Chicago-style Townhomes Underway at Bluestone

Sixteen units expected to be built across from Severance Town Center

Construction is under way on the first of six proposed Chicago-style townhome buildings in The Bluestone Community.

The building, along with another slated for groundbreaking June 20, is expected to be completed and move-in ready by the end of summer, said Bluestone Director Eric Lee. Both buildings will house three townhomes, four of which have already been purchased.

The Chicago-style build is a departure from the original design of the new construction at The Bluestone Community, which already has a loft condominium building and two-story cluster homes on four acres off Mayfield Road opposite . Lee said he had originally planned for three additional loft condominium buildings, but decided to alter the development to what he believed better suited the current market.

“It’s a better product for the market,” he said. “Banks are reluctant to do condominium mortgages these days, so just in an effort to help our buyers we’ve built a product that they’re going to like.”

The three-story townhomes will have two beds, two and a half baths and attached garages, ranging in sizes from 1,310 to 1,860 square feet. Other amenities include pre-finished wood floors in the kitchen, hallways and living areas, 10-foot high ceilings on the main floor and an optional rooftop deck.

Lee said the townhomes are ideal for the Cleveland area.

“The signature loft building is an idea we got from Chicago, but Clevelanders – we’re a little different,” Lee said. “We like our own yards, we like our own houses, we like to pull in our own garage space. I guess we’re spoiled in the fact that we have a lot of land. So this product is kind of the best of both worlds.”

The other four buildings — which when built will comprise a total of 16 townhomes — won’t be constructed until there are buyers, Lee said. That strategy is another result of the current market.

“We’re a self-financed company, so we don’t have any loans out,” he said. “Before the world changed and before the real estate market crashed, there was a lot of financing available to us, so we could have built all 16 of these houses and then held on to them until they sold. Now, you’re being a little more frugal with your money.”

He said he doesn’t expect to have any trouble getting contracts for the other townhomes. In addition to the allure of a seven-year, 100 percent property tax abatement, Lee said the homes are well suited to the demographic Bluestone has been attracting — a single person or a couple, earning a combined $100,000 a year and most likely working at University Circle.

“We’ve been a destination for a medical professional at University Hospitals, or Case, or a professor at the Cleveland Clinic, (who) wants to live close to work but doesn’t want to live in the city of Cleveland per se, or wants a little more walkable neighborhood where they live,” he said.

For more information on buying one of the new townhomes, visit the Bluestone website.

Lisa Rainsong June 13, 2011 at 11:54 AM
Perhaps if they are "Chicago-style," each should have a green roof - something Chicago is doing very well.
linda jenkins June 13, 2011 at 02:18 PM
I've been noticing these units for quite a while I'm very curious about what they look like from the inside,do you have maybe promo photos to share,the look from the outside is a very nice addittion to Clev Hts.The Fire Department how will that affect sound deterrent?
Michelle Simakis (Editor) June 13, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Hi, Linda. If you visit the site, http://www.liveatbluestone.com/, you'll see on the homepage a slide show titled "live at Bluestone" that has images of what the townhouses look like inside. In regards to your question, do you mean will the sirens from the Cleveland Heights Fire Department be a deterrent to people to live there? Or if the buildings have special sound proofing to make sure residents aren't disturbed by the noise from Mayfield Road?
linda jenkins June 13, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Thank you Michelle for the website,it looks great,my reference to the noise issue is in regard to both.Have a great day!
Michelle Simakis (Editor) June 13, 2011 at 08:08 PM
Sure! Adam is calling to check on your questions.
Anastasia Pantsios June 13, 2011 at 08:48 PM
This is a very troubling article. Why are new homes, targeted at people making over $100,000, 100 percent tax-abated for seven years? In the best of times, this seemed unfair because people in older homes (many making a fraction of that and many lacking resources to upgrade their older homes and condos) had to carry the property tax burden by themselves. The argument then was that we were all built out and needed new homes to attract more people who would spend money/pay income taxes in the community. But now, when more than 1,000 units in Cleveland Heights are vacant, I don't get the logic of abating new construction. It's a double whammy for those who own older homes and condos. They are already carrying an extra taxation burden. Now these new homes, added to the glut on the market, makes their homes worth less and harder to sell. The world has changed, as Mr. Lee says. The real-estate market has crashed, so property tax abatements should be abolished. Given that they haven't, even though depressed real-estate values mean lower tax collections, it seems like it would hit the city and especially the schools really hard (on top of the state cuts!). Yet asking the less affluent to raise their property taxes when abatements are being passed out to those making way more than the city's median income strikes me as a non-starter. How do you pull a long face and tell those who are really struggling to "do it for the kids" when the affluent are skating?
Anne and George Karavantas June 13, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Anastasia, I believe the abatements were brokered before the real estate market crashed. I don't know what the legality of abolished would be. Certainly there would be a problem with the newer buyers not getting an abatement when their neighbor did. Perhaps you could suggest doing an article on this to your editor. The points you raise should be looked into. Anne
Michelle Simakis (Editor) June 14, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and questions. Adam is working on answering them now. Look for an update soon.
Anastasia Pantsios June 14, 2011 at 02:40 PM
I'm not sure why there would be a problem with newer buyers not getting the same deal as their neighbors since there are a variety of abatement deals already, which seem as if they are tailored for particular projects. It seems odd that anyone could have any legal issue with not getting the same deal as someone else. If it were true, all older homeowners should go to court to sue for an identical one-time abatement! And while I am pretty sure there's no way you can abolish an abatement already offered (unfortunately), i don't see why there is a legal problem with not offering one in the first place. In fact, don't they have to be negotiated to begin with? I think you start with the baseline supposition that each resident will pay the same taxes, and a developer has to negotiate any abatements from there. I don't know when this particular set of abatements was negotiated; the market was obviously crumbling at least three years ago although anyone reasonable informed about real-estate trends should have been able to see it coming well before that since the foreclosure crisis was in full swing. But it seems well past time to stop offering special property tax deals for new construction, both because of the glut of vacancies and the coming plunge in property-tax revenue due to those vacancies and declining home values.
SPH June 14, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Anastasia - I am with you 100% on this. I think it is completely unfair for those of us who live in older homes have to bear the brunt of this on our backs while these new home owners and businesses can move in and leave and potentially never pay a cent in taxes to the city. It is just not right
linda jenkins June 15, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Anastasia,yesterday I got my property statement in the mail I pause for a moment and wondered how it managed to climb and how will I pay it considering my household is operating on a pay cut and rising healthcare costs..whatever sparked this idea need to realize there is no fire in this negotiation,I've paid taxes for the same property for 29yrs.,this makes me very uncomfortable,you know if I don't pay I'll lose my home which currently need repairs I can't afford,however I will pay taxes or face penalties.Why the difference? Have a great day!
Anastasia Pantsios June 15, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Linda, what you say is what concerns me deeply. Long-time residents of Cleveland Heights (and other places) are really struggling. We have some of the highest property taxes in the region. I'd guess for some long-time property owners it's the highest bill they pay. And yet so many people are taking pay cuts, and facing rising health care, gas and utility costs, and maybe simply can't meet these property tax bills anymore. It seems like almost a slap in the face that affluent buyers of new high-end homes which won't need repairs for years get this handsome break which could amount to tens of thousands of dollars in their pockets. I really agonized over this for months when the last school levy was on the ballot. I consider schools so important and I'm outraged at the organized attack on them and the state defunding of public schools. But ... it's hard to agree that people at the low end of the community should be put in danger of losing their homes when the most affluent contribute nothing. It's yet another chapter in the saga of sacrifice only for those at the bottom, which has become more and more the story of our civic and economic life. At this point, there's no argument that could get me to vote for any school levy, knowing it would disproportionately impact those who can least afford it. And it breaks my heart to say that. I would vote for it in a second if everybody contributed equally.
linda jenkins June 15, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Anastasia,continue to express your concern about this issue until someone hear where you're coming from with such a powerful message .It was because I noticed the posting was grabbing attention I took a closer look and read it and most importantly read into it,reading between the lines can sometimes be the place to really get the message ,that's where I got it.Have a great day!
Anastasia Pantsios June 16, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Truthfully, I don't know what the answer is. I only know it's not viable to continue on a path where on every level — federal, state and local — those with the least are being told to sacrifice for the common good while those with the most kick in very little (I calculated, based on my property taxes, that the purchaser of one of these Chicago-style townhomes gets to put a free $40,000-$60,000 back in their pocket over seven years). I really don't see how what these new residents might pay in income taxes or potential purchases makes up for such a large loss and such an increased burden on established residents. Cleveland Heights prides itself on being a just and ethical community, but there's nothing just or ethical about this imbalanced contribution to the community. I wonder if there is an answer to this dilemma out there — and I mean an ANSWER, not a justification for the situation.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) June 16, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Thanks, Anastasia and Linda, for continuing this conversation. Adam is waiting to hear back from the city.
linda jenkins June 16, 2011 at 04:28 PM
Anastasia,I'm expecting to hear from you today,keep this converstion alive.I took a good look at my property.WOW! my home is in dire need of repairs.I need help financially,since my husband and myself purchasded this house 29yrs. ago I became disabled and can't make up for the loss wages due to a pay cut where he is employed,my husband continues to work hard for less to keep food on the table ,pay for healthcare and definetly pay our property taxes. This situation does not reflect Cleveland Hts.,as I know it to be,where I live we are very diversified ,however very connected,We share some of the same stories because we sometimes share the same circumstances,there is a relationship of equality and relevancy in regard to neighborhood issues that has an affect on all of us,if CHICACO STYLE is the reasoning behind this tax issue then leave this style in Illinois,Cleveland Hts., Ohio is beautiful even with the extremely large taxes we pay as residents.Have a great day!


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