Cleveland-based development groups purchase ‘historic’ Shaker Square shopping center

Cleveland Neighborhood Progess, Burten Bell Carr buy Shaker Square shopping Center
Cleveland Neighborhood Progess, Burten Bell Carr buy Shaker Square shopping Center(Source: Cleveland Neighborhood Progress)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Shaker Square shopping center has been purchased by community development groups Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Burten Bell Carr Development, according to a press release.

They said that this sale keeps the property under local, community-minded ownership, as well as starts the process of addressing delayed maintenance issues that will stabilize the center short-term and ensure it’s long-term success.

CNP, its real estate subsidiary New Village Corporation and BBC said they worked for over a year with the City of Cleveland and advisors to ensure Shaker Square remains under local ownership.

The previous owner of Shaker Square purchased the property in 2004, but reportedly experienced financial issues during the 2008 recession as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the release, the property was foreclosed and under management of a court-appointed receiver, with stakeholders believing that the sheriff’s sale would likely result in an out-of-state buyer with little concern about the community’s interests.

This seemingly would continued the decay and vacating of the property, harming the nearby home values as well.

“There was a genuine collaboration by city officials, residents of this community, tenants, philanthropic organizations, and others to make sure this historic, neighborhood anchor did not fade into obsolescence,” said Tania Menesse, CEO and President of CNP. “We are so grateful for everyone’s partnership and assistance. The City of Cleveland’s loans were a game changer and this opportunity would not be possible without that funding.”

According to BBC, this spring Cleveland City Council approved $12 million in low-interest loans for the project, and Mayor Justin Bibb said the city’s assistance was critical to stabilizing the shopping center and helping it recover from the negative economic impact of COVID.

“Shaker Square is a vital, historic asset that supports more than 150 jobs and is a catalyst for neighborhood development ‚” said Mayor Bibb. “The revitalization of this neighborhood is a priority for my administration and I am confident that this team is aligned with our vision to bring this gem to its full luster.’’

The group said their first priority is stabilizing the square, including leaking roofs, flooding issues and critically needed repairs.

“We are glad to be getting owners vested in the future of Shaker Square and its tenants,” said Shaker Square tenant David Saltzman, of Dave’s Supermarket.

BBC and NVC have had success with similar commercial centers such as Arbor Park Place, Bridgeport Place and Lee Harvard Shopping Center.

The owners have hired the very experienced retail/office property management team of CRESCO Playhouse Square Management to provide oversight of the day-to-day operations, with thorough clean-up of the property occurring within the first 30 days of ownership.

“We are committed to working with merchants, customers, residents, and area stakeholders to craft a community-driven vision for a renovated Shaker Square and the green space in its center,” said Joy Johnson, BBC’s executive director. “The Shaker Square, Larchmere, Buckeye and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods have a long and proud history of community engagement. We want to tap that spirit of activism and passion.”

Johnson added that long-term, the owners might consider a partnership with responsible private sector entity with “urban retail experience” and “a vested interest in Cleveland.”

“Shaker Square is more than just a retail center – it has long been the subject of bragging rights for the east side of Cleveland,’’ said Charles “Chip” Bromley, founder of the Shaker Square Alliance. “This plan is a creative solution to a complex problem that has been years in the making, and we are grateful to all involved for saving this Cleveland treasure.”

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