The City of Shaker Heights is a vibrant community of stunning architecture and a growing business base. At its southeastern edge is one of Ohio’s busiest intersections. The site should be an appealing gateway. Instead it is home to a largely vacant retail strip that is conspicuously underwhelming. The City is working with Berusch Development Partners to craft a compelling and financially feasible plan to transform the area, and create a dynamic mixed-use development of scale.
Shaker Heights has faced myriad obstacles in transforming the Van Aken district. For decades high real estate taxes and disjointed street, rail and property ownership patterns stymied meaningful reinvestment or redevelopment. More recently the area suffered from high site costs, limited financing options, and questions about its market potential.
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Berusch Development Partners became the development advisor in 2012. Working with City staff, lay leadership and property owners, the firm strategically and methodically led the development of a viable district development plan. Key to the process was a written understanding that Berusch negotiated with a key property owner that calls for construction of a mixed-use, walkable development containing apartments, retail and office space, a parking garage, and planned public space. The development is expected to vastly improve the quality of place in this gateway district and lead to more private investment, jobs and tax dollars.
Negotiations are underway for definitive public-private partnership agreements and a multi-layered financing plan. Groundbreaking is targeted for May 2014.