Monday, October 4, 2010

Condemned Cleveland: A House on South Boulevard

House in Wade Park neighborhood

A little while ago, I shared the list of structures condemened by the city of Cleveland in the past six months. I've been going through the list as I'm able, identifying the structures I that appear to be most historically or architecturally important.

It's a lot of structures. As of right now, the number is about 1200. And it's an imperfect science - I'm using Google Street View and Bing Maps to see what I can - but this is limited. Yes, I'd prefer to actually set my eyes on these properties, but I simply don't have the time. Further, I don't have a good list of which properties might be important for what happened in them.

Take a look at the list. See if there's anything in your neighborhood that you think is important. If you can get me photos of them, it would be much appreciated.

The lead photo is of 10113 South Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio. It's one of the more interesting houses in the East Boulevard / Wade Park area - a neighborhood of eclectic homes. I wrote a story on it back in November - this was one of the houses included in that story.

The property was sold at Sheriff's Sale in July, 2008, to the mortgage holder, Wells Fargo Bank. Property taxes appear to not have been paid since that time. In December of that year, it was sold to the current owner, Ez Access Funding, LLC.

EZ Access Funding owns more than 70 properties within the city of Cleveland. As of September 30, they have been prohibited from transferring any property in Cleveland, for their failure to appear in court. (AFN: 201009300961)

EZ Access Funding, LLC is registered in California. Its mailing address is listed (by the California Secretary of State) as 3920 Birch Street, Suite 105, Newport Beach, CA, 92660. Their contact agent is one Marc R. Tow, a lawyer, whose mailing address is 3900 Birch Street, Suite 102, also in Newport Beach. Their phone numbers are 949-419-9093 and 949-975-0544, respectively.

This would be the same EZ Access funding who owns the house that exploded on West 83rd Street. Bill Callahan discusses their questionable business dealings in much more detail. Marc Tow / EZ Access were scheduled to appear in Housing Court back in February, to address several matters, including almost $100,000 in back taxes and an outstanding warrant, but to no one's surprise, they did not appear.

How much damage must an individual do before we can justify the cost of sending a bailiff cross country to serve them? Surely there must be something that we can do to address parties who, through apparent negligence, damage the historic structure of our communities and diminish our tax base.

This beautiful turn of the century house deserves a better owner. The architectural character contributes to the historic nature of the neighborhood.

East Boulevard is a great neighborhood - and I'm not just saying this because I work in it (at the Langston Hughes Branch of Cleveland Public Library). Surely this property could be sold at sheriff's sale to the city land bank - and then to the new owner - if there was someone interested in fixing it up. It's a great property - perhaps you are that person?

Check in on Wednesday for the next article in this series. Until then, take a look at the list and see if there is anything that catches your eye.

Update: October 5, 2010: I looked in the first floor windows. Through the front door, you can see a fireplace with built in benches on either side. To the left, one can see a doorway with a pair of pocket doors. To the right, just inside the door, is a small built-in bench. Next to it, the stairs up the the second floor. The woodwork is beautiful. It's the cleanest condemned house I've yet seen.

There are a few liabilities. I saw some damage to the plaster by the pocket doors (looked more like vandalism than a search for plumbing). The kitchen was a rather boring replacement - but in decent condition. The exterior did show some water issues, which appeared to be due to the lack of gutters and downspouts on the structure.


  1. Christopher,
    Hats off to you for your tireless work to try to save some of the many great old houses in Cleveland. I'm not sure the people who should be reading your blog are reading it (alas, they're probably not), but one can hope the right person stumbles upon it and does something. This is such a cool house. In any other city it would be treated as a gem. The economics of our impoverished region and accompanying narrow-mindedness about personal safety, etc., work against places like East Boulevard.

  2. Don't fool yourself, "any other city" has houses just like that one in the same shape. This Old House magazine has a short list of them on their website, for example.

  3. Anonymous, I'm not finding said list on their website. I'm familiar with the column that runs in the back of their magazine, which I assume is what you are referring to.

    The houses featured in said column are almost always either in much more decayed condition than this one or in much smaller cities or rural locations. One of the things that makes this city great is that we do have such wonderful housing stock at such reasonable prices. If you could point out these houses that you refer to, I'd appreciate it.

  4. I'd just like to say that since 1723 W 32nd is about to receive its Certificate of Occupancy (hopefully!) this week, hopefully it'll be off the list soon...

  5. Great! I'd been meaning to check in on your progress, but couldn't remember the blog.