Fairview Hospital’s North Campus, on the left, is where Cleveland Clinic officials plan to expand the hospital’s medical and parking facilities, starting by replacing its oldest structures across Lorain Avenue, at right. When the older structures are replaced and demolished, new hospital facilities will rise in their place (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.
North Campus project to demolish homes
In a significant project in Cleveland’s Kamm’s Corners neighborhood, a phased expansion of Cleveland Clinic’s Fairview Hospital, 18101 Lorain Ave., is in the works. The project is proposed to start by replacing older structures with new ones on the hospital’s North Campus. After those new structures are built, three groups of older structures on the South Campus will be demolished and their land redeveloped with future hospital facilities. The group of three structures are the seven-level Groveland Avenue parking garage, attached medical office buildings and, across Lorain Avenue at the North Campus, the Moll Cancer Pavilion.
The Clinic’s intentions were shared today at a public meeting held by West Park Kamm’s Neighborhood Development in the cafeteria at Our Lady of Angels Church on Rocky River Drive. It was attended by hospital officials, West Park Kamm’s Executive Director Rosemary Mudry, City Councilman Charles Slife and residents of the immediate neighborhood surrounding Fairview Hospital.
Mudry said the meeting was for immediate neighbors to learn more about the Clinic’s plans to demolish hospital-owned residences along the east side of West 179th Street, next to the North Campus. A dozen years ago, the Clinic demolished homes on the west side of West 179th to expand parking. This latest round of demolitions, expected in the coming weeks, could add more than 1 acre to its nearly 5-acre North Campus. Hospital officials also discussed with neighbors their expansion masterplan which is still in the early stages.
“We’ve had a need to rebuild our cancer center, public parking center and medical office buildings which are nearing the end of their useful lives,” said Cleveland Clinic Executive Director Jorge “Pat” Rios in a phone interview with NEOtrans. “Those buildings are 50-plus years old and maintenance costs are going through the ceiling. We’re reimagining what the North Campus could look like and analyzing several alternatives. There’s potentially more than one use.”
A slide presented at today’s neighborhood meeting regarding the expansion of Fairview Hospital. It shows homes that have already been acquired by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and other properties. Not identified is the Thumbs Up Deli at the northwest corner of Lorain Avenue and West 179th Street which the Clinic is also seeking to acquire (CCF).
“The Moll Pavilion consists of three different structures, one of which was a preconstructed building,” said Angela Smith, senior director of corporate communications at Cleveland Clinic. “Combined, they are outdated.”
According to Cuyahoga County tax records, a half-dozen interconnected medical buildings at Fairview Hospital’s South Campus are 50 years or older, or at least will be after 2025 when they may be replaced. In total, those buildings, exclusive of the parking garage, measure roughly 400,000 square feet, a number that Smith confirmed. This is in addition to renovations and expansion within the existing hospital building for a Multi-specialty clinic and department relocation, which NEOtrans first reported in September.
The seven-story Groveland Garage is also in need of replacement, Clinic officials say. It is used by the public while an employee parking garage off Old Lorain Road is not affected. A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Groveland Garage will be replaced on the North Campus by a new, nine-story parking structure with about 1,300 spaces. The medical offices and cancer center buildings will surround it in some manner that hasn’t been determined yet, Rios said.
“There’s different (building) configurations under consideration,” he explained. “I don’t have the final (site) layout yet. There’s still five or six difference alternatives we’re considering.”
In this 2017 view, one of Fairview Hospital’s largest single structures to be replaced and demolished is this seven-level parking garage. It is reportedly going to be replaced by a larger parking structure on the North Campus with medical offices and a new cancer treatment center built around it. When this garage is demolished, it will be replaced by new but as-yet unidentified hospital facilities (Google).
Nine homes are along the east side of West 179th Street north of Lorain Avenue. Clinic officials note they own eight of them, so that’s the only homes they say they want to demolish. Fairview Hospital began acquiring the homes in the 2000s and leased them out to residents for a while. But now all of the homes the hospital owns have been vacated and, according to nearby residents, are in bad condition. A neighbor, Douglas Baird, has filed complaints with the city’s Building Department regarding the condition of those homes, public records show.
“We already fought the Clinic to try and save the homes on the opposite side of West 179th, when the Clinic wished to add more open surface parking,” Baird said. “We lost that fight. All we managed was to force a taller screening wall with landscaping. The Clinic has allowed the landscaping to die in many sections. Trees dead for years. But no one from the Clinic or city responds to our complaints.”
An eighth home, 3729 W. 179th St., is under a purchase agreement with the hospital, according to the source. A ninth home, 3747 W. 179th, is owned by a trusteeship of Douglas Damian Janison and his wife Patricia Keeler Janison of Scottsdale, AZ, county property records show. It is rented to George and Terri Gorze Terri who have two special needs children, said George Gorze. The Gorzes own a company which owns the Thumbs Up Deli at Lorain and West 179th. The hospital is also seeking to acquire the deli, Gorze added. If it can acquire those properties, he said the hospital could request that West 179th be vacated south of Allien Avenue and absorb the street right of way.
In this view from September 2009 looking south from Allien Avenue toward Lorain Avenue, both sides of West 179th Street had houses along it. By the end 2011, all of the houses on the right were demolished and replaced with a parking lot and landscaped wall. Starting in December, the homes on the left will be demolished, too. The street may ultimately be vacated as well (Google).
“We are in the earliest phases of planning and are looking at a variety of options at this time,” Smith responded when asked by NEOtrans if the Clinic would seek to vacate West 179th. “As our expansion plans mature, we will be sure to share updates.”
“They want both my home and my business,” Gorze said. “We’ve been in negotiation since August 2022. In June of this year, we cut a verbal deal. Two months later, the Clinic backed out of it. They said they had two bad months in a row and couldn’t do it. They’ve let the homes around me deteriorate on purpose. There’s broken windows, fences, gas grills laying on their sides and they’re not shoveling (the snow from) their sidewalks so my children have to walk in the street. We have an organization in this city that’s so powerful it leaves our community agencies crippled. If the Building Department tries to hold the Clinic accountable, there’s reluctance on every level.”
Neither Rios or Smith had any comment regarding whether the Clinic was seeking to acquire additional properties or about the condition of the properties. Councilwoman Slife did not respond to an e-mail sent by NEOtrans prior to the neighborhood meeting that sought comment on the issues to be discussed. This article may be updated with additional followup.