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Debate continues over the future of Shaker Square

With the property in receivership, many tenants want the city to spend $12 million to purchase Shaker Square. One restaurant owner has reservations.

CLEVELAND — Shaker Square is a historic part of town. And it’s success plays a vital role in the success of the neighborhoods that surround it. But right now, the property is in the hands of banks who are looking to make their money back.

The property hasn’t seen any major improvements as of late as the original owner defaulted on its loan. Courts appointed a receiver to manage the property in the meantime. But tenants say the property needs improvements quickly. 

Now Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc. and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress have a plan for the city to put up $12 million to buy out the property to help stabilize the area before a sheriff’s sale. 

"The community is suffering and the tenants are suffering as a result and it’s either do this, or wait and see, roll the dice," says Joy Johnson of Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc. "And our community does not deserve for us to roll the dice anymore."

But one popular tenant is saying the city shouldn’t overpay and bail out banks. 

"The banks want $11 and three quarters million for a property that's been evaluated less than $5.5 million," explains Edwins Restaurant President and CEO Brandon Chrostowski. "$12 million will go right to the bank, essentially bailing out any investor, bailing out the bank for a deal they made that went bad.

Spending that money is a decision that is up to Cleveland City Council. They were set to vote on the issue Monday, but decided to table it until they could get more input from the public, which is something that will indeed happen.

There will be a meeting Friday morning at the York-Rite Masonic Temple on Kinsman at 10 a.m. Councilwoman Anita Gardner will be there along with all interested parties so that the public has a chance to understand what’s at stake.

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