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Groundbreaking Ceremony for The Lofts at Lion Mills

On Wednesday, June 29th, we attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Lofts at Lion Mills at the intersection IMG_2564of Meyer and West 25th Street in Cleveland where we spoke with Ms. Brittany Senger, Real Estate Development Coordinator for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO), who told us that this project will provide 36 affordable housing units for those earning 30% to 60% of the area median income.We also spoke with Mr. Adam Stalder, Managing Director of Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Center CDO, who talked to us about several other projects that should be realized shortly like the Fresenius Dialysis Clinic (for which the ground has already been broken), the IMG_2565Aragon Ballroom (which will hopefully be opening in October), and the Horizon Education Center. All of these will definitely be an asset to the area.

Ms. Judy Sockman; who is selling the Lofts (that are currently owned by the trust of her late husband, Mr. James Denkins) to DSCDO said that she couldn't be more thrilled about all of this particularly since the building will be put to such good use.

The ceremony included speeches by Mr. Jeff Ramsey, Executive Director of DSCDO; Ward 14 Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins; Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO of MetroHealth; Mr. Edward Rybka, Chief of Regional Development for the City of Cleveland; Mr. Michael Taylor, Senior VP at PNC Bank; Ms. Jenice Contreras, Executive Director of the Hispanic Business Center; Mr. Guy Ford, Director of Legislative Affairs with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency; and Mr. Stalder.

IMG_2569We learned about the building's history from Mr. Ramsey. It was built back in 1919 and is thus included on the National Register of Historic Places. From 1919 until 1992 it housed Lion Knitting Mills which, among other products in its early years, created the warm wool caps worn by members of the U.S. Armed Forces. From 1990 until several years ago, Credo Hardware was actively located there but, as of late, it has only served as only a storage facility for Credo.

Councilman Cummins praised Mayor Frank Jackson for his role in obtaining tax credits for this endeavor and talked about a few more projects that will soon be undertaken like the very much-needed upgrade at Lincoln-West High School.

Dr. Boutros said that he was very troubled by the way this neighborhood is largely silent on the weekends when most MetroHealth employees are not at IMG_2563work. Accordingly, his goal is to see 500 of its employees move into this neighborhood and revitalize it within 5 to 10 years. He wants to accomplish this not by displacing people but to make use of available vacant land. As he was completing his talk, Dr. Boutros said that he and his family are planning to move into the nearby Tremont area and received an enthusiastic round of applause.

Mr. Rybka praised the passion of Councilman Cummins for helping to make the Lofts and other development projects a reality. He also talked about the difficult process of applying for the tax credits which were imperative for the Lofts' success and how instrumental Mayor Jackson was in obtaining them. Unfortunately, Mayor Jackson couldn't attend this event although he really wanted to. Mr. Rybka noted that this was an important week for Cleveland due to the ribbon-cuttings of the Lofts project as well as those for the renovations at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport (on Monday) and Public Square (on Thursday). He believed, as we all do, that these developments will further the transformation of Cleveland which is already underway.

IMG_2580Mr. Taylor was very proud of the collaboration/partnership that PNC enjoyed with DSCDO and Mr. Ford explained that the Ohio Finance Housing Finance Agency is in charge of allocating Federal tax credits which were available for projects such as the Lofts but in limited number. Thus, of all the worthy applicants only 1/3 receive the assistance that is requested. Accordingly, he praised the work of Mr. Ramsey and DSCDO and all of those involved in the Lofts and other projects for which the tax credits have been allocated in the Cleveland area for submitting such detailed, concise, well-conceived proposals.

Ms. Contreras talked about how involved that she is with this neighborhood and how happy she is with the progress that is being made in revitalizing it. She wants this progress to continue and termed the area "the opportunity corridor on the west side of Cleveland."

By:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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