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Cleveland Development Dollars Move to Neighborhoods

An historic Cleveland neighborhood that's seen over a half-century of decline is the target of a new revitalization effort.  The first phase of Mayor Frank Jackson's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative was unveiled Wednesday in Glenville.  

As traffic rolled by on East 105th street, Cleveland Planning Director Freddy Collier grimaced at the heavily pot-holed roadway.

"For those of you who drove up 105th to get here, we're going to handle this," he said.

The shoddy shape of the street was emblematic of a community that doesn't normally get a lot of development dollars.  Thanks to some help from a coalition of banks and other sources, the city has created a pot of funding that will target several such neighborhoods.  Collier said the initiative is an attempt to level the development playing field.

"So, when you see the development happening downtown and in University Circle and you see the investments in the Euclid Corridor or the Opportunity Corridor or West 25th, what does that mean for the people who live right next to where growth is happening, but don’t feel it?"  

Neighborhood Transformation Initiative was first announced almost a year ago.  Collier said it will roll out in several phases.

"This first phase is going to be rental product, along with commercial space --- over 13,000 square feet --- 63 units."

In the front row on the right hand side are developer Wesley Finch, Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson and city development director Freddy Collier (David C. Barnett / ideastream)

The development is going up just north of University Circle.  Florida-based developer Wesley Finch has built over 500 apartment units in the Circle area, and he said he'll have no problem selling this new space, thanks to workers at nearby hospitals and a new IBM facility.

"When you look at the Health Education campus, and what IBM’s bringing in at 105th,  there’s going to be 2000 people here working starting in 2019 who are not here today," Finch said.  "So, that’s an enormous market that we can tap into."

Although this first cluster of apartments will have rents in the thousand-dollar-plus range, Collier says subsequent housing will include rehabilitated homes and senior living spaces at various price points. The city says the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative is funded by about $25-million of city money and $44-million from private and philanthropic sources. 


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