Cleveland police SWAT building costs rise

Looking east along a pitted access road to Clark Field next to Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood is the former Cleveland animal kennel, at left. It will be Cleveland’s new SWAT unit facility. It is across the roadway from an expanding Air Products Inc. Cleveland plant and next to the ramps onto Interstate 490 (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

SWAT HQ to re-use ex-animal shelter by Tremont

Plans for converting the city of Cleveland’s former animal shelter at 2690 W. 7th St. near Clark Field into a new administrative and training center for the Cleveland Police Department’s SWAT unit are moving forward. But those building renovation plans are coming at a higher price — about 15 percent higher.

The plans for renovating the 13,534-square-foot building at the edge of Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood were submitted to the city’s Building Department yesterday. They show an estimated price tag of $7.5 million for renovating the city’s former animal shelter that was vacated in 2019 in favor of a new building at 9203 Detroit Ave.

One year ago, city officials estimated the new home for the Special Weapons And Tactics unit of the Cleveland Police Department would cost about $6.5 million. The $1 million increase is due to the rising cost of construction materials which has affected public- and private-sector construction projects alike, city officials said.

Still, that price tag is less than what the city would have paid if they had built a new SWAT facility from scratch. Carter Edman, the city’s manager of architecture and site development, told City Council last year that a completely new building could cost anywhere from $12 million to $15 million. That price, too, probably would have increased from last year to this year.

Since then, Edman was hired as director of design at the Willoughby-based real estate development and construction contracting firm Marous Brothers Construction. Replacing him at the helm of the city’s Division of Architecture and Site Development is interim manager Mark Duluk.

Site plans for the Cleveland Police Department’s new SWAT unit facility on West 7th Street next to Tremont. North is to the left side of the image (JMT-Dewberry).

City safety department officials said they don’t want the SWAT unit downtown — specifically near the police headquarters, Public Square, courthouses or other locations where protests may be held so they can more easily respond to them if they get out of control. Officials referred to the May 2020 nationwide riots in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police. Cleveland’s protest-turned-riot started outside the Justice Center.

The new SWAT facility will be conveniently located next to the West 7th ramp onto Interstate 490. Those ramps go only to and from the east to Interstate 77 and Opportunity Corridor Boulevard, making downtown and Cleveland’s east-side neighborhoods quickly accessible.

Getting to the southwest, such as to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, isn’t too difficult either. It involves traveling south on Quigley Road to the Interstate 71 ramps. To get to other west-side neighborhoods, however, means taking a circuitous route on Quigley, Clark Avenue and West 25th Street to reach Interstate 90.

Inside the new SWAT facility will be a garage for up to 11 vehicles including its armored dragoon, plus a dozen outdoor parking spaces. Plans also show a tactical gear room, locker room, exercise room, cardio room, munitions storage, briefing and reporting rooms, two sergeants’ offices and an office for the SWAT team’s lieutenant.

Floor plan for the new Cleveland SWAT unit facility near the intersection of West 7th Street and Quigley Road (JMT-Dewberry).

The SWAT team is currently based out of the old Central Police Station, 2001 Payne Ave. where it shares space with several other community policing functions and other offices. That building was the city’s Central Police Station from 1926-1976 and is now called Public Safety Central.

Since 1976, the Division of Police headquarters has been located at the Justice Center, 1300 Ontario St. downtown, but will move to the renovated ArtCraft building in September 2025. A previous HQ site on Opportunity Corridor at East 75th Street was rejected after former Mayor Frank Jackson held a groundbreaking ceremony for it in the final days of his administration. Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration didn’t like that location and sought a new HQ site.

The police HQ and the SWAT facility aren’t the only police functions on the move. Also relocating is the Cleveland Mounted Police Unit, which is moving to a new 38,000-square-foot, $13 million office building and horse stables at 6018 Thackeray Ave. That cost has also risen by $1 million from earlier estimates. It will replace the 70-year-old 11,660-square-foot facility at 1150 E. 38th St. can be demolished for the future realignment of Dead Man’s Curve on Interstate 90.

Public records show that plans for the new SWAT facility were developed by JMT Architecture of Hunt Valley, MD and Dewberry of Elmhurst, IL. Mechanical and electrical design was by Karpinski Engineering of Cleveland. The project’s structural engineer is Barber & Hoffman, Inc., also of Cleveland.


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