Old Brooklyn Stanford Homes Project Being Deconstructed/Demo-ed

Submitted by briancummins on Wed, 05/20/2009 - 18:10.

A big day tommorrow as we received confirmation today that tomorrow the Stanford Homes project will begin to be taken down.  Lighting Demolition has won the bid and from the City of Cleveland and will be managing a deconstruction/demolition to try to harvest as much of the 2x4s and plywood etc... as possible.

The six partially constructed townhomes are located on Stanford Avenue just off of Pearl Road in between Memphis Avenue and State Road.

Due to personal financial problems and then the market tanking this project stalled shortly after it began in 2004.  By 2005 the project was cold and the last three years has been a struggle to watch it go through foreclosure and to try to force the maintenance and security of the properties. 

We made multiple attempts and taking potential investors through the properties as well as trying to play match maker with the bank, owner and investors.  But, the economic conditions and the specifics of this project were too difficult to succeed in seeing the project completed.

Tomorrow is a victory for the neighbors as they've been very patient in calling in requests when needed for re-boarding and maintenance.


Brian Cummins
Councilman Ward 15, City of Cleveland
brianjcummins [at] earthlink [dot] net

( categories: )

Photo of Stanford Housing by imcshane

Imcshane has the photo below and a little history of the Stanford project here on Realneo.  Lightening is really saving the studs?  And how will the studs be re-used?  Something doesn't sound right here.   You are going to pull off the exterior and interior siding, rip out the framing nails from the top plate and the stud floor connection - to save a 96cent stud?   There is no way that can be cost effective.   

It will probably drive the demo cost up, which Lightening may not mind.

The City of Cleveland subsidized these going up, and will pay for them coming down.

That's planning....

final disposition of the land under the project?

Brian, when all is said and done, who will own the land under the site here?

How much are we the people paying to have this deconstructed? We like to see Bob Deskins and Lightning doing well.

How much would we have paid merely to have it destroyed?

How is the cost being recovered?

Did anyone do a cost/benefits comparison of this trendy new "deconstruction" as opposed to demoltion and hauling away and burning, for instance?


I agree Jeff, it will all be

I agree Jeff, it will all be composite board in a few months, the doors and window are salvage and that’s about it. Looking at them I can’t help but think that the cost to demolish would or could finish them. They do not have to be sold they could be rented. These properties need to all go on the internet, in an index with maps. It is not true that there is none interested in these for free! The cost of demolition can be an interest free loan as an incentive, if the person cannot find banks they can use cash to finish them. Has the entire city gone insane? The cost of finishing these is more than what can be recovered in rent? Siding and drywall is not that expensive!

if they're really saving the studs

Who will take them? Might I suggest that Habitat for Humanity will take them and  probably sell them for  less than 96 cents if they are workable? But I agree with Jeff, deconstruction's cost effectiveness is probably unlikely.

The Mess

  Brian--you have been left to clean up a lot of your predecessor's messes: Rokakis/Gordon/Lipovan, Hoffman/Bruckman.  Who put Aberdeen Investments into motion and why wouldn't it make more sense to follow through with the construction, than to "deconstruct?"     Please address the HUD houses picked up by OBDC.  I understand all of those houses (save one in Ward 16) are slated for demolition.  Why?  Please list the addresses.  I imagine that if these houses were offered up for next to nothing or better yet, free--someone would claim them, sparing the City of Cleveland and TAXPAYERS the cost of demolition.  But, that's not the plan, is it?  You can't play both sides, Brian.  You are going to have to come clean with some of the dirty dealing that has been going on for far too long. 

Please impose a moratorium on demolition plans for the properties acquired/cleared for NRP.

Additional info and response --

This project was not subsidized.  The owner took out private financing well past $800,000 and the foreclosure case is still active.  Estimates for completing the project ranged from $210,000 to $300,000 ($35 - 50k per unit).  Although there is not much to save in terms of valuable or historic materials, we felt it was important to try to deconstruct useful materials.  We've been in touch with A Piece of Cleveland and Habitat for Humanity Restore as well as the Contractor has offered materials to local residents.

Even if the costs are slightly higher for the deconstruction portion (I do not know the bid award) the City and others in the region are attempting to ramp-up deconstruction.  Every project and process pursued can bring benefit to that effort.

We've worked very hard to find investors and countless hours to assist in ensuring the properties have been secured and maintained.  Please be careful in commenting on things such as subsidies and unequivocal statements that second guess this activity.  Ask questions and I'll be happy to try to elaborate a three to five year chronic problem.

Overall, this project was a solid concept in its origin.  I was the CDC Director at Old Brooklyn CDC when we entered into a Memo of Understanding with the Developer.  The Developer acquired the properties and the CDC assisted with work with the City Departments and was to receive a total of $2,000 or 3,000 per unit fee that would of included oversight of the quality of the project and marketing the units upon completion. This was back in 2003-04 toward the end of the new construction boom.

The owner crashed personally and financially and then the real-estate market crashed along with the prolonged down economy.  We knew back then of the pending Metrohealth re-use of the Deaconess Hospital - now employing 700 workers.  The town homes were an attempt to provide dense alternative housing to the neighborhood, adjacent to the primary commercial district.

HUD HOMES -- Per Laura's question...we are actively working with the Community Development and Building and Housing Depts. to ensure no viable HUD homes that are being made available to the City are demo-ed.  In Committee yesterday we discussed the issue of some of these homes appearing on the demo list.  We've asked for confirmation of any demos in the Ward and have identified two already that have been taken off the list due to our actions.  We'll continue that as well as work on ways these homes can be offered to qualified investors, including resident that live within close proximity of the properties and are interested in investing in their own neighborhood. We've spoken to such an investor already regarding one of the homes.

We can discuss gaining access to the list, but for now anyone interested should contact me and we can begin to share the information from our office.  OBCDC has recently voted to take one HUD property and the Community Development Department has stated they are willing to work out a process to place these properties in the hands of qualified investors without potentially going through the CDCs.  

There will be an issue of some administrative expense, quality control for the rehabs and monitoring to ensure the work is done within a year.  I can imagine the homes being offered to investors for what has been a standard fee of $2,000 - $3,000, but this is just my assumption.  More will follow including hopefully a broader marketing of the potential for investment and rehabs.

NRP - Denison Senior Housing:  As discussed (with Laura) we'll have to continue to agree to disagree on this project.  A few clarifications -   When our office was made aware of the potential of this project we actively assisted the developer with several potential sites.  They ultimately pursued acquisition for the parcels they are going to build on.  They compete for the HUD subsidy funding with other developers.  The project will be providing senior housing with ancillary services.  There is a shortage of independent/service enriched housing such as this for Brooklyn Centre.

The Memphis site in Ward 16 posed to be a complicated development potential as the demo of the Memphis School site was done with what the city calls Neighborhood Equity Funds, and for regulatory reasons federal funding of any kind apparently will not be able to be utilized for development on that site.  So for the comments about Brooklyn Centre being dumped on with subsidized housing for seniors and Ward 16 not wanting the development -- we actively pursued the project in Ward 15 and assisted in the success of bring the development to the community.

In terms of public process, there have been ongoing communications with the civic association that serves that area - Southwest Citizens Advisory Council, that include briefings before any substantial support was given to the project and throughout the process through today.  There have been at least three to four presentations to the Civic Association's general membership as well as several discussions at the Brooklyn Centre Community Association monthly meetings.  The vast majority of participants in these meetings have overwhelmingly supported the project.

Our office has also been very active in ensuring a quality design and components of the designs have been changed based on our office and community member's concerns.

We have also been pursuing and requesting the City Departments involved in the project to provide information pertaining to the project when it becomes available.  We've confirmed some of the basics of the infrastructural components (water and sewer) and the Departments are preparing information to be released.

As I've said, you can disagree with the perceived potential benefits of the project but I believe we've tried to be transparent and forthcoming in responding to questions and concerns.  Part of the problem has been in the City explaining the process of the development of the project as the multi-departmental review of the plans and designs are still in process, but nonetheless we've still requested information (that is complete) to be released before the process of reviews is concluded.

I look forward to responding to other questions and clarify what concerns I can.  I've admitted in the past that I can always do better to ensure transparency and to communicate activities and issues better.  For those that are active in the ward, most I believe would back me up in terms of my commitment to an open and transparent process.  The fact is though that we are involved in many activities, projects and service delivery issues.  We do our best but we'll often fail in satisfying the numerous requests and project and services we are assisting with.

If you have any specific questions about the Aberdeen or NRP, or other projects feel free to call or email me.


Brian Cummins
Ward 15 Councilman, City of Cleveland
brianjcummins [at] earthlink [dot] net

on what basis was the deconstruction decided?

What makes it more feasible to "deconstruct" all this rather than to proceed with completion of construction?

Thank you Brian

  At least we get some answers tonight.  Good night.


 Brian, you have done many good things, but you have not effectively communicated your efforts to constituents--taking on the mess left by Rokakis/Gordon/Lipovan/Hoffman at Art House and exposing the Kevin J. Kelley controlled CDC via Abe Bruckman and the politics of racial division used so effectively throughout Cleveland.  Completing the Treadway Creek trail and protecting a waterway in Harmony Park, clean-ups, house paintings, and City Fresh stop programs with the lion-share of community good-will forged by your aide Johanna Hamm and her husband Darren Hamm.  Oh--and your opposition to the Medical Mart tax--a very big thank you for that brave move.

These are good things you have accomplished.  But, from the get-go it seems you have had your eye on some other prize like state senator or representative.  Don't fall for the same trap that has left folks in the city seething.  You have had to contend with the mess left at Spring Rd.  Literally, shit floating in folks' basements from a tax-abated housing development dropped on the map--compliments of our city planners--anywhere there happens to be open space, especially, if the area qualifies for federal blight $$$, like W.C. Reed field for the 61-unit NRP subsidized senior housing project. 

Hydrology, flood plains, sewer capacity, open space and environmental justice mean nothing--it's all about claiming new development a la Aberdeen Investments at Stanford Rd.  Don't be a carpetbagger Brian. You claim to be "green,"  please prove it.


All this also has me wondering what the old Joseph and Feiss site looks like now--another FAILED development--also in a forgotten neglected watershed--Walworth Run--From the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History: Joseph & Feiss's departure left vacant the massive facility on W. 53rd St. Within six months of the move, however, the company sold the property to Ameri-Con Homes, a BEACHWOOD homebuilder for $100,000. In 2000, Cleveland's planning Commission gain initial approval to Ameri-Con's plan to transform the old factory into 60 condominiums. The developer would also construct 90 townhomes, modeled after one-hundred year old worker's cottages, on the remainder of the 8 acre site. Prices for the residences would range from $109,000 to $180,000.



  We can discuss gaining access to the list, but for now anyone interested should contact me and we can begin to share the information from our office.  OBCDC has recently voted to take one HUD property and the Community Development Department has stated they are willing to work out a process to place these properties in the hands of qualified investors without potentially going through the CDCs.

This is one councilperson--now multiply this by 21. How does one gain access to the LIST?

Fear? The list is huge?The

Fear? The list is huge?

The list is really not “HUD homes,” they are and can be any home that had FHA lending that foreclosed. It does not matter if they are FHA or conventional all will end up in the land bank if they say we will take them, that is so dangerous. Because banks that hold them regardless if FHA or conventional have a tax liability. Once the county takes them they are lost revenue. The homes can and should be given away if they are given to the city. I am not kidding banks are giving them away.

They need to be taking applications to rent and to lease to own and purchase. That the market and another list they cannot see, the other is not complete so asking for it is asking for something they do not have, the land bank is code word for making a list.

Politician cannot say we do not know, they get lambasted for that. It all in the pipeline so to speak and you could say they have really no good plan.


Want a list, then buy it from foreclosure.com…they are all in there can the city afford $35.00 a month? What are there 15,000 in the county, it makes my head spin. I cannot figure out were the people are living? Then pay for access to a credit report and qualify your citizens, then make the list match in propensity.

This is about processes and solution based on a process, that looks at the components. The people and the homes.

Homes to be demolished

...at taxpayer expense.  Aberdeen Investment's failed "new" housing is being demolished at taxpayer expense.  Homes pawned off to the City of Cleveland by HUD are to be demolished at taxpayer expense.  In a few years, taxpayers will have to clean up the mess at 2000 Denison, too.

Does anyone else find this ironic? We need more than a hammer...give me a shovel.

moving from lower Denison to the Old Brooklyn site

Laura, I think it's a great idea to move the NRP project from lower Denison back up into Old Brooklyn. We'd save demolition dollars on lower Denison, further acquisition costs on lower Denison, and green space on lower Denison, not to mention preserving the scale and the streetscape. We'd put the senior housing up where it belongs, near restaurants and the bus line and a walking neighbhorhood and Deaconess with the other senior amenities. What were they thinking of anyway in moving the NRP project out of Old Brooklyn in the first place!

The Other Game in Town

As of today--the following folks have submitted letters in support of Rokakis' performance as County Treasurer:

Sherrod Brown

Kathleen Crowther

Judy Rawson

Kenneth McGovern

James McCafferty

These folks chastise the Plain Dealer for doing the job of a newspaper--applying a standard across the board. 

Cuyahoga County agencies have more workers, less productivity than others in Ohio, Plain Dealer analysis finds

Posted by Laura Johnston/Plain Dealer Reporter May 10, 2009 04:00AM

Personally, I believe newspapers should protect the public interest and local citizenry.  No honest politician should fear scrutiny.  So, I, for one, applaud the Plain Dealer for finally asking questions that deserve honest answers for US--we the people. 

Though it saddens me to see that the PD editorial board can't seem to decide, which side they are on.

Ward 14

Oh my heavens...is this the kind of productivity and waste that Ward 14 has to look forward to? I am beyond concerned by this.....It's scary to believe that these CDC's are spending $50-100k to rehab houses.....that's unbelievable...who are the overpaid contractors? Yes, I said it, OVERPAID!!! 

WARD 14 doesn't need more failed projects....Real Estate Investors must ascertain funding to buy a parcel, fund the rehab, then fund the total cost of holding the property through selling it or renting it...and then prayerfully recoup their investment with a profit. That's the basics of it.... These CDC's are supposed to be ran by educated, trained, and seriously skilled "real estate investor" type persons...skilled at scamming if you ask me.... not costing us all money...perhaps if they did have a stake in the failure or success of those projects, then they wouldn't be so eager to let them fail...

These overeducated folks appear to miss (intentionally) the true realities of our city while abusing demographic data that's at their usage for CDBG funding opportunities....Perhaps once they get their big paychecks...they lose the reality of regular "common people" struggles... then,  out come the surreal plans... waste... and more waste.

What a waste of time...until we, the citizens,  fight this collectively.... we shall watch it occur over and over again in the future.... it's sickening. SO... GET READY TO WATCH THIS RERUN AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL THE LEADERS QUIT PADDING EACH OTHER'S BACKS....

You see...these CDC's are not embracing true real estate investors, they are "COMPETING" with them... They are not inviting true investors to the table and saying here's all these opportunities in our community...The CDC's are trying to be the independent/sole developers of the community at large...not the direct mission it has as COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT means just that....not greedy little con artists abusing the entire system to prosper with their great big paychecks. Community Development should be a collaborative.... empowering the development and investors to work within their community...

Private money lenders expect not less than 3 exit strategies for funding a rehab house.... so as to get a return or break even point on their money... how can our citizens keep allowing our so called LEADERS to keep making confusion out of the basics?  Straight up crap!!! I would like a list of all the lenders and mortgage brokers that were held liable for fudging paperwork on these buyers to begin with.... Any educated COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT agent (That means all of them) who had any clue about the demographics of certain areas would have logically made it their mission to PROTECT the low income buyers who that CDBG funding should be used for...but of course that was all a JOKE!!! 

Brian, your mind and skills need to go beyond the past... your absolute vast wealth of wisdom, knowledge, and skills appear to be levels beyond the small folks you are trying to represent... if you are so transparent...then why don't you step up for Mayor and change all these problems you are so experienced in participating in.... your knowledge of CDC, development, and failed plans seems to give you an edge on cleaning up the WASTE? You might be proud to waive the flag of being an executive director of a CDC...but that absolutely scares me and quite a few of the residents to death...

How can we trust you with our CDBG funding in Ward 14? I cannot foresee it... Another day without answers to the questions posed days and days ago.... more deception..... Not cool. What have you got to lose by answering those questions? You appear to be answering everyone else's questions? You want to play in Ward 14 but ignore us????? HELLO!!!! What's wrong with that picture? 

SHADY....SHADY...SHADY...that's exactly what it is....Aren't you the epitomy of the TOKEN CAUCASIAN CANDIDATE? GHOSTLY!!! 

ANGELnWard14 -- nice to see you at realneo


Nice to see you posting on realneo.

Please refer to the post I made over the weekend at the Plain Delaer site:


I've copied and paste here.  Feel free to call me as I'm not sure how soon I'll be able to post more details.  You've developed an extensive list of questions and I'll be happy to discuss them.  Unfortunatly, between my legislative committee duties and primary constituent duties I do not have a lot of time to comprehensively respond quickly.



Posted by BrianCummins on 05/30/09 at 10:49AM

ANGELnWard14 and any other thoughtful concerned Ward 14 resident;

Sorry for not yet responding to your concerns and questions. I began to prepare a response but other commitments this past week kept me from being able to complete one. I'll be revisiting some of my draft work this week and will plan on beginning to respond to your questions soon.

In addition to posting responses on this and other sites for you and others to see and to put myself on the record, I also would like to have the ability to speak with you. A conversation would be much more productive in addressing your individual concerns.

My home number is 216-661-6821 and my office number is 216-459-8400.

Please call and if I am not home or at the office, please leave a message and phone number that I can reach you at.

I can then also provide you with my cell number.

I'm leaving for a community clean-up this morning, but will be back for some time after 1:00 pm.

Again, thanks for your posts that have been filled with some very important questions and concerns.

To not end this post without any response, here is some of what I have begun to prepare in draft:


Some initial ideas about what I would do if elected in the new ward 14. There have been some very lengthy posts and thoughtful questions posed at the following Plain Dealer blog links as well as at realneo.us.

I'm using some of these posts as well as discussions and questions I’ve had with people over the last few months, as the basis of putting together more comprehensive posts. But, a first blush answer to what I will do if elected in Ward 14 --

I'll first pay a lot of attention to what residents and businesspeople have to say. What they say they feel are the strengths of the community. What has worked. What has not. Clearly every neighborhood and group of neighborhoods (the distinct residential, commercial and open spaces that make up our Wards), has a unique set of assets, challenges, needs and desires.

I know that there is a lot of concern as to what will be done going forward regarding the funding and service delivery of local development corporations (LDC).

Currently I understand that Councilman Santiago funds multiple LDCs not including what has remained as the Clark-Metro Development Corporation.

Ref: Clark Metro Development Corporation seeks new beginning at annual meeting
by Chuck Hoven, http://www.plainpress.org/html/stories/2009-05/clarkmetrocdc.htm

It will be important to fund development services in a way that local residents and businesspersons have a direct say in how the money is being spent and services being delivered. That there be a physical presence within the ward and staff are available for walk-in assistance.

Also important, will be to include in planning and project development local block and street groups as well as larger civic associations or associations of folks working on specific issues or projects, i.e., gardening/food issues, green-building/sustainability issues, etc…

These are tried and true ways of organizing and accomplishing things, i.e., organizing by geography, issue and identity.

I would also plan to have a Ward office located in a central location (somewhere north of I-71).

I’ll do what I’ve tried to do with some success in the current Ward 15. My primary interest is in supporting groups of people that come together for a common cause and then work to achieve an objective(s) and goal(s). Some examples of this in Ward 15 is the work my office (along with my Executive Assistant Johanna Hamm and other volunteers) has done with the following groups:

Southwest Citizen Area Council (SCAC), a 60+ year old civic association that has gone through some reform and re-building over the past 6-years. Initiative – aggressive code enforcement crack down on the worst absentee landlords as well as beautification efforts on Denison Avenue

Brooklyn Centre Community Association (BCCA) - a 30+ year old civic association that has gone through some reform and re-building over the past 6-years. Projects – similar code enforcement and beautification as SCAC, to include safety walks and direct interaction with small business owners in improving facades etc… They have also recently taken on a Code Enforcement role for all of Ward 15 as well as a Pilot Housing Rehab Project that will just now get started. Also, working with to help small businesses in small, incremental beautification projects

BCCA members have also been active in spurring other community projects and events. Notable is the Brooklyn Centre Naturalists who are working to get certified as a Urban Natural Wildlife Habitat.

Edgewood Community Association a quasi-civic group led by individual block-group leaders – they were just awarded a Cleveland Foundation Neighborhood Connections grant for a beautification/park project.

South Hills Neighborhood Association – a new civic association that recently received their 501 c 3 status, they’ve been successful in obtaining a small grant for a beautification project and they are now working to form a more structured safety initiative working directly with the 2nd District Commander and Community Service Unit.

Friends of Harmody Park – a new group we encouraged and helped form last fall. They have also just been approved a Neighborhood Connections grant, they just carried out a cleanup of a park and trail and they’re planning other activities for this year…

Friends of Big Creek – a group I was involved in forming several years ago has gone on to receive $120,000 in grants and are working a watershed management plan for the Big Creek watershed (an area covering seven municipalities), and a trail initiative in the City of Brooklyn that would connect to our Brookside Reservation and Zoo.

There are many more organizations we work and coordinate efforts with….


This is just the start of explaining whom I am and what I would do if elected to the new Ward 14. For those who do not know me and have never worked with me, you'll be hearing a lot about what I have worked on these past 8-years. And, if you like I can explain my work and life experience prior to that, i.e., 9-years being affiliated with the Peace Corps and before that 6-years at National City Bank -- see bio at clevelandcitycouncil.org

Until I spend more time speaking to people in Ward 14 (now that I've made the decision to run there), I will not be making any definitive statements on funding issues.

The current funding rounds for contracts that begin July 2009 are in large part following the traditional funding patterns of the past three-years. As currently the elected Councilman for Ward 15, I must continue my work and focus on the area I represent through my term that ends this year and not divert funds away from Ward 15 constituents and service areas.

I look forward to a productive dialogue throughout the campaign. Please email and call me directly to discuss issues more in detail.


Brian Cummins
Councilman, Ward 15
Candidate for the new Ward 14
216-661-6821 home
216-459-8400 office
brianjcummins [at] earthlink [dot] net

Taxpayer funded demo for developers

  What's the status Brian?  Why does Aberdeen Investments retain this property after their mess was cleared at taxpayer expense?

PROPERTY ADDRESS Stanford Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109

Lightning Demo

  The Plain Dealer says it is investigating the City of Cleveland contracts with the demolition contractor....pray tell give us more.  Any one know who runs this outfit???