If a proposal to build 19 luxury townhomes on three Sloane Avenue properties moves forward, the new property owners could be eligible for some assistance from the city.
After some back-and-forth from the state, the Lakewood City Council gave the final OK on Monday to make 13 parcels of land along the Rocky River a “community reinvestment area.”
The new distinction means that potential developments could qualify for tax abatements.
That would include recent plans from Abode Living, a development team interested in demolishing three homes in the 1300 block of Sloane Avenue to make way for the proposed Metro Townhomes.
The designation would waive property taxes on all new, residential units for up to 10 years, and offer abatements at 100 percent of property tax increases resulting from improvements made by the homeowner within that period. The area is zoned only for high-density residential housing.
City Council had passed a similar measure in July.
But when they petitioned the Ohio Department of Development to certify it complied with the Ohio Revised Code, ODOD requested some “minor revisions… to clarify the criteria for granting tax abatement,” said Siley.
Now approved, city officials will send the ordinance back to Columbus for final approval.
"It's as we want it, but we do it because the state requires it," said council president Mary Louise Madigan, pointing out the clarification in the ordinance that notes that the CRA may fund a project "at" 100 percent rather than "up to" 100 percent.
"It takes the discretion out of it," she said. "In the next 10 years, if there's a new director of development and a different council, and we say it's up to 100 percent then that gives discretion."
In January, Abode Living submitted a proposal to purchase and demolish three homes in the 1300 block on Sloane Avenue, and build 19 townhomes overlooking the river. In July, the Architectural Board of Review approved the designs for their project, called “Le Metro."
Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said there aren’t “any interested parties yet,” but he noted that the city will reach out to Abode Living to gauge the developer’s interest.
“It’s a having an expanded and creative tool kit,” Siley said. “We’re willing to at least investigate. The city doesn’t have to give tax abatements in the CRA, but it means we can if the project is right.
“The idea behind establishing the CRA was to position ourselves should the right development come our way,” he said.
Andrew Brickman from Abode Living — the developer responsible for the upscale Eleven River homes in Rocky River — said recently that if all goes according to plan, work could begin on the Metro Townhomes project in the spring of 2012.