Local politicians, developers and community leaders huddled under a tent in the rain today in front of a Cleveland east side landmark, the former St. Luke's Hospital. It was the official groundbreaking for a $53 million dollar project to rehab the site ideastream's Mhari Saito reports.
Driving past the huge brick former hospital on Shaker Boulevard since it went vacant in 1999 has been to witness its slow decay. Windows missing. Slates on its roof gone. Weeds growing high along its iconic sculpture out front. Work on a complex $53 million deal combining federal stimulus dollars, tax credits and local investment hopes to revitalize the building. Construction of about 70 units of senior housing has actually already started on the building's east wing just across from the rapid station. More housing in the center part of the hospital and commercial space in the western wing are slated to be done by 2013. Mark McDermott is from Enterprise Community Partners, one of the project's investors.
Mark McDermott: It is really a transit oriented redevelopment which you don't get many of in Cleveland -its right across the street from the rapid stop - and we think that's why there's a strong market for what's going to happen here.
While neighbors wait for the building's rebirth, local artists like Anjelica Pozo are painting 60 plywood boards to cover up the building's many broken windows.
Anjelica Pozo: Just to have a variety of color, all primal color, that's in the background and then there's all these black silhouettes of kids playing that are superimposed over them.
Pozo hopes the art will help the construction and long time neighborhood eye sore become be a bit more beautiful, at least until the building can be renovated.