Downtown Cleveland nuCLEus project gets design approval from planning committee, financing questions still unanswered

$300 million project would be massive undertaking

Downtown Cleveland nuCLEus project gets design approval from planning committee, financing questions still unanswered
(Source: Stark Enterprises)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -The major nuCLEus housing, retail and office space project for downtown cleared its first hurdle Thursday when it passed through a Design Review Committee for the Cleveland City Planning Commission.

Downtown Cleveland nuCLEus project gets design approval, questions remain

The Planning Commission will vote on the project on Friday.

The $300 million project, called nuCLEus, would build two 24 story towers across the street from Quicken Loans arena that will include 250 residential units, 400,000 square feet of office space, and 80,000 square feet of first floor retail space.

The original nuCLEus project had a price tag of $542 million and double the amount of apartments at 500.

(Source: Stark Enterprises)

The project developer is Stark Enterprises.

Cleveland 19 News has been trying to track down an exact financing plan for the new project, as the old version relied heavily on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), the city and the county forgiving property taxes for the next 30 years in what’s know as Tax Incremental Financing (TIF).

Part of the TIF plan in 2015 was for Stark to give an $18 million lump sum payment upfront to CMSD, instead collecting $121 million in taxes over the next 30 years.

At the time CMSD’s CEO Eric Gordon said the $18 million would be invested in capital improvement plans, which would bring matching funds from the state school’s plan.

Along with collecting 5 percent interest, that would have resulted in a total of $242 million for CMSD in that same 30 year period, according to Gordon.

The plan was met with resistance from the community and may have been what lead to the $542 million project being scrapped.

When asked for specifics of the financing plan for the redesign Stark Enterprises was not specific.

“The financing will be a combination of equity, private financing and a public financing package from the City and County that will be supported solely by incremental tax revenues generated by the project, according to We will not be receiving an abatement on the school board portion."

The school’s portion of property tax is 63 percent, which means the city and county split the remaining 37 percent.

Cleveland 19 News requested from the city, county and Stark to see what kind of deal, if any, has been reached for a TIF on the remaining 37 percent for the next 30 years.

The last time a major downtown project was met with community outcry over tax breaks was the remodel of Quicken Loans Arena.

That project also had to go through adjustments to satisfy neighborhood leaders who complained there was too much focus on downtown and that tax breaks took money away from fixing neighborhoods.

The Q Tranformation project was put on hold until concessions were made to neighborhoods.

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