Services Employed

  • Securing non-conventional financing
  • Development management
  • Property acquisition
  • Development planning


Project Specs

  • Budget: $10.5 million
  • 81 single-family, for-sale homes
  • Completion date: 1998


What Our Clients Say

As senior vice president of Neighborhood Progress, Inc., Russell led transformative and highly complex housing, retail and land developments in partnership with community development corporations. These projects resulted in $90 million in direct investment into Cleveland’s neighborhoods. We hired Berusch Development Partners as a development advisor to conceive and lead the recapitalization and conversion of an Ohio City apartment building into condominiums, and to write a strategic business plan for a new joint venture. Both engagements had highly successful outcomes.”

President, Neighborhood Progress, Inc.

Central Commons



Cleveland’s Central neighborhood has long been the City’s poorest.

Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (NPI) and Russell Berusch, then the nonprofit’s vice president of real estate, set out with the local development corporation to build one of the first large-scale, for-sale residential subdivisions built in Cleveland since the 1950s.

In the process they aimed to demonstrate that both public-housing renters and potential homebuyers with suburban options would purchase homes in the Central neighborhood. The keys to making this happen: a quality product, a clear value proposition, security, and sense of community.


There were multiple challenges to the project including:

  • Self-developing the project with a local community development organization when no for-profit developer would take on the large-scale and potentially risky development
  • Assembling the 15-acre site, a painstaking task that involved negotiations with dozens of property owners or their estates, and navigating through a maze of associated title problems
  • Securing federal Nehemiah Housing Opportunities grant dollars to provide deferred second mortgages for homebuyers
  • Obtaining local capital funding for infrastructure construction
  • Arranging for buyer counseling
  • Balancing a series of trade-offs to preserve both quality and affordability of new homes
  • Selling homes to first-time buyers who formerly living in public housing
  • Creating a well-functioning homeowners’ association to establish a self-governance process

Central Commons is a neo-traditionally designed development of single-family homes made affordable for first-time homeowners, most of whom were life-long public housing residents. The NPI team oversaw all phases of the work from start to finish.

Designed by the world-renowned Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, the award-winning Central Commons has demonstrated in the last 15 years not only that new well-designed, well-built for-sale residential communities of scale in poor neighborhoods can be successful, but also that they can in fact stimulate additional private investment in surrounding areas.

© 2023 Berusch Development Partners, LLC
Innovative Partner. Trusted Advisor.
11607 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
T 216.402.8089
About BDP
Russell Berusch
Place- and Anchor-oriented Development
Developer & Financing Agent
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