Cleveland cuts ribbon on downtown affordable housing

Mayor Kevin Brooks says new apartments are only the beginning of "the new Cleveland"

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) — Cleveland is undergoing some major renovations to its historic downtown, including new affordable housing for the community.

In partnership with the city council and outside developers, Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks is prepared to see his city take some of its older properties and transform them into something new.

Monday’s grand opening of the brand-new Sanda Mill Lofts is just the beginning of what he calls “the New Cleveland.”

The mayor also says it solves a problem that expands well beyond city limits.

“We hear a lot about affordable housing,” Brooks said. “The apartments and the lofts behind you are based on income, based on affordability — that’s part of what is lacking. There’s a lack of affordable housing everywhere, not just in Cleveland, but our surrounding communities as well.”

Brooks says every component of the project was passed by the city council unanimously.

$10,000,000 was invested into the new lofts, as well as new underground utilities on adjacent Edwards St.

Developer David Case says after 45 years in the business, this project was one of the most rewarding.

“This is a town in which it really pulls together — all of the council people, the mayor the city manager,” Case said. “It’s a consistent theme of ‘what can we do to help?’ I’ve developed around the country in a lot of different communities — this is very rare to find that much cooperation.”

The new lofts feature 52 new apartments, six of which are fully powered by solar energy, in a part of Cleveland Brooks called “unloved.”

With millions more being invested in neighboring properties to the lofts and a 15-percent city growth rate, Brooks says Cleveland’s future is being built right now.

“It’s just such a cool space and I’m so proud of it,” Brook said. “I bring people here, I drive down Edwards Street just to show them this is ‘the new Cleveland’ — I’m really proud of that.”

One new resident at Sanda Mill says God answered her prayers when she found the new lofts and that it was a relief to find something affordable.

She was nearly in tears when saying she already feels at home.

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