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'Gap Properties' Provide Obstacles for Big Cities, Great Lakes

Paul Bohn, Esq.

It is no coincidence that large, major cities are commonly located near bodies of water. Cities near water had tactical advantages including access for water transportation for trade routes and travel. A problem with many Great Lakes cities, however, is that waterfront industry now blocks access to the lake front.

In downtown Cleveland, lakefront diners and attractions bring in customers on warm, summer days, but a highway and railroad tracks separate the lakefront from the downtown area. Currently, there are only two streets that connect the lakefront and the downtown properties, but those streets are neither pedestrian nor bicycle friendly.

The problems in Cleveland are not unique to those of cities located near the Great Lakes. In Milwaukee, there's a road and park project underway with the purpose of connecting lakefront to downtown. Buffalo is a little further along as its waterfront development projects aim to decorate the underside of an already elevated highway.

These waterfront "gap" properties are historically heavy industry, such as steel-making, and come with environmental liabilities that also can impede redevelopment.

As part of our Brownfields practice, we can assist both communities and developers with creative solutions to remedy the environmental conditions as well as other development impediments with waterfront "gap" properties. Contact Paul Bohn at 248.380.9988 or pbohn@fb-firm.com.

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