Half of Bulkley Building to be residential

The nine-story Bulkley Building, at center, is due to be refurbished by its owner the Playhouse Square Foundation, including with four floors converted to residential, four floors remaining as offices with a large new office tenant and ground-floor retail/restaurants. The ninth floor is not visible from the street as it is on the far side of the building (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM

Dix & Eaton also moving to Playhouse Square building


A significant building in downtown Cleveland’s theater district is proposed to undergo a transformation that would convert nearly half of the structure to residential and add a high-profile office tenant. The Bulkley Building, or simply The Bulkley, 1501 Euclid Ave., is not only owned by the Playhouse Square Foundation but is also the current site of the foundation’s offices.

While the Playhouse Square Foundation will keep its offices on the second floor and continue to lease offices on the third floor, public relations, investor relations and communications firm Dix & Eaton will occupy about 22,000 square feet on the eighth and ninth floors. The ninth floor exists atop only the eastern half of the building which has 17,642-square-foot floorplates on floors one through eight. The ninth floor measures only 8,293 square feet, including common areas. Dix & Eaton will relocate from a 25,000-square-foot space on the 39th floor of 200 Public Square where it has too much space, according to a real estate source who spoke off the record.

On The Bulkley’s floors four through seven, between the two main office tenants, will be about 72,384 square feet of residential space. A typical mix of studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom suites for that amount of floor space would accommodate about 70 apartments. But plans submitted to the city show 84 units are proposed, meaning they would be a little smaller and potentially more affordable than typical downtown apartments.

Interior demolition work prior to the development of the residential units is estimated to cost $687,000, a city permit application shows. The demolition work involves the removal of interior, non-structural-supporting walls as well as electrical conduits, plumbing and heating-ventilating-air condition systems. The architect for the residential portion of the project is Berardi Partners of Columbus. The general contractor for residential work is John G. Johnson. Playhouse Square Property Manager Emily Dennis and Emily Suman, community programs supervisor at Playhouse Square, did not respond to e-mails from NEOtrans seeking more information.

Rendering of the new offices for Dix & Eaton on the top two floors at The Bulkley in Playhouse Square (VAA).

Permit applications were submitted today to the city of Cleveland’s Building Department for $220,000 worth of interior demolition work to prepare the eighth and ninth floors for modern offices sought by Dix & Eaton, an employee-owned company founded in 1952. The company has 50 employees, 90 percent of which are at their Cleveland office. All of their Cleveland employees will make the move, said Amy McGahan, managing director at Dix & Eaton.

The architect for their new offices is Van Auken Akins Architects LLC, located across Euclid Avenue in the Hanna Building. Separate permit applications will be filed for constructing the offices, according to today’s demolition permit application that was submitted by Van Aukin Akins. Whiting Turner, also of Cleveland, is the office project’s general contractor, according to the demolition permit application.

“We have not determined an exact move date yet,” McGahan said. “Our lease at 200 Public Square runs through April 2025, and we saw an opportunity to design a great new space that increases opportunities for collaboration and technology suited for the future of work in the vibrant Playhouse Square District.”

A separate file was created today on the city Building Department’s web portal titled “Bulkley Building Residential” and updated with more information and filings on March 20. A source familiar with the project said that Liberty Development Co. of Westlake is the developer of the apartments. That was confirmed in documents submitted to the city March 20 as part of the permit applications.

Lobby of the Bulkley Building in downtown Cleveland’s Playhouse Square theater district (CRESCO/PHS).

Liberty, founded in 1996, has mostly new-construction, suburban projects to its credit. However Liberty recently acquired and renovated the eight-story Union Building, 1836 Euclid, that was built in 1905. The 85,000-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail was renovated for $25 million. An e-mail sent by NEOtrans to Liberty’s general mailbox was not responded to prior to publication of this article.

Parking for the new apartments and Dix & Eaton’s offices will be provided at a 900-space multilevel garage, 1450 Chester Ave. That parking deck is accessed via an enclosed walkway from a 45,000-square-foot addition to The Bulkley built a decade ago. The walkway from The Bulkley’s addition extends over Dodge Court to the parking garage.

One of the sources said the residential project is a follow-on to the Playhouse Square Foundation’s success in constructing and leasing The Lumen apartments, a 34-story, 396-foot-tall skyscraper at 1600 Euclid. The building started leasing just as the pandemic hit in March 2020. The building formally opened later that summer and, despite the pandemic and the civil unrest following the police murder of George Floyd, the building leased out its 318 apartments in less than one year. Apartments are priced at the top-of-the-market monthly rents of roughly $3 per square foot.

Proposed floor plans for the offices of Dix & Eaton which seeks to relocate to the eighth and ninth floors of the Bulkley Building (VAA).

The Bulkley measures a total of 172,362 square feet, according to Property Shark. The same website, which was last updated on March 10, reports that 80,082 square feet remained available for lease in the building. The Bulkley, named after Senator Robert Johns Bulkley, was built in 1921. Leasing for the building is handled by real estate brokerage CRESCO. An e-mail sent to Nathan Kelly, president and managing director of CRESCO Real Estate’s Greater Cleveland office, was not answered prior to publication.

On the ground floor of The Bulkley is a lobby for the Allen Theater as well several restaurant spaces and a retail space for the Playhouse Square Foundation. No building Department applications have been filed to suggest that those spaces are subject to any significant use changes or renovation work at this time. However, new marquees are being added to the Allen Theater as well as the other four theaters in Playhouse Square which has one of the largest seating capacities of any theater district in the nation.

The addition of approximately 84 apartments, while small in number, is expected to add to the 18-hour vibrancy of Playhouse Square. And it will help boost Greater Cleveland’s lagging numbers of apartments under construction. According to a recent report, Greater Cleveland had the fewest apartments under construction of any major metro area in the fourth quarter of 2022.


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