Monday, December 2, 2013

Cuyahoga County Land Bank: Slavic Village Recovery Project brings Big Changes to the Historic Neighborhood

Check out the Slavic Village feature in this month’s Cuyahoga County Land Bank Newsletter.

In 2007 Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood saw the highest rate of foreclosure nationally, not so affectionately becoming known as the “ground zero” of the foreclosure crisis. Despite nearly 30 percent of the local homes standing vacant or abandoned the Slavic Village Recovery Project (SVR), a local non-profit/private partnership, has accepted the challenge to help this neighborhood reclaim its glory days as a thriving blue-collar community.

The goal of the SVR is to redevelop the historic neighborhood by taking a holistic approach to community revitalization. The first of its kind, the strategic collaboration is a diverse alliance between Forest City Enterprises, Robert Klein of RIK Enterprises, Slavic Village Development, and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (formally Neighborhood Progress Inc.).

The focus of the partnership is to acquire vacant and abandoned homes at little or no cost for rehabilitation and resale. The project aims to steady market volatility, stabilize the larger community and match home-buyers with a stress-free home at a good price. The holistic approach that targets several properties at a time, using both demolition and rehab, is being viewed nationally as a case study for the creation of an affordable housing model that can be replicated in communities around the Country.

In order for the concept to be successful, the SVR relies heavily on servicers and the Cuyahoga Land Bank to turn over the vacant and abandoned homes for rehabilitation. Since June, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has contributed 11 homes to support the effort and expects to provide additional properties as progress is made.

“Communities are increasingly seeing the value of using land banks as a way to recover and repurpose vacant properties,” said Robert Klein, the SVR partner who developed the project model. “And servicers with surplus real estate owned properties are recognizing the value in donating to land banks and organizations such as SVR.”

To date the partnership has achieved measureable success beginning in July when over 70 volunteers participated in the first ever Slavic Village Community Day to clean-up nearly 70 vacant homes in the project area. Recently, they have also made public the first home to be rehabilitated at 3672 East 54th Street. The two-story, two bed-room home that began construction in mid-July received a complete internal renovation and external face lift, including a new furnace, carpeting, cabinetry, and new roof. They expect to sell the home at $56,900, making the monthly mortgage payment approximately $450, including taxes and insurance.

The SVR has completed two additional homes since and expects to complete up to five more in the coming months. Interested homebuyers should contact SVR Project Director, Jeff Raig at 216.641.2586 or email

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