The Meadowbrook-Lee development agreement was unanimously approved by Cleveland Heights City Council this week, the Sun News reports.
The 11-year, 80 percent tax abatement for The Orlean Company's proposed $11.4 million residential and commercial building at Meadowbrook and Lee roads was unanimously approved by the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board last month.
This development will generate about $70,000 annually for the schools over 11 years. Without the abatement the development would generate around $300,000 annually — but a school board member noted that, with nothing on the empty lot, it generates no money.
Cleveland Heights Planning and Development Director Richard Wong also said at a school board meeting that it would contribute to the aesthetics of the Cedar Lee Business District and neighborhood.
"It's a beautifully functioning district with a hole right in the center, and we have this project to connect. So it connects north, south, encourages pedestrian activity and, in my opinion, it's beautiful," Wong said.
But some residents have spoken out against the development.
Cleveland Heights resident Fran Mentch spoke at the Nov. 6 school board meeting and asked why the developer needed an 80 percent abatement — why they couldn't get a lower abatement that wouldn't need approval the CH-UH School Board.
"It is clear that the decision tonight was based on the relationship between the city council and the school board and that the citizens and their money were irrelevant. Citizens who watch the proceedings on video will see that the city council and school board bargained about the taxes to be paid on the parking garage and future support of the bond issue. The Meadowbrook-Lee project was handed over to the developer," Mentch said.
The four-story, 77-unit building will house studio, one and two bedroom apartments ranging from 513 square feet to 1,138 square feet, according to early proposals. Though Stuart Friedman, spokesman for the Orlean Company, said it's too soon to talk exact rent prices, rates will likely be "a little bit north of a $1.50 a square foot."
The drawings include a bike storage area, fitness room, theatre and a courtyard with green space. Photos of other Orlean Company projects show kitchens opening out to living room and dining room spaces, hardwood floors, tear drop and spotlight fixtures and stainless steel appliances. Friedman noted the buildings would have features that older Cleveland Heights buildings do not, like air conditioning, and will follow green zoning standards.
The ground floor units will house commercial and retail space.