Top of the Hill
Top of the Hill project Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Legislation and School Compensation Agreement executed in April 2018.
The following press release was issued on March 20, 2018:
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS TOP OF THE HILL PROJECT RECEIVES TAX APPROVALS AND ADVANCES TO DESIGN STAGE
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH, 3/20/2018 - The Cleveland Heights development project, known as the Top of the Hill, has taken another important step forward with approvals related to Tax Increment Financing by both the City and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District.
On Monday, March 19, Cleveland Heights City Council approved a Tax Increment Financing ordinance by a 6-0 vote (one member was absent). The TIF ordinance will support critical financing for the project’s debt service payments, as well as providing the school district with an estimated $421,000 a year in compensation and tax revenue versus the $21,000 the undeveloped site generates at this time.
The City’s approval follows the unanimous approval of the TIF and the school compensation agreement last week by the Board of Education.
“This action moves the project to the next phase of development, which includes due diligence and detailed design of the project,” City Manager Tanisha Briley said. “The City greatly appreciates the approval actions taken by the Board of Education last week and is eager to move forward with this transformative project.”
The Top of the Hill Project refers to the approximately four acres of City-owned property at the corner of Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard at the top of Cedar Hill. As a highly visible property at the gateway between the Heights and University Circle, developing this property has been a long-time goal of the City.
The projected $75 million project is proposed to consist of 200 market-rate luxury apartments, 15,000 square feet of first floor restaurant, retail and commercial space, a parking garage containing 525 parking spaces, a nationally branded or boutique hotel, possibly as many as 20 for-sale townhomes, all necessary sidewalks, driveways, access ways and utility connections, public gathering and green spaces and the potential opportunity to include a Class A office component.
“Flaherty & Collins is excited that the City and School District have approved the Tax Increment Financing necessary to support this dynamic project,” Deron Kintner, General Counsel for Flaherty & Collins Properties said. “We are looking forward to working with the City and the community as we enter into the design phase of the project.”
Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties, who was selected as the development partner for this project after an extensive RFQ/RFP process, has completed more than $2 billion in development projects since their founding in 1993, including mixed-use projects similar in scope to what is being envisioned for the Top of the Hill.
The following press release was issued on February 23, 2018:
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS TOP OF THE HILL DEVELOPMENT REACHES NEXT MILESTONE
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH, 2/23/2018 - Cleveland Heights City Council has approved legislation to authorize the City Manager to enter into a development agreement with Flaherty & Collins Properties for the City's Top of the Hill Project. This important step allows this transformative project to advance into the design and construction planning stage.
The Top of the Hill Project refers to the approximately four acres of City-owned property at the corner of Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard at the top of Cedar Hill. As a highly visible property at the gateway between the Heights and University Circle, developing this property has been a long-time goal of the City, offering many benefits to Cleveland Heights, the community and surrounding neighborhoods.
"The Top of the Hill project is a priority for Cleveland Heights," City Manager Tanisha Briley said. "A lot of work has gone into advancing this project to this milestone by both the City and our partners, and we're excited for this project to move forward into the next stage of the development process."
The projected $75 million project is proposed to consist of market-rate luxury apartments, retail and restaurant space, a nationally branded or boutique hotel, structured parking, and the potential opportunity to include for sale townhomes and Class A office components. The development is to be designed to enhance the current Cedar Fairmount district rather than to compete with it. Many local business owners have expressed their support during this process.
"Flaherty & Collins is excited that the City Council has approved the development agreement and we can continue working with the City and community on what will be a premier development in all of Northeast Ohio", according to Deron Kintner, General Counsel for Flaherty & Collins.
Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins, who was selected as the development partner for this project after an extensive RFQ/RFP process, has completed more than $2 billion in development projects since their founding in 1993, including mixed-use projects similar in scope to what is being envisioned for the Top of the Hill.
Additional information on the project is provided in the “Top of the Hill” project Question and Answer attachment:
On January 23, City officials and Development Partner Flaherty & Collins made the following presentation to the CHUH Board of Education regarding Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the Top of the Hill project.
At the request of the City, Flaherty & Collins Properties has submitted examples of development projects they have completed which are comparable with the proposed Top of the Hill Development project. Please refer to the attached file below which provides examples of the exterior architectural views of these projects, as well as the interior views and amenities that can be found at these projects.
A public meeting to update the community on this project was held on September 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. Approximately 140 people attended this meeting. City staff and members of the Flaherty & Collins Development Team answered questions and received input, comments and suggestions from those in the audience. Below, you will find a copy of the most recent Conceptual Plan for the project, which was unveiled at this meeting and a copy of the presentation made by City staff. A similar meeting was held earlier in the day at Nighttown between City Staff, the Flaherty & Collins Development Team, and approximately 30-35 merchants and professionals located in the Cedar-Fairmount Business District.
On September 13, 2017, a fully executed Access Agreement was finalized between our development partner Flaherty & Collins and the City. This agreement enables the Developer to conduct inspections of the project site. The Developer will be granted full access to the land comprising the project site for the purpose of conducting such physical and environmental inspections, test, and surveys as the Developer deems necessary, to gain further insight into the feasibility of the project.
The City and Flaherty & Collins have agreed to terms on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was fully executed on July 18. The project now advances to the negotiation of a formal development agreement between the parties. A development agreement is much more detailed than an MoU and establishes the specific elements of the project as well as the process the development will follow towards final approval.
At the Monday, May 15, 2017, City Council meeting, Council passed legislation to authorize the City to negotiate a non-binding letter of intent with Flaherty & Collins.
Now that a development team has been selected, a Letter of Intent will be signed and the process to create and refine the project will begin.
At the Monday, October 17, 2016, City Council meeting, Council passed legislation to authorize the City to negotiate a non-binding letter of intent with Fairmount Properties.
At the Monday, September 12, 2016, City Council Committee of the Whole meeting, the review committee presented its findings to City Council. The following documents were shared:
Since July 11, the review committee has conducted significant due diligence on both teams, including:
- Site visits of recent developments by each team in the Cleveland and Indianapolis areas.
- Interviewing, via telephone, six to seven public, or former public officials from communities in which each team has recently worked on a similarly sized development project.
- Engaging both teams in in-depth discussions of the expectations of each team regarding financial assistance from the City.
- Reviewing and evaluating the financial feasibility models prepared by each team.
- Estimating the potential positive fiscal benefit to the City
- Meeting with a representative of a hotel chain that has an interest in having a location in the development.
- Maintaining consistent dialogue with the teams regarding changes to their initial concepts and their efforts since their presentation in July.
On Monday, July 11, 2016, at its Committee of the Whole meeting, City Council heard presentations and conducted interviews with Fairmount Properties and Flaherty & Collins Properties. At this time, the City is conducting additional due diligence.
The City of Cleveland Heights issued a Request for Qualifications/Request for Proposals on April 19, 2016. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is being used to help us choose a team that has a demonstrated history of success with complex sites. This process is different from a standard Request for Proposal (RFP) method which is typically focused on selecting a project/proposal. The RFQ is focused on the selection of a partner before a project is considered.
On the May 23, 2016, deadline date, the City received six responses from the following teams: Cedar Fairmount Development Partners (The Orlean Company), Fairmount Properties, Flaherty & Collins Properties, The Finch Group, Liberty Development Company, and The NRP Group, LLC. The City was impressed with the high quality of the development teams and their vision for this important site. Those who submitted proposals represent some of the top professionals in Northeast Ohio and beyond.
The qualifications packages submitted in response to the RFQ went through an initial evaluation for teams’ qualifications, development concept, development approach, economic and fiscal impact, and development schedule. Five of the six respondents were invited for interviews with the City’s evaluation committee. Though the NRP Group does great work locally and across the country, they were not asked to continue in the evaluation process as their proposed concept included a single use majority which was not in keeping with the City’s goal of a mix of uses on the site that match and leverage the character of the existing mixed used district.
The five selected teams were interviewed by an evaluation committee consisting of City staff and the City’s consultants, Silverlode Consulting. We were impressed with the time, effort and energy that these top tier teams put into their vision for the site. After hearing from each of the development teams, the evaluation committee recommended Fairmount Properties and Flaherty & Collins Properties be invited back to present their qualifications and concepts to City Council. At its July 5th meeting, City Council reviewed and discussed the recommendation, and agreed to interview the two recommended development teams.
A critical element for the success of this development will be citizen involvement. The City plans to rely heavily on community partners and groups to assist us to generate vital citizen input into the development process. Questions regarding the project are encouraged and should be directed to the City’s Economic Development Director Tim Boland at 216-291-4857 or email at email@example.com.
Updates to the development process will be posted on this website.