shaker heights renovates two blighted homes near launchhouse to create 'tech village'


Building off the buzz created by Shaker LaunchHouse, an entrepreneurial incubator, the City of Shaker Heights has partnered with LaunchHouse, Cuyahoga County and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland to renovate two homes on Chelton Road into affordable housing for entrepreneurs.

The homes at 3553 and 3599 Chelton Road, directly behind Shaker Launchhouse in the South Moreland neighborhood, were vacant before the city acquired them. Shaker renovated the homes using $250,000 of Neighborhood Stabilization Funds, and is now in the process of transferring the properties to Neighborhood Housing Services. The agency, which specializes in affordable housing, will own and manage them.

The houses feature a total of nine "units" (a bedroom in a shared house with ample common space) that can be rented for $395 apiece. Amenities include high-speed Internet, free utilities, a comfortable green home with air conditioning, hardwood floors, free laundry and a ceiling projector hook-up in the living room for presentations. The homes are part of a multi-million dollar investment the city has made in the South Moreland community.

"We already have more applicants than we have units," reports Kamla Lewis, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization with the City of Shaker Heights. "We wanted to create a concentrated, collaborative community -- an environment for startups in the neighborhood, but a place where they could afford to live, as well."

Lewis says the first tenants will move into the completed homes as early as this week, and she expects all nine units to be fully occupied by June 1.

Applicants must be entrepreneurs at Shaker LaunchHouse. Its accelerator program begins this summer and has attracted entrepreneurs from outside of Northeast Ohio, who move here while engaged in starting their companies.

Lewis says the project is the first of its kind that she is aware of, and that the city's investment in South Moreland has already attracted further private investment, including several new businesses and a new $5 million apartment complex.

Source: Kamla Lewis
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Lee Chilcote
Lee Chilcote

About the Author: Lee Chilcote

Lee Chilcote is founder and editor of The Land. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks The Shape of Home and How to Live in Ruins. His writing has been published by Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt and many literary journals as well as in The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, The Cleveland Anthology and A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City. He is a founder and former executive director of Literary Cleveland. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland with his family.