The St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC) has undertaken a creative solution to breathe new life into vacant homes in their neighborhood and the Cuyahoga Land Bank is partnering with them to make it happen.
Local developer Charles Scaravelli approached SCSDC with a novel idea – transforming the interior layout of vacant properties to create a wide-open, loft-style floor plan that requires less electrical, heating and duct work as well as far fewer materials for flooring, walls and other interior needs than a conventional renovation.
“The question was: how much does it cost to demo a house in Cleveland?” says Michael Fleming, Executive Director of SCSDC. “It costs between $10,000 and $15,000 and Scaravelli approached us with his plan to renovate homes for the same amount of money. If we can bring a property up to code and make it attractive to prospective tenants, why tear it down?”
So SCSDC got to work, partnering with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, which transferred four homes to SCSDC that were structurally sound and approved by the development standards of Loft Home Builders, Inc. Once completed, the renovated Loft Homes will be available to rent for about $500 a month.
“We’ve recently finished the second home and there is already a waiting list,” Fleming reports. “This contradicts the belief that there’s no demand for housing in the neighborhoods of Cleveland’s near east side – we just need to offer the right product.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is partially financing the construction of the homes by placing a small mortgage on the property, payable once the property is finished and rented or re-sold. After the mortgage is repaid, Loft Home Builders, Inc., which has up to two years to make such a payment, will take ownership of the properties.
“It’s a win-win-win all around,” Fleming says, “The project really shows the versatility of the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the creative outcomes that are possible for addressing Cleveland’s vacancy issues.”
The second Loft Home was recently completed at 1526 E. 47th Street and is rented by tenants who are excited to be a part of the Loft Homes concept.
For more information on the Loft Home Rehabilitation Pilot Program, contact the SCSDC Housing Coordinator, Andrea Bruno at 216-881-0644 ext. 108.
Read more about Loft Homes in a recent article featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.