Photo courtesy Erik Drost/FlickrCC
Cleveland City Council approved legislation Monday night that greenlit the sale of city-owned land near University Circle for the development of a 166-unit apartment complex, a project that is structured to create long-term benefits for the Hough neighborhood.
The planned complex, on the corner of Hough Avenue and Ansel Road, just west of E. 105th Street and Rockefeller Park, will include studios, one- and two-bedroom units. It is anticipated that students at Case Western Reserve will be among the primary tenants.
The complex will be built on what is now Orr Park, and the city plans to build a new public park using proceeds from the sale (~$580,000) and an additional donation from the developer, Signet Real Estate (~$300,000). Among other projects, Signet developed Canal Park Stadium, home of the Akron Rubber Ducks.
But Signet won't be purchasing the land outright. They've agreed to a long-term lease with the New Village Corporation
, a subsidiary of the community development corporation Cleveland Neighborhood Progress that facilitates complex real estate transactions with public and private partners. New Village Corporation will make the payment using proceeds from that lease, and will use additional funds to create a neighborhood land trust, controlled by a community board of Hough residents, for the development of other real estate projects.
Ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones told Scene Tuesday that while the land trust idea was still in its "infant stage," the partnership with Signet and the development of the land trust were exactly the sort of achievements he's most proud of and excited about as a first-term councilman.
"The most important thing for me is that our land is our wealth," Jones said. "For any community, the wealth comes from the land and the people, and we have to maintain a sense of control over it."
Jones said that while Signet is devoting additional resources and setting aside shares for community investments in the apartment complex, they stand a very good chance of recouping their investment.
"Ward 7 is one of the hottest areas for development right now," he said. "Hough Avenue. Chester Avenue. [Signet] wouldn't invest without knowing they could make their money back. It's right down the block from Case. It's a perfect place for them."
Jones said that the Hough Community Land Trust is being financially supported by the Cleveland Foundation and guided by a national consultancy.
"The idea is to partner with developers so that the community makes money from new projects," he said. "Grandma Johnson should always be able to get her roof fixed. Grandma Jones should always be able to get her porch fixed. This is an economic vessel that will allow us to create opportunity, so that no matter who's the councilman, no matter who's the mayor, no matter who's the president, the people of Ward 7 will benefit."
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