Cleveland’s metro area was hit earlier and harder by the 2007 foreclosure crisis than most cities in the US. Slavic Village, a neighbourhood on Cleveland’s southeast side, experienced particularly bad aftershocks from the recession.
In the span of just three months in early 2007, 783 homes filed for foreclosure. Many of them ended up abandoned. As these homes decayed, they were broken into, vandalised, and sometimes stripped of piping and wiring, causing them to become havens for squatters.
Stacia Pugh, a longtime resident, believed that she could turn the neighbourhood around. In 2013, she cofounded the Slavic Village Recovery Project, a company that partners with nonprofits to flip vacant homes. The renovated homes have sold anywhere from $US50,000 to $US87,000.
Here are a few of the recent rehabs, before and after.
The project, now called Slavic Village Rediscovered (SVR), fixes up abandoned homes in a one-square-mile section of the five-square-mile neighbourhood.
The project started as a response to Slavic Village’s housing crisis, which started in 2007. By 2013, the neighbourhood had more than 1,200 abandoned properties.
“It was a scary time,” Pughe told Business Insider.
Over the past five years, the team has completed more than 200 renovations. The first home, pictured below, sold for $US52,000 in 2013.
SVR demolished around 500 residences that couldn’t be saved in Slavic Village, one of Cleveland’s oldest neighbourhoods.
“Some of the 100-year-old homes weren’t built to last 100 years,” Pughe said. “But many were built extremely well and had a lot of character. We tried to save those.”
3823 Cullen Drive is one of the SVR’s most largest and most recent rehabs.
The interior was in shambles.
The team gutted the 5-bedroom property.
The home received a new roof, paint job, furnace, concrete driveway …
… as well as new kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances, bathrooms, and hardwood flooring. The plumbing and electrical systems were also replaced.
A local mailman recently bought the home for $US86,900 in the company’s biggest sale so far.
The home at 3651 East 63rd Street had laid abandoned for about a decade. Another vacant property next door was demolished.
Much of the ceiling throughout the home was caving in.
It also hadn’t been renovated since the 1970s.
SVR painted the exterior a bright periwinkle.
The team also re-carpeted the interior and replaced the kitchen cabinets and countertops. It sold in December 2017 for $US71,900.
Farther south, 5707 Hege Avenue’s exterior needed less work.
The inside was a different story.
In the garage, there was a nearly-collapsed ceiling and an abandoned car. The windows in the back were also boarded up.
“Everything was out-of-date,” Pughe said.
The team gutted the three-bedroom home and painted it two shades of blue.
Its current listing price is $US71,900.
Inside, SVR built a custom handrail for the stairs, knocked down a wall to open up the floor plan, and gave the home a new kitchen.
The floors are now lined with new carpet.
7005 Ottawa Road needed a new roof.
The three-bedroom home didn’t let in much natural light, and the kitchen wallpaper was unflattering.
The renovated property is now under contract for $US78,900 — $US2,000 above its asking price.
SVR removed a wall in one of the home’s rooms and fixed the ceiling.
The bathroom also received a makeover.
The team kept the staircase’s original oak banister and restored the wooden paneling in the foyer and closets.
“We strove to save the historic nature of the home,” Pughe said.
More than 700 homes still lie vacant in Slavic Village, but Pughe said her team won’t stop until they’re all fixed up.
While SVR is now selling its renovated homes for more money than when it launched, the company is more focused on improving the neighbourhood and providing affordable housing for longtime residents.
“We don’t really seek to make large profits,” Pughe said. “It’s more about rehabbing the homes, and building new opportunities for homeownership and racial equity.”