January 24, 2013 [Ken Prendergast, Sun News]
CLEVELAND Foreclosed homes can become a cancer to once-stable neighborhoods where blight can quickly metastasize. So there are two ways to prevent that cancer from spreading: demolish houses or renovate them.
Demolition is cheaper and often preferred when there are many foreclosed homes, yet it can handicap a neighborhood for decades. However, when there are only a few troubled houses, they can be saved and restored when someone is willing and able to step forward.
That’s what the Kamm’s Corners Development Corp. did recently to two homes, and intends do to more houses in the near future.
“We’ve seen a trickle of (foreclosures) that other neighborhoods have experienced because we’re in better shape,” said KCDC Executive Director Steve Lorenz. “But a foreclosed house can affect other houses around it.”
So KCDC acquired two vacant, foreclosed houses from the Cuyahoga Land Bank for less than $3,000 each. One is at 3480 Warren Road and the other at 4412 W. 189th St. Both houses were in bad shape, having been stripped of plumbing by metal scavengers, causing water damage.
The two houses were thoroughly renovated into move-in condition for $230,000 combined, including interest and utility expenses. Dollar Bank gave KCDC favorable rates that helped it save those homes.
“It’s really within our mission — maintaining the housing stock, being a good neighbor and returning a house to the tax rolls,” Lorenz said. “That’s the reason why we took action.”
The Warren house is on the market now; the West 189th house is still being renovated into move-in condition. For more information, contact Lorenz at 216-252-6559, ext. 1100.
KCDC expects to earn a little bit of money from selling the two houses. It intends to use that profit to acquire and improve two more foreclosed houses, he said.
Foreclosed houses often are disposed of by lending institutions to the Cuyahoga Land Bank, which has an inventory of about 1,400 properties listed on its website at cuyahogalandbank.org.
However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is no longer giving foreclosed properties to the land bank. Instead, HUD intends to sell them, which could leave more vacant houses on the market longer, Lorenz noted.
“We’ll take them from HUD if we can get them for the right price,” he said.