Ownership stake in The Bell to be auctioned off

The former Ohio Bell headquarters, now The Bell mixed-use redevelopment, has an ownership interest up for grabs at an auction scheduled with Maltz Auctions on July 12 (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Partnership share is subject of auction offering


With a certificate of occupancy in hand and leasing to start in two weeks, The Bell, 45 E. 9th St. in Downtown Cleveland, will be the subject of an online auction scheduled for next month. The auction is intended to make available a portion of the interest in a general partnership that owns the office-turned-residential building.

Maltz Auctions will host the online auction scheduled at 11 a.m. July 12, 2024. Virtual bidding will be made available for pre-registered bidders via Zoom. Qualified bidders will receive an invitation email prior to the auction. The bidder qualification deadline is 4 p.m. July 10 EST, according to a summary provided by Maltz. While that summary was titled as a foreclosure, the details of the offering reveal that it was not, noted the general partnership who was selling his share.

Executed terms and conditions of the sale along with a $1 million deposit submitted via wire transfer are required for consideration by any interested party and submitted directly to Maltz. Offered is an ownership interest in the lessee 45 Erieview, LLC under a 99-year ground lease for real property owned and leased by Twain GL XX, LLC of Oak Brook, IL.

The entity 45 Erieview LLC is owned by a Texas-based partnership of Wolfe RE Mgmt., LLC and BlueLofts Inc. It owns the 500,000-square-foot building, more than $100 million worth of improvements made to the structure, and other rights which, in total, represent the collateral on the debt to be satisfied by the foreclosure. Wolfe’s share is the portion that’s being offered, said its managing member Kenny Wolfe.

The rooftop patio at The Bell in Downtown Cleveland was still a work-in-progress last fall. The patio will feature a swimming pool, fire pits and grills (KJP).

When completed, The Bell will offer 367 market-rate apartments in the city’s urban core where residential occupancy is holding strong at 91 percent, according to Downtown Cleveland Inc. The building also has up to 45,677 square feet of retail and commercial space available for lease. It was built in 1983 as the headquarters of the Ohio Bell telephone company.

While there have been no announced tenants yet, a restaurant, café and possibly a gaming club have been considered. The property includes a 348-space parking garage next to the building plus 32 parking spaces under The Bell. There will also be a 24-hour valet parking service available to tenants, according to a Web site for The Bell.

Wolfe acted as a syndicator — someone who organizes investment in limited partnerships by different parties — for this and multiple other redevelopment projects nationwide, including the Rockefeller Building, 614 Superior Ave., downtown.

But those syndicated deals were organized when interest rates were at record lows and before construction costs skyrocketed. None of those projects were realized. The Rockefeller Building has been put up for sale and Wolfe’s other deals were the subjects of six foreclosures according to The Real Deal.

With huge floorplates, the apartments are large at The Bell. There are no studios here and most units offer great views including this one of Lake Erie, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland City Hall (KJP).

Unlike those foreclosures, The Bell is tantalizing close to completion. While its leasing office is not yet open, the Web site for The Bell has been active since last fall. And Wolfe predicted that leasing for the building would start in two weeks. The developers had hoped to complete the renovations and have the first tenants in the building two months ago.

At the Rockefeller, Wolfe and other partners had hoped to convert the 17-story former office building into 436 apartments, ground-floor shops and two floors of updated offices. A second phase would have involved demolishing the Rockefeller’s parking garage for a new apartment tower.

In March, Wolfe and others were hit by a foreclosure lawsuit on their company Euclid Bluestone Associates which in turn owns the Lakeland Commons Apartments in suburban Euclid. The other foreclosures that have hit Wolfe-syndicated deals were for properties in Dallas, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City and Atlanta, according to The Real Deal.


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