New CPD HQ to rise on Opportunity Corridor; is new county jail far behind?

General location of the new Cleveland Police Department
headquarters is identified with the orange oval. It is located
where the new Opportunity Corridor boulevard will intersect
East 75th Street, between two rapid transit stations (Google).
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Starting in 2021, as many as 700 workers and hundreds of visitors will come each day to a newly built Cleveland Police Department (CPD) headquarters. Its location Near to where the new $350 million Opportunity Corridor boulevard will soon be intersecting East 75th Street.

That location was announced publicly today at a hearing of Cleveland City Council’s Safety Committee. Specifically the site will be at East 75th and Grand Avenue, just west of the Orlando Baking Co.

The site will also be in between two Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority rail stations on East 79th — one for the Airport-Windermere Red Line and the other for the Shaker Heights-Waterfront Blue/Green lines.

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Proposed is a multi-story office campus with 180,000 square feet of office space for HQ operations and another 115,000 square feet of space for storage, garage and supportive offices, according to the city’s request for proposals.

The existing Cleveland Police Department headquarters is
located in this eight-story building that is part of the Justice
Center, at Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue (Ideastream).

The site will also have secure parking for 400 passenger cars separate from public parking. Total area for the parking needs is estimated at roughly 160,000 square feet. So much parking may require a multi-level parking garage to be provided.

Cost of the project isn’t known, but it could exceed $100 million. Fortunately, the city may already have most of the money it needs to afford this facility.

Consider that the city received $9.25 million from the sale of its old police HQ at the Justice Center on Ontario Street downtown. It will also save $5.1 million per year by closing the downtown municipal jail and paying the county to house its prisoners.

That $9.25 million can be part of the down payment for financing a CPD HQ, with annual payments of $5 million over 20 years, which is what the city appeared willing to do, per its RFP.

The city’s RFP, originally issued in early 2017, also requested that any proposed CPD HQ sites be west of East 55th and north of Interstate 490. The chosen site is east of East 55th and located on the Opportunity Corridor that is now under construction to link I-490 with University Circle.

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This is the specific location for the Cleveland Police Depart-
ment headquarters, located just west of East 75th Street and
along Grand Avenue. The site is north of the Opportunity
Corridor, now under construction (City of Cleveland).

The city issued its RFP in the hopes that owners of downtown buildings would jump at the chance to land a huge tenant like the CPD. But none could meet the city’s large space or security requirements.

In 2017, the city had attempted to lease 55 Public Square, but too many structural and security changes were needed. The city also had a $60 million deal in place to buy the Plain Dealer Plaza at 1801 Superior Ave. but the Department of Homeland Security reportedly nixed it for undisclosed reasons. At one point, it appeared the city would move to its old CPD HQ on Payne Ave.

In locating the CPD HQ along the Opportunity Corridor, it suggests that other developments may also be in the cards. The most significant is whether Cuyahoga County’s proposed new consolidated jail facility, representing hundreds of thousands of square feet of new construction and hundreds more employees, may soon follow.

The county is considering whether to rebuild or replace its aging, inadequate jail facilities and consolidate them with suburban jails to save money. This will also coincide with jail reform that could reduce the county’s jail population and thus its space requirements.

This one of many land use vision documents issued for the
Opportunity Corridor in recent years. This is from 2015, by
the Burten Bell Carr Community Development Corp. (BBC).

The current county jail is located in the 42-year-old Justice Center complex downtown. The courthouse tower may also be renovated or replaced as part of the county’s comprehensive facility analysis. In its RFP, the city wanted the CPD HQ located near the county’s emergency operations center, jails and courthouse.

There also are few cafes, restaurants or shops in the vicinity of the proposed new CPD HQ site on East 79th. There would have to be a number of new supportive businesses for the nearly 700 workers and hundreds more daily visitors to the CPD campus.

Access to the site should not be difficult. Construction of the third and final phase of the Opportunity Corridor, between I-490 at East 55th Street and East 93rd Street is due to conclude in mid-2021, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. Cost of the roadway’s final phase is $150 million.

GCRTA’s Red Line’s East 79th aging rail station is scheduled for replacement starting in 2020 at a cost of $10 million. It is due to be completed sometime in 2021. The Green/Blue lines station at East 79th is also in disrepair but with no major construction planned.

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