Downtown occupancy finally rings at The Bell

A rendering of The Bell as seen from East 9th Street, looking northward. This former Ohio Bell headquarters office building is now open and leasing has begun for residents and its commercial spaces, including a restaurant and co-working offices (Sandvick). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Chicago firms hired to market, manage The Bell

Despite recent bumps in opening The Bell, the team that converted the former Ohio Bell headquarters into apartments and commercial spaces has hired two Chicago firms to market and manage the property. The announcement comes as the Downtown Cleveland building has received its occupancy permit, effectively declaring the $100-plus-million conversion project as complete.

Cross Street was tapped to exclusively lease and market the former office building property while Peak Properties LLC will handle management services to provide full stack real estate investment services in their latest emerging market. Both companies are new to the Cleveland market. But this office-to-residential conversion is far from Cleveland’s first. Instead, Cleveland has been ahead of the curve on such conversions prior to the pandemic and hybrid working.

The Bell, a 367-unit luxury apartment building at 45 Erieview Plaza, boasts sleek new interiors and a long list of sought-after amenities including a rooftop deck with a heated pool and spa plus sprawling lake views. Reactivation of this 16-story building with its curved-glass façade contributes to the transformation of the downtown district as more people seek an urban lifestyle with convenient access to leisure, culture and business hubs.

Formerly just a featureless rooftop, this developed deck overlooking the downtown Cleveland lakefront now has outdoor spaces for residents of The Bell including a pool, hot tub, grilling stations, fire pits and patio seating (Sandvick).

“Cleveland is an example of a historical smaller urban city achieving notable reinvention which is driving this particular conversion of the former office space. It’s very exciting to reposition this beautifully redeveloped property in the central business district as an extraordinary place to live,” Shane Rachman, president of Cross Street, said in a written statement.

Cross Street recently expanded from Chicago to Denver and now to Cleveland. For Peak Properties, this is its first expansion outside of the Chicagoland market. The company’s high-rise division will be spearheading the new market, leveraging strong relationships from its Chicago client base to ensure success on the new project.

The Bell features a grand, two-story lobby that welcomes residents and visitors. Offered are one- and two-bedroom floor plans which have high-end finishes including stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops, glass-enclosed tile showers, large closets, central heat/air, and in-unit laundry. Work started on the project almost exactly two years ago.

A two-story lobby at The Bell greets residents and visitor alike and includes a 24-hour staffed front desk (Sandvick).

Built in 1983, the 492,864-square-foot former office building had sat vacant since 2019. It has an expansive rooftop deck overlooking Lake Erie with outdoor amenities including grilling stations and hot tub. Residents will enjoy an impressive array of amenities for work and play including a co-working space and state of the art 10,000-square-foot fitness center complemented by an outdoor fitness area. Even pets have both indoor and outdoor play areas.

With a 24-hour door attendant, packages and meals can be safely received, valet-parked cars can be retrieved and car services can be ordered. There is on-site management and secure entry access in this prime downtown location, set only blocks away from the lakefront, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Playhouse Square and the Gateway District.

“We have the ability to seamlessly integrate into markets across the country, leveraging our systems and success we’ve established in Chicago,” says Oren Pollack, vice president of Cross Street who is overseeing the Cleveland expansion.

One of the residential suites at The Bell. This image shows the building’s unique bank of curving windows which, in this case, has a view of Lake Erie, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, at right, and City Hall (KJP).

“Our innovative leasing/brokerage model can make a significant impact for our clients regardless of the market we serve thanks to our decentralized leasing approach, which leverages proprietary data, and champions the ‘people first’ mentality for our residents, clients and brokers alike,” he added.

The development team was comprised of Bluelofts Inc. and Wolfe Investments, both of Greater Dallas, along with general contractor Leopardo Companies, Inc. of Chicago, plus Sandvick Architects Inc., Steve Larson of Ulmer Berne LLP, Zak Baris of Comprehensive Zoning Services/LRB Development, each of Cleveland.

Construction work at The Bell was delayed by about one-half year and one partner of the development team, Wolfe Investments, experienced financial difficulties, primarily resulting from other projects and properties. Via an online auction, that partner sought to sell his equity stake in a lessee 45 Erieview, LLC which owns the building and has a 99-year ground lease for real property owned by Twain GL XX, LLC of Oak Brook, IL.


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