City of Cleveland Heights: Severance Town Center Redevelopment Feasibility and Owner Engagement

Report National Resource Network Cleveland Heights, Ohio September 15, 2017 Economic Development

In 2017 the National Resource Network supported the City of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, in the creation of an engagement plan to encourage and facilitate long-term redevelopment of a failing, privately owned, 65-acre mall called Severance Town Center, which was located adjacent to Cleveland Heights City Hall in the heart of the community. Regionally known as a bedroom community of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights has a network of beautiful neighborhoods with a short commute to downtown Cleveland and University Circle, where many of the region’s major higher education, philanthropic and medical institutions are located.

Prior to the Network’s engagement with the city, the Severance Town Center was purchased by a real estate investment group with the expressed intent to stabilize the property for potential resale. The Network performed a site and market analysis to determine potential redevelopment scenarios and strategies at the site that aligned with the city’s goals, and to inform engagement with the owner about potential repositioning. The Network team also met with the owner to better understand plans for the site, discuss potential redevelopment strategies, and establish a starting point for communication with the City.

The Network’s final report to the City included a detailed owner engagement plan to facilitate site redevelopment and called for multi-phase town center development and a coordinated repositioning of the existing mall.

A parallel Network engagement included executive coaching for the City Manager regarding budget management and redevelopment negotiations. Coaching took place at regular intervals over the course of a year.

In 2019, the City of Cleveland Heights issued an RFP to create a redevelopment plan for the Severance Town Center; the RFP drew heavily on the recommendations generated from the Network’s engagement with the City.

The Network’s engagement team in Cleveland Heights was led by Network consortium member HR&A, with a separate executive coaching and financial management scope of work led by PFM.

City of Cleveland Heights: Severance Town Center Redevelopment Feasibility and Owner Engagement