Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 09/22/2007 - 13:30.
Tim Ferris wrote recently that his home on the West Side had appreciated about 2% per year over the 25 years he's been in it. 

What about the other homes in Cleveland and East Cleveland and elsewhere in NEO where the owners have walked away because the value of their homes went NEGATIVE over the past few decades.  Who has that money now?  Where did the value go?  Has it been stolen by our social and political process?  Who are the people that don't have any home as a "nest egg?

Is there a common theme in who those people are?  Who's getting the blue dot?

Home demolition in Cleveland.jpg142.32 KB

Cycle of dispair?

Woodland Hills

Construction of the Saint Luke's Pointe project on the site of the former St. Luke's Medical Center near Shaker Square has been slower than envisioned. Developers hope that the project will gain momentum by hosting the Citirama home show in September.
I tell you this it is very difficult to determine which area of Cleveland you should invest in from the perspective of an individual homeowner.  I cannot get clear comprehensive information.  I need to know what the plan is for an area, I need to see progress and stages of progression.   If I am to invest, I need to know that investment will appreciate.
I see new homes built around the old St Lukes Hospital and all of the new additions to the original structure have been demolished.  What I cannot find is any information about what the original structure will become? 
Buckeye is not that long of a street, it begins at Van Aken and terminates at Woodland.   It is actually South Woodland, that being it is continuous with South woodland, they are the same street.   I mention this because your photo shows 9521 and 9527 Buckeye.    This is the section between WoodHill and Woodland, the most blighted; actually, these properties are the blight.  The section between WoodHill and Van Aken is not blighted; it is actually fairly well developed. 
As far as these two specific buildings that are just east of an elementary school and just west of an abandoned BK on the corner of Woodhill and Buckeye, the demolishing of these is very appropriate action.   They are directly across the street from an RTA blue line station.

To look close at this area, I see a problem intersection, the way Shaker Blvd connects and converges with Buckeye at WoodHill.   This is where the RTA blue line changes from between the roadway to out of site.     I am not sure if there are any stations between Woodhill and 55th?      


I see the potential for this to be a transit centric area, similar in concept to Shaker Square.  I can see that extending Shaker Blvd is possible all the way to 55th street.   That would be huge project, but it also could be a huge catalyst for economic development. 


These two homes and the BK have been abandoned for centuries, seriously they have and it is about time the city demolished them.   I would like to see the entire section cleared and intelligent consideration to what should be done next.   


Goolge Earth the location, and then map the train lines.  Then consider the opportunity corridor this is that area. 

What is the motivation to address demolishing in general?   I will be more than happy to address any specifically and believe it is in everyone’s best interest to do so.  To make connections with those involved in the area and to look at opportunities to make creative and constructive changes. 


I know this area is developing, Woodland is being cleared for some retail at E 114th, this is all intelligent, they are clearing bight and filling in.  The area is to complement St Luke’s Pointe. 


The city is abating and in so much what is built today must be complemented with more development.  Improvement in the future, it is a time line and 15 years can go by fast, when it ends it better have made a difference in the area or the results will be very dangerous to those attempting to sell these homes.   They could end up with negative equity. 


The city is missing something between public housing and high-end new homes.  They should have some ventures in restoration, lifting some homes off foundations and rebuilding them, new cement board siding and roofs, these older homes have oak frames they are superior in many ways to new construction.   I see the potential for level two development, where the new construction meets the existing housing, 


It is important to note, that they need to land bank in an area before they attempt to increase the value of the surrounding homes. 


This is why; If you build new construction to adjacent homes the value of that home goes up, however it did not get an physical improvements.  That makes it less economical to actually buy it and renovate it, the purchase price is to high it has no margin to the market value.  The process needs to be to purchase the homes that need improvements first, then renovate them then sell then and then build the new construction.   This insures that those that buy in will not have to wait for something to happen to the adjacent homes, which we can see is not currently happening. 


So if the area is severely blighted then land banking should happen first, but the city should choose areas that are adjacent to higher valued communities.  Borders with first ring suburbs.  The should have a larger planning area, they should land bank and then make announcements through very comprehensive advertising. 


This is all about leveraging, the initial funds are used to break even, the renovation of existing transition area homes, that link into the primary new development.  The planned expansion of retail and commercial space, as it all happens value is obvious and apparent. 


What is happening in many of these areas of new development is that owners of homes get greedy they have dilapidated homes and think they can get more for them if a new development is a block away, they raise the price and nothing happens.  The worst homes sit empty, or rented they will sell but at prices that are to high to improve and resell them. 


Part of home ownership is maintenance and the standards can be set and if you cannot meet those standards you actually cannot afford home ownership.  That is reality, the city is overwhelmed with these scenarios, and nearly all the homes are out of code.   Is it wrong to declare eminent  domain?    It is also wrong to buy a home and never make any effort to maintain it, it is wrong to buy or finance a home if person does not have the resources to maintain it. 


About 13% of the households in the US earn less than $25,000.00 per year.  These are renters; actually, public housing or subsidized rent is the only option for them.


About 38% earn between 25K, 50K, some of these are renter, and some of these can purchase.


About 48% of all households earn over 50K per year; these all can own a home. 

You have problems when people that earn less than 25K become the majority, they cannot expect to own homes.   If a home is owned and occupied by a household income of less than 25k then it is a dead end and it will depreciate to nothing.   It will physically deteriorate and if it is in a concentration of households that have below 25k incomes, it will not have good pubic services; it is nothing more than a downward cycle of despair.   It ends in foreclosure and demolishment.   

Society needs benchmarks it needs a place were the living wage meets the market.  I said it before the market price of new construction is $100.00 per sq ft.  We need areas that are building in new homes that are low maintenance and green.  We should have low interest loans and methods of constructing homes for less than $100.00 per square foot.   We also need low cost rentals, multi-units that are also green and low maintenance.  


Cleveland has a high percentage of poor and many are holding homes or renting homes that really are substandard.  Each area has to be looked at closely, even to drilldown into the individual household.  For a household income of 25k to buy or even own a home is foolish, they need to rent and for $500.00 a month or less.  


High concentrations of poverty is bad, it spreads. We are very disproportionate to the nation.  Cleveland that is we have much more than 13% of our city under 25K. 


It is foolish to think you can change that; it is like attempting to change a person. With a median income in Cleveland of $26,000.00, the average household requires market subsidy.  I would suggest large amount of high quality rentals.  Subsidized up to $500.00 a month and not in private housing.   The private rents should be start at $500.00 a month.  They should be 2-3 bedroom units in large multiunit locations with proximity to public transits.  


Eminent domain could get you off the hook for home ownership; they get a check and a low monthly payment.  I am not kidding.  The school and daycare within walking distance, the grocery store, the recreation center and the transit a person that makes 25K a year cannot afford a car, they should have limited or no access to credit and they have opportunities for education.  


It is not that complex, a maximum price of $500.00 a month.  Prorated to the income of the household, if the household income is 20K, the rent is $384.00.   If the income is 15K then the rent is $284.00.  One month rent as a security deposit and credit qualifications and background checks.  


The poor need simple solutions, home ownership is not all that it is cracked up to be.  What they do not want is to be housed in project that lumps them with drug dealers and prostitutes.  The requirement to get in would or should be a minimum income of 15k and good credit. 


The project would be LEED and highly energy efficient and require resident to recycle their wastes and even have onsite employment. If a resident earns or gain income over 25K then they can have a year to move into private housing or buy a home, it can cap out residents at 35K or whatever would make them more than qualified to afford outside the development.  If they drop below 15k, they could get 6 month of forbearance and a chance to be re-employed. 


A simple alternative targeted at a specific income segment, under 25k household incomes and homeownership should be mutually exclusive events.   Third class/working class housing, the market exits for the 2nd and 1st classes, barely for the middle class.  This approach would adjust the private market to base line at rentals of $500.00 a month.   





Planned abandonment

Tim has written and linked about this cycle.   This is what drives me crazy.  The vultures making money off this process.  Waste. The waste of beautiful housing, beautiful neighborhoods, beautiful churches in East Cleveland, Glenville, Woodland Hills, Buckeye, Slavic Village-- and Brooklyn Centre.  Irony.  As residents move further out to the sanitized suburbs, they still long for the community of walking to the corner store to school, watching a ball game in the park, and the buzz of ethnic restaurants, cafes, and art galleries.  Stupid.  That's how we few are made to feel if we are committed to living in the city.  Yesterday, I had the joy of teaching a bunch of kids to knit.  Today's PD talks about Marie Kittredge riding her bike to work at Slavic Village.  Real people living in the city, like me, like Marie Kittredge, will have the last laugh.  So, Oengus, are you looking to buy in the city?  Stop analyzing, roll up your sleeves and help us.  Don't look for the bottomline.  Life is about living.

The city is going to remove

The city is going to remove 1000 abandoned homes; they issued a bond for 7M to do so. 


I really would like to know which homes, not that it is any of my business.  However, in order to have faith in the program it would be best to let people actually see what homes and where they are located.


How about a list of pre-approved designs that can be built on those lots, even the incentives that are being offered. 


I would like to think that the council representatives are privileged to these condemnations. I would think they actually know about the actions being taken in their wards first hand.   It would be disparaging to think they do not! 


I have been informed that most of the homes will be in eastside wards and in blighted areas.   


I cannot subscribe to the general notion that not any of the homes in the city need to be demolished. But I do know that even a home that is structurally unsound and severely dilapidated can contain valuable material.  Oak doors, decorative millwork and even porcelain fixtures, these features should not be ignored.    


I am glad the city can address blight, but just demolishing is not a complete solution.  I also know that CHN is poised to infill and what they build is tailored for low income families. 


The city has already said that it would like better quality homes as infill; they have said they are considering stricter codes.  It get to complex, the codes are very detailed what can change and why, what would be the impact and on who. 


I suggest they keep it simple and clear, I am concerned about designs, adding infill that looks out of place with existing architecture is happening.  It is not to say that cannot be improved upon it can with some simple changes.  


Contractor prefer to build the same design repeatedly, it is easy for them.  They like to use the same material over and over it is easy for them.  


The city should have set of infill designs and restrictions on what material can be used particularly on exterior facades    


Contractors lie about upgrades, they sometimes charge the same price for lower quality. It looks cheap it is cheap it look expensive…but only marginally more.  Higher standards is what attracts people and also appreciate what they have.  


Cement board siding cost a $1.00 more per square foot than vinyl siding, it does not have seams and does not ever show ripples, it will not blow off in storm or crack when pressure is put on it.


Cleveland could require it as code, for new construction as well as in restorations, it looks just like wood ! 


Urban infill designs,


If CHN is the major force behind infill then the city should have pre- approved designs and materials for those homes, and require them to use cement board on renovations, exteriors of homes should be restored actually, not covered with cheap vinyl.   


It is possible; to rebuild streetscapes and infill can be appear to have always been there.  I its a matter of wanting it, and it being well defined criteria, today it is not in Cleveland.   It is the city, CHN and contractors; they are not taking the responsibility to do it.  


People lead abatement is related to this, are we anxious to see cheap vinyl slapped on historic structures all over town, people need to take ownership parcel by parcel and make sure the correct events happen.   A lead abated home could also be significantly improved esthetically if the problem is addressed intelligently. 


The city is developing a process they need to simply refine the process, what they are doing is not that bad, but it is definitely inconsistent and lack of accountability and attention to detail very obvious.