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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

UNIVERSITY IMPROVEMENT CO.

UNIVERSITY IMPROVEMENT CO.

The UNIVERSITY IMPROVEMENT CO., established in 1918, began as a subcommittee of the influential CHAMBER OF COMMERCE'S CITY PLAN COMMISSION, a planning organization. The City Plan Commission had, for several years prior to 1918, been promoting the UNIV. CIRCLE area as an educational and religious center. Landscape and architectural plans for the area were drawn up, largely through the efforts of BENJAMIN S. HUBBELL. The subcommittee was concerned that the property in the area would be acquired by developers unsympathetic to their plans. Thus, in Dec. 1918 the Univ. Improvement Co. was incorporated, with a capitalization of $300,000. The company's purpose was to option, purchase, and sell the land, with the stipulation that purchasers would agree to erect buildings only in accordance with the company's plans and restrictions. All members of the subcommittee were directors of the company; WILLIAM G. MATHER served as president.

By 1920 the company had bought 3 lots with approx. 300' frontage on E. 107th St. north of Euclid. By April 1920 some of this property had been sold to EPWORTH-EUCLID UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. Within the next 6 years the company acquired more lots on E. 107th, which totalled approx. 450' along that street. Plans were to increase capitalization and to include the area south of Euclid Ave. However, no more purchases were made after 1926, and the organization appears to have largely gone dormant by 1928. The remaining lots were sold off later (including 2 to Hubbell in 1941). By 1944 the company held only 1 small lot. Its efforts never spread beyond 1 stretch of E. 107th St.