Land Use Consultant
The City of Cleveland is working to boost economic development by identifying and preparing vacant and blighted properties for redevelopment and leading an equitable process to put them back into productive use for new commercial industries. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help create a playbook for this equitable redevelopment process, ultimately helping stimulate responsible, well-planned redevelopment projects that can attract new job markets, increase surrounding property values, and improve the quality of life for Cleveland residents.
Fellowship Dates: October 23, 2023 – October 21, 2024
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
Across America, abandoned and blighted properties negatively impact neighborhoods and local economies; they depress property values, discourage investment, negatively impact the environment, and often attract criminal activity. However, these properties also offer promising opportunities for meaningful economic and community development projects.
The City of Cleveland is working closely with local government agencies, business stakeholders, nonprofits, and developers to identify and prepare vacant, abandoned, underutilized, and/or tax-delinquent commercial properties for return into productive parcels with the goal of revitalizing the city. Funded by American Rescue Plan Act funds, these redevelopment projects will ultimately fuel job retention and creation, attract and retain residents and businesses, improve environmental resilience, contribute to green development, and raise the city’s competitive economic position.
Cleveland will partner with FUSE to help identify, acquire, aggregate, and remediate blighted commercial properties to prepare sites for potential redevelopment. The FUSE Executive Fellow will: conduct a listening tour and landscape analysis to understand stakeholder needs and concerns; facilitate community engagement; develop a Site Readiness Strategic Plan; and begin implementing these strategies. This work will help to return vacant and blighted properties to productive use to help spur neighborhood and economic development. This will help support the city’s goal to promote economic growth and improve residents' quality of life, contributing to a more resilient and sustainable Cleveland in the future.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Beginning in October 2023, the FUSE Executive Fellow will help create a playbook for equitable redevelopment of blighted and vacant non-industrial properties in Cleveland. For industrial sites already a part of Cleveland’s Site Readiness Fund, the FUSE Fellow will help define a process for gathering community input into future uses and community benefits. The FUSE Fellow will also help define economic development incentives and community benefits packages for future development projects, informed by the community. The playbook will help stimulate responsible, well-planned redevelopment of blighted properties that can attract new job markets, increase surrounding property values, and improve the quality of life for Cleveland residents.
The Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a landscape analysis to gather information on potential redevelopment sites, economic development industry trends and industrial market demand, and community needs and perceptions of potential property redevelopment sites. The Executive Fellow will also research strategies from across the nation to determine successful models for similar redevelopment initiatives such as Century City in Milwaukee or Pullman in Chicago.
The Executive Fellow will facilitate engagement and discussion between relevant stakeholders to conduct a listening tour with community residents and city agencies. Importantly, this work will center on low-wealth communities and communities historically excluded from or harmed by policy decisions and resultantly see disproportionate impacts on their health and well-being. This will help ensure that future uses of redevelopment sites have both economic potential as well as the ability to contribute to vibrant, prosperous, and sustainable Cleveland neighborhoods.
The Executive Fellow will use the collected information and community insights to shape profiles and criteria for potential end-users based on physical conditions, local input, environmental and economic potential, and other criteria.
The Executive Fellow will evaluate existing economic development tools and develop a toolkit of new or adapted programs to use in marketing and redeveloping sites for end users.
By September 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a landscape analysis and listening tour - Engage with all relevant stakeholders to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns with regard to blighted property redevelopment initiatives, ensuring community needs, perspectives, and equity for historically disinvested communities are centered in all work; research other successful project models from across the nation.
- Design and Implement a Strategic Plan – Develop a playbook for equitable redevelopment of sites to clean up, reactivate, and return to productive use in preparation for both short and long-range economic development for maximum community benefit.
- Executive Sponsor - Ahmed Abonamah, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance, City of Cleveland, OH
- Project Supervisor – Jeff Epstein, Chief of Integrated Development, City of Cleveland, OH
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in real estate development, stakeholder engagement and facilitation, and project management is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.