Example of a bigger SYSTEMIC problem, or more to the story?

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When support for the new convention center collapsed, so did the hopes of developing Scranton Peninsula, a scrubby thumb of land in the Cuyahoga River valley. The 70-acre cape has an industrial past, an almost nonexistent present, and the potential to be an invigorating downtown neighborhood.

Forest City had hyped similar plans in 1989, after it gained control of much of the property, but nothing happened.

It’s a story told often in Cleveland and elsewhere: Developer doesn’t get everything he wants; developer takes ball in bony, liver-spotted clutches and goes home. Cities are left to grovel, offering tax abatements like dowries for a homely daughter.

The hoarding of Scranton Peninsula may prove his point. According to the city’s calculations, Forest City and other speculators pay $436,000 in annual property taxes — a pittance for acreage nearly the size of the CSU campus and within walking distance of several downtown attractions. Ronayne, for one, is frustrated by the system that puts Cleveland’s best assets in cold storage for the benefit of a few opportunists. “The worst thing in the world is decades of squatting, waiting for a building boom that transcends our generation.”

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Soil Rights
Can Cleveland use property taxes to prod intransigent developers?
By David W. Martin
http://www.clevescene.com/2003-09-10/news/soil-rights/full

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