Longwood Plaza was a blighted 39,000-square-foot shopping center in the distressed Central neighborhood of Cleveland. It was the kind of place that many people would simply write off; it looked hopeless and not worth the massive effort that would be required to give it a second life. But the nonprofit Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (NPI) decided the nearby residents deserved to see the plaza resurrected with stores that could benefit the community.
Reaching a purchase agreement with the center’s owner took three years of sustained negotiations, as did securing a supermarket to be the anchor tenant at the redeveloped plaza.
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Russell Berusch, then NPI’s senior vice president of real estate, devised the project concept, negotiated a stock purchase agreement with the property’s owner, developed a joint venture agreement with the local development corporation, recruited Dave’s Supermarkets to be an anchor tenant, negotiated and closed on 10 separate financing agreements, and managed the development team through design, leasing, complete renovation, and opening.
In 2004 the new Arbor Park Place Shopping Center opened, replacing a blighting influence with a center that helps to undergird the community. It is owned by a nonprofit and its tenants include the grocery store and other quality stores.