Mayor Bibb’s development plan could benefit from national business trends

by | Apr 19, 2023

by Frank W. Lewis for Signal Cleveland

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb proposed investing $50 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in an ambitious plan to transform large areas into attractive locations for major businesses.

The proposed Site Assembly and Development Fund “could create 65,000 quality jobs that are [close] to residents, reverse population loss, and reactivate vacant land,” according to a statement from the administration. The $50 million — almost one-third of the remaining federal ARPA money — would be used to purchase properties, clean up polluted sites and perform other work to prepare land for redevelopment.

Bold plans to revitalize Cleveland’s economy are nothing new. Could this one live up to the hype?

This time, certain national trends are on the city’s side. Cleveland could be an attractive location for a wide range of industries, ironically for some of the same reasons that they’ve left or stayed away for decades.

Locaction, location, location

The Fund For Our Economic Future and Team NEO, both of which promote economic growth in Northeast Ohio, wrote about this encouraging development in a 2021 report titled “Where Matters.”

“It is widely understood that redeveloping, particularly in cities, presents special challenges due to brownfields, aging infrastructure, and parcel size,” the report stated. But the Fund and Team NEO’s analysis stressed the “potential untapped benefits of these sites” that make them valuable despite — and, in some ways, because of — the challenges.

Those untapped benefits are related to ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. ESG is a framework companies use to set goals and evaluate their performance on a range of issues, including sustainability, workforce and leadership diversity, employees’ well-being and impact on communities.

Continue the full story on Signal Cleveland.