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Author Topic: Cleveland: Flats East Bank  (Read 10962 times)

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Offline Oldmanladyluck

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #750 on: March 08, 2007, 09:57:19 PM »
Whatever the case may be with the current property owners, the more time it takes to go through the eminent domain process, the more it costs Wolstein in the end, since he more than likely had to take out construction loans for the project.

Offline surfohio

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #751 on: March 08, 2007, 10:12:50 PM »
Just for the record, the front door to Max and Erma's is wide open.  There's a large, industrial size stainless steel sink right inside.

Also, I have to add the the J.J. Shepard building (The old Basement) will be a great loss. That is one cool building. I wish they could plan around it. I don't know much about the building's history, but here's an old ad I found:

http://www.hhpl.on.ca/GreatLakes/scripts/Page.asp?PageID=3052

Online smith

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #752 on: March 13, 2007, 11:39:36 AM »
Was a blight study done for this project?  If so, is it public?  Does anyone know where I can get a copy of it?

Thanks!

Offline Htsguy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #753 on: March 13, 2007, 01:23:01 PM »
I believe the city of Cleveland did the blight study a number of years ago for that portion of the Flats and I am sure you can get it at City Hall (what dept.???) as it is a public record.  The whole thing or portions of it maybe kicking around in the Probate litigation file as it may have been made part of the record in connection with the motion for summary judgment which was filed.  I am sure that file itself is huge and not well organized.  You will find it at the Old County Courthouse where the Probate Court is located.  I doubt the file is in the file room.  It is probably in the judges chambers since the trial is so close and so much have been going on lately.  Best bet would be city hall.

Offline Htsguy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #754 on: March 13, 2007, 02:02:35 PM »
Some minor good news.  It appears from the court docket that the court decided, rather than convert the trial date into oral arguments relating to the motion for summary judgment, to hold a hearing on the motion on March 21, 2007.  As such, it looks as though the March 26, 2007 trial date is still a go, at least for now.

Offline gavster

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #755 on: March 13, 2007, 10:48:57 PM »
the port and wolstein are down to 3 holdout landowners with a fourth close to settling

Offline Htsguy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #756 on: March 13, 2007, 11:04:15 PM »
Great news.  Do you know which parcel?

Offline gavster

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #757 on: March 13, 2007, 11:49:04 PM »
nope...thats all i got

Offline KJP

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #758 on: March 18, 2007, 08:11:47 AM »
Interest high in Flats' eminent domain case
Foes to challenge economic benefit
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Tom Breckenridge
Plain Dealer Reporter

The $230 million Flats East Bank Neighborhood development is either illegally taking land to benefit a favored developer, or it is a laudable plan for a blighted neighborhood.

Those are the sides staked out in Cuyahoga County Probate Court, where the local port authority, working with developer Scott Wolstein and the city of Cleveland, is wielding eminent domain to take nine properties at prices that the owners say are unfair.

More at http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1174208085212470.xml&coll=2
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 11:03:00 AM by MayDay »
America will never be destroyed from the outside. -- Abraham Lincoln.

Offline KJP

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #759 on: March 18, 2007, 08:22:19 AM »
Someone forgot to mention the nuisance argument. Certain property owners in the Flats repeatedly failed to control their customers. Their failure to maintain control created an atmosphere of unruliness in the Flats where drunkeness, fights, drownings and even murders became all too familiar occurrences. Their negligence caused the city to incur higher costs to its safety, service and law departments. And, it drove away responsible businesses and customers, affecting property values and income tax revenues.

The only option left is forcibly remove the nuisance and redevelop the site with a calmer mix of uses. I hope the port authority makes that argument.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. -- Abraham Lincoln.

Offline Htsguy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #760 on: March 18, 2007, 09:56:43 AM »
I wish the article would have identified which landowner recently settled as mentioned above.

Offline musky

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #761 on: March 18, 2007, 11:53:50 AM »
Is the fact that many of the landowners had for years sought to have their land devalued in order to have their taxes lowered?


Quote
For land held by Droe, including the Beach Club on Old River Road, the port started at $1 million and eventually raised its offer to $1.7 million.
Droe countered at $5 million and dropped to $3.5 million. At one point, Droe threatened to have an appraiser arrested if he came back to the property, according to the port.
Droe said an appraiser visited without first notifying him, and he didn't want it to happen again.
"My offer is back to $5 million," Droe said Friday.


I'm confused about this part. I drove through the area on Friday and half of the Beach Club was already in blight heaven.

Offline surfohio

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #762 on: March 18, 2007, 12:29:45 PM »
Amazing that the appraiser just happened to work for Wolstein. As much as I want to see the Flats become a vibrant waterfront community, there's something about this whole thing that doesn't sit well with me.

Offline clvlndr

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #763 on: March 18, 2007, 02:08:58 PM »
Someone forgot to mention the nuisance argument. Certain property owners in the Flats repeatedly failed to control their customers. Their failure to maintain control created an atmosphere of unruliness in the Flats where drunkenness, fights, drownings and even murders became all too familiar occurrences. Their negligence caused the city to incur higher costs to its safety, service and law departments. And, it drove away responsible businesses and customers, affecting property values and income tax revenues.

The only option left is forcibly remove the nuisance and redevelop the site with a calmer mix of uses. I hope the port authority makes that argument.

As deplorable as the oft-illegal behavior these owners allowed on their properties, I'm not sure nuisance, per se, would be a factor in an ED case like this which hinges on blight and its definition under Cleveland's statutory law which, quite predictably, the plaintiff owners claim is "vague" and, thus, unconstitutional as not putting them adequately on notice of what does, or does not, subject their properties to potential ED.  While, no question, the uses, legal or illegal, play a part in blight, it would be hard to argue that bar onwers serving liquor underaged teens, or at worst turning their heads on illegal drug activities, would alone make such high-visibility property "blighted" -- even though the end result: largely vacant properties that now remain, certainly would. .. It may come down to a reasonableness, case-by-case standard where, perhaps, a sympathy (for the plaintiffs) comes into play... In the Norwood case, blue-collar homeowners were ticketed to lose their homes because of vague, empty definition of a "blighted area" in a case where, clearly, the city was in bed with the developer to strong-arm these innocents out of their decent neighborhood to the obvious financial benefit of the wealthy developer... It'll be very hard, indeed, to generate this kind of sympathy for these Flats owners: not only are these properties nonresidential, these owners clearly are on record as down-valuing their properties to get tax advantages: essentially, "blighting" their properties, voluntarily.  Droe's actions, alone, support this and since when does a property owner have the right to receive notice to have his property appraised; what, does he want to have a heads up to destroy contraband?... Still, I have the uneasy feeling that if Corrigan, predictably, rules against these 9 owners, they will appeal based on their belief Norwood was unconstitutionally narrowed.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2007, 02:22:57 PM by clvlndr »

Offline clvlndr

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #764 on: March 18, 2007, 02:28:54 PM »
Amazing that the appraiser just happened to work for Wolstein. As much as I want to see the Flats become a vibrant waterfront community, there's something about this whole thing that doesn't sit well with me.

Such a cozy relationship doesn't seem to pass the smell test... It would be a shame if Wolstein loses based on such overzealousness because, certainly, he has a much stronger case for use of these properties than these sleaze owners who could care less about positive development and are sitting on dump properties merely looking to "get paid."

Offline glutmax

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #765 on: March 18, 2007, 04:24:12 PM »
^^
"In the Norwood case, blue-collar homeowners were ticketed to lose their homes because of vague, empty definition of a "blighted area" in a case where, clearly, the city was in bed with the developer to strong-arm these innocents out of their decent neighborhood to the obvious financial benefit of the wealthy developer"

EXACTLY, in Norwood the city was basically taking away well-maintained residential properties from relatively non-affluent persons to provide a place for affluent persons in a neighboring community (Hyde Park) to do their shopping.  The FEB is commercial/industrial that is 1) becoming primarily abandoned, 2) becoming more dangerous do to abandonment/illegal activities/and clientele at the remaining businesses, 3) located in a prime area for redevelopment for the city as far as parks/marina/civic activites are concerned.  I think the park and marina may make the difference as far as the Ohio court system goes, as this will provide a modicum of "public good/interest" for the city.

In the future, look for OH's municipalities to make extensive improvements in the specifics of their eminent domain laws to defend themselves from the "vaguity" accusations that seem to have swayed the OH supreme court. 

Offline 3231

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #766 on: March 18, 2007, 05:43:54 PM »
Amazing that the appraiser just happened to work for Wolstein. As much as I want to see the Flats become a vibrant waterfront community, there's something about this whole thing that doesn't sit well with me.

I'd have more sympathy if the hold-outs weren't the likes of Tony George.

Offline CH Jake

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #767 on: March 18, 2007, 05:58:31 PM »
The "holdouts" have been complaining about the valuations of their properties and the way negotiations were conducted.  If the same appraiser first said that their property values were high, and then came back later and said his valuations were off by half, my first instinct is that something stinks.  What changed since the first valuation? 

I don't know what Mr. Droe's property is worth or whether his asking price is reasonable.  It is a functioning business, however, with an ongoing revenue stream.  That at least gives him a leg to stand on that his property is not blighted.  Even if he loses the trial, he can appeal the eminent domain decision and appeal the valuation ultimately set by the court.  Meanwhile, we will all pay the lawyers and the project will be slowed down, construction costs will rise, and tax revenues won't be increasing any time soon.  In view of all that, I hope the Port Authority considers offering something closer to the original valuations for these properties to move the project along. 

Offline KJP

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #768 on: March 18, 2007, 05:59:09 PM »
Amazing that the appraiser just happened to work for Wolstein. As much as I want to see the Flats become a vibrant waterfront community, there's something about this whole thing that doesn't sit well with me.

Who else did the appraiser work for? If he worked exclusively, or almost exclusively for Wolstein, then it wouldn't pass the smell test. But if the appraiser worked for many different clients, especially developers, then this is merely an attempt by the Flats property owners to conjure the appearance of impropriety.

And, if anyone doesn't pass the smell test, it's Tony George.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. -- Abraham Lincoln.

Offline musky

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #769 on: March 18, 2007, 06:13:12 PM »
At what point in the process is the decision made whether or not Norwood can be used as an argument for the current landowners? My thinking, and I'm no legal expert, but Norwood dealt specifically with residential takings, so that case should not have any bearing on this one.

Or am I completely looking at this the wrong way?

Offline Mov2Ohio

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #770 on: March 18, 2007, 09:10:27 PM »
The Flats are starting to live up to their name!!! :-D









Offline musky

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #771 on: March 18, 2007, 10:16:45 PM »
Wow, they got a lot done since Friday when I was down there.


The empty spot in the second picture is where the Beach Club used to be....


Quote
For land held by Droe, including the Beach Club on Old River Road, the port started at $1 million and eventually raised its offer to $1.7 million.
Droe countered at $5 million and dropped to $3.5 million. At one point, Droe threatened to have an appraiser arrested if he came back to the property, according to the port.
Droe said an appraiser visited without first notifying him, and he didn't want it to happen again.
"My offer is back to $5 million," Droe said Friday.


I'm confused about this part. I drove through the area on Friday and half of the Beach Club was already in blight heaven.


My confusion on this still stands.
Anybody want to clear this up for me?

Offline twok2lcdcnc

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #772 on: March 19, 2007, 05:33:12 PM »

For land held by Droe, including the Beach Club on Old River Road, the port started at $1 million and eventually raised its offer to $1.7 million.

Droe countered at $5 million and dropped to $3.5 million. At one point, Droe threatened to have an appraiser arrested if he came back to the property, according to the port.

Droe said an appraiser visited without first notifying him, and he didn't want it to happen again.

"My offer is back to $5 million," Droe said Friday.


Uh... yeah... I'm pretty new to all of this stuff... but I'm also pretty sure when somebody is trying to take your property by eminent domain, being hard headed and arrogant probably isn't the best approach.

I look forward to the flats being a desireable destination again someday. People with an attitude like that shouldn't be any part of it.

Offline Htsguy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #773 on: March 19, 2007, 07:00:40 PM »
Any property owner who simply argues that he is fighting ed due to the fact that he has not been offered enough money or Wolstein and/or the port is not negotiating in good faith lacks a lot of credibility in my mind.  If this was the ONLY issue why fight ed (the first step of the process where the court determines whether there are grounds for a taking in the first place).  Save everybody alot of time and money (including your own...attorney fees must be going through the roof), let everybody hire their experts and go to the valuation stage as quickly as possible.  If you are SO right with your numbers then you will make a lot of money quickly.  It is clear the owners have ulterior motives.  Probably want to keep their property so that if the development goes forward they can either demand a huge price due to the "changed and enhanced neighborhood" or simply run their business without putting much money into their properties and take advantage of the gleaming facility next door.  Like many of the posters, and for the reasons given above, I have little sympathy for these guys (especially Kassouf) and hoped they get hosed.

Offline surfohio

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #774 on: March 19, 2007, 09:47:18 PM »
I've met the guy who owns Heaven and Earth. I honestly feel bad for that guy.  Though it's not my kind of place, he put a lot of money into it and hoped that the neighborhood would eventually come back around.

My study of law and experience has left me with the impression that, for better or for worse, laws are mostly created and construed to the benefit of the powerful.

Offline Florida Guy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #775 on: March 20, 2007, 08:41:18 AM »
^ I would agree but what about when the law benefits the powerful to contribute to the greater good of the community?

Offline Htsguy

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #776 on: March 20, 2007, 09:39:05 AM »
Let's keep in mind that the "powerful" Wolstein is taking a huge risk in the Flats and is putting his money where his mouth unlike many other large developers in town (Forest City to name one).  It is true he is receiving government subsidies for infrastructure and the like (what developer now a days does not receive such perks) and lots of cooperation from the bureaucracy, but the odds are very good that he could lose much of his investment on this project.  It would be lot easier for him to take his millions and develop some virgin land in Medina County or even more likely some fast growing county in the Sun Belt.  Hell if I were him I would just find some safe investment fund and go play golf.  I wouldn't bore you with all the potential pitfalls of this project (which a smart businessman can foresee) but the retail component is probably the biggest risk. 

I don't think government officials are working with Wolstein because of his "power" but because they are just thankful somebody is finally interested in correcting the mess that the East Bank of the Flats has become.  And for Wolstein, why go through this aggravation.  Because I truly believe he wants to do something positive for his home town.  For all his dad's arrogance, the family is know for this as many of our institutions will attest (from Cleveland State to the simply ball field next door to my house in Cleveland Hts.)  Now lets just start building and argue about the architecture.

Offline gotribe

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #777 on: March 20, 2007, 09:49:31 AM »
Are there developments similar to this one in cities similar to Cleveland (Milwaukee, KC, STL etc) that have proven to work?  Just curious.  Because as stated above, I have wondered what makes Wolstien think this can pay off.

Offline 3231

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #778 on: March 20, 2007, 09:53:55 AM »
They think that the unique local (located next to the water and all the bridges) will provide some great spaces and places.  They are very confident about it. After seeing their presentation, I'm sold.

Offline X

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Re: Cleveland: Flats East Bank
« Reply #779 on: March 20, 2007, 02:10:10 PM »
Is there anything in the presentation that we haven't seen yet (that you can tell us about)?