Coventry School should be sold
While having an arts/nonprofit center is a wonderful idea and concept for our community, I don't feel the Coventry School site should be the location for it. A non-property tax generating building is not the highest and best use for this desirable location. It is a site that I presume would have a lot of interest from developers.
A site I presume won't have as much interest would be the Tudor buildings at the corner of S. Taylor Road and Superior Park Drive. These buildings are being transferred to the city of Cleveland Heights due to non-payment of property taxes. The first floor retail space in these buildings is essentially empty. Let's state some facts:
- We are in the Amazon age which is certainly hurting brick-and-mortar business.
- There are many new exurban developments moving retail further into the outer suburbs (not to mention University Circle).
- In Cleveland Heights, there are two proposed developments, Top-of-the-Hill and Lee/Meadowbrook.
- While we have many wonderful businesses, we also have a fair amount of vacant storefronts.
With all of these challenges, should retail go into the first floor of those Tudor buildings? COULD retail go in? It is old, obsolete retail space and we already have some of that to go around.
Arts organizations and nonprofits are wonderful to have in our community and provide countless benefits for us all. That said, unfortunately, they also undoubtedly operate on shoestring budgets and can't afford high rents.
Coventry School is a desirable location. I'm sorry to say the Tudor buildings on S. Taylor are not. Coventry School should be sold and the organizations located there should create an arts and nonprofit center, with prominent exposure, on S. Taylor. The organizations could transform this section of S. Taylor by relocating there, and would further positively impact our community in doing so.
Kevin Smith is president of the board of directors of the Cedar Taylor Development Association.