Letter: Top of the Hill is a tremendous opportunity worthy of discussion
To the Editor:
By now, most of us who live, work, or recreate in the City of Cleveland Heights are probably aware of the redevelopment proposal for the Top of the Hill property in the Cedar Fairmount District. A developer has been selected, negotiations are underway, and highly anticipated planning and economic development details should soon be available for public view.
FutureHeights supports a mixed-use development project at Top of the Hill. Development of underutilized properties in Cleveland Heights will increase population, add to the tax base, and decrease the tax burden among current residents. A high-quality mixed-use development at the top of Cedar Hill will also enhance the reputation of the city, appropriately increase density to support existing businesses, and improve the quality of life for existing residents by providing goods and services that they need, including the addition of new for-rent and for-sale housing options.
I had the opportunity to attend an informal meeting on Jan. 17 at Nighttown, at which Fairmount Properties principals Adam Fishman and Randy Ruttenburg said that their company was in the process of preparing an initial agreement with the City of Cleveland Heights to develop Top of the Hill and that they had signed purchase contracts. They stated that they wanted to create “an authentic regional destination” that will connect with the existing neighborhood. It would be mixed-use and pedestrian scale, with a combination of housing and retail space, with potential hotel and office use. A parking garage would be part of the project, as well as a 10-story building on the south-western corner of the site. The architecture of the buildings would be “contextual but iconic.” Ruttenberg said that, although his firm had developed many other projects, “this is the project we want to be remembered by.”
While the project sounds promising, FutureHeights is committed to ensuring that this redevelopment benefits the city as a whole. FutureHeights believes it is of great importance that the project meet the needs of current residents and encourages a robust civic engagement process. Residents need to become informed about the project, understand its potential benefits—both for themselves and the city as a whole—and help identify potential issues that need to be addressed. We look forward to working with the city, the developer, Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, residents and other stakeholders to ensure a thorough process that will result in a development project that will strengthen the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood and our city.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.