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Back To The Drawing Board

City council was unable to send their resolution asking for the 11 year, 80% tax abatement - worth $3,080,000 - to the BOE. We must *insist* that get community input before proceeding!!

I don't have all the details yet, but there is some sort of do-over being conducted by the developers and city council regarding the proposed Lee-Meadowbrook-Tullamore apartment building tax abatement.

Among the issues they have to deal with are:

A Tax Abatement Application submitted by "TBD". With no officer title for the signatory. Imagine, an application with no applicant.

The council failed to give the BOE 14 days notice from the time they sent the BOE the application, to the time the council passed the resolution asking the BOE to approve the 80% for 11 year abatement, worth $3,080,000. I'm not sure that the BOE *ever* received the application.

The proposed benefits are demonstrably impossible to achieve. They are overstated by a factor of 5 times or more, give or take.

Their selected partners have experienced financial problems. Ken Lurie describes his & David Orlean's Bluestone project as being in "survival mode". Lurie is on the Cuyahoga County Dirty Dozen list for property tax delinquents. Bluestone has recorded only 37 deeds, out of the 110 promised townhouses back in 2005. Lurie's Rysar Properties has failed.

Turns out, the developers are going to *subsidize* the monthly rents. In their Tax Abatement Application, they say "The business climate for commercial construction is very tight. The tax incentive is needed to balance the cost of construction with the rents available in the area. This incentive will be passed on to the tenants by the company and will not be retained by the company.

There's still no independent appraisal on the five parcels as a whole. Council is the trustees of these assets, not the owners. It's their fiduciary responsibility to the citizen's of CH to know the market value of that property before they sell it. Believe it or not, according to the Economic Impact Statement submitted by the developer, the city may *donate* it to the developers.

The resolution they passed names The Orlean Company as the entity that would receive the $3,080,000 tax abatement. But that's not the name of the applicant - which is "TBD".

Depending on which document I read, I calculate the average rents for the 71 units will be either $1,500, or $2,000.( Funny that there's no mention anywhere of the monthly rents. Heck, it's just an apartment building, is that info important to decision makers like the council and BOE?) They will be "market" or they will be subsidized via "This incentive will be passed on to the tenants." And that's for a building where 2/3 of the units are studios and 1 bedroom. Tiny things.

Enough is enough, already. Council needs to start over again by getting community input, like the BOE does, and do a much better job of finding a project that's good for *all* the citizens of CH. And please, without an unjustified $3 million taxpayer giveaway.

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John Hubbard October 06, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Garry - Thanks for following this and keeping us up to date. I'm not a fan of tax abatements in general, and 10 years is a long time. The attached documents paint a pretty picture, but with the vacant storefronts in the Cedar/Lee area, they really seem to be pure fiction. Can you provide links to any of the information you reference? I would particularly like to learn more about Orlean and Rysar.
Garry Kanter October 06, 2012 at 10:46 PM
John, links and source documents are my middle name! To this article, I've attached the Economic Impact Statement, The Application With No Applicant, and council's resolution. When I get to my desktop PC, I'll post links to the Crain's article about "survival", some stuff about Rysar, and the Dirty Dozen story. Oh, they paint a real pretty picture, but it's pure fantasy. I just noticed how small each apartment is. I don't think grown ups will find them very livable. I'll post that info later, too. Thanks for asking!
Garry Kanter October 06, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Here's Bluestone/Survival: "“It's all about survival now,” said Ken Lurie, one-time CEO of the former Rysar Homes who now is chief operating officer of apartment firm Orlean Co." Chief Operating Officer. You s'pose that has anything to do with the application being filled out by TBD? Before you answer, please review question #5 on the application. http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20100628/FREE/306289962 The Dirty Dozen from Channel 5, a PD story, and Lurie's amazing reply: http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/list-revealed-cuyahoga-county-cracks-down-on-dirty-dozen-delinquent-taxpayers http://www.cleveland.com/naymik/index.ssf/2011/11/its_about_time_cuyahoga_county.html http://blog.cleveland.com/letters/2011/11/developer_responds_to_unfair_c.html And something on Rysar: http://blog.cleveland.com/business/2008/12/rysar_building_up_for_sale.html Can't we do better than this? Better yet, it seems like The Market is telling us to keep that location Green and Sustainable. Let's do something great with it. [I'm going to try to upload the PowerPoint presentation to the BOE that has the apartment sizes...]
Garry Kanter October 06, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Got the PowerPoint posted. Page 18. Lemme know what else completes the story. Thanks!
Ralph Solonitz October 07, 2012 at 02:12 AM
An amazing job of investigative journalism...no demand for more retail...or housing. Move forward with green space. Do not spend more immersed taxpayer dollars to prop up developers that are struggling to pay current debts.

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