The George family-owned property at West 25th Street and the Detroit-Superior Bridge in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood will be redeveloped with a restaurant as part of the Irishtown Bend Park after an agreement was reached today. The Georges will have the first opportunity to lease and operate it (Freethink). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Property deal to set stage for hillside park
Article updated March 24, 2023
Partners working together on the transformational Irishtown Bend Park project have reached a tentative settlement agreement today following a lawsuit by an affiliate of the George family against the use of eminent domain to acquire their land for the project. Terms of the deal were not officially disclosed at this time but it appears to be a very good deal for the Georges.
The lawsuit was filed by George family affiliate Mortgage Investment Group, LLC in October 2021 against the park’s partners — Port of Cleveland, City of Cleveland, Riverbed LLC, Ohio City Inc., Cleveland Metroparks and LAND Studio. The agreement will allow the Port of Cleveland and project partners to proceed with the critically needed stabilization of the Irishtown Bend hillside, located along West 25th Street between Detroit Avenue and Columbus Road.
Without the stabilization, a landslide on the slope could occur at any time, impacting roadways, a major sewer line and blocking shipping on the Cuyahoga River Navigation Channel, park project backers say. This hillside stabilization was the purpose of the eminent domain action initiated in February 2022 by the Port of Cleveland. The agreement is pending formal approval by the respective public bodies and boards involved.
Once stabilization is complete, Irishtown Bend will become a dynamic 23-acre riverside park that will connect Ohio City on Cleveland’s near west side to the Flats, Downtown, and Lake Erie. The park will incorporate green infrastructure, new trails and links to adjacent regional trail networks.
Several media outlets including Scene and Crain’s are reporting that the George family will be paid an undisclosed amount for their 0.41-acre property at the southeast corner of West 25th Street and the Detroit-Superior Bridge. Off the record, two sources have informed NEOtrans that the Cleveland Metroparks will build a new restaurant as part of the Irishtown Bend Park’s budget, where the Georges’ long-abandoned, boarded-up structure now stands. That structure will be demolished for the hillside stabilization project and its lucrative billboard will be relocated to a new, unidentified location.
The Georges will also be given the first opportunity to lease and operate the new restaurant, similar to the arrangement regarding Rebol on Public Square. There will be no parking lot provided on-site for the restaurant, the sources added. The George family acquired the vacant building and land at 1435 W. 25th St. in 2018 for $248,000 as public entities were acquiring other parcels for the $100 million, 23-acre park. The Georges in 2021 proposed constructing a $4 million wellness center on the site.
The George family proposed this redevelopment concept for a wellness center for the long-vacant building at the southeast corner of West 25th Street and the Detroit-Superior Bridge (Bowen).
This deal follows the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s (Port of Cleveland) Board of Directors March 9 approval of a construction contract that moves the critical Irishtown Bend Rehabilitation and Stabilization project forward.
“The Port of Cleveland is taking a key step forward today as we move to the construction phase of the critical Irishtown Bend Rehabilitation and Stabilization project,” said Linda Sternheimer, director of Urban Planning & Engagement at the Port of Cleveland in a written statement. “We’re pleased to progress with construction efforts that prioritize public safety and our region’s economy. Extensive analysis has made it clear that there is a great threat if we don’t act swiftly to stabilize Irishtown Bend’s hillside.”
The Port of Cleveland’s contract with Wade Trim, Inc., and its partners totals $3,643,727. This agreement is the result of a public request for qualifications by the Port, which determined Wade Trim Inc., in partnership with G. Stephens Inc., Resource International, Inc., and KS Associates, Inc., to be the most qualified team for the project.
As the Port moves towards bidding the project out for construction, Wade Trim will oversee onsite construction and inspections acting in the capacity as an owner’s representative. Wade Trim committed to sourcing 42 percent of the project’s work from minority- and female-owned businesses.
The Port of Cleveland has led efforts to stabilize the Irishtown Bend hillside. Located between West 25th and the Cuyahoga River, Irishtown Bend’s unstable hillside poses an immediate threat to public safety and property in the area. Given the potential for a landslide to disrupt commercial shipping traffic on the Cuyahoga, thousands of maritime jobs could be impacted, and an adverse economic effect could be felt throughout the region.