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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Developer Rick Cicerchi claims issues surrounding the "fiscal cliff" are having a big impact on his small company and its plans to renovate vacant downtown buildings into much-needed apartments.

He says banks are balking at funding possible projects that could put another 50 construction workers on the job.

"They would be workers taking a paycheck home and making downtown residents we very much need," he said.

There's a serious need for more downtown apartment units.

He and his son are finishing up converting the 100-year-old Krause building on East 4th Street into six upscale units, including a penthouse with a deluxe rooftop view.

He had to fund the roughly $2 million project himself because banks worried about fiscal cliff issues themselves have tightened up lending.

Fiscal Cliff: Expanded Coverage

"Without their funding, we can't expand our business as quickly as we like, " he said.

And he's worried about what higher taxes and reduced government spending that might be part of a fiscal cliff solution will have on the economy and his business.

"Not knowing exactly what the rules will be...If you don't know the rules, how can you play the game?" he asked.

Cicerchi's a member of COSE, the Council of Smaller Enterprises.

The group recently sent a delegation to Washington to express its concerns and get the latest on the fiscal cliff from Greater Cleveland's Congress members.

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