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CLEVELAND COMES UP TRUMPS

This month the grand old city of Cleveland, Ohio hosts what could be the most colorful and controversial GOP national Convention in history. In truth, Cleveland is probably more renaissance city than grand old city and we talked to a local Realtor to get a feel for Cleveland life – 2016 style

V

ioletta Varenkova has lived in Cleveland for 19 years and the most recent 8 years she has involved herself in the local real estate market and has experienced firsthand the highs and lows of the recent financial crash and how it impacted the city and suburbs. Hello Violetta. Cleveland, Ohio presents an image to most people of a city that exists purely on the back of heavy industrial activity. You disagree with this? I do indeed disagree. Cleveland was certainly built with the sweat and muscles of hard working Ohians, but as the country (and the world) has changed – so has Cleveland. There is an industrial heritage for sure but modern day Cleveland is an eclectic mixture of corporate, industrial and high tech business.

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The American

How has downtown Cleveland changed over the last decade? The biggest changes downtown have really come about in the last three to four years with the emergence of “urban living.” Downtown Cleveland really is a cool place to hang out these days and I think that if anyone had suggested that downtown Cleveland would ever be “cool” ten years ago, they would have been regarded as very optimistic! Urban regeneration has been kind to Cleveland and the city is continuing to benefit from inward investment. A popular t-shirt this summer has the slogan… “I liked Cleveland before it was cool.” Your business is real estate. How would you describe the current market and how has it changed from before the financial crash?

Ohio is well known as a conservative state and locally here in Cleveland that conservatism also exists in the real estate market. I know that nationally, prior to 2007 there were some markets that reached dizzying heights; where the real estate was excessively leveraged and where valuations had nothing to do with the underlying local economy. Not so, here in Cleveland. Property prices did rise in the run up to 2007 but those rises were steady and measured. Similarly, in all but the depressed of neighborhoods, when the fall came it was nothing like as dramatic as the collapse in prices seen elsewhere. Today the real estate market is very much back to normal albeit there is still an upwards price correction due in many of Cleveland’s cities as prices are still below where they should really be. Whilst

The American July-August 2016 Issue 752  

The leading cross-media publication for Americans in the UK - and anyone interested in American culture

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