neighborhood initiative gives south euclid bungalows a green makeover

If South Euclid’s Green Neighborhoods Initiative were a reality TV show, it would be called “Extreme Bungalow Makeover.” The suburb has now completed renovations on two previously bank-owned bungalows. In December, the city hosted an open house to showcase the dwellings to buyers looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle.

“The city realized it has aging housing stock that doesn’t make sense in today’s marketplace, and wanted to do something,” says Joe Del Re, New Business Development Manager for Home Again Homes, the company that rehabbed the properties.

Historically a quiet, tucked-away suburb known for its ubiquitous bungalows, South Euclid has been hit hard by the mortgage crisis and is saddled with 600 vacant homes. The Green Neighborhoods Initiative, launched in 2010, targets two areas pocked by empty properties. South Euclid plans to rehab 10 foreclosures by the end of 2011.

To make the project possible, the city applied for and was awarded a grant of almost $1 million from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Vacant Residential Property Fund of the First Suburbs Development Council. “The city put more into the rehab than the homes sell for,” explains Del Re. “Grant funding helps cover the gap.”

The city hopes the bungalows, priced at $129,900, will prove attractive to condo buyers and empty nesters. Features include first floor bedrooms, modern floor plans, high-efficiency furnaces, whole house insulation and Energy Star appliances. To qualify, buyers must meet income guidelines of 120% of Average Median Income — about $70,000 for a family of four. South Euclid is also offering $10,000 down payment assistance.

Despite the hooks, the houses haven’t sold. “It’s a tough market and we haven’t seen traction so far,” says Del Re. “I expect things to get a little better in 2011.”



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