City Council approved the development plan for the first phase of Cuyahoga Community College's planned Westshore campus at Bradley and Clemens roads. The College plans a fall groundbreaking, with the first of three buildings scheduled to open in January 2011.

The Westlake Historical Society is seeking financial assistance from the City of Westlake for a restoration and expansion of the historic Weston House.

Leaders in North Olmsted and Westlake are ready to enter the second phase of a study on creating a water district. The cties are contemplating a switch in water providers, from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Mayor Clough says the cost to buy water would be 75% less.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that attempting to obtain "federal money to get out from under the Cleveland water system smacks of a political ploy."

The City of Westlake reached an agreement to purchase a 30-acre site on Center Ridge Road for $1.65 million. A 240-unit apartment complex had been planned for the site, but the developer's option to purchase the property recently expired. The City has not announced its plans for the land.

Leaders in North Olmsted and Westlake are pleased with the economic development opportunities created by the completion of the Crocker-Stearns connector. The City of North Olmsted has begun the process of rezoning and redeveloping the Stearns Road corridor south of the new construction.

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.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Crocker-Stearns Road Extension project will be held on December 18. The North Olmsted portion of the construction will be completed soon, and construction in Westlake will wrap up in the spring. Related work is scheduled to be finished in September 2009.

The City of Westlake and property owner Charles Shimola settled a legal dispute that began in the 1980s.

By a vote of 4-3, Westlake City Council approved a rezoning for a proposed 32-bed Hospice of the Western Reserve facility on Crocker Road.

Hospice of the Western Reserve proposed building a new facility on Crocker Road in Westlake, but City officials asked the agency to consider building on a site near St. John West Shore Hospital.

The 20th Annual OPC Cleveland Planning and Zoning Workshop (PDF) will be held on November 14 at LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility in Westlake. Online registration is available.

A study commissioned by Cuyahoga Community College recommends rerouting Clemens Road near Crocker Road, not far from Tri-C's planned Westshore Campus. The study and the city engineer maintain that the rerouting would be necessary regardless of whether the campus is built. Westlake leaders are concerned that the campus could exacerbate traffic problems.

Cuyahoga Community College intends to establish a Westlake campus at the corner of Bradley and Clemens Roads, and will pay $4.6 million for the vacant 32.9 acre site. Tri-C has requested a rezoning, because the area is currently zoned for industrial development. The State Controlling Board approved the plans last month.

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.

A report by the City of Westlake's Economic Development Department says that tax abatements have led to the creation of 746 jobs and the retention of another 367 jobs over the last nine years.

The Red Brick Center for the Arts expects to reach an agreement to lease the Old Red Brick Schoolhouse from the Westlake Board of Education by the end of the month. The group plans to raise $3 million prior to starting renovations, and hopes to open the center in summer 2010.

Cities such as Cleveland, Westlake, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, and Avon Lake are still dealing with the withdrawal of Tops Supermarkets from Northeast Ohio in 2006.

Upscale shopping centers Crocker Park in Westlake and Beachcliff Market Square in Rocky River are competing for customers.

Construction of the Crocker-Stearns connector in North Olmsted and Westlake is stopping for the winter.

Completion of the North Olmsted portion of the Crocker-Stearns connector has been pushed back from late 2007 to spring 2008.

Westlake City Council approved a contract for a study that will analyze the implications of switching water providers from Cleveland to Avon Lake. Leaders in Bay Village and North Olmsted are considering whether to join the study.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections unanimously upheld a protest by the Westlake school board and removed an advisory zoning issue from the November ballot. City officials have not decided if they will appeal the decision.

Officials from North Olmsted and Westlake report that construction of the Crocker-Stearns connector is on schedule for its planned September 2009 completion.

The Westlake Board of Education filed a formal protest of the advisory rezoning issue that City Council wants to put on the November ballot. The Board claims that the submission violated the city charter and that the advisory issue would be "inaccurate and grossly misleading to the electorate." The Board of Elections is scheduled to review the objection at its September 17 meeting.

Westlake voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on three rezoning issues in November, including an advisory issue for the Bradley Road property owned by the Westlake Board of Education, and another regarding a proposed expansion of Crocker Park. In Seven Hills, voters will decide a rezoning issue for the Rockside Terrace development.

As expected, Westlake City Council accepted a state grant for the widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two to four lanes.

The Westlake Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposed widening of Columbia Road between Hilliard Boulevard and Center Ridge Road from two lanes to four lanes. City Council is also expected to approve the project, despite objections from some residents.

Stark Enterprises would like to build a hotel at Crocker Park next to the office building currently under construction on a 6.8 acre site at the corner of Crocker and Detroit Roads. The proposal requires a rezoning, which needs approval from the Westlake Planning Commission, City Council, and voters. The rezoning also includes a request to add the The Promenade shopping center to the adjacent Crocker Park PUD.

Westlake voters may be asked "for advisory purposes only" if the 42 acre undeveloped property on Bradley Road should be rezoned for recreational use only. The site is currently zoned residential, and the vote would advisory because the city's referendum zoning would not apply in this case. The president of the Westlake School Board says that it's an attempt to pressure them to sell the land to the City.

Westlake officials continue to study options for switching water providers. Mayor Clough says they are "looking for more detailed information on the costs associated with switching providers."

Since negotiations were unsuccessful, Westlake City Council voted to again offer $1.9 million to the the Westlake Board of Education for the purchase of 42 undeveloped acres on Bradley Road.

Westlake officials are considering changing water suppliers from the Cleveland Division of Water to Avon Lake Municipal Utilities. Mayor Clough said no switch would occur within the next 18 months to two years.

Leaders of the City of Westlake and the Westlake City Schools continue to negotiate on the price for 42 acres of undeveloped land on Bradley Road, but have been unable to reach an agreement. City officials plan to hold a public meeting about the land next month.

The Cities of Brooklyn and Westlake are not expected to approve the water main maintenance and no poaching agreements offered by the City of Cleveland.

Support for converting the Red Brick on Dover Center Road in Westlake to the Red Brick Center for the Arts continues to grow. The project will cost an estimated $5 million. An organizational meeting for volunteers will be held on February 24 at 1:30 p.m. in The Belvedere on Detroit Road.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges NOACA to carefully study the potential ramifications of the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Meanwhile, Westlake is considering a proposal to vacate a mile-long section of nearby Avon Road to create room for additional development.

Construction of the Crocker-Stearns extension project in North Olmsted and Westlake will start next month, and site preparation began this week. The $13.29 million project is scheduled to be completed in September 2009.

Security Self Storage Ltd. plans to build a drive-through self storage facility on five acres at Bradley and Clemens Roads in Westlake, modeled after Elmwood Self Storage & Wine Cellar near New Orleans. It's scheduled to break ground in April, and the first units should open in November.

Hoping to encourage the City of Westlake and the Westlake City Schools to reach an accord about the future of the athletic fields on Bradley Road, a group of citizens wants the property to be rezoned for recreational use only.

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