Real Estate

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date


Publication Title

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History


The history of real estate development in Cleveland is the story of property owners who speculated on the economic future of the city and anticipated the effect of growth upon property values in different locations. They attempted to subdivide, or allot, the land into the best configuration of building lots, to supply these lots with the necessary improvements, and to promote the project to potential buyers; all in competition with one another and with the threat of periodic bank panics looming over them. Whenever possible they endeavored to get a governmental entity to pay the costs of new roads, bridges, canals, railroads, parks, industries, or public buildings and sometimes held public office to ensure the success of their ventures. During the two centuries of Cleveland's history the opportunities for real estate profits changed and as a response there were changes in the kinds of allotments that were brought to the market and an increasing professionalism of the real estate profession. But the ability to anticipate or manipulate events to increase real estate values has been constant throughout the various periods of Cleveland's growth.