On November 23, 2015, the Cuyahoga Land Bank began the first major commercial demolition utilizing County Demolition Program funds at 3393 Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights. The buildings had been shuttered for many years and are now owned by the City of Shaker Heights. The cleared land will serve as a site for future commercial development.
“In the last several years, demolition funds have been reserved primarily for abandoned and decayed residential structures,” explained Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “Because of the large cost generally associated with commercial demolition, abandoned structures like this have often festered for decades. Access to County Demolition Program funds is making it possible to take on more major commercial demolition and pave the way for redevelopment.”
In spring of 2015, County Executive Armond Budish and the County Council jump‐started the County Demolition Program by establishing application guidelines and standards for cities throughout the County. Soon after, the County’s $50 million dollar blight elimination program began accepting applications for demolition of vacant and abandoned buildings. Known as the County Demolition Program, it is the first major funding source to authorize demolition of larger commercial buildings.
The County Demolition Program authorizes up to $100,000 for commercial demolition projects. In addition to sheer size as a contributing factor, many large commercial buildings have significant environmental problems that increase demolition costs and make these projects more challenging to take on.
“Mayors across the County have been very enthusiastic about the County Council and Administration’s commitment to this program,” said Frangos. “We are excited to have the opportunity to help cities accomplish their commercial demolition and redevelopment goals by administering the Program.”
“This is a huge benefit to communities struggling with a strategy to demolish expensive and blighted commercial buildings,” said James Rokakis, Executive Director of Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.