CLEVELAND — On Monday, Cleveland City Council will revisit a plan to bring new life to Shaker Square. The East Side landmark shopping and dining complex has been mired in financial problems for years, but now there’s a plan to save it.
Late last year, city council considered a package of loans totaling $12 million to save the square. Residents, business owners and community leaders rallied at the time to show support for the measure.
The owner of Zanzibar Soul Fusion spoke at one of the last council meetings of 2021, voicing his support for the package.
"They're going to take possession of it, invest what's needed and to try to sell it at a fair market value. I think that's a good plan.,” said Akin Affrica, owner of Zanzibar Soul Fusion.
However, not all Shaker Square business owners agreed city money should be used to keep the square from going to a possible sheriff’s sale.
"It is a corporate bailout and an absurd use of public funds in the form of forgivable loans that overpay for a property by nearly double,” said Brandon Chrostowski, owner of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute.
Chrostowski was very vocal in December against the plan, arguing the city should consider other avenues with more community input.
He said the council should "discuss options and negotiate a better deal with a bank. Allow for a competitive bid, talk with private investment or even consider eminent domain to drive a fair market value price."
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