November 25th, 2017

Now that the election is over, the City of Cleveland generously shared public information on the massive and massively subsidized proposed project with the strange name nuCLEus in the Gateway sports district.

The city generously dropped, in one message, links to documents about the project. No simple freedom of information response.

Of course, they also choose a holiday week to send it, limiting contact with people who might have more insight into the project.

It was a FOI drop of 98 charts of varying financial and other documents (some broken down with EVEN further charts). Enough to keep financial pros at work for some time.

What I can gather from this information data is that the Cleveland school system—servicing to a great degree poor students—generously gives up property tax revenue for a more than half billion dollar building containing fully tax abated apartments, a hotel, offices, parking and retail. Did we miss anything.

A virtual city within itself.

Cleveland on the rise!

One of the documents shows Tax Increment Financing at $71,651,579. That money would go to do public work for Clevelanders and educate our children.

Now it’s going to another downtown developer. So generous are we.

Other ‘gifties’ from taxpayer include—a state of Ohio grant, $1 million; JOBS Ohio $10 million; CEI & infrastructure grants, $2 million; other contributions in the millions of dollars.

And a County—always so generous to rich developers—will issue a $58.2 million bond issue. Don’t know how it will pay for the loan.

Another listing shows various sources of State of Ohio funding at $23 million. Various loans for another $19 million.

Owners will invest $72.9 million of the total $542 million cost.

Another chart (and I have to admit that I did not go through each one) shows that the Cleveland school system will go 27 years—until 2044—without collecting its share of the property taxes. It is the chief recipient of the tax at some 60 percent of the total of the County property tax.

Merry Christmas Cleveland Teachers, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County residents.

You’re being taken for another expensive ride.

Where are our city and county council members? Certainly, purposely asleep.

By Roldo Bartimole…


  1. Randy Scott says:

    The one thing your post fails to mention is that without the TIF the project will not happen and if it doesn’t happen then the school board loses nothing. So if the project is built then the school board gets millions up front and if it’s not built the board gets nothing. Something vs.Nothing. That’s real math and not the pie in the sky math you calculate. Keep fighting the good fight Roldo.

  2. Thanks Randy.

    Problem is that all these downtown projects floating on subsides, abatements and TIFs, plus the tax-free sport stadiums take from ONE school system—Cleveland. Only Cleveland school kids.

    You say “it will not happen”—Let’s see if they can’t do it for themselves, just as most of have to do.

    Free money in the form of abatements and government gifts lures the plea—we can’t make it ourselves. Help us!

  3. MFiala says:

    What is the (Devil’s) bargain in this deal?

    That income taxes from these projects will provide money to the City’s General Fund – money that is otherwise non-existent to the city, a la Randy Scott above.

    That presumes these new residents are new to Cleveland proper.

    And, that (additional) sales tax will provide money to the county budget. It is implied that there is a net gain for the County rather than simple re-location of business from Westlake or Beachwood to downtown Cleveland, which often occurs.

    So, there is a more empirical test case for the value of such development.

    But the game is mostly to pit one suburb against another suburb, or the urban core against all. That ‘develops’ a rush to the economic bottom. (see below for more along this line.)

    But opposition in principle to these tax-giveaways is reasonable: that the rich get subsidies (tax giveaways), a kind of socialism, and the poor get capitalism – pay your taxes as always, with few social necessities a citizen-right and provided. In our current version of socialism for the rich, there is a rush to the bottom until there is no corporate responsibility to the common good!

    That Life is only an economic transaction.

    Or as it is put more generally: we have a ‘market economy’ that consistently takes over or colonizes social life and responsibilities until we end up with a ‘market society.’

    Most of all, though, the many empirical studies (that are peer-reviewed and legitimate) on such deals indicate that there is NO NET GAIN for the REGION in tax value. We don’t gain tax revenue; we simply re-locate it from … Maple Hts or Parma or Euclid or Lakewood, or Westlake et al. to DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND.

    (That is, the stadia, and all the other host of tax abatements … that now are county-wide for businesses .. Note, e.g., American Greetings move from Brooklyn to Westlake.)

    As a side note, one can see that the city does not receive property tax revenues so it has little incentive to worry about property taxes. But the county colludes in the tax giveaways, with the public schools of Cleveland hurt the most… though Westlake et al have tax giveaways for business re-location, hurting public schools even in the suburbs. All of this but a rush to the bottom of the till.

    Westlake City Council approves American Greetings, Crocker Park legislation: 5 things you should know


    Deliver me from the realpolitik of this generation.

  4. keith says:

    I agree that this project is being built with millions of our tax dollars… but if they don’t go to help pay to build this project, the money will just be re-given to help get another project off of the ground and all of the state and federal money may get re-given to another city. In this way we don’t really lose anything if this project doesn’t happen, but we could gain a shiny new box on our skyline with a flat roof…

  5. Keith: You presume that this public money MUST be given to some private developer and not used for some public purpose. That makes no sense. If you take this to the conclusion you make all public funds should be given to downtown developers for \”shiny\” new box buildings. There may be other needs more urgent. There are.

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