Map, chart and Meadowbrook-Lee

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Is the proposed Meadowbrook-Lee tax abated project a good fit for that part of town?

To help you decide for yourself, I am attaching a map of the foreclosures and postal vacancies in the Cedar-Lee area.

This map was created by April Hirsh, Research Assistant at Case Western Reserve University’s Center on Urban Policy and Community Development.

The map includes postal vacancy (reported by the United States Post Office), vacant lots, and foreclosure information, sheriff sales and REO properties. A REO property is “Real estate owned or REO is a class of property owned by a lender—typically a bank, government agency, or government loan insurer—after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction”. (William Roark (2006), Concise Encyclopedia of Real Estate Business Terms)

The map does not support the idea that this neighborhood can attract tenants for 71 units with an average rent of almost $2000 a month in the proposed tax-abated property.

Also attached is an inventory I conducted on  8/5/12 of the rental and retail properties along Lee Rd from Euclid Heights Blvd to Ormond and on the west side of Lee Rd from Euclid Heights to Corydon.

This inventory does not support the need for more retail/commercial space along Lee Rd.  Ask yourself which of the 2 coffee shops currently on Lee Rd are you willing to see close in order to support the coffee shop proposed for the tax abated building.  If the area needed another coffee shop, don’t you think one would have moved into one of the vacant spaces on the street? Do you remember the Starbucks on Lee that was open for a short time and then closed?

If you oppose a tax abated property on Meadowbrook-Lee (and the land is being donated to the developer), please contact the CH-UH Board of Education and ask them to vote “NO” on this proposal.

Cleveland Heights deserves a better plan than this.

LeeRd_Inventory_8_5_2012(1)

Comments

  1. gferreri says

    One thing that strikes me about that map is the number of gray properties vs. other REO/foreclosed lots. That kind of gives me optimism that the worst part of the foreclosure crisis is behind us, and things are moving in the right direction. Yes, there are some vacant apartments on the fringes of the cedar-lee district, but they aren’t going to appeal to the kind of renter that this new development seeks to attract.

    Usually I’m a big proponent of maintaining green space, but this lot is a gaping hole in what could be a really cool and hip entertainment and residential area. Cedar-Lee has been a commercial district for almost 100 years, and I’d like to see it continue to grow and evolve. Let’s be real, it’s been sitting there virtually unused for years. If it takes some community investment to kickstart development, is that always such a bad idea?

    • Garry Kanter says

      Well, *this* proposal is a really bad idea. Here’s a sample of why:

      Unnecessary Giveaways:
      $3+ million property tax give-away
      Gifting the land to the developers

      No studies have been conducted:
      No independent appraisal on the land
      No market studies of demand for $2,000 per month apartments (about twice the market)
      No market studies of demand for office or commercial space
      No credit reports on the proposed developers

      Unattainable revenue projections:
      $50 per day per office worker on lunch, travel & incidentals – every day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year for 11 years – all with CH merchants
      $33,500 per rental unit in household spending. Every year for 11 years. With CH merchants.
      $2,000 per month rental income per unit. Most units are well under 1,000 sq ft

      The developers have had problems with Bluestone in CH:
      “Survival mode”
      $80,000 discounts on recent sales
      Recorded deeds on only 37 units out of 110 promised in 2005

      One of the developers has had problems elsewhere:
      Cuyahoga County Dirty Dozen Delinquent Taxpayers as of October, 2011
      The city’s “work around” for this little “problem”

      I’d like to see something wonderful and sustainable go there. Something creative, and with community input.

  2. gferreri says

    Those revenue projections are ridiculous, I’ll give you that. But is it really a giveaway if no tax revenue is coming in currently? Like I said, the land has been vacant for years. If a better opportunity exists, it would have come around by now.

    • Garry Kanter says

      I reject the “It’s better than nothing’ arguments.

      That assumes that a thorough job of outreach has been done, and this is the best solution reasonably available.

      It also assumes that nothing better could *possibly* come along within a time frame that would be better for the city.

      Neither of those assumptions has been proven, or seems likely.

      But my question to you is, since those projections are ridiculous, why is the project even being considered?

      You know what happens with bogus projections?

      You get the two empty diners – at taxpayer expense on Lee Rd across from Zagara’s,
      You get 37 units out of 110 promised at Bluestone
      You get the Courtyards At Severance renting condos instead of selling them
      You get 50 Severance Circle renting units instead of selling them.

      There is *nothing* of merit to this $3 million to $5 million giveaway of taxpayers’ $. The Cedar-Lee district will not be enhanced.

  3. Garry Kanter says

    “If a better opportunity exists, it would have come around by now.”

    That is a reasonable idea, if the property were being marketed professionally in a straight forward manner.

    Based on the documents I’ve seen, the people I’ve spoken with, the two previous failed projects at the same location, and the proposal before us, I believe the city council is actually hindering the process.

  4. Garry Kanter says

    “But is it really a giveaway if no tax revenue is coming in currently?”

    Yes, it is an enormous give away. And as far as I can tell, there will be few or no strings attached.

    My best guess is that the developers could turn around and sell their “rights” once the ink is dry. Probably pocket a $ million or two.

    Something similar happened with Oakwood in South Euclid. The developer there sold Walmart the 20 acres that their store will be on for $5 million. With that sale, the developer had paid for his acquisitions, and still owned 20 acres in SE and 92 acres in CH, free & clear.

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