Seeds & Sprouts VI – Early intel on real estate projects

This is the Sixth edition of Seeds & Sprouts – Early intelligence on Cleveland-area real estate projects. Because these projects are very early in their process of development or just a long-range plan, a lot can and probably will change their final shape, use and outcome.

converting-Clevelands-fourth-tallest-building-into-200-apartments
Work is reportedly about to get
underway soon on converting
Cleveland’s fourth-tallest build-
ing into 200+ apartments and
possibly even a hotel (KJP).
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

Erieview Tower conversion may be getting close

According to a high-level executive at Dollar Bank which has its headquarters in the Galleria at Erieview, work is about to start on the renovation and conversion of the 40-story office tower into residences and possibly a hotel. The bank executive said his firm was notified by Kassouf Company, lead partner of a group that recently bought the property.

However, no building permits have been filed with the city to confirm this development. A message left for James Kassouf through his Web site was not returned prior to publication of this article.

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The only publicly filed document relating to the renovation of Erieview was a notice of commencement filed with Cuyahoga County by Scalish Design Build LLC for the renovation of Suite 1200 for tenant Alexander Mann Solutions. The designer of that work was Dimit Architects, the same firm that designed the apartments for Kassouf’s partial building conversion.

The bank executive, who asked not to be named publicly, said he was aware that renovations are due to start shortly on the tower’s lobby to create separate entrances for the office, residential and hotel uses. There will also be fountains in the lobbies and three separate elevator banks — one for each building use, he said.

Kassouf in 2018 bought the 1964-built Erieview Tower and its associated 1987-built Galleria shopping mall/office condos property for $17.7 million, according to county records. Last year, Kassouf got plans approved by the city to convert the tower’s upper 12 floors into 220 luxury apartment units.

Additional features include converting the closed Stouffers Cafeteria below the Galleria into 90 additional parking spaces. That would increase the number of parking spaces below the complex to accommodate more than 500 cars.

Dollar Bank relocated its headquarters to the Galleria in 2008, increasing its office presence there to 50,000 square feet in a two-story glass structure at the corner of East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue. Dollar Bank also has a private banking center and a training facility on-site.

Schofield Building to get new & renewed ground-floor uses

According to a source close to the situation, Citizens Bank will open a branch location on the ground-floor of the historic Schofield Building. Despite the high-profile location at the southwest corner of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue, also dubbed “Main and Main,” the corner retail space has remained largely vacant ever since the renovated 1902-built structure reopened in 2016.

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The new Citizens Bank branch will reportedly not affect the next-closest Citizens Bank branch, several blocks away at Superior Avenue and East 12th Street. That branch is on the ground floor of Citizens Bank’s regional headquarters building. Citizens Bank’s main headquarters is in Providence, RI.

Since 2016, the Schofield’s corner space has hosted only a Christmas store at the end of each year and other special-event retail and displays. Like many downtown retail spaces, this was spot was over-priced for mom-n-pop merchants. Only national chains could afford them, but most chains want to see a downtown population above 20,000 — a threshold downtown Cleveland is approaching but not yet reached.

Also, Parkers Downtown restaurant is reportedly getting a minor facelift during the downtime forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to serving fine food and drinks to the general public, it is the hotel restaurant for the Kimpton Schofield Hotel, which also temporarily closed during the crisis. The 128-room hotel is on the lower seven floors of the building while 52 apartments are on the upper seven floors.

The 14-story Schofield Building was renovated from 2011-16 that included the removal of 1960s-era steel cladding in attempt to modernize the building that was designed by noted architect Levi Schofield. The cladding covered up and damaged much of the building’s original terra cotta ornamental fixtures which were repaired or rebuilt during the recent renovation.

75 Public Square renovation to start in May

Last November, NEOtrans broke the story that Millennia Companies would start work in early 2020 on renovating 75 Public Square into Public Square North — a 119-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail. Now, NEOtrans can report that Millennia and its general contractor Cleveland Construction Inc. will commence renovations within 30 days.

The 15-story building, built in 1915 as the headquarters of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., will be rehabbed for $40 million. Cleveland Construction has experience in renovating historic structures, including the Schofield Building (see previous story). The same firm also is being tapped for the construction of One nuCLEus Place which could start in summer (see the story that NEOtrans broke here and a followup story).

Located on the northwest corner of Public Square, the historic Public Square North building also features two commercial spaces available for lease on the ground floor — one measuring 1,200 square feet and the other 3,000 square feet. A newsstand and restaurant have operated in those spaces at various times in the past.

Lastly, because Millennia also owns Key Tower located nearby on the northeast corner of Public Square, residents of Public Square North will be able to use amenities in Ohio’s tallest skyscraper. Those includes the new fitness center Vedas Fitness and Key Tower’s underground parking, according to promotional materials.

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