By: Michelle Jarboe, Plain Dealer
In the 1990s, an industrial complex on Cleveland’s East Side started a new life as a home for fledgling businesses and a community lender lured here from Chicago.
Now that property, the former ShoreBank Enterprise Center, is half empty.
The bank that once anchored it failed in 2010, during a housing bust and recession that took down regional lenders and Wall Street titans alike. The enterprise center, at the northern tip of the city’s Glenville neighborhood, has been hemorrhaging cash. Repair bills – for the roof, the windows, and more – are piling up.
The property’s plight was so dire that, last year, its nonprofit landlord considered closing the doors. A shutdown would have put roughly 20 businesses, from a worker-owned laundry to a mail-order company that sells products made by monks and nuns, out on the street. Instead, a new owner stepped up in an unusual public-private real estate deal that caused short-term pain for a consortium of civic lenders but might beget long-term gains for Glenville.
On March 31, the Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired the enterprise center, a 150,000-square-foot, multi-building complex on East 105th Street just south of Interstate 90. And a private team, led by well-known local developer Fred Geis and broker-investor Rico Pietro, stepped in to manage, spruce up and lease the property.