900-1800 office jobs coming to Superior Arts District downtown

Plain Dealer Plaza at 1801 Superior Ave. is under contract to
sell to MinuteMen Staffing Services Inc. on or about Nov. 8 for
its new headquarters. MinuteMen is one of two fast-growing
companies moving to the Superior Arts District on downtown
Cleveland’s east side (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

Over the next couple of years, approximately 900 office jobs are due to arrive in the Superior Arts District. That number could double by the mid-2020s as two fast-growing companies are relocating their headquarters to this redeveloping area of Superior Avenue on the eastern edge of downtown Cleveland.

The new jobs would add to several hundred office workers already there.

In a matter of days, and barring any last-minute glitch, MinuteMen Staffing Services Inc. is due to take title to the former Plain Dealer Plaza office building, 1801 Superior Ave. Terms of the transaction have yet to be disclosed.

The staffing and workers compensation firm will renovate the newspaper’s old offices for more than 400 corporate and administrative employees relocated from multiple locations. Its corporate HQ was located at MinuteMen Center, 3740 Carnegie Ave., since 1997.

MinuteMen President Jason Lucarelli said his company, with annual revenues surpassing $300 million, will expand into every state in the country. It currently has 26 offices in five states, according to Cleveland Magazine. MinuteMen was founded by Jason’s father Samuel G. Lucarelli in 1968.

With the growth that his firm is pursuing, Lucarelli said he anticipates that MinuteMen will double its HQ employment in the coming years to 800. The former PD building measures 236,160 square feet which is more than enough to accommodate MinuteMen’s projected expansion.

The ex-newspaper building was built in 2002 for $38 million and owned by the Forest City Publishing Co. In addition to the office building, the 8-acre site has 80,000 square feet of storage and 630 parking spots in a 1969-built parking deck south of St. Clair Ave., according to county records.

Corporate headquarters aren’t the only real estate developments
coming to the Superior Arts District. This commercial building
at 2125 Superior is being renovated into 58 apartments as well
as a ground-floor, street-facing restaurant (KJP).

Although the PD relocated its editorial offices to Tower City Center and then to Brooklyn, Cleveland.com retains about 200 employees at 1801 Superior. Advance Ohio, the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland and the?YMCA of Greater Cleveland also lease office space in the building. But most of the building is vacant.

The City of Cleveland was near to purchasing the property last year for the new Cleveland Police Department HQ. That move was nixed for reasons that the city has yet to disclose.

Disposition of the old MinuteMen Center, which dates from 1935 but was renovated in 1997, hasn’t been determined. It may be put up for sale. Since it has yet to be put on the market, Midtown Cleveland Executive Director Jeff Epstein declined to comment on the future of the property.

His community development counterpart at Campus District Inc., Executive Director Mark Lammon, also declined comment on MinuteMen’s pending purchase of 1801 Superior as the sale hasn’t yet closed.

Additionally, he wasn’t at liberty to discuss another pending HQ relocation to the Superior Arts District — that of Brecksville-based CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC. Lammon declined comment because the fast-growing mortgage firm’s plans haven’t been formally announced.

CrossCountry’s CEO Ron Leonhardt led a team of investors on Dec. 28, 2018 to buy a 6-acre block full of historic commercial buildings from Tap Packaging Inc., formerly the Chilcote Co. The buildings were constructed between 1910 and 1940, Cuyahoga County records show.

Multiple historic buildings southeast of the
intersection of Superior and East 21st are
due to be renovated into the new corporate
headquarters for CrossCountry Mortgage,
currently located in Brecksville (KJP).

The six-acre block is bounded by Superior, East 21st and East 22nd streets, plus Payne Avenue. All 16 of the parcels in that block were bought by CC Superior Holding LLC for $849,500, according to county records.

In recent media reports, Leonhardt said CrossCountry, founded in 2003, could see its HQ staff grow to 1,000 employees in five years. His company has already outgrown its 50,000-square-foot HQ on Miller Road in Brecksville. For this article, Leonhardt did not respond to questions posed to him in an e-mail. He acknowledged receipt of the e-mail, however.

A real estate development source said that, between MinuteMen, CrossCountry, Cleveland.com, Hotcards, LLC and real estate firm GBX Group LLC, the Superior Arts District could exceed 1,200 daytime employees in a couple of years. With future growth, that figure could surpass 2,000 jobs in several more years.

Residential, restaurant and retail development in the Superior Arts District are growing too. For $12 million, Developer Bobby George is renovating a vacant, 59,000-square-foot commercial building at 2125 Superior into 58 apartments over an as-yet unidentified cafe that plans to serve breakfast and lunch. The property is next door to GBX’s offices at Superior and East 21st.

More residential developments are planned in the immediate neighborhood, but aren’t far enough along in the development process for the source to provide further details publicly. That could include a property acquisition that occurred as part of Leonhardt’s Dec. 28, 2018 transaction.

In it, Leonhardt and his unidentified partners transferred by quit-claim deed five properties along the east side of East 22nd, north of Payne, to 2130 Superior Avenue, LLC, county records show.

That firm is an affiliate of BEK Developers, LLC, of Beachwood. BEK is an acronym for the first names of Bob Risman, his wife Eleanor and their daughter Kathy Risman — part of one of wealthiest families in Greater Cleveland.

Their proposed development, rumored to be a residential project, hasn’t been announced. But, when combined with the ground-floor restaurant and retail offerings likely to appear along the sidewalk in CrossCountry’s HQ development, it is clear that this neighborhood is about to become much more active.


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