Biz moving from suburbs to downtown Cleveland

Moving from Beachwood to the corner of East 9th Street and
Bolivar Road, near Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland,
are the regional offices of Goldwater Bank (Google).
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

For the second time this month, there is news that a company is relocating office jobs from the suburbs to downtown Cleveland. Earlier this month, NEOtrans broke the news that digital marketer Fathom will relocate its headquarters and about 100 jobs from Valley View to the West Bank of the Flats.

Now, NEOtrans has learned that another fast-growing company, Goldwater Bank N.A. Mortgage Division, will relocate its offices downtown by the end of the year. The Phoenix, Ariz.-based private commercial bank is moving its regional lending office from 23500 Mercantile Rd. in Beachwood to the Utica Building, 2217 E. 9th St. Goldwater will occupy the entire 11,129-square-foot first floor and an undetermined portion of the Utica Block’s 11,129-square-foot basement.

The bank’s office has 46 people based out of its Beachwood office although some are working remotely — which was the case before the global pandemic hit. All of those jobs will now be based out of the new downtown location, said Ilya Palatnik, Goldwater’s regional manager.

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“This (downtown office space) will allow us to expand to a employment level of up to 104 employees,” Palatnik said. “We keep a lot of administrative and clerical workers working remotely, but that was the case before COVID.”

On Goldwater’s behalf, Fischer & Associates Architects Inc. of Lorain submitted plans to the city earlier this month to secure a permit for interior demolition of the Utica Building’s first floor. It previously held the Brickstone Tavern and the Stella Music Club. Both establishments were damaged, looted and closed as a result of the May 30 rioting that occurred downtown.

According to the permit application, workers will demolish and remove all existing restaurant and bar equipment including hoods, suppression equipment, bars, flooring, lay-in ceilings and non-bearing partitions and railings. They will also thoroughly clean the first floor and create a clean “white box” ready for new finishes. All existing emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire extinguishers and suppression will be maintained. The work is estimated to cost about $15,000, according to the permit application.

The interior of the Utica Building features
this atrium and staircase (LoopNet/Cresco).

There will be follow-on permit applications for build-out of the interior finishes as well as for exterior signage. That would involve replacing the large Brickstone sign above East 9th with one for Goldwater, Palatnik said. He hoped demolition and build-out work could occur this fall.

As part of the relocation and the addition of new jobs that the move will enable, the city of Cleveland will provide financial assistance through its Tech Delta program. That will aid Goldwater’s acquisition of new equipment, computers and wiring, Palatnik added. Details about the amount of assistance was unavailable, but incentives per company per location through the Tech Delta program are capped at $50,000.

Goldwater Bank was founded in 2007. It established the Beachwood office in 2014, expanding to Fairview Park and Chagrin Falls/Bainbridge in 2018. But the latter two offices were consolidated into the Chagrin Falls location last year, Palatnik said. He noted that the relocation to downtown is a strategic one, and not merely to attract more young talent to the company with a back-to-the-city move.

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“There’s a little bit of that, but ultimately we want to be centralized east and west,” Palatnik said. “Some of our employees live on the east side and some west. We want to be downtown. It’s a business-savvy setting on East 9th.”

The location is across East 9th from Progressive Field. The Utica Block is an historic, three-story brick building constructed in 1880, once called the Park Hotel. As the baseball stadium was being constructed in 1993, the downtrodden Utica Building was renovated with ground-floor restaurant/bar spaces and offices on the upper floors.

In addition to taking the entire first floor and part of the basement, Goldwater will also have acces to a rooftop deck. Palatnik said Goldwater will have offices here and not a retail operation. The rest of the 33,3870-square-foot building is occupied by offices for digital marketer Hileman Group and engineering firm Barber & Hoffman Inc.

Stonebridge Plaza, Suite 100, is seen left of the center of this photo taken
from Center Street at Washington Avenue on the Flats West Bank. The
plaza building dates from 1870 and will soon become the new home
of Fathom. The digital marketing firm will move its headquarters
to what is becoming a mini-hub of tech companies (Google).

The building is owned by an affiliate of GBX Group LLC of Cleveland and managed by George Management Ltd. of Lakewood. There were rumors last year that Midwest Development Partners LLC, the prior owners of the Utica Building, wanted to build a high-rise next to or on top of the Utica.

On Dec. 27, 2019, GBX and the George groups granted to the Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corp. a preservation and conservation easement and to relinquish the development air rights above the Utica Building, according to documents filed with Cuyahoga County.

That could provide to the GBX and George groups charitable tax deduction advantages from not developing the air rights to preserve the historic building. As part of the deal, Historic Gateway received a $40,000 donation upfront and $2,500 per year for the first five years. Annual payments will be increased beginning with the sixth year and every five years thereafter. Future increases will be equal to changes in the Consumer Price Index, according to the easement.

Goldwater isn’t the only business moving its offices from Cleveland’s suburbs to an historic building downtown — or, in Fathom’s case, the edge of downtown.

Earlier this month, NEOtrans reported that Fathom, a digital marketing and analytics firm, will move its headquarters from Valley View to Cleveland’s Flats West Bank. The move will follow the company’s June 17 purchase and planned renovation of a property at 2020 Center St., called Stonebridge Plaza, Suite 100.

Plans for the renovation work were submitted in late June to the city’s Building & Housing Department for a building permit and are due to appear before Planning Commission soon. Fathom acquired the property through an affiliate called PromiseONE Properties LLC for $1.35 million, county records show.

Fathom’s new headquarters featuring a contempoary design will soon
be added to the 1870-built Stonebridge Plaza, Suite 100, located at
2020 Center St., Flats’ West Bank, in Cleveland. The company is
relocating from suburban Valley View (Bialosky Cleveland).

Like the Utica Building, Fathom’s new home dates from the 19th century. Their destination is an 1870-built, 15,452-square-foot former machine shop that briefly was used as a Cantina Del Rio restaurant in the 1990s. It was converted to offices in 2006 by the K&D Group as part of the Stonebridge development. PromiseONE acquired the property from Stanley Zona, LTD which in turn is owned by Roger Zona.

Zona also owned TPI Efficiency, a procurement consulting firm which had its offices at 2020 Center. TPI’s Efficiency’s offices moved across the street to 2019 Center after Zona and another investor, Chad Kertesz, acquired the six-story Stonebridge Center office building in April for $1.7 million and renamed it The Hive My Place.

In late June when it acquired Stonebridge Plaza Suite 100, PromiseONE Properties also received a construction loan in the amount of $1,920,000 from First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Lakewood, public records show.

PromiseONE Properties intends to renovate the historic property for its own office needs. That includes 7,984 square feet for up to 79 workers on the first floor and 5,519 square feet for up to 55 employees on the second floor. Thus the maximum occupancy is 134 workers, according to planning documents Fathom and its architect Bialosky Cleveland submitted to the city.

Like Goldwater, Fathom is a fast-growing business. It began in 2006 as Fathom SEO LLC, a search engine optimization firm. Today, it has roughly 175 employees with gross revenues of $20 million to $30 million per year according to several business databases. In addition to its current headquarters at 8200 Sweet Valley Dr. in Valley View, Fathom has offices in San Diego, Detroit and Columbus.

Fathom’s new home is becoming a mini-hub of technology firms. In addition to TPI Efficiency, Snip Internet, EmployStream, BoxCast and Kloud9 all have offices on the West Bank of the Flats.

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