There's trouble at Top of the Hill

In late 2019 and early 2020 I wrote several opinions, published in the Heights Observer, [in which I] promoted the Top of Hill (TOH) project, and debunked [objections to it]. In February 2020, I attended a meeting at CH City Hall and watched as many people spoke out against the project, and a few spoke for it.

Now, Cleveland Heights citizens are treated to a YouTube video ( ) showing a waterfall within the TOH parking garage, and poor drainage, after a recent heavy rain.

After I saw this on Facebook, I visited the TOH parking garage and asked a construction worker about what was shown [in the video]. “It wasn’t a leak,” he said. “It was a waterfall.” Asked if this was normal, he said, “This is not normal.”

Indeed. If this happened during below-freezing temperatures, ice would coat the parking decks where cars and people need to move about.

At the pleasure of Cleveland Heights City Council, the TOH project is happening. Council is in bed with the developer, and now council must take action with the developer.

Now, I regret supporting the TOH project. I supported it because it would bring tax dollars to the city, and provide over 200 residents a “quality” place to live in Cleveland Heights.

That “quality” has been severely discredited by the waterfall and lousy drainage in the brand-new parking garage.

I question the Cleveland Heights council members' judgement in selecting this developer, Flaherty & Collins Properties.

Back when this proposal was before council, Stephen Rajki, an architect and Cleveland Heights resident, tried to point out that the proposed TOH building and parking garage were of minimum standards, and council members ignored him.

Is the future of this Flaherty & Collins project to be compared with San Francisco’s leaning residential Millennium Tower and Manhattan’s troubled, “supertall” residential building 432 Park Avenue?

Is this waterfall and drainage problem just the first of a litany of structural problems to come with TOH?

Quality problems that Mr. Rajki fretted about have appeared—before the project is even near completion. As partners in this apparent debacle, Cleveland Heights City Council members must force the developer to fix the problems now.

Lee Batdorff

Lee Batdorff has been a Cleveland Heights resident since 1966.

Read More on Opinion
Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 11:20 AM, 10.29.2021