The former John F. Kennedy High School on Harvard Road, just east of Lee Road, is already being demolished. What comes next depends on the responses the city of Cleveland gets from real estate developers and others to an invitation to show their interest in the nearly 14-acre site on the city’s southeast side. This is how the school looked in April (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
Offers catalytic redevelopment site for Lee-Harvard
With demolition underway at the 14-acre former John F. Kennedy High School and Recreation Center site in Cleveland’s Lee-Harvard neighborhood, nearby residents may wonder what’s going to reactivate this large property. City officials began taking steps yesterday to answer that question by inviting real estate developers and others to express their interest in the site, 17100 Harvard Rd., just east of the Lee-Harvard Shopping Center.
The full Invitation for Expressions of Interest (IEOI) can be viewed and submitted here. Responses are due no later than Nov. 3, 2023, at 5 p.m. Depending on the quantity and quality of replies from prospective partners, the city may follow up with a request for proposals for the potential reuse of the large site, said City Planning Joyce Pan Huang on social media.
The Bibb Administration invited qualified development teams and other potential project partners to submit brief expressions of interest for the redevelopment of JFK High and the Recreation Center which includes the football field behind the school. The main part of the school, measuring nearly 200,000 square feet, was built in 1965. The school was expanded in 1972 and the Recreation Center was remodeled in 2005, according to Cuyahoga County property records.
A new JFK High School and recreation center were built in 2020 for $45 million at 15111 Miles Ave. as part of a land swap between the city and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Demolition of the old JFK High School is costing the school district $4.12 million and is being overseen by TDA Architecture of Willoughby, city of Cleveland Building Department records show.
The JFK High School site includes recreation facilities, seen here in this August 2018 view, behind the main part of the school (Google).
City officials noted that development of the cleared site will will build off the stability of and recent investments in the surrounding southeast side. They pointed to $20 million in strategic investments the city is making to that area to support the health, prosperity and future of this area and its residents. When demolition of the school and recreational facilities are completed, officials said they will be able to finalize the exact property size and description.
“This project is the first of several catalytic redevelopment efforts in our big-picture plan to redevelop and revitalize Cleveland’s southeast side and begin to reverse the effects of decades of disinvestment in these neighborhoods,” said Mayor Justin Bibb in a written statement. “Projects like this lay the foundation for redevelopment and private investment and really showcase the opportunities and promise of the southeast side.”
The IEOI released yesterday is the first step in a redevelopment process for the site that will include robust community engagement and input. Concurrently, the city of Cleveland is working with project partners on a collaborative Lee-Harvard Community Master Plan process for the neighborhood.
“As we strategically invest in the Mt. Pleasant, Union-Miles and Lee-Harvard neighborhoods we are taking a resident-centered approach,” said Marvin J. Owens Jr., Cleveland’s senior strategist for the southeast side. “Everything from code enforcement and incentive development to business attraction and real estate must be rooted in the community to be successful.”