Cuyahoga Land Bank, Development Corp. & Loft Home Builders partner to create rental properties

CLEVELAND - The Cuyahoga Land Bank has teamed up with St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC) and Loft Home Builders Inc. to breathe new life into vacant homes in Cleveland's St. Clair Superior neighborhood.

The partners have come up with a creative housing rehabilitation program that provides a more modern and appealing residential living alternative.

Loft Home Builders, Inc., owned by local developer Charles Scaravelli, developed a home renovation model that reinvents outdated space layouts to make older homes more practical for modern living.  This entails gutting an outdated single-family home and creating an open floor plan, which requires less electrical, heating and duct work as well as fewer materials than a conventional renovation. It also costs just a little more than the amount it would take to demolish a vacant property, between $10,000 and $15,000.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank transferred four homes to SCSDC that were structurally sound and approved by  Loft Home Builders, Inc. It is also partially financing the construction of the homes by placing a small mortgage on the property payable once the property is finished, rented or resold.

"The floor plans in Cleveland's older housing stock often do not reflect what someone today wants out of their living quarters. That adds one more challenge to finding new purpose for some of our older vacant and abandoned housing stock," said Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos in a press release.  "The Loft Homes model addresses this issue by creating a completely new space at a low cost that has the potential to have tremendous appeal."

According to SCSDC Executive Director Michael Fleming there is already a waiting list for the renovated homes.

"This contradicts the belief that there's no demand for housing in the neighborhoods of Cleveland's near east side -- we just need to offer the right product."

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