Editorial: Abatements

Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has taken the step most real estate developers and supporters of downtown renewal were dreading. He has come out in favor of a reduction in property tax abatements on new housing built in the city, a reduction from 15 years to 7. If the council acts on the mayor's proposal, this will, in a nutshell, bring downtown new housing construction to a dead halt.

The developer of 1,300 units planned for the Stonebridge Condo and apartment development in The Flats said an abatement reduction of that magnitude would kill his project. And there will be others. The mayor says he favors instead fatter tax abatements for houses built with environmentally friendly designs and other features that would appeal to elderly buyers. He said he also supports continued abatements for renovated homes in neighborhoods.

What he is really saying is to hell with downtown and if he succeeds that little glimpse of revitalization visible along the skyline near the flats will go the way of every other attempt to keep Cleveland a modern city.