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Company Interested in Leasing Space at Millikin

The same reuse plan at Coventry School could be applied to Millikin, a Cleveland Heights-University Heights school that closed in 2006

The former Millikin School may soon have a new tenant.

Howard Thompson, economic development director for Cleveland Heights, said the city is trying to lure a company here from out of the state, but he could not provide specifics.

“We’ve been approached by someone from outside the state about utilizing the facility,” Thompson said. “There’s a great deal of jobs involved with it.”

A handful of people spoke at the Cleveland Heights –University Heights City School District meeting Tuesday night and said some neighbors want the facility, which closed in 2006 due to low enrollment, used for educational purposes. They heard rumors that a call center was moving in, which prompted them to attend the meeting.

They’d like to see the K-12 private Orthodox Jewish school Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, which has sent offers to buy the property, move into 1700 Crest Road.

“If you have an anchor site and a high-performing school such as Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, that will continue to build the community, and you’ll see more people like my husband and myself moving in for these educational opportunities, continuing to be property tax paying members of the community,” said Cleveland Heights resident Jessica Cohen.

Others added that the school would serve as a community center for the neighborhood.

Mosdos Ohr Hatorah offered to pay the district $550,000 for the building, said Superintendent Douglas Heuer in a press release.

“… we remain firmly committed to ensuring this community receives fair value for its investment. There is simply no reason for the district to sell this property at an unfairly low price,” Heuer said.

The board put the property up for sale in 2006 and received four offers, he said. The highest was $500,000, and in 2005, the site was appraised at $2.4 million.

In addition, the board made formal requests for proposals in 2009 and 2011, but no one sent an offer, Heuer said.

"Recently, the board has once again engaged in a conversation about leasing the property, not selling it. Given the current real estate market, the board is concerned that a sale at this time would not provide for sufficient return in value for taxpayers," Heuer said.

The district has spent about $30,000 to maintain the building, said Steve Shergalis, director of business services for the district. He said it is in “good condition.”

Cleveland Heights City Councilman Jason Stein called the building an “eyesore” and said the district should consider taking the offer from Mosdos Ohr Hatorah.

“It’s been five years. We’ve been waiting on a decision on a property that, quite honestly, is an eyesore,” Stein said. “On a regular basis, windows are being broken. There’s graffiti there. It’s hurting the residents.”

Since 2008, the has received more than 50 calls and complaints about the site, according to call logs. About a dozen reports indicated people broke windows and put graffiti on the walls, and three were breaking and entering incidents. Most of the calls came in when something triggered the alarm.

Stein said he’s happy with how the district and city have , which closed in 2007. , , , the and soon occupy the space.

Those organizations and companies mesh well with the Coventry business district, but on the residential Crest Road, an educational institution would make the most sense, Stein said.

“They have an offer on the table that makes everybody happy. The residents win, the neighborhood and the schools win, so what are we waiting for?”

Thompson said he’s been “actively working with Mosdos on their space and facility needs.”

“We’re very proactive to try to find people the right space for the needs that they have,” he said. “If it did work out (with the out-of-state company) … we would do something similar to what we did at Coventry.”

Cleveland Heights City Council that allows more types of industries to use vacant buildings such as schools, churches and libraries in the city.

But those interested in those buildings must receive a conditional use permit.

The Planning Commission decides if businesses and organizations should receive the permits, and they must follow specific guidelines to be able to use the space. For example, new tenants must make sure that their business does not disrupt neighbors, so hours, traffic (from both pedestrians and cars) and other possible disturbances must be considered.

Thompson said he may have more information in a few weeks. Cleveland Heights Patch will continue to update this story.

Chaim Kiner February 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Why would Cleveland give the bldg free to a business and make Mosdos buy the bldg? Chaim
Michelle Simakis (Editor) February 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Hi Chaim, the plan would be to lease the building to the company, just like what's done at Coventry.
Akiva Feinstein February 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Mosdos is a wonderful school and organization, and the CH community really needs the schools to be strong and maintained close to where families lives to ensure that the S. Taylor stays a viable option for families moving to Cleveland. The difference between east and west sides of S. Taylor is dramatic and has a lot to do with the anchor of a strong Jewish community on those streets. Thanks to Patch for highlighting the importance of this issue.
Tifanny Barnes February 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Isn't this a conflict of interest for Mr. Stein. Shouldn't he recuse himself from this discussion, and/or reveal his relationship with Mosdos?
Sam Samuels February 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Mr. Stein is not part of the Board who will make the decision anyways. He is, however, a representative of our community. We, the people of Cleveland Heights, would like the school to go to Mosdos. Right now, the property has become a dangerous hang-out. It is attracting the wrong kind of crowd to our neighborhood. If Mosdos moves to University Heights, you will very likely have a mass exodus from Cleveland Heights. The community lives here because of our schools and synagogues. Cleveland Heights is not a very "user friendly" city. Their building codes are stricter than most cities. Their programs are from the worst in the state, and their taxes are outrageous. If they want the community to stay here, sell or give the property to Mosdos. Most of Mosdos parents live here and pay taxes. They pay their taxes to the public school system and they do not even use the system. They pay tuition in addition to their taxes. At least let them have their school local!
Garry Kanter February 11, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Sam, could you explain how that "mass exodus from Cleveland Heights" would occur? Are you suggesting a whole lot of folks selling their CH homes, buying homes in UH, and moving? This I gotta see.
Sam Samuels February 12, 2012 at 03:21 AM
I am suggesting that people do not move to or stay in Cleveland Heights because the city itself attracts people to live here. Taxes are ridiculous, the streets are not plowed, and the city's codes are not very attractive. And the streets are not too safe here anymore either. Many Jewish families have already moved out to Beechwood and University Heights. The families that remain are only here for the synagogues and the schools. Currently, there is not much of an option to live next to the Mosdos building on Warrensville. But it is a real pain in the neck when the school is not in walking distance of the parents homes. If Mosdos would purchase a building in University Heights, and if a synagogue would open inside their building, which would likely happen if they moved their, I have no doubt that Cleveland Heights would lose many families.
Bob February 12, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Sam is 1,000% correct. The stability of the Cleveland Heights Community around the South Taylor area on the Berkely, Bendemeer, Shannon, Severn streets is the prominent Jewish Community that lives there. Compare that community, investment in housing, expansions, temples, etc., to the other side of Taylor on Desota, etc... Wasnt a Cleveland Heights Policeman unfortunatley and tragically killed on Desota or another adjacent street there? How terrible!! The Milikin building was built as a school and should remain a school! Especially since Mosdos is a nonprofit updtanding Charity Orgaznization. The School Board needs some business and community sense. It makes no sense to put a call-center in there. The property values will just drop further. Mosdos will find a building in University Heights or Beachwood, and they and the 200 to 300 families that make up the school that live in Cleveland Heights are outta there! So long Cleveland Heights, try to keep up with the homes that will be for sale at bargain basement, declining property values. No one from that community will buy there anymore. What makes cleveland Heights great is the diversity in the Community, and what the Community has to offer as a people, not the City services, nor the public schools, etc... the Public schools are a joke, with Kal Zucker at the helm for so many years.
Garry Kanter February 12, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Is a "mass exodus" of 200 - 300 families out of CH really going to happen? Even with no equivalent influx of buyers for those homes in CH?
Pam Chen February 12, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Millikin was such a nice school when it was still open. Now, it is a sorry sight and I feel very sorry for the neighbors. It is true that their is a very large Jewish population that lives by the school. But, it would be to ALL the residents benefit to have Mosdos buy Millikin. It really does not make sense why the school board has waited so many years, allowing the school to deteriorate, and now thinks it is worth more than the $550k that Mosdos is offering. Really, have the board members even passed by Millikin recently!
Tifanny Barnes February 12, 2012 at 08:49 PM
All of the residents would have benefited more by Oakwood having become part of the Metroparks. This congregation, asking that the school be GIVEN to them (see Sam's comment above), was nowhere to be found during community efforts to save Oakwood. Let's be honest, their allegiance is not to the community, but to their congregation. If they want to buy Milikin, how about offering a fair market value for this property? As far as the concern about residents leaving Cleveland Heights, we have all learned to wave goodbye to people we knew and liked and chose to move away.
Sam Samuels February 12, 2012 at 10:28 PM
First of all, they are offering to buy it. I have no idea which comment you are referring to. Second of all, what does your rant about Oakwood have to do with Miliken? Third of all, they are offering CURRENT market value. That is what it is worth NOW. And it is probably worth less than that. The building is probably full of asbestos and would have to be totally rebuilt. It was up for auction, and nobody would pay more than them. And that was years ago when property value was higher. If they wait a little longer, after the neighborhood is totally ruined from having this vacant hang-out here, the property will reduce to no value at all. Is that what you want?!?
Donald R. Thompson February 13, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Oakwood was privately owned and Miliken is publicly owned, sell or lease the building to the Jewish school, not a business, it's a completely residential neighborhood for crying out loud. If Metroparks would have forked over more cash than 1st Interstate you bet they would have sold to Metroparks. Nothing at all wrong with choosing your Congregation over a city or town, in fact if more people were like that it would be a mucg better city to live in.
Pam Chen February 13, 2012 at 01:30 AM
"Let's be honest, their allegiance is not to the community, but to their congregation." Tifanny's comment above is clearly inappropriate! Bigotry has no place in Cleveland Heights. Patch, please remove Tifanny's comments.
Akiva Feinstein February 13, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Cities get built by people offering loyalty to their businesses and congregations and the benefits then spill over to the city. It's good for both sides. Many major cities have been ruined by upticks in safety issues (or other major issues) leading to mass emigration. Contrary to "TIffany"''s comment, a situation in which a flood of homeowners leave CH would leave behind a vacuum of housing that lowers property values and in turn makes it possible for lower income residents from poorer adjoining areas to come in changing the area dramatically. Just follow the Jewish population movements - Glenville/ Kinsman - CH, SE - UH, Beachwood - Solon.
Tifanny Barnes February 13, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Sam, At 11:39am on 2/11/12 you posted: "If they want the community to stay here, sell or give the property to Mosdos." So, you did state that the building should be given to the congregation. As far as leaving the community, everyone in this country has the right to move if they so choose. Selling Millikin would not guarantee that the congregation and its followers would stay here. Once it is sold to a private entity, that entity can sell it again the next day. Pam playing the bigot card is fatiguing, but totally predictable. I wondered how many words would be typed before that card was played.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) February 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Thank you all for contributing to the conversation and for reading Cleveland Heights Patch. Sam and Bob, please add your last name, as it is part of our terms of use: www.clevelandheights.patch.com/terms. AFeinstein, please include your first name, not just the initial. Thank you.
Sam Samuels February 13, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Tiffany, you say "I wondered how many words would be typed before that card was played." The reason why you wondered is probably because you knew that you deserved the comment. Why do you keep on referring to a private school as a "synagogue"? This has nothing to do with bigotry, does it?
Garry Kanter February 13, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Is that your "mass exodus", then? Who's buying the homes, or do these home owners not care about that?
Tifanny Barnes February 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Michelle--thank you. Sam, As you can see for yourself by checking above, I never used the word "synagogue" in any of my posts until now. This is the second time you have made false statements about my postings, despite the fact the postings are available for you to read and refer to. Although revealing in its own way, this conversation has gotten off topic.

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