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The city of Lakewood plans to partner with Payne & Payne Builders Inc. to put four new homes at the intersection of Robin and Plover streets. Bruce Geiselman, special to cleveland.com  LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The city plans to partner with a private developer...

Lakewood partners with developer on Birdtown home construction project

The city of Lakewood plans to partner with Payne & Payne Builders Inc. to put four new homes at the intersection of Robin and Plover streets. Bruce Geiselman, special to cleveland.com  LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The city plans to partner with a private developer...

Lakewood partners with developer on Birdtown home construction project
The city of Lakewood plans to partner with Payne & Payne Builders Inc. to put four new homes at the intersection of Robin and Plover streets. Bruce Geiselman, special to cleveland.com 

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The city plans to partner with a private developer to build four new single-family homes on what is currently city-owned land in the heart of the Birdtown neighborhood.

The City Planning and Development Department and Payne & Payne Builders Inc., based in Chardon, will construct four new homes on property at the northeast intersection of Plover and Robin streets. Two of the homes will be reserved for low- to moderate-income residents and sold by the city. The other two homes will be sold at market prices by Payne & Payne.

The city said the project's purpose is "to construct a transformative mixed-income infill housing project" in the heart of the Birdtown neighborhood.

"The idea is to increase the presence of high-quality owner-occupied housing in Birdtown while ensuring the neighborhood remains affordable for low- to moderate-income residents," said city planner Jason Russell.

Part of the land is currently vacant and a house sits on the other part of the property. The city plans to demolish the existing house in coming weeks. In addition, the city will need to split what currently are three parcels into four.

The city plans to sell two of parcels to Payne & Payne for $50 each to build on and sell the homes at market value. In addition, the city will pay Payne and Payne to construct two "affordable units" with federal dollars from the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The HOME program is designed to fund a wide range of activities including building, buying and rehabilitating affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families.

After the homes are built, the city plans to sell them to income-eligible families and use the proceeds to fund additional projects.

The city has been using HOME funds on an annual basis, typically for rehabilitating homes that otherwise might face demolition or long-term vacancy. By revitalizing the homes, the city hopes to stabilize neighboring property values and promote neighborhood growth.

Lakewood in 2015 spent more than $116,000 in federal dollars repairing and upgrading a neighboring Plover Street home that had been run down and vacant for more than two years. In that case, the city ended up spending about $58,000 more than it made on its sale. However, city officials said the money was well spent because removing the troubled property benefitted the neighborhood by raising property values and encouraging neighbors to invest in their homes. It also allowed for a taxpaying resident to move into the formerly vacant house.

The city purchased the properties at the intersection of Plover and Robin this spring.

"We hope this project will prove that substantial home rehabilitations and market rate new construction is viable in Birdtown as it has been elsewhere in the city," Russell said.

Payne and Payne Builders was selected through a competitive request for qualifications process. The company's existing projects are primarily in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.

Over the past 10 years, Lakewood has invested more than $1 million in federal funds to strengthen and revitalize Birdtown through housing rehabilitation, demolition of nuisance properties, infrastructure improvements, first-time homebuyer and down payment assistance, and renovation of commercial storefronts, city officials said.

Birdtown, in the city's southeastern corner, was built beginning in the 1890s by National Carbon Co., now GrafTech, for its employees. The neighborhood and many of its homes are among the oldest in the city. 

Follow cleveland.com on Facebook and @bgeiselman on Twitter.

This drawing shows where the new homes would be built at the intersection of Robin and Plover streets. (Payne & Payne Builders Inc.)
 

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