Port Access Only - no public entry - when is the independent study due out?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 05/24/2006 - 02:42.
Port Access Only - no public entry - when is the independent study due out?

It astounds me to go to one of the only spots downtown with a view of the lake and see the mess built by the city, port and community leaders in just the last decade or so - and they talk about a lakefront plan, with this mess on their hands. As Steven Fong (Dean of Architecture at Kent) said, before taking on master plans, do a few smaller things well. Well, here are acres of blocked off lakefront - acres of shabby surface parking lots - a disgrace. And a road to the lake has a big concrete barrier, 8 foot chainlink fence, and unfriendly signs everywhere. We love you too.

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OPEN 4 PUBLIC WITH PARKING $

 The irony is that this road and huge lakefront asphalt is wide open to the public whenever there's a Browns game.  Drive right in and have a BBQ (maybe no BBQ, its on the sign, can’t remember).   Big money thought -  $40.00 for a van.   Herein is the hypocrisy – while the Port Authority claims it needs the huge blank space for regional shipping/warehousing needs, funny thing, the space is always empty round about football parking cash take-in time. 

Lakefront mess result of Powerpoint planning from hell

It occurs to me if Cleveland has a hell, I've found the gates, and the devil is clearly in control of town. I was down in that evil dead-zone around the Browns stadium, science center, Rock Hall and port... it's like the evil is so powerful no life can survive within half a mile...  it even killed the flats. ..

It is obvious a bunch of "suits" sat around conference tables in big planning and board rooms and they looked at big models and powerpoints of artist renderings of glassy towers and stadiums - monuments that offer the perfect artist rendering view of other monuments, none of which have any human scale or interest whatsoever.

Again I ask, where is the independent study?

Today in the PD there are two conflicting articles about the Port Authority - one about being in Las Vegas to help Stark sell and lease his development in the big world, and the other about the Port Authority using eminent domaine to force many property owners on the East Bank of the Flats to sell their property to Wolstein, in this sick little world. To Las Vegas, the Port Authority and Stark say Cleveland is hot, and being discovered and taken seriously by big retailers - while from the other side of the Port Authority mouthpiece they sit with Wolstein and say to the PD and Clewvelanders the property on the East Bank of the Flats are worthless without Wolstein - god help us without Wolstein - Wolstein is god...

Bottom line, the Port Authority and Stark are telling the truth in Las Vegas, where they have to meet and speak with real, big, non-Cleveland development-type people - and the Port Authority and Wolstein fooling the media and the people back here, to help a few developers get great deals on their property... this is how big power brokers operate. So now you know the truth - Cleveland is hot, and the Port authority and Wolstein are blowing smoke when they say the East Bank is worthless, or worth the low values they have set. It is the hottest real estate in NEO - just blighted by the Port and Wolstein.

About Port ruler John Carney

Port Authority ruler John Carney is obviously a smart guy - Willaims undergrad and Columbia law - has made a fortune in real estate and oil and gas - all of which he personally gets involved in regulating at the government level - he is a "influential millionaire political kingmaker" (Free Times). He is a partner in Crocker Park and 600 acres of sprawl around there, to say the least. He has also profited nicely from downtown Cleveland's quiet ciris, as he has acquired lots of no-brainer proerty around the major developpments he funds and manages through his position ruling the Port Authority - wielder of bonds, and eminent domain... the undenyable superpower.

Here's the Port Authority bio of John Carney - makes him seem like a nice guy, huh... all those charitable causes and volunteer activities, and all...

John J. Carney

John J. Carney is an attorney, real estate owner and developer with extensive experience in the management, investment and development of real estate and oil and gas ventures.

He participated in the redevelopment of historic buildings in the Cleveland Historic Warehouse District, including the Grand Arcade, which consists of 91 residential units and 13,000 square feet of commercial space; the Perry Payne building and its 93 residential units and 8,500 square feet of commercial space; the 100-unit Water Street Apartments, which opened in 1997 and Bridgeview Apartments consisting of 247 apartments, 15,000 square feet of commercial space and 220 indoor parking spaces.

Carney and his partners rehabilitated the old Colonial Arcade and Euclid Arcade, now known as the Colonial Market Place, into a mixed-use facility including a 175-room Residence Inn, 40,000 square feet of retail space and 120 indoor parking spaces.

In Cleveland’s neighborhoods, Carney and associates acquired and rehabilitated a 144- unit garden apartment on the near west side, rehabilitated the 133-unit Rockefeller Park Towers on Ansel Road and Kamms Plaza Shopping Center in the West Park area.

Carney is the managing general partner of numerous Ohio partnerships formed to drill for gas and oil in the state. The partnerships have drilled more than 150 oil and gas wells.

As an attorney with Baker, Hostetler & Patterson (now Baker & Hostetler) from 1969 through 1974, he specialized in real estate law and syndication. In 1975, he was a founding partner in the law firm, Carney & Carney.

Carney, his family and business associates own and manage numerous office buildings and shopping centers in Cleveland and Columbus, as well as interests in office warehouse and apartments.

The family is an active partner in a 600-acre land development on Cleveland’s southwest side and Crocker Park, a mixed-use, new development which will contain approximately 600,000 square feet of lifestyle retail, 400 apartments and 200,000 square feet of office.

Carney has received numerous awards, including the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Downtown Achievement Award (1993), the Cleveland Restoration Society’s Award of Excellence (1994 and 1997), the American Institute of Architects’ Award for Exceptional Accomplishment (1994 and 1996), the Northern Ohio Live Awards of Achievement in Restoration (1996-1997) and the Rudy Bruner Award for Excellence in the Urban Environment (1997).

He has served as a board member of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority since 1998 and was elected chairman in 2006. His term ends in 2007. He currently serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Downtown Cleveland Partnership and is a chairman of the Downtown Property Owners Council.

Carney has served on the Cuyahoga County Democratic Executive Committees, the Rocky River Civil Service Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on the Unauthorized Practice of Law. He was a member of the State of Ohio Oil and Gas Board of Review, a member of the Technical Advisory Committee on Oil and Gas, a member of the Visiting Committee of Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland and a board member of the Metro Health System.

Carney earned a bachelor’s degree in 1966 from Williams College in Williamstown, MA, and a juris doctorate in 1969 from Columbia University Law School in New York.

BTW, Carney considered armed and dangerous

I've heard some brutal accounts of dealings with Carney, and he is clearly able to operate significant real estate, development, oil and gas operations in spaces and with people he regulates, and the watchdogs allow that, so it is not wise to underestimate this man or situation. I'm sure his ultimate objective is to grow the economic pie in NEO - he has holdings all over here so he wants success in urban downtown and out west in new urbanism. I doubt he wants bad development here - I just don't think he is surrounded by people bringing him good developments - good plans - whether he is surrounded by yes people or just people who are not very effective, the poor quality of planning that he has to work with seems to be a big part of the problem. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that if good plans were proposed to him and the port authority they will receive good support.

So, let's see some good plans, anyone... anything but a McEco for McYachts at the Coast Guard Station

I assume this is same Carney family

Interesting brief in NYTimes about the PD, and a Judge Carney...from 1981

Reporter in Cleveland Is Forced To Answer Queries About Article

Published: May 6, 1981

A reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, under orders by a Common Pleas Court judge, was forced to answer questions today regarding an article she wrote about a man who is being tried for murder.

The reporter, Maxine L. Lynch, wrote on Feb. 21 that David Fields, the murder suspect, admitted he was hired by the wife and daughter of the man who was killed last August.

Mr. Fields, who blamed drugs and alcohol for the deed, has pleaded not guilty. The wife and daughter of Lawrence Bates, the victim, have also pleaded not guilty.

Despite objections by attorneys from The Plain Dealer, Judge John J. Carney ordered that Miss Lynch submit to a pretrial interview without an attorney present.

David L. Hopcraft, executive editor of The Plain Dealer, said that Miss Lynch had only answered questions that could have been answered by reading her article. Mr. Hopcraft said she did not turn over any information that was not contained in the article and did not disclose any confidential sources.

Interesting intro from Crain's 1999 on birth of Crocker Park

It is interesting a big issue right now is ODOT, and the bridge, and the trench, and the exits into Cleveland - and it is impossible to get people to speak up against ODOT - but there are places like Crocker Park that owe their existence to ODOT and the ramps and freeways they provide - follow ODOT to the centers of sprawl and you found the money - Crocker Park - Legacy Village - Etton Collection - Beachwood Place - now that mess out by Richmond and 271 - freeways, ramps, money. Now, we have a problem with ODOT wanting to put out downtown freeway and ramps in stupid places - why? Same as Corcker Park - optimize traffic flows to the property owned by Carney and his friends. Just watch - it will all turn into a big parking funnel into Wolstein Start Neo Urbanism land. It'll suck, and it'll fail, but the first in will make a fortune... already are. How it works... step back many decades and see when it was decided where there would be off ramps on I-90, going through the Carney land - how did they end up right together like that.... decades later, Crocker Park... these things are planned and executed over generations.


FROM Crain's 1999:

A developer with a fabled Cleveland real estate name is readying a project on a Westlake site long associated with his family.

Jim Carney, son of the late Judge John Carney and nephew of the late developer and Cleveland mayoral candidate James Carney, plans this spring to start construction of Westlake Corporate Park on Crocker Road south of the I-90 interchange.

The development is a Carney family undertaking. It's on a site owned by the family since the 1950s. His partners in Westlake Corporate Park will be his brothers John Carney, who has been developing downtown loft ...

Can Port authority tax breaks be legal?

In the Plain Dealer today, in an article about the Port Authority giving way over $750,000 in public money to the owners of the Cavaliers (which the port justifies because of all the happy partygoers created if the team makes the playoffs), there is mention the Port Authority gave over $3 million in similar millionaire-charity to the President of the Port Authority's project Crocker Park, located on the Carney family property in Westlake, at the ODOT Crocker Park interchange at Wolstein corner of I-90... with the airport graft and corruption just coming to light (perhaps), the Port subsidizing the President's projects, the fast tracking of Wolstein and Forum Architects, so intimately connected to the PD... is this even legal?

From the PD article...

Norm Krumholz, a Cleveland State University urban planning professor, said the port authority sales tax break "does not make much sense." He said it appears the port authority is becoming more involved in financing deals than in running a port.

Crocker Park developers in Westlake received a $3 million sales tax break when they financed their loan through the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, officials said.

One local developer, who seems admirable, told me he doesn't believe serious, world-class developers will come to Cleveland until we fix the corruption. Read all about it in the PD today.

Port Independent Study Update

At the Whiskey Island RiverDay event, Paul Alsenas (county planning director) said that four consultants have been selected to do an independent Port Authority study for the county.  The County Cimmissioners should pick the finalist in the very near future.  The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

 The study will be more comprehensive then just the Port Authority properties, and will analyze shipping operations down the river also.  Originally the county was going to spend $100K, now I think the county will spend $200K.  So they seem to be serious about this study.  They should, because intelligent waterfront development should depend on facts, not the Port Authority's and the city of Cleveland's spectulation.

Port Independent Study process

That is great news - I'd love to really follow this - meet the consultants - I can't wait to see an outside assessment of what the port should look like in the future, all the way up the river and tributaries and all along the lakefront. Keep us posted and let us know when they pick the consultant.

What the Port can do for you

Here's a telling "inside" assessment of what the port can do, addressed to NEO municipal leaders.  Go to: http://neomunicipal.com/articles.html  and look under "NEO International Series". 

    And if you're "confused about port authorities" you might find this information from Squires and Sanders discouraging: http://www.ssd.com/publications/pub_detail.aspx?pubid=8909#ConfusedAboutPortAuthorities
Your local port authority does not want you to know what it is up to, until it is too late.

    At least the president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has engaged in some creative thinking.  He writes: "The application of the idiom of Gestalt
psychology is just one example of how port authorities need to engage in holistic thinking to
advance the cause of economic development in their regions. Port authorities and all entities
who ply their trade in the transportation industry will have to develop new ideas and think
creatively to prosper in the post-industrial global economy." The creative thinking in Cleveland seems more focused on lining the pockets of a connected few who neither need nor deserve help than in objectively trying to create a 21st century port that respects both businesses and citizens. It should be noted that the Toledo Port Authority takes care of its own, voting a 5% pay increase for its president last year and a 6% increase for this year.

I'm glad you are becoming a port expert

It is great you are digging into what the port is and how it operates - very strange institution. Are there any recognized experts in port authorities and the Cleveland Port, besides representatives of the port - anyone at Case or CSU or, even better, from outside this state? Where are public records of what they own and control, and who they lease their land to, and the terms of the leases (how long specific land is tied up with dirt piles and empty warehouses), and what they have financed to date and are proposing next? It seems we need to start a movement to get the Port land involved in a broader, more progressive agenda of economic develoment, and that requires knowing what they control. Let's get that on a map and illustrate their footprint in the community. Then, let's compare that to other ports and see if we have a good, typical or bad situation, and how to make that better.