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^^From the article, the only proposal to build something new involves the preservation of those three buildings.  Based on their line of business, what exactly do you think L&R would build if it demolishes the buildings? 

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If there was a proposal to build something new, I might support demolition, but there isn't, and an out-of-state parking operator hardly deserves the benefit of the doubt.

 

But, again, the fundamental problem is that there is no redevelopment proposal other than a parking lot - despite it sitting across from East 4th. I'd like to hear from the parties who are trying to buy it from L&R what they propose doing with it.

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If there was a proposal to build something new, I might support demolition, but there isn't, and an out-of-state parking operator hardly deserves the benefit of the doubt.

 

But, again, the fundamental problem is that there is no redevelopment proposal other than a parking lot - despite it sitting across from East 4th. I'd like to hear from the parties who are trying to buy it from L&R what they propose doing with it.

 

Maybe the article was updated since you read it? I just read that Weston has plans to restore the building and fill the parking lot with new construction. But they have no control over the properties.

 

"This week, a Weston executive said the investment group also has a standing offer to buy the Kendel Building and is trying to buy the Herold Building and a small parking lot to the east from L&R. Sketches prepared by Sandvick Architects show that the developers want to restore the trio of historic buildings, bookend them with new construction and fill the block with restaurants, offices and 44 apartments.

 

"We're working on it," said Rob Namy, a Weston executive. "We're trying to move forward with it. We've spent money on architectural fees. We are spending money on legal fees. There's a long way to go. I don't even know if it will ever work, which is a shame. Do you think that the city needs another parking lot?"

 

This is so irritating! Just give it to Weston!!! Lol

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I think the precident the city set with the Stanley Block will make it easy for the owner to demo the building, once it goes to court.

 

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Shit building owners are a major problem in this city. Nearly everything MRN rents is full (East 4th, WT Grant)

While the May Company Building and these buildings sit empty/nearly empty and looking terrible. I honestly don't believe any of these are due to lack of demand, because if another owner took over and puts in the necessary repairs those spaces would be full.

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http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/08/city_lawsuit_over_downtown_cle.html#incart_river_default

 

L&R's downtown portfolio has been listed for sale since early 2012. Rico Pietro, a local real estate broker representing the company, said three potential buyers are looking at the Herold Building. But there's a gap between what L&R is asking for and what developers are willing to pay.

 

"I don't think we're particularly close on price point," he said, "but I think we're negotiating with the right parties to make something happen here."

 

 

 

Here's hoping!

 

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Let me read between the lines....L and R bought the property back in 2008 for more than it was worth (over a million) because they clearly wanted to tear it down and expand their parking lot (which the city was fighting as early as 2009).  So they let it continue to deteriorate over the past 5 years (no matter what they say now or will say in court) because in the end it just supports their goal of demolition (which again was the goal in the first place...they are parking people not developers).  This, of course, is plain to a five year old.

 

Now they are stuck because the city is not only continuing to fight them over the demo for parking (surprise surprise...I am sure they felt they were just going to swoop in and tear it down back in 2008) and now the city has even closed their lot next door because they have failed to maintain the building causing them more of a financial headache (kinda ironic).  The big problem is that they problably, at this point, would like to dump the building since the scheming has failed, but since they paid so much more than market for it (note Weston bought one of the ajoining buildings for $300,000.00) they are going to take a big lose given what fair market price currently is.

 

If they were smart they would just cut their loses and sell to Weston in a hurry instead of continuing to pay property taxes (are they even current?) and attorney and broker fees to fight the city.

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I hope everyone who pisses all over the City in the demolition threads takes note of and applaud the effort being made here.  How the case plays out will be informative at the very least for future discussions.

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If they were smart they would partner with the developers to save the building and get a bit of the money back from overpaying. Clearly it has value, even in disrepair.

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^So would eminent domain ;).......

 

EDIT: actually, no it wouldn't.  Eminent domain is the taking of private property for PUBLIC use.  That is not what the City wants to happen here.  The City wants to see the current owner sell the property to a private buyer.  The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that 'economic development' is not a public use which can justify taking a property from a private owner to give it to another owner who would make better use (i.e. more economically beneficial use) of the property.  The Ohio Court was not willing to go as far as the US Supreme Court did in Kelo.

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A slight correction -- eminent domain is the taking of private property for public BENEFIT. For example, a blighted property where the owner has refused to comply with multiple attempts to rectify the blight can be taken, the property assessed, any structures beyond saving are demolished, and the property re-sold through a public bid or auction.

 

This was done for a district of old motels along Lorain Road in Fairview Park. The motels were used by travelers when Lorain was a cross-country road, but that use faded with the construction of interstates. So the motels found new use as transient housing which resulted in numerous crime problems, blight, etc. despite the best efforts of the city to patrol them. That caused high expenses for the city, negatively affected property values in the surrounding areas, and discouraged redevelopment. So the city established a redevelopment zone incorporating numerous properties and began offering to buy the properties. Most sold to the city, but a few motel owners wanted way too much money. So the city took them to court in eminent domain proceedings, which is a two-step process -- 1. to determine the public purpose of the taking in a jury trial and 2. to determine a fair value of the taking.

 

The redevelopment district was rezoned for office uses (which has the best net fiscal impact on a city/school district among housing or retail) via a public vote and then marketed piecemeal. It was ultimately sold off piecemeal to several office users.


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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It should also be noted that L&R is not only trying to sell these buildings, but lease them --- not to mention the huge parking lot across the street which it also owns.

 

Some more interesting paragraphs from the article.....

 

City lawsuit over downtown Cleveland's Herold Building sets up restore-or-raze fight (slideshow, poll)

By Michelle Jarboe McFee, The Plain Dealer

on August 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM, updated August 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

 

....Real estate records show that Weston Inc., a Warrensville Heights developer, and Bobby George, a real estate and restaurant investor, are trying to gain control of the block. In October, they paid $300,000 for the Record Rendezvous building. In July, a company affiliated with Weston bought the mortgage note on the Kendel Building -- a move that could position them to acquire the property through foreclosure.

 

This week, a Weston executive said the investment group also has a standing offer to buy the Kendel Building and is trying to buy the Herold Building and a small parking lot to the east from L&R. Sketches prepared by Sandvick Architects show that the developers want to restore the trio of historic buildings, bookend them with new construction and fill the block with restaurants, offices and 44 apartments.

 

"We're working on it," said Rob Namy, a Weston executive. "We're trying to move forward with it. We've spent money on architectural fees. We are spending money on legal fees. There's a long way to go. I don't even know if it will ever work, which is a shame. Do you think that the city needs another parking lot?"

 

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/08/city_lawsuit_over_downtown_cle.html


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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Did you guys notice that the lawyer representing L&R is also the chairman of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood's board?

 

Wow that says it all right there.

 

Smart to hire that guy. I'm sure he's all about historic preservation.

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Did you guys notice that the lawyer representing L&R is also the chairman of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood's board?

 

A Cleveland.bom poster stated it best: It's a shame that the Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation is apparently in part run by a shill for out of town parking lot interests.

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Hey all -

 

L&R owns the small parking lot next to the 310 Prospect building. It's just north of the Harry Buffalo, and it's easy to overlook -- plus, it's closed right now because of the city's concerns about safety. The address of the lot is 320 Prospect.

 

On the Historic Gateway front, the organization led the effort to put the Herold Building, Record Rendezvous and the Kendel Building on the National Register of Historic Places, and they've been involved with the predevelopment work for a potential mixed-use redevelopment of the block. It also happens that their board chairman, one of several directors, is an attorney, and L&R is one of his clients. I felt that fact was worth noting in the story; however, you'll notice that I also quoted the executive director of Historic Gateway, who talked about preservation of the block. So there is a mix of viewpoints here.

 

The attorney, Michael Swearengen, told me he is very supportive of historic preservation and disagreed with the demolition of the Stanley Block and the Columbia Building. But he believes 310 Prospect is not significant and not worth saving.

 

This is a strange Housing Court case, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

 

Michelle

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Hey all -

 

L&R owns the small parking lot next to the 310 Prospect building. It's just north of the Harry Buffalo, and it's easy to overlook -- plus, it's closed right now because of the city's concerns about safety. The address of the lot is 320 Prospect.

 

On the Historic Gateway front, the organization led the effort to put the Herold Building, Record Rendezvous and the Kendel Building on the National Register of Historic Places, and they've been involved with the predevelopment work for a potential mixed-use redevelopment of the block. It also happens that their board chairman, one of several directors, is an attorney, and L&R is one of his clients. I felt that fact was worth noting in the story; however, you'll notice that I also quoted the executive director of Historic Gateway, who talked about preservation of the block. So there is a mix of viewpoints here.

 

The attorney, Michael Swearengen, told me he is very supportive of historic preservation and disagreed with the demolition of the Stanley Block and the Columbia Building. But he believes 310 Prospect is not significant and not worth saving.

 

This is a strange Housing Court case, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

 

Michelle

 

Michelle - do you have access to the case number so we can view the docket?

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Wait, they own that large lot as well? Now I know it will never get developed! :(

 

I wouldn't jump off the bridge yet. The fact that they are willing to lease the big parking lot rather than just sell it (it's listed for both, sale or lease) dramatically improves the numbers for developing it. New construction is hard enough to get financing for in this town, so removing the upfront costs that come with a sale and instead spreading it out as a lease improves its chances. Think of it in terms of getting a new car -- you are able to afford a more expensive car by leasing it than you could by buying it. There's still going to have to be a ton of subsidies to make the numbers work, but the property owner has done what they could to help get the land used for something other than surface parking.


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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Michelle - do you have access to the case number so we can view the docket?

 

Welcome SixthCity. Sorry to jump in here, but I searched the docket using "L&R" and came up with this.....

 

https://pa.clevelandmunicipalcourt.org/pa/prodpa.urd/pamw2000.o_case_sum?3760851

 

Go to the "dockets" tab to read the disposition of the case.


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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Hey all -

 

L&R owns the small parking lot next to the 310 Prospect building. It's just north of the Harry Buffalo, and it's easy to overlook -- plus, it's closed right now because of the city's concerns about safety. The address of the lot is 320 Prospect.

 

On the Historic Gateway front, the organization led the effort to put the Herold Building, Record Rendezvous and the Kendel Building on the National Register of Historic Places, and they've been involved with the predevelopment work for a potential mixed-use redevelopment of the block. It also happens that their board chairman, one of several directors, is an attorney, and L&R is one of his clients. I felt that fact was worth noting in the story; however, you'll notice that I also quoted the executive director of Historic Gateway, who talked about preservation of the block. So there is a mix of viewpoints here.

 

The attorney, Michael Swearengen, told me he is very supportive of historic preservation and disagreed with the demolition of the Stanley Block and the Columbia Building. But he believes 310 Prospect is not significant and not worth saving.

 

This is a strange Housing Court case, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

 

Michelle

 

Michelle - do you have access to the case number so we can view the docket?

 

The new Cleveland Housing Court case is 13 CVG 0011713. You can find it through the Housing Court docket search, or search for LR 310 Prospect Investors. Interestingly, this is a civil case. The city usually pursues criminal cases against property owners in Housing Court. FYI - the hearing set for Aug. 30 has been turned into a pre-trial conference, so it likely will happen in a conference room, behind closed doors, instead of the courtroom. We'll see.

 

Michelle

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Michelle - do you have access to the case number so we can view the docket?

 

Welcome SixthCity. Sorry to jump in here, but I searched the docket using "L&R" and came up with this.....

 

https://pa.clevelandmunicipalcourt.org/pa/prodpa.urd/pamw2000.o_case_sum?3760851

 

Go to the "dockets" tab to read the disposition of the case.

 

KJP - Thanks for looking this up, I appreciate it.  Its interesting to see that the City has fined them in the past.  I'm thinking, however, because this case was closed in 2010 - there is a pending case file floating around out there regarding the current lawsuit which is not closed.

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Hey all -

 

L&R owns the small parking lot next to the 310 Prospect building. It's just north of the Harry Buffalo, and it's easy to overlook -- plus, it's closed right now because of the city's concerns about safety. The address of the lot is 320 Prospect.

 

On the Historic Gateway front, the organization led the effort to put the Herold Building, Record Rendezvous and the Kendel Building on the National Register of Historic Places, and they've been involved with the predevelopment work for a potential mixed-use redevelopment of the block. It also happens that their board chairman, one of several directors, is an attorney, and L&R is one of his clients. I felt that fact was worth noting in the story; however, you'll notice that I also quoted the executive director of Historic Gateway, who talked about preservation of the block. So there is a mix of viewpoints here.

 

The attorney, Michael Swearengen, told me he is very supportive of historic preservation and disagreed with the demolition of the Stanley Block and the Columbia Building. But he believes 310 Prospect is not significant and not worth saving.

 

This is a strange Housing Court case, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

 

Michelle

 

Michelle - do you have access to the case number so we can view the docket?

 

The new Cleveland Housing Court case is 13 CVG 0011713. You can find it through the Housing Court docket search, or search for LR 310 Prospect Investors. Interestingly, this is a civil case. The city usually pursues criminal cases against property owners in Housing Court. FYI - the hearing set for Aug. 30 has been turned into a pre-trial conference, so it likely will happen in a conference room, behind closed doors, instead of the courtroom. We'll see.

 

Michelle

 

Thanks!  That was a huge help!

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A slight correction -- eminent domain is the taking of private property for public BENEFIT. For example, a blighted property where the owner has refused to comply with multiple attempts to rectify the blight can be taken, the property assessed, any structures beyond saving are demolished, and the property re-sold through a public bid or auction.

 

The Ohio Constitution uses the term public USE.  A public benefit may be considered in the analysis, but is not the determining factor in Ohio (although SCOTUS has ruled that public benefit alone is sufficient under the Federal Constitution).  And I don't know when the ED proceedings you cited took place, but the law here in Ohio was addressed in 2006 following Kelo....  http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2006/2006-ohio-3799.pdf..... in a case which dealt directly with the public taking of private property for the purpose of transferring it to a private entity for redevelopment.  The court was constrained by the Ohio GA's reaction to Kelo.

 

From the Norwood case:

 

"We hold that although economic factors may be considered in determining whether private property may be appropriated, the fact that the appropriation would provide an economic benefit to the government and community, standing alone, does not satisfy the public-use requirement of Section 19, Article I of the Ohio Constitution."

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

In this early period, “public use” was often equated to “public benefit.”

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

In some jurisdictions, a belief has taken hold that general economic development is a public use *  *  * Kelo confirmed this view for purposes of federal constitutional analysis

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

In addressing the meaning of the public-use clause in Ohio’s Constitution, we are not bound to follow the United States Supreme Court’s determinations of the scope of the Public Use Clause in the federal constitution *  *  * and we decline to hold that the Takings Clause in Ohio’s Constitution has the sweeping breadth that the Supreme

Court attributed to the United States Constitution’s Takings Clause

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^Does ED for blight removal still works under Ohio's constitution and any anti-Kelo statutes? I'm not up on Ohio law, but I thought the distinction between blight and economic development was meaningful.

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^^Yes.  Kelo didn't require blight.  I'm not positive on the current and specific state of the law in Ohio, but have a general idea.  There are generally two aspects of 'blight' for the purpose of ED proceedings.  One would be a 'blighted area'.  In such cases, ED may be used if a substantial majority (approx. 75%?) of the area is properly considered blighted and individual properties can be taken regardless of their state of disrepair.  Assigning 'blight' to a particular property is more difficult.  To be considered 'blighted', the property must be unsafe for habitation, pose a threat to public safety, or have unpaid taxes exceeding its value IIRC.  The local government must also jumpt through some additional hoops by presenting a comprehensive plan of what would be done if the property was taken.  But the key factor for our discussion is that blight cannot be assigned simply because the government determines there is a better use comparatively (i.e. surface parking vs. structures) or that a different use would generate higher tax revenue.

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^Thanks!  And yeah, I completely agree with your comments re. blight vs. econ dev in this case.  The fact that the owners are trying to remove the blight via demo pretty much kills that hypothetical legal justification for ED.

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^Which is why the City should continue to keep denying the demo permits and all of you who rallied so hard for saving the Columbia building should be backing the City up on this RIGHT NOW...... not down the road when the wrecking balls are on their way.

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With the Stanley Block, you had a historic, landmarked building that (one of) the owners wanted torn down for parking.  The city Landmarks commission came in and said it couldn't be torn down.  Then the owner let the building deteriorate, and claimed it was a danger to its parking business next door.

The city agreed and said that it had deteriorated to the point it was a threat to public safety, and ordered the building torn down, not to perform emergency repairs to the landmark building.

 

The Herold building's owners want to tear down a historic building for parking.  The city did not want them to tear it down, so the owners let the building deteriorate, to the point now that the city has classified it as a public safety hazard by not letting people use the parking next door.

This time the city is suing for renovations, not for an emergency tear down.  So, when these owners go to court and say they are in the exact same situation, in nearly the exact same location as the Stanley Block, the city will not have a leg to stand on.

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^^ The city clearly played favorites with Gilbert versus the Columbia and Stanley buildings. I agree, it's going to bite them in court. The Stanley block was torn down in the interest of public safety. Why not the Herold?

 

In this case we have somebody actively trying to buy the building for renovation. I hope that's enough.

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Is the Herold in nearly as bad shape as the Stanley Block was in prior to demo?  Is the Herold landmarked? 

It has to be in worse shape, because the city has prohibited the next door lot from operating.  They never did that with the Stanley. 

From Michelle's article, I don't think it's landmarked.

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Yeah.... but the lot is the same owner, right?  It could just be a tactic the City is using to force the repairs.  With the SB, I think the biggest issue was that the building was no longer weather tight, leaving it exposed to the elements (recall the giant hole in the roof) and causing it to deterioriate beyond the point of feasible repair.

 

I see from the article that the building is on the national register, but does not appear to be landmarked by the City or State.

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Yeah.... but the lot is the same owner, right?  It could just be a tactic the City is using to force the repairs.  With the SB, I think the biggest issue was that the building was no longer weather tight, leaving it exposed to the elements (recall the giant hole in the roof) and causing it to deterioriate beyond the point of feasible repair.

 

I see from the article that the building is on the national register, but does not appear to be landmarked by the City or State.

 

Exactly - like the article said: this shut down the property's only income stream.  Now L&R has to eat a loss on those parcels every tax day.

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