The Baker Building will be repurposed from offices over retail to a 97-key boutique 21c-flag Fidelity Hotel above a restaurant/speakeasy, sports bar and coffee shop plus hotel amenities. The Walton Family received Landmarks Commission approval of their planned redevelopment of the century-old building. This view is from 2005, one of the last times the building was renovated and its exterior was renovated (LoopNet). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM
Renovation got positive Landmarks Commission input
A planned renovation of a vacant office building in downtown Cleveland by the Walton Enterprises of Wal-Mart fame into a boutique hotel got its first publicly accessible airing today by a city panel. And the feedback it received was decidedly positive.
The Fidelity Hotel project on East 6th Street aims to pack lots of hotel rooms and amenities into a building that, although lofty at 11 stories tall, is skinny and offers only 56,770 square feet to work with. And that includes its lower level, according to the plans that were presented to the Cleveland Landmarks Commission.
Proposed is an Accor brand hotel, probably a 21c Museum Hotel brand, according to two sources who spoke off the record. Accor offers more than just hotel rooms but also apartments and extended-stay studios at its properties worldwide.
A sample of an interior design of the Fidelity Hotel, showing a higher-end sports bar on the hotel’s mezzanine level. Also on this level is a reading room loft, located above a first-floor coffee shop. However, there is only one bathroom on the mezzanine and none on the first floor. The bathrooms will instead be in the basement, plans show (contributed).
NEOtrans broke the story in December that the project will be called the Fidelity Hotel, a homage to the building’s original use as the offices for the Fidelity Mortgage Co., 1900-1940 E. 6th St. More recently, it was called the Baker Building. The 103-year-old building is a locally designated landmark and located in the Historic Gateway Neighborhood which is why the Landmarks Commission had jurisdiction to review it.
Planned are 97 guest rooms ranging from about 260 square feet with bathrooms to 569 square feet for a penthouse suite. That is an increase from prior plans for 71 guest rooms based on the number of offices and doorways to them. To increase the number of units in the historic building will require cutting numerous new doors into walls where no doors had existed.
There will also be walls added to increase the number of rooms. The walls will be made of masonry, possibly brick or of brick appearance, but the materials haven’t been finalized, said project architect Paul Alessandro of Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) of Chicago to the commission today. He also has presented before other groups as well.
Conceptual first-floor plan for the Fidelity Hotel that’s proposed in the historic Baker Building (HPA).
The project won $2 million in state historic tax credits in December 2020 which, if used, would limit alterations to the building. The developer is still working with the state on the receipt of the tax credits, said commission Secretary Donald Petit.
Cost of the renovation and conversion project is estimated at $23.4 million, according to its historic tax credit application. The project’s owner’s representative, Jeremy Syz, a partner at Holland and Hart LLP in Boulder, Co., did not respond to an e-mail seeking more information about the project prior to publication of this article.
“We’re in the process of collecting everybody’s comments,” Allessandro said. “We expect to come back to address anything previously from those reviews and from today’s review. This is a very preliminary conceptual review just to make sure that we’re not doing anything that’s going to cause pushback.”
Mezzanine level of the proposed Fidelity Hotel on East 6th Street (HPA).
Plans submitted to the city show the first floor would have an arrival foyer, reception, luggage/office, cooler, main kitchen, restaurant/lounge, private dining room and coffee shop. There is a mezzanine level above the the first floor that increases in height northward through the building because East 6th descends in elevation. The hotel’s entrance is placed at the building’s original lobby location — the south end. That won praise from most commission members.
“I think we can right some wrongs in this building,” said Landmarks Commission Chair Julie Trott. “There’s a hodge podge of different storefronts.”
A restaurant, lounge and private dining room will extend upward into the mezzanine, giving those spaces a high ceiling. The coffee shop will have a second level offering a reading room loft reached by a circular staircase and a wheelchair lift, Alessandro said. Also on the mezzanine will be a sports bar.
Second floor which is dominated by the ballroom plus a board room and offices for hotel guests (HPA).
But aside from a handicapped bathroom on the mezzanine, all of the bathrooms for the first-floor and mezzanine-level uses are on the second floor or in the basement. Also in the basement are building mechanical rooms, housekeeping, employee service areas and storage.
The second floor has a board room for business meetings, a divisible ballroom measuring about 1,660 square feet and offices for hotel guests. One office can accommodate up to five workstations while there are two adjoining, private offices with one workstation each, according to the conceptual plans.
The third floor has a fitness center as well as 10 hotel guest rooms. Plans show that floors four through eight would be identical to each other, with each offering 12 guest rooms. The ninth and the 10th floors have 10 rooms each while the 11th floor has the larger penthouse rooms with seven located there.
Third floor of the proposed Fidelity Hotel is the lowest floor having guest rooms (HPA).
Last month, the City Planning Commission’s Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee gave the conceptual plans a thumbs-up. The committee’s only major suggestion was to urge the architect HPA to accommodate a pick-up/drop-off area the hotel’s entrance. When Alessandro met with representatives of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance about the project, they informed him that East 6th will be the subject of upcoming streetscape improvements.
“The pick up and drop off is something we’re working with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance on,” Alessandro said.
Work on the project is already getting started. On Feb. 1, the project’s general contractor Whiting-Turner applied to the city for a permit to construct an 820-square-foot guest room mock-up on the third floor. However, no hotel guest room in the building is proposed to be that large, according to the conceptual plans submitted to the city. No planning documents were submitted to the city for the guest room mock-up as of today, per the city’s Building & Housing Department web portal.
Floors four through eight are virtually identical and offer a dozen guest rooms (HPA).
On Dec. 16, Building & Housing approved a permit application submitted by HPA that authorized interior alterations of the building including the removal of non-structural elements per approved plans.
In recent months, all of the office and retail/restaurants were moved out of the Baker Building, including Dave’s Cosmic Subs and Souper Market who moved in September to the Standard Building, 99 W. St. Clair Ave. Sapporo Sushi moved to Lakewood. Rather than relocate, the 100-year-old Moriarity’s Pub closed its doors.
The owner of the property is 1900 East 6th Street LLC, an affiliate of the Walton Enterprises. It acquired the building in January 2020 for $3.5 million, public records show. At the time of the sale, sources said Walton typically partners with Accor-brand hotels, including the 21c brand. The only 21c Museum Hotel in Ohio is located in Cincinnati.
The 11th floor has the largest guest rooms in the proposed Fidelity Hotel (HPA).