Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
WOLSTEIN PICKS UP $1.4 MILLION AT STALLED FLATS PROJECT
Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 19:37.
The Wolstein East Bank project is in limbo but that hasn’t stopped the City of Cleveland from feeding Scott Wolstein $1.4 million for land for a future walkway and park along the Cuyahoga River in the Flats.
The city, via two government grants, has paid Wolstein $1,417,000 for less than a half acre of land, according to a document made available to me by the city.
The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties – the developers - have been promised tens of millions of dollars in government subsidies in legislation passed during a hurried City Council session in May of 2006. Council President Martin Sweeney gave members a 57-page document one working day before the legislation was passed.
It’s so easy to get money from government that I don’t know why there isn’t more development in Cleveland. Oh yeah, there’s no market for it.
That doesn’t stop the flow of freebies to developers, however.
Nothing has been built at the Wolstein development although there is work being done – all government infrastructure construction. The project itself is stalled.
Developers Diversified Realty Corp., Wolstein’s main firm, has been having financial difficulties dealing with debt. It was reported this week that German investors have bought some 30 percent of the firm’s stock.
Officials in Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration say that the city will build a park there someday. No price has been determined, they said.
However, a funding source is known. City general obligation bonds will be used to finance the work along with diverted taxes from Wolstein’s project via a TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) deal – if it is ever built. The TIF takes property taxes from the development that ordinarily would go to the Cleveland schools (about 60 percent), county, city and city libraries and uses them instead for the city park.
The $1.4 million all goes to Wolstein developers. The cost of a walkway along the river and the park is unknown at this time, according to City Planning Director Bob Brown.
On the west side of the Flats private owners have provided public walkways without cost to the city.
The only work being done at the Flats development is government funded sewer and electrical work.
In a Feb. 5 letter, Daryl Rush, director of the city’s Dept of Community Development thank the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ODNR) for funds to pay for the .4647 acres. The area runs along the Cuyahoga River. NOAA and ODNR each contributed $708,500.
Rush said in his February letter that the land had been acquired.
This will primarily serve residents of Wolstein’s project, if he ever builds the $230 million mixed use development of retail, commercial, office and for-sale and rental housing.
Don’t hold your breath.
You may remember the long list of government subsidies promised by various levels of government for the Wolstein project.
If you don’t, here are some of the freebies legislated for Wolstein:
- The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will provide $11 million in loans.
- City of Cleveland will provide $6 million in Core City loans.
- Cleveland Public Power will provide $3.4 million in free services.
- Cleveland Water Division will provide $740,000 in infrastructure costs.
- City of Cleveland will provide another $1 million in general obligation bonds.
- The County, City & Cleveland Schools will forgo $11,140,000 in property taxes under the TIF program.
- Cuyahoga County will provide $1 million in subsidies.
- The State of Ohio will provide a grant of $3 million for “environmental remediation,” matched by a loan from the County of $1 million.
- Tax exempt Parking Revenue Bonds estimated at $8,540,000 will be repaid from city parking facility revenues.
- Tax exempt infrastructure bonds estimated to be $9 million are secured by annual payments by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
- The sum of approximately $4,550,000 will be made available through the Federal Highway Administration.
- The federal government has appropriated and the city shall obtain and make available when required for eligibility project costs a grand of $1.4 million from the U. S. Dept. of Commerce National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration. (MARK THIS DONE!)
- All rental and condominium units (some 300) will be tax abated at 100 percent for 15 years. No cost estimate given.
- The city agrees to enact legislation as necessary to amend and extend the CRA residential tax abatement program to assure that all residential improvements are available at the full 15 years at 100 percent. No cost given.
- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA)) will construct a transit station on the RTA Waterfront Rail Line for the project “… all at no cost or expense” the Wolstein’s project. No cost figure given.
This is too disgusting and I’m tired of typing. If you want to read the entire list of these give-aways, I suggest you go to: http://www.lakewoodbuzz.com/RoldoBartimole/RB%2005-03-06_Flats_Deal_Disgrace_Lakewood%20Ohio%20Roldo%20Bartimole.html
Are some worried about Socialism? Hell, wealthy developers have a franchise of it here in Cleveland.