December 2, 2022


The Education People

Cleveland, district reach agreements with developers to make use of 14 vacant school properties

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The city of Cleveland and its school district have tentative agreements with developers interested in buying and working with 14 unused school properties, the majority of which want to turn them into apartments.

The agreements came after a team of representing the city and Cleveland Metropolitan School District evaluated the proposals and qualifications of the developers. The city said in a news release Wednesday that discussions with the developers will continue.

In addition to apartments, the chosen developers have plans ranging from creating more green space to adding storefronts. The developers now must submit designs to the city for approval and confirm that they have obtained financing to carry out their projects.

Purchase offers total more than $2.5 million, more than the fair market value for all the properties combined, according to the release.

The team rejected all proposals submitted for three properties, while it did not receive formal responses for two others. The city and school district plan to again seek proposals for those five properties.

Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement that the district “will be relieved of liability and maintenance costs and the City’s neighborhoods will benefit from private investment in these properties, several of which have significant architectural value.”

The city and school district in March sought proposals from developers on what they would do with 12 closed school sites and seven vacant pieces of land totaling more than 61 acres and 967,000 square feet of building space.

Wednesday’s release said that the team received 51 proposals, one of which was to turn any properties not selected for redevelopment into parks. Many were from Cleveland, and female and minority-owned businesses are large parts of several of the groups, the release stated.

The city and district said in March that developers had to submit their materials by April 30 and that they planned to notify their selections by May 31. City spokeswoman Latoya Hunter Hayes said on June 1 that those who made submissions were told the previous week “that final selections have not yet been made.”

That day, and The Plain Dealer asked the city to release all the submissions. The city has not fulfilled that public records request.

The district previously marketed all the properties to charter schools, as required by state law, but the charter schools passed, a spokesman previously said. Officials hoped that they can encourage developers to use the land to boost the prospects and equity of the majority-Black neighborhoods and surrounding areas.

Of the 12 buildings the city and district marketed, six are considered landmarks. Some of the buildings date back more than a century, with the oldest being Willson Middle School on East 55th Street, between Payne and Superior avenues. Willson is one of the sites the team plans to re-market.

Here is the list of schools, as well as the developers chosen and other details:

– Audubon Junior High, 3055 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Developers: The Community Builders, Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc.

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $78,000

– Central High School, 2199 E. 40th St.

Developer: Beacon

Proposal type: Mixed use/senior housing

Offer: $150,000

– Charles H. Lake Elementary School, 9201 Hillock Ave.

Developers: McCormack Baron Salazar, Ozanne

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $185,000

– Empire Junior High School, 9113 Parmelee Ave.

Developer: Beacon

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $65,000

– Iowa-Maple Elementary School, 12510 Maple Ave.

Developer: Accel

Proposal type: School

Offer: $350,000

– John W. Raper School, 1601 E. 85th St.

Developer: Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Proposal type: Park

Offer: $155,000

– Martin Luther King Jr. High School, 1651 E. 71st St.

Developer: Structures Unlimited

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $880,000

– Mound Elementary School, 5405 Mound Ave.

Developers: Morabito, Slavic Village Development

Proposal type: Expand business, land assembly

Offer: $38,000

– Mount Auburn Elementary School, 10110 Mount Auburn Ave.

Developers: The Community Builders, Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc.

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $25,000

– Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, 11617 Union Ave.

Developer: LaSalle-Tapestry

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $150,000

– Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School, 3575 W. 130th St.

Developer: Sustainable Community Associates

Proposal type: Mixed use/market-rate housing

Offer: $45,000

– Robert Fulton School, 3291 E. 140th St.

Developer: Tober

Proposal type: Mixed use/new housing development

Offer: $79,000

– John D. Rockefeller Elementary School, 5815 Whittier Ave.

Developer: Laurel Street

Proposal type: New housing development

Offer: $160,000

– Stephen E. Howe Elementary School, 1000 Lakeview Road

Developer: RSG

Proposal type: Mixed use/housing

Offer: $120,000