CH City Council initiates new agreement for Top of the Hill

The preliminary site plan for Top of the Hill from Flaherty & Collins, which was included in the city manager's May 12 Memorandum to Cleveland Heights City Council.

At its May 15 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council voted to authorize City Manager Tanisha Briley to negotiate a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Indianapolis-based developer Flaherty & Collins Properties to move forward with the “Top of the Hill” project.

The Top of the Hill project refers to the approximately four acres of city-owned property at the corner of Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard at the top of Cedar Hill. As a highly visible property at the gateway between the Heights and University Circle, developing this property has been a long-time goal of the city.

Last fall, the City of Cleveland Heights selected Fairmount Properties to be the developer of the Top of the Hill project, and had been negotiating an MOU. On May 11, however, the city announced it was parting ways with Fairmount due to an inability to "come to agreement on key terms." (Read the city's announcement here.)

On May 12, the city announced that it had selected Flaherty & Collins, which had been the runner-up in last fall's selection process, and would vote on legislation at the next council meeting. (Read the city's announcement here.)

At the May 15 city council meeting, Cleveland Heights residents Matt Moss and Paul Volpe voiced their concerns regarding the Top of the Hill project. Volpe stated that the new developments for the project must include for-sale houses, rather than solely rentals. Moss stated that he felt that the city was back to square one by choosing a new developer, and that the process of the project needed to move quickly.

David Flaherty, CEO of Flaherty & Collins, also addressed council at the meeting. He expressed his agreement with Moss in terms of the project wanting the project to move quickly. Flaherty also expressed his excitement at being the new developer selected for the project.

In a memorandum to city council, Briley provided an update on Flaherty & Collins’ plans for Top of the Hill. The update included the estimated cost for the project: approximately $75–85 million in construction costs. It also noted that Flaherty & Collins has indicated that its current concept for the project “would require tax increment financing, or other public financing sources, to fill a cost gap;" however, the company did not plan to request property tax exemption for the for-sale housing units.

Flaherty & Collins' project plan includes 250 luxury apartments, 25 townhomes/condominiums, 30,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 750 structured parking spaces, and a 110-room hotel. Flaherty & Collins estimates that the project will be completed within 18 to 24 months of groundbreaking.

Connor O'Brien

Connor O'Brien is an upcoming senior at John Carroll University, majoring in communication and minoring in English. He is currently an intern for the Heights Observer.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 1:35 PM, 05.16.2017