Cleveland aims to build a $100 million site fund. Here’s how it would work

by | Apr 20, 2023

By Michelle Jarboe at Crain’s Cleveland Business

The city of Cleveland aims to amass at least $100 million to assemble and prepare land for development, with the goal of attracting new businesses and jobs.

Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration is pledging $50 million in federal pandemic-recovery cash to seed a site-readiness fund. The rest of the money would come from outside sources, a mix of public and private partners that could include Cuyahoga County, philanthropic organizations and JobsOhio, the state’s private nonprofit economic development corporation.

The idea is to identify sites of 10 to 50-plus acres and to get them into shovel-ready shape. Today, Bibb said in an interview, the city is routinely missing out on business-attraction opportunities because of a lack of available land and slow-moving processes.

Bethia Burke, president of the Fund for Our Economic Future, applauded the approach.

“I think reinvestment in enabling economic activity in the city is one of the most people-centered investments we can do,” she said. “If a person can work closer to home, that not only increases the likelihood that they can successfully get a job, because they’re able to get there. … It also increases the likelihood that you can balance life.”

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