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Neighbors concerned about state of Old Brooklyn property owned by design review board member

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 19:22:28-04

OLD BROOKLYN, Ohio — A home in the heart of Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood has drawn the ire of those living nearby, concerned by what they consider to be the developer's slow-moving effort to rehabilitate the home. According to county property records, the home is personally owned by a member of a design review board, which serves as an advisory panel for the Cleveland Planning Commission.

Built in 1890, the home located at 3516 Broadview Road, just northwest of the intersection of Pearl and Broadview roads, hasn't aged well. The paint is peeling; several sections of the exterior siding are missing; multiple windows are either broken or open and the front porch is held up by wooden posts.

The property, which was taken over by the county land bank in 2016 before being transferred to the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation 18 months later, has long been a thorn in the side of Luis Vizcarrondo, the pastor of Refine Church, which sits next door.

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"There are just too many liabilities. You have a garage falling... If the garage completely collapses then what happens?" Vizcarrondo said. "There are just too many issues with the property itself... It's very nerve-racking. We've got kids that come here to play too."

Vizcarrondo said the property has been vacant and in gradual states of disrepair for several years. All the while, he remained hopeful that either the home would be removed or rehabilitated sooner rather than later. Then, last summer, the property changed hands again.

"We have spoken with him. He seemed like a great guy, I'm not saying that he's not," Vizcarrondo said. "It's just that if you have so many projects, so many other things to do, why take on another bigger project?"

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According to county property records, 3516 Broadview Road was acquired by Esbeey Madera on July 13, 2020. Records state Madera purchased the property from the Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation for $4,785.

Known and lauded for his work on various other residential and commercial developments on the West Side, especially in Brooklyn Center and the Clark-Fulton neighborhoods, Madera is the owner of All Phase General Construction Inc, a construction company founded in 2004, according to state business filings.

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Photos provided to News 5 showing the condition of the property in 2020 show the home on Broadview Road has received some attention, including what appears to be a new roof, gutters and the replacement of multiple windows. Multiple trees on the property were also removed.

However, it also appears that work on the interior and exterior has largely been halted, evidenced by the broken basement windows, missing siding and a set of concrete stairs that conspicuously lead nowhere. The detached garage, which is missing its roof, is also severely bowing.

Vizcarrondo and other neighbors, who spoke to News 5 but didn't want to go on camera, are concerned by the lack of progress at the property.

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"I am [frustrated]. I am, I really am," Vizcarrondo said. "It was vacant before he obtained it. He's had plenty of time. What's going on?"

News 5 was able to reach Madera by phone Monday afternoon. He said he was "blindsided" by the neighbors' concerns.

Madera insisted that the project is still actively being developed and offered to partake in an interview with News 5. Madera then rescheduled the interview two more times before canceling outright. Instead, he provided the following statement to News 5:

In regards to the renovations of 3516 broadview rd [sic], we have been transparent with the community. In regards to the work scope, it will take longer than usual because this will be a full historical restoration. We have a full development plan in place and are in the process of starting remodeling.
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Esbeey concluded the statement by stating that concerned community members are free to contact him via email.

Vizcarrondo remains skeptical.

"I've had residents say it's just a big eyesore. They are tired of constantly seeing these things throughout the city," Vizcarrondo said. "Either you knock it down or you get somebody that is going to work on it a lot quicker and get it up to code."