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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.

 

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

 

FYI - Bobby George owns Barley House and I believe the newly opened restaurant/bar in W 25th, Town Hall. It would be pretty cool to see a place as busy at Town Hall go into this block. Also, if they plan on book ending the block in new construction, a portion of the Goldfish store would have to come down.

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This was on the Sept. 6th CPC agenda.

 

DOWNTOWN/FLATS DESIGN REVIEW

1. DF2013-060- Proposed Demolition of Office Building

Project Address: 306-310 Prospect Avenue

Project Representative: Michael K. Swearengen, Esq.

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Hi all -

 

Just an update on the Herold Building. I went to the Housing Court hearing (which was a behind-closed-doors conference). Nothing really happened -- they just set dates for future meetings and filings. Re: the Planning Commission item, I don't believe that will be on the agenda. An attorney for L&R told me last week that they don't plan to appear at design review or Planning Commission, and I heard Tuesday that the CPC agenda item has been pulled.

 

Michelle

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Hi all -

 

Just an update on the Herold Building. I went to the Housing Court hearing (which was a behind-closed-doors conference). Nothing really happened -- they just set dates for future meetings and filings. Re: the Planning Commission item, I don't believe that will be on the agenda. An attorney for L&R told me last week that they don't plan to appear at design review or Planning Commission, and I heard Tuesday that the CPC agenda item has been pulled.

 

Michelle

 

Thanks Michelle,

 

In your opinion, what can we infer from the demolition request removal from the CPC and design review agendas?  Might it hint at a larger deal between the owner and Weston or do you view it as a routine move for a property tied up in litigation?

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Hi all -

 

Just an update on the Herold Building. I went to the Housing Court hearing (which was a behind-closed-doors conference). Nothing really happened -- they just set dates for future meetings and filings. Re: the Planning Commission item, I don't believe that will be on the agenda. An attorney for L&R told me last week that they don't plan to appear at design review or Planning Commission, and I heard Tuesday that the CPC agenda item has been pulled.

 

Michelle

 

Thanks Michelle,

 

In your opinion, what can we infer from the demolition request removal from the CPC and design review agendas?  Might it hint at a larger deal between the owner and Weston or do you view it as a routine move for a property tied up in litigation?

 

Attorneys for L&R have said they believe going before the Planning Commission would be an exercise in futility. Since city officials have stated that they're opposed to demolition of the Herold Building, the attorneys believe they have no shot at getting CPC approval and would just end up going through a lengthy appeals process. That said, they have not tried. They believe they have a better chance of prevailing in Cleveland Housing Court, making the argument that the city's focus on renovation over demolition violates L&R's rights as a property owner. The next pre-trial hearing (also likely to take place in a conference room, behind closed doors) is set for early October. There's a November filing deadline for a motion for summary judgement.

 

Michelle

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^And then a month for a response.... and then two weeks for a reply... and then 2-6 mos. (on average) for a decision.... and then another 2 years of appeals (at least).  As long as the City sticks to its guns, a deal should be able to come together during that timeframe.

 

Thanks for heading off the meltdown, Michelle.

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From a practical standpoint this makes no sense to me.  They have an interested buyer.  They are generating no income (since they city closed the lot on East 4th) and they have costs associated with ownership (property taxes and I would hope insurance).  More significantly they are paying a Benisch attorney (that ain't going to be cheap) to defend litigation that might drag out forever with appeals.  Even if they are far apart in price why doesn't somebody do the math and deduct the attorney's fees from the price they want and avoid the aggravation of litigation.  The only people winning here are the lawyers (which of course is not a bad thing  :wink:)  Seems like your classic my b@#ls are bigger than yours.

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From a practical standpoint this makes no sense to me.  They have an interested buyer.  They are generating no income (since they city closed the lot on East 4th) and they have costs associated with ownership (property taxes and I would hope insurance).  More significantly they are paying a Benisch attorney (that ain't going to be cheap) to defend litigation that might drag out forever with appeals.  Even if they are far apart in price why doesn't somebody do the math and deduct the attorney's fees from the price they want and avoid the aggravation of litigation.  The only people winning here are the lawyers (which of course is not a bad thing  :wink:)  Seems like your classic my b@#ls are bigger than yours.

 

Thanks Michelle.

 

Here's to hoping they'll cave.

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It's a game.  If they are trying to dump a vacant building which is generating no income and, in fact, poses a potential financial liability in the form of violations and fines, their bargaining power is greatly reduced compared to trying to sell a parcel which they have the green light to put to a profitable use.  In the end, they will get a far greater offer than whatever they pay their attorneys.  If not, their attorneys are not doing a very good job.

 

Weston is now approaching them saying, "look, you can't demolish the building because the City won't let you, and you don't have the will nor the means to repurpose it, so why don't we take it off your hands for this (bargain) price"

 

They want Weston to have to say, "I know you have the wrecking ball scheduled, but we would like to buy the building from you and repurpose it ourselves.... name your price"

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Michelle,

 

Do we know if Weston has made any progress with persuading these guys to sell them the building, or is it still the same situation? Your last article had mentioned the "talks" were still underway. This could be such an important development, but L&R is throwing a wrench in everything. They need to take their crappy parking lots back to California.

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Michelle,

 

Do we know if Weston has made any progress with persuading these guys to sell them the building, or is it still the same situation? Your last article had mentioned the "talks" were still underway. This could be such an important development, but L&R is throwing a wrench in everything. They need to take their crappy parking lots back to California.

 

I have not heard about any new developments from any of the parties involved here.

 

Michelle

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It's a game.  If they are trying to dump a vacant building which is generating no income and, in fact, poses a potential financial liability in the form of violations and fines, their bargaining power is greatly reduced compared to trying to sell a parcel which they have the green light to put to a profitable use.  In the end, they will get a far greater offer than whatever they pay their attorneys.  If not, their attorneys are not doing a very good job.

 

Weston is now approaching them saying, "look, you can't demolish the building because the City won't let you, and you don't have the will nor the means to repurpose it, so why don't we take it off your hands for this (bargain) price"

 

They want Weston to have to say, "I know you have the wrecking ball scheduled, but we would like to buy the building from you and repurpose it ourselves.... name your price"

 

Isn't that pretty close to what happened with the Stanley?  One owner wanted to develop, had partners, one wanted the building leveled.

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Does anyone know what is going on with the At&t building and The Clevelander?

 

I stare out at the AT&T building from my window and they've been sealing, replacing mortar and washing/painting the entire building. They've been at it for at least 6 months, hopefully they will be done soon and can get rid of all that ugly scaffolding and the annoying cherry picker.

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Isn't that pretty close to what happened with the Stanley?  One owner wanted to develop, had partners, one wanted the building leveled.

 

Not really.  With the Stanley, you had co-ownership.  Here, Weston does not have a stake in the building (yet).  Plus the co-owner of the Stanley is not comparable to Weston.  They didn't have the means/resources to get the job done.  Similarly, while I'm sure L&R is fine with the idea of making the parcel into a surface lot, it does not have the same burning desire to see the building demolished as the Casino folks had with the Stanley.  It's a very different situation.  What concerns me is that Weston is a very calculated development team.  They won't take any chances.  They seemingly feel they have to get the drastically better end of any deal to make anything happen.

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Per the Campus District pdf ( http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/designreview/drcagenda/2011/12022011/2011-08-15CampusDistrictTLCI_FINALl.pdf?bcsi_scan_0f1700ec298a9f1d=0&bcsi_scan_filename=2011-08-15CampusDistrictTLCI_FINALl.pdf ), the Gateway District TLCI is referenced (see page 32). Is there a seperate presentation for these improvements? The images are very small but look promising.

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I don't even understand what this means.  Why do you think The Clevelander is an ugly dead zone?  Who are the Knights of Columbus?  Why do they like ugly dead zones?

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The Clevelander now does have a banner over that old signage that says something like 'pardon our dust, we're under construction'

 

 

Saw a "Keith Arian Construction" sign go up in the window at the Picadiilly artisan yogurt in OC.

THen a few days later the old Indigo restaurant-- Prospect ave side of the 5th street arcades -- evidently had some interior demo going on in that long-vacant space... the next day a Keith Arian Construction sign went up in the window. Wondering if there's a connection

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This is a guess but I think Sushi 86 is moving into the old Indigo restaurant space.  I know they were one of the 5th Street Arcade grant winners and said they'd be using it to expand, offer classes, etc.  They can't expand their current spot.  Makes sense for them to move to another former restaurant space.  Lots more room in there. 

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Sushi 86 is not moving, they are expanding though to have more space for their burgeoning catering business and sushi classes.  Current spot will be retained.

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Sushi 86 is not moving, they are expanding though to have more space for their burgeoning catering business and sushi classes.  Current spot will be retained.

 

From http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sushi-86-the-chef-s-cut:

 

"The time for expansion has come and rather than move our new facility off site we have decided to delve deeper into the facilities of the 5th Street Arcades and all it has to offer. We will be occupying a space across the hallway; our whole sale facilities will be in the back; and in the front we will have an all new expanded space for sushi classes, private dining room, and event space. This expansion will allow us to increase our capacity, helping us to sponsor more charitably and community building events around the area."

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No real news here but just an update about the new businesses occcupying now-vacant storefronts.

On Prospect, Sushi 86 expansion will go in the Indigo space, and thensome. Of course, Red will fill a sizable front on Prospect.

On Euclid ave, the owner of Pour Cleveland said yesterday he was looking to open in about 3 weeks. And also on Euclid, the build-out of the prepared food/takeout place...CLE (Cmon Lets Eat) has started in the old Quiznno's space.

Great to see these street facing properties become active storefronts

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^Ah, got it.  So right near the driveway to the 668 Euclid auto ramp.  Great to hear it will have a street presence.  I'm really excited for another high quality coffee shop downtown.

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Lots of new signage coming to the Cumberland arcade, passed by Landmarks today. Sleek new black restaurant will have blade signage consistent with Yum Yums.

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Lots of new signage coming to the Cumberland arcade, passed by Landmarks today. Sleek new black restaurant will have blade signage consistent with Yum Yums.

 

Do you have access to any mock-ups or pictures?

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A chain link fence was being put up today, somewhat around the historic 310 bldg and partially into the now-closed small pkg lot, at 310 Prospect (Weston Dvlpmt area, i thought there was a thread for that?)

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A chain link fence was being put up today, somewhat around the historic 310 bldg and partially into the now-closed small pkg lot, at 310 Prospect (Weston Dvlpmt area, i thought there was a thread for that?)

 

I think I found the permit:

 

https://ca.permitcleveland.org/Public/Report/ShowReport.aspx?Module=BuildingHousing&reportType=PRINT_PERMIT_REPORT&reportID=2

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Interesting. County records don't indicate any properties have changed hands, nor has any development plan been submitted to Planning Commission (either Design Review or Landmarks Commission). A building cannot be demolished for parking downtown (especially in an historic district like Gateway) except if the parking is an interim use. In that case, development plan post-parking lot has to be submitted and approved by Planning Commission. And it has yet to be submitted. I watch Planning Commission dockets pretty closely, as do a few reporters in town. They wouldn't written about it had it been submitted to the city for approval.


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

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It has been a while since I checked the docket in the court action and I just did so given the above posts.

 

A Judgment Entry was issued (after months of motion practice) on Jan. 23 2014 and the case is now listed as closed on the docket.  Unfortunately I cannot tell from the docket (Cleveland Muny court dockets suck) what the disposition of the case was and who won.  Since it has been a couple of weeks I would have thought Michelle might have reported on this by now. 

 

I could only guess what the fence is all about.  Maybe the court ordered something that mandated the fence (given the condition of the property).  I can't imagine a demolition permit has been issued so quickly, especially with no publicity.

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