CH City Council vote authorizes MOU for the Meadowbrook and Lee site
At its July 30 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council voted unanimously in favor of Resolution No. 79-2018, which allows City Manager Tanisha Briley to negotiate a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Cedar Lee Connection, LLC, for the proposed development of the Meadowbrook and Lee site in the Cedar Lee Business District. The city recently selected the team’s RFP/RFQ response from two finalists, and council’s vote both formally names Cedar Lee Connection as the developer and initiates processes that will lead to a more detailed development plan.
Melissa Yasinow introduced the legislation and moved to vote on it. Mary Dunbar and Jason Stein seconded it, and all six eligible council members voted yes. Michael Ungar abstained from the vote because the law firm in which he is a partner does business with one of the principals involved in the project.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Carol Roe opened the floor to council for discussion. Kahlil Seren expressed his concern in the city's ability "to be on the other side of the negotiating table" with large development projects such as the Meadowbrook and Lee site, using the current Top of the Hill project as an example, but he also thanked Council Member Ungar for his willingness to act as representative of council's voice with the Top of the Hill developers. Seren concluded that, despite his reservations, he is "willing to move forward with [the Meadowbrook and Lee] project."
Cheryl Stephens had earlier indicated that she would vote no unless her concerns on other important issues were addressed by city staff. Those issues included the handling of the Top of the Hill negotiations, and the city's need to accomplish the stated goal of developing the Taylor Tudor buildings. "We need to set an example on how we own properties," Stephens said. She concluded by stating that she felt her concerns had been addressed and would vote yes on the Meadowbrook Lee resolution.
Dunbar expressed how important this project is to the city, and that she is "very pleased to be supporting it." Yasinow emphasized that council’s unanimous support for the project “sends the right message to the developers throughout Northeast Ohio, and throughout the country, that Cleveland Heights is a place that is open for business."
Cedar Lee Connection’s mixed-use proposal includes more than 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail and between 75,000 and 95,000 square feet of upper floor apartments all contained in a “V”-shaped building meant to promote public gathering. The team’s proposal specifically calls for spaces utilized for “public art and arts programming.”
Once the development's design is finalized between Cedar Lee Connection and the city manager’s office, council will vote again to approve the plan.
View video of the July 30 meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=p2tLFH4yCio&feature=youtu.be.
Jessica Schantz is the e-news manager at the Heights Observer and a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights.