November 20, 2012 [Robert Sustersic, WEWS]
The Bank of America is putting up an extra $25,000 to help Cuyahoga County tear down or redevelop 100 abandoned houses.
The bank is donating the homes to the Cuyahoga Land Bank as part of a deal reached back in June of 2011. Gus Frangos is president of the Land Bank, and a former municipal court judge.
“What underpinned the agreement was the need to have large banks stop trafficking in low-value assets and putting them into the speculation market, but instead putting them into a land bank where they can be assessed and more carefully disposed of whether by demolition or rehab.”
At the time, Bank of America promised to pay $7,500 to cover the costs of demolition for each house. But the bank is now ratcheting that up to $10,000 to cover extra costs associated with asbestos removal.
The bank has transferred 50 homes so far, and Frangos says the land bank has been able to save about six of those.
“One surprise that has come up a little bit is that some of the homes have been suitable for rehabilitation and some of those we have rehabbed through private sector investment and they’ve resulted in owner occupant, so that’s always a good thing.”
Frangos says the county has 15,000 to 17,000 abandoned homes.