Contractor helps to save his city

Jason Gedeon stands in one of his rennovated kitchens at 2998 Yorkshire Road.  Photo credit Fran Mentch.

Driving down my street, the yellow and white colonial may have looked like just another abandoned house—one of the 1,000 or so in our city. But to me, it was an eyesore and an unsettling daily reminder of how things had gone so wrong. How the forces that were supposed to keep our social fabric intact had performed the bureaucratic equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. The new owner purchased it under questionable circumstances and lived there briefly; the house had been empty for five years. Despite the barred front door, the house had been broken into, the copper plumbing stripped; the back door and windows now boarded up. I wanted it torn down-boy was I wrong.

Jason Gedeon, 35, owner of J.P.Development, LLC was raised in Cleveland Heights. He and his wife, Karen, still live here. He bought the house on my street and had his contracting teams move through the rehab project like swarms of bees. When I say they replaced everything but the frame, I mean it. One week the roof was replaced, the next the driveway, then the windows, and on and on until finally the landscaping crew put on the finishing touches. A “For Sale” sign was placed on the lawn, and a short time later our new neighbors moved in. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.

Gedeon describes his work as high risk/high reward. He says, “I’ve learned to expect the unexpected,” from the houses, the people, and the processes he has to coordinate to finish the projects. In the past two years Gedeon has completed 10 such renovations in Cleveland Heights and has sold almost all of them to people moving here from out of state.

He spends a lot of time investigating properties to buy. “Before I decide, I spend time on the street looking at the overall neighborhood and observing what goes on,” he says. He has been concentrating his work in Cleveland Heights because, he says, “this city is what I know - and really care about.”

That’s what makes him stand out - his knowledge of the area, and his ability to create a sellable product. He tears down walls to reconfigure the floor plans of older homes, adding the amenities that people now want, such as master bedroom suites, granite countertops, air conditioning and laundry rooms.

Gedeon's reputation made him the go-to guy when the neighbors of 2929 Edgehill wanted to stop the city from demolishing a fire-damaged property. The residents, city hall and Gedeon talked together and the property is now his latest project.

Gedeon has only good things to say about the Cleveland Heights building inspectors, the building department, and the many people he meets renovating houses. Neighbors are always interested and grateful. At one site, a neighbor baked cookies for everyone on the work crew.

He cautions about the second wave of the foreclosure crisis - people who are buying properties, applying superficial fixes and quickly putting them back on the market, or renting them. Residents should be aware that this is going on and the problems this can create.

The words house and home mean different things. Because of his energies, talents and hard work, the house on my block was transformed from an abandoned structure into a home. Everyone in this community is better off because of it. Thank you, Jason.

Currently Jason Gedeon has three renovated houses for sale in Cleveland Heights; 2998 Yorkshire, 3884 Parkdale and 3554 Radcliffe. And 3046 Lincoln and 2929 Edgehill are next in line for a full renovation. Contact realtor Chris Jurcisin at 216-554-0401 or chrisjurcisin@howardhanna.com for further information.

If you think there is a house in your neighborhood worthy of the Jason Gedeon treatment, contact him at jpg619@gmail.com.

Fran Mentch is a 20 year resident of Lynn Park Drive, a civic activist, and president of Severance Neighborhood Organization.

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 12:26 PM, 07.21.2009