Thursday, September 14, 2006

Signs of Life at West Side Church?

If you've ever shopped at the Giant Eagle on W 117th, you've probably noticed a remarkable abandoned church on the corner of Lake. This is the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist, a historic landmark and a rather cool building.

Built in the 1920s, it was used as a church for sixty years (see here for more info if you're really curious). Since the late 1980s, however, it's been abandoned. The property transfer records at the County Auditor show that Mary and James White bought the property for $170k in 1991; six months later Rini-Rego (predecessor to the current Giant Eagle) bought it for $300k. Six months after that (September 1992), the City of Cleveland bought the property for (drumroll please) nothing!

Anyway, as far as I can tell the property has sat vacant for about 14 years. It's too bad, really, since it's a really beautiful church. I imagine there are a lot of cool (and profitable?) uses for it. For whatever reason, Cleveland has sat on its hands and left the Church unoccupied.

Or has it? I noticed two changes to the building recently:

(1) It has a new sign out front:

(2) It has new windows:

So, what's going on with this building? Are there plans in the works for it? I sent inquiries to both the Cleveland Planning Commission and Jay Westbrook's office (his ward includes the Church), but haven't heard anything back. Surely the recent improvements on the building portend some kind of development! I guess we'll have to wait and see...


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