City funding will account for more than 20 percent of the financing for the forthcoming Juma Gallery on Chagrin Boulevard.
Shaker Heights City Council on Monday approved a $40,000 grant to help with the redevelopment of 20100-20106 Chagrin Boulevard, where Shaker resident and artist Erica Weiss will open an art gallery and retail boutique in September.
Council previously approved a $15,000 microfinance Ignition loan for the business. Council adopted that loan concept in April 2011.
The gallery will be located at Sussex Corners in units Weiss's husband, David, purchased with Gordon Premier more than a decade ago. The units include one where artist Malcolm Brown operated a gallery for more than 30 years. Contractors are installing plumbing, walls, carpentry and more for the planned opening in September.
The city's Finance Committee approved the grant before sending it to city council. Economic Development Director Tania Menesse provided a memo for council encouraging approval of the grant.
"The announcement of the full funding of the Warrensville-Van Aken Road reconfiguration and the accompanying plans to revitalize the area into a walkable, mixed use district solidified the Weiss' interest in investing significant time and resources into the creation of a new retail concept for the Shaker Heights community," the memo reads.
Weiss wants to feature local and regional artwork in her gallery, while selling jewelry, clothing and furniture with other merchants like The Housewarmings, which sold goods as a popup tenant earlier this summer. Aside from the city grant and loan, the Weiss' family will invest nearly $200,000 in improving the units. That investment undoubtedly enhanced the city's willingness to help and pass the grant as an emergency measure.
Weiss has operated another Juma Gallery in the Little Italy district for more than 10 years. Mayor Earl Leiken said a gallery "of this caliber" would enhance foot traffic — and hopefully sales tax receipts — for the entire plaza that also includes a bakery, restaurant and salon.
"It is something that makes great sense," Leiken said.