East Cleveland Hoping to Outsource Demolition of Vacant High-Rise to Film Crew


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The city of East Cleveland wants to demolish a vacant, 13-story high-rise on Terrace Road that was for many years an affordable apartment complex.  But lacking funds to do so, the city, with networking help from the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, is soliciting film crews to do the job.

As long as the demolition of the Huron Place apartment building happens safely, East Cleveland officials don't care what sort of movie or TV show takes it down. They are framing the request as an opportunity, a chance for a film crew to pyrotechnically go to town.

Ivan Schwarz, the Film Commission's President and CEO, told Scene that his organization has sent out word to film commissions and filmmakers all over the world. He cited the opening scene in Lethal Weapon 4, which he said was shot six months prior to principal photography because of a similar opportunity. In 2007, crews for the The Dark Knight blew up an abandoned candy factory's administrative building on Chicago's West Side which became a famous scene in the film.

"Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?" Schwarz said. "This is really, really cool. Sure, there might be filmmakers who feel that this wouldn't be cost-effective, but maybe there's a filmmaker in Serbia who sees this as a perfect opportunity."

Responding to questions about the magnitude of the expense — the demolition of the Swift & Co. meatpacking complex in Cleveland's Stockyards neighborhood stalled for more than eight years as $3 million in funding was sought — Schwarz said that costs and duties of a full demolition (including things like Asbestos abatement and site clean-up) would be worked out between the film crew and the city ahead of time.

"If someone decides to do this, it will be done right," he said. "It will be a partnership with the city, and this won't happen unless it's a win-win." 

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