as part of green neighborhoods initiative, south euclid builds 'idea house'

With the housing market finally picking up, the City of South Euclid has sold five rehabbed bungalows and recently built a green "Idea Home" on a vacant lot as part of its Green Neighborhoods Initiative, an effort to rebrand itself as a green, innovative community.

"We're attracting the kind of resident that thinks green, that's concerned with liveability," says Keith Benjamin, Director of Community Services for the city.

"It's been promising and inspiring to see these green rehabs sell for more than the homes around them," adds Sally Martin, the city's Housing Manager, who cites sales prices that often more than double the value of area homes. "It really speaks to the value of green and modern design as things that buyers are looking for."

The Idea Home features a 1,500-square-foot open floorplan with a first floor bedroom and granite countertops on a corner lot. It also has an attached garage and plentiful outdoor space. It meets Enterprise Green Community standards.

Although South Euclid historically has not had a reputation of being a place that attracts young people, the city's new image has begun to attract a new type of homebuyer, Martin says. "The demographic is getting younger and younger."

The Green Neighborhoods Initiative also has spawned a flurry of other green projects, including five community gardens and three pocket parks thus far.

Recently, South Euclid also created a nonprofit organization called One South Euclid that will function as the community development corporation for the suburb. It is led by an independent board of residents and business owners.

"We wanted to take a grassroots approach to revitalization," says Martin. Some of the projects the CDC may take on include rehabbing additional homes, assisting target streets with improving the curb appeal of their homes, improving the streetscape in business districts, and branding individual neighborhoods.

To spur more greening activities, the city has begun offering lots for sale to individuals for yard expansion or home construction. Designs developed by the city can be used for free, and a five-year, 75-percent tax abatement is offered.

"We wanted to show what's possible in an inner-ring community," says Martin.

"We're the number one destination for grad students looking to rent houses," adds Benjamin. "We wanted to make our community attractive so they purchase their first home here, then keep them here after they buy their first starter home."

The Idea Home, which recently entertained its first offer, is for sale for $150,000. The house is located at 4088 Linnell Avenue, which is off of Miramar Boulevard.

Source: Sally Martin, Keith Benjamin
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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