FISI – Westgate Plaza – Shame, Shame

How many of us drive through the intersection of W. 21st and Leavitt Rd countless times during the week, and we just accept the site (sight) that occupies the northwest corner of the area? You could’ve counted me among that group, until about a month ago.

 

While you can’t tell much from the panorama above, when you get right up close and personal, you’ll see just how far gone the former strip mall really is.

This is pretty indicative of the entire plaza. Boarded up and filthy windows, rust, trash.

This is the first storefront I walked up to, but first, I had to cross this welcome mat.

Built in 1957, Westgate Plaza used to host a grocery store, coin laundry, and other assorted retail establishments. Over the years, one by one, the stores closed, and the building slowly deteriorated. 

Searching for “Westgate Plaza”, I found the site listed “For Rent” here, with the minimum divisible storefront being 634 square feet. The rental rate is $8 per square foot per year. Last verified on July 16th, the listing states the following:

 

Join us as we create a new Westgate Plaza on Lorain, Ohio’s west side.

Located at the intersection of SR 611 and SR 58, this crossroads connects Lorain with Amherst, Port Clinton and other lakefront communities

G West LLC and/or Georg Abakumov, the owner and mail contact, respectively, should probably concentrate on rehabbing or “creating” the new Westgate Plaza before they try to rent it out. Let me show you why:

This is a good representation of the stores in the plaza. Not a single one is ‘move-in ready’, which is what a storefront should be if you’re trying to rent it out. Purchased in August of 1999 for $225,000, the ‘anchor’ tenant advertised is Family Dollar. The only other tenant is….you have to see it to believe it and truly appreciate it:

The reason I don’t see anything happening here is because it’ll be 10 years in just a few weeks that G West has owned this property, and Family Dollar is the biggest move they’ve made to populate the plaza, AND because they are over $20,000 behind on the property taxes.

Does anyone really think they’ve got money to get this place fixed up “to create a new Westgate Plaza”? Yea, me either.  Maybe the City could send someone down there to check it out.

Mayor Tony K’s Adding to His List

In April, I discussed an article that detailed local cities getting money from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, set up by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The City of Lorain received over $3 million from the Program, and the last line of that post asked “So, Mr. Mayor, what is the plan for this money?”

Today, I find the Mayor’s knock-down list has grown by another 18 houses. As I scanned the addresses, some of them looked familiar. And there was a reason, too. Because they’ve been featured in past FISI’s.

311 W. 14th Street,

and 217 W. 15th Street, were featured in the same FISI here.

 

520 W. 18th Street was the lead photo for this FISI, and the MJ lead with this property on their front page.

Finally, FINALLY, this one at 216 Lake Place is being taken care of. I’ve written about this, and Loraine wrote about it, too.

The City’s Building, Health and Engineering Dept’s will need to do inspections of the homes to determine if they meet the established criteria of a public nuisance. This could take anywhere from 2 to 6 months. The Prosecutor’s office will then need the Court to declare the houses nuisances, and the Board of Health will need to determine who will foot the bill.

This is a looooooong time coming, but it’s getting done. Much more is getting done than under the previous administration. I’m not too thrilled about the timeframe for this happening. There has to be a way to speed up the process. How about a dedicated Housing Court?