Cleveland Delays Redevelopment of Riverbank Project

Fri December 19, 2008 - Midwest Edition
M.R. Kropko - Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) A $522 million project to create an upscale, mixed-use development near downtown Cleveland is temporarily on hold due to tight credit, the project’s lead developer said Oct. 28.

The Flats East Bank project is on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River near its intersection with Lake Erie. The former industrial location and popular spot for nightclubs has been demolished, clearing the way for new homes, offices, stores, restaurants and taverns.

Developer Scott Wolstein said there is no choice but to slow down until the economy improves. Wolstein’s partners in the development are his mother, Iris Wolstein, and Fairmount Properties.

“Virtually all new development projects nationwide are stalled or shut down as a result of what’s happening in the financial industry,” Wolstein said. “We look forward to working with the public agencies to keep this project on track.”

Extensive public improvements are needed on the parts of the development that had been industrial, Wolstein said.

Credit markets have made it difficult to secure financing commitments to make possible bond issues for infrastructure improvements needed before other construction can start, he said.

The public and private cost so far has been about $50 million, Wolstein said.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he is encouraged the development team remains committed to the project.

He said he pledges to work with the developer to ensure the completion of the development.