Chris Warren, city’s lead on regional development to retire

Warren will serve as a consultant on lakefront development issues for six months

The City of Cleveland’s first Chief of Regional Development, Chris Warren, is set to retire on December 20, 2013 after six and a half years on the job. During his tenure, Warren was the City’s lead negotiator on significant economic development projects, including lakefront development and led the city’s efforts to fight back against the foreclosure crisis while managing five city departments.

“Chris Warren has been an asset to my Administration and has worked tirelessly to improve the City’s and the region’s economic health,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “He worked with developers, businesses, public officials and City staff to make real improvements, always with the mindset that the people of Cleveland should benefit as a result of the work that he did.”

Warren was instrumental in the establishment of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, a national model for managing vacant and abandoned properties; as well as the Strategic Investment Initiative, in partnership with Neighborhood Progress, Inc., which coordinates activities to improve neighborhoods, including home rehabilitation and repair, demolition of nuisance properties, re-use of vacant land, and major redevelopment projects.

In addition, Warren helped shift the Building & Housing Department to a proactive, strategic model for inspection and demolition; worked with Cuyahoga County, the City’s Community Development Department and the Housing First coalition to increase permanent supportive housing to address chronic homelessness and provide financing for a 130 bed women’s shelter. He guided long-term city planning efforts and provided oversight of the Cleveland Airport System.

A recent priority for Warren has been the City’s efforts to redevelop Cleveland’s lakefront. Earlier this year, a request for proposals was issued and four developers’  proposals are under evaluation.  Given the scope and importance of this project, Warren has agreed to work as a consultant to the city for six months, from mid-January through mid-June and his work will focus solely on the Jackson Administration’s efforts to advance the redevelopment of the lakefront.

“Attracting tens of millions of dollars in private investment to the lakefront has the power to be transformative for Cleveland and the region. Lakefront development will make Cleveland and northeast Ohio a stronger destination for businesses and tourism and make Cleveland an even better place to live,” stated Warren. “This short term contract will allow me to move the project forward while the City transitions to a new Chief of Regional Development and I transition into retirement.”

As a consultant, Warren will focus on lakefront development activities, including securing Mayoral and City Council approval for private development agreements; establishing a strategy for funding essential public infrastructure improvements related to lakefront development; coordinating lakefront development efforts with the work of the Group Plan Commission and other waterfront initiatives; as well as monitoring two near term construction projects: the North Coast Harbor Marina and the Voinovich Park Pedestrian Bridge. He will work no more than 40 hours in a two week period and will be compensated at a rate of $85 dollars an hour.

Mayor Jackson states: “I asked Chris Warren to provide consultant services for the lakefront development project because his knowledge of the project and the City’s development and legislative processes are crucial to our success. At the same time, the reduced hours and responsibilities will help him achieve some of his personal goals.”

As Chief of Regional Development, Warren was responsible for the Departments of Port Control, Building & Housing, City Planning, Community Development and Economic Development.  Mayor Jackson appointed Warren to the position in June, 2007. At the time, Warren was president of ShoreBank Enterprise Group, a nonprofit affiliate of ShoreBank Corporation, a position he took in 2002 after 12 years as the City of Cleveland’s Director of Community Development and the Director of Economic Development.  He was the founding director of Tremont West Development Corporation and one of the founders and an executive director of Cleveland Housing Network.

Mayor Jackson will begin a search for a new Chief of Regional Development.  During the search process, Chief of Staff Ken Silliman will provide oversight to the development cluster.

Cleveland City Hall