CLEVELAND — The financial fallout from the pandemic has put a beloved piece of Cleveland history in jeopardy.
Coral Company, which owns and operates Shaker Square on the city’s east side, has defaulted on its $10.6 million loan.
Despite the iconic property now facing foreclosure, there's renewed hope for the 90-year-old town center.
While operating with very few vacancies, even in a pandemic, the process to foreclose on Shaker Square is underway.
“We don’t know who’s going to own it. We don’t know who’s going to maintain it,” said Elina Kreymerman.
Kreymerman's Shaker Square Dry Cleaning has been a staple in Shaker Square for 26-years.
“Our customers and tenants on the square are very concerned,” said Kreymerman.
Coral Company was securing a new loan when the pandemic hit.
“This is such an important asset for the community, it has significant value for the east side of Cleveland,” said Tania Menesse, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
Coral's CEO, Peter Rubin, told News 5 that with its high number of restaurants and a theater, investors saw the square as a greater risk and pulled the financing.
The property is now in receivership.
“That can actually be helpful because then we have a direct person to work with,” said Menesse.
Menesse, President and CEO of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, is assembling a team to try and stop the foreclosure process.
“We have to put a proposal forward that long-term preserves the community asset, while still meeting the very real financial requirements the bond holders have,” said Menesse.
That proposal is expected to take about six to eight months to complete.
“Some sort of public/private partnership is likely the right model moving forward,” said Menesse.
After 16 years, Coral Company is preparing to step aside to let a new owner/operator take over Shaker Square.
“Trying to run it in the same way it’s always been run is likely not going to be effective,” said Menesse.
With her lease coming up at the end of this year, just like the Square, Kreymerman is unsure about her future.
She's taking a wait-and-see approach.
“People are still here. It has a lot of potential. I think if the square would offer something good and would look nice, attractive, people will come,” said Kreymerman.