The City of Cleveland has announced that the new site for the new Division of Police headquarters will be the historic Artcraft Building, 2540 Superior Ave. It is located next to Interstate 90 at the east end of downtown in the Campus District (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM
Other sites had too many complications
Article updated Nov. 30, 2022
After a competitive request-for-proposals (RFP) process the city has selected the historic ArtCraft Building, located at 2530 Superior Ave., as the top pick for the new Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) headquarters. The city will begin negotiations for the site with the property owner’s team led by TurnDev Development and expects to have legislation ready for City Council review in January 2023.
“This site presents the best combination of location, timing, functionality and cost while meeting the needs of our Division of Police,” said Mayor Justin Bibb in a written statement. “I appreciate the hard work and due diligence of the team to ensure we deliver on this important project.”
Bibb Administration’s requirements included approximately 250,000 contiguous square feet of space that’s laid out appropriately for office staff and law enforcement needs, including private offices, public spaces, cubical workspaces, interview rooms, classrooms, exercise room, conference rooms and locker rooms. The space must be in the City of Cleveland, within a 2.5-mile radius of Cleveland City Hall and close to freeway access with space for secure parking for 450 passenger cars. The Cleveland Division of Police must be the sole occupant of the facility.
The city is renting its current CDP HQ, a 293,197 square-foot building at 1301 Ontario St. from Cuyahoga County. The building, which was poorly constructed in 1977, is reportedly in such bad condition that it cannot affordably be renovated and needs to be demolished — like much of the rest of the Justice Center complex, according to city and county officials.
An early 20th century advertisement for the 1914-built Artcraft Building. It and its garment district neighbors were built to replace the cramped, unsanitary and unsafe 19th-century textile factories in the Warehouse District downtown (imagesinbloom.com).
Despite the city’s very short response timeline of less than three weeks, the city said it received six proposals in response to its October 2022 RFP. Following a review, the 108-year-old ArtCraft Building was the clear recommendation, city officials said. The ArtCraft Building can be transformed into a world-class home for CDP within the existing budget, based on the City’s previous bond issuance, and will save an estimated $40 million when compared to the all-in cost for the Opportunity Corridor site.
This savings accounts for the approximately $9 million previously spent on design, engineering, and consulting costs for new construction at the Opportunity Corridor site — much of which was spent on studying CDP’s space and design needs, work that can be translated to the ArtCraft Building design process. Selection of the ArtCraft site will also mean a faster delivery time, bringing CDP into their new home in early 2025—18 to 24 months before the Opportunity Corridor site — saving costs on future lease payments at the Justice Center.
And the 260,000-square-foot ArtCraft site allows for a single location for CDP HQ functions, freeing up 2001 Payne Avenue, the city’s Public Safety Center and the Opportunity Corridor site for other potential revenue-generating uses. The Opportunity Corridor site, on the one-year-old boulevard at East 75th Street, was just beyond the 2.5-mile radius from city hall which was stipulated in the RFP. Yet city officials said they would still consider it in its review of options. That site is city-owned land but the city is trying to market the new roadway corridor for tax-generating property uses to support city services and local schools.
“The city remains excited about the future of Opportunity Corridor and bringing high-quality, accessible jobs to the corridor,” said Cleveland’s Chief of Integrated Development Jeff Epstein. “This decision opens up an incredibly valuable site for future development and job creation.”
Current location of the Cleveland Division of Police headquarters is 1301 Ontario St. — the shorter building at left. The 1977-built structure is reportedly in worse condition than the 1914-built ArtCraft Building to which the police HQ is moving (Ideastream).
Bibb’s predecessor, the Frank Jackson administration, received pushback from the Greater Cleveland Partnership and a number of downtown law firms on its 2019 decision to relocate up to 700 police officer and civilian jobs to the Opportunity Corridor. At full staffing, the department could have up to 1,000 jobs, creating strong potential for more restaurant and support jobs in the Campus District near the ArtCraft Building. It is one block away from the new headquarters for CrossCountry Mortgage which has relocated from suburban Brecksville.
Redevelopment of the ArtCraft site will be an adaptive re-use of an historic building in a prominent and highly visible Superior Avenue location that is transit accessible and has highway access. The gut-rehab renovation will include all new building systems, roof, parking garage, and efficient floorplan with the flexibility needed for all CDP functions today and into the future.
The property includes 1.5 acres of parking lots for more than 360 cars. A parking deck could create more spaces and a storage garage. The site is next to Interstate’s 90 access ramps and is located on what will be the Superior Midway, a landscaped multimodal transportation corridor for cars, prioritized buses, protected bike lanes and wide sidewalks for pedestrians and active uses from downtown to East 55th Street. Construction on the $30 million-plus Superior Midway is due to start in 2025.
“We support the ArtCraft Building recommendation and are excited about moving forward,” said Police Chief Wayne Drummond. “This new location will benefit our future direction tremendously, allowing us to not only move into our permanent home sooner, but also increase efficiency by having all HQ functions under one roof.”
This was the city’s most recent of several plans for the police headquarters — a new $107 million building constructed at the northwest corner of the Opportunity Corridor Boulevard and East 75th Street. Former Mayor Frank Jackson even held a hurriedly arranged groundbreaking ceremony two weeks before the end of his administration to declare the project was underway (JMT/Dewberry).
However the ArtCraft Building is not yet vacant, despite what’s in the city’s press release. There is an eclectic mix of commercial lofts, offices and art studios in the ArtCraft Building, including offices for the building’s prior owner and manager, The Roy Group. Barbara Bloom, owner of one of the tenants, a studio for Images In Bloom, said she was told to vacate the building by April 1, 2023
Multiple sites were considered in the past for the new CDP HQ, not just the Opportunity Corridor site. The city in 2019 assumed it could easily relocate the police station to the 22-story 55 Public Square but found the building and its owner, Optima Ventures, didn’t meet security requirements. The owner who was forced by an FBI investigation into illicit financial dealings to sell the building to the K&D Group which is redeveloping the property into apartments and modern offices.
An oft-discussed site was the former Plain Dealer Building, 1801 Superior. The city had reached a $60 million deal to acquire the property and its 235,000-square-foot building but was nixed at the last minute by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which reportedly had some concerns about a police HQ in a major city sharing a building with other tenants. Representatives of Step Forward — formerly the Council For Economic Opportunities — have resisted relocating.
Minute Men Inc. had a purchase agreement to acquire the former Plain Dealer building but walked away, instead preferring to expand its existing headquarters on Carnegie Avenue. The site’s prior use, including as a printing plant for the former-daily newspaper, reportedly has caused some environmental concerns for the site which apparently were not remediated before the Plain Dealer built its new office building there in 2001. Its printing plant was relocated to suburban Brooklyn in 1994.