County headquarters lead revitalization of downtown

James W. Wade III | 11/20/2013, 12:01 p.m.
The new headquarters is part of the Cuyahoga County’s property consolidation project which is estimated to provide significant savings to ...

The final steel beam was installed at the new Cuyahoga County Administration Headquarters, located in downtown Cleveland, at the corner of East 9th and Prospect Ave. The County has moved out of their old location to make room for a new hotel in downtown Cleveland.

The new County headquarters is due to open in July 2014. The new headquarters will lead the revitalization of its neighborhood by adding the economic traffic of 750 full-time employees.

The new headquarters is part of the Cuyahoga County’s property consolidation project which is estimated to provide significant savings to taxpayers. In addition to savings for taxpayers, the property consolidation project has allowed the site of the old Administration Building to be home to the Cleveland Convention Center headquarters hotel. Hilton Worldwide plans to operate the 600-650 room hotel, creating an additional 450-500 new full-jobs in downtown Cleveland.

The location of this new place will be in the AmeriTrust Bank location. The county has owned AmeriTrust since 2005, when the then three commissioner panel paid $21.8 million for the rotunda, 28-story tower and assorted office buildings. This is the same building that sparked investigations into the county corruption.

They abandoned the plans in 2007 after spending tens of millions of dollars to strip the complex of asbestos and buy a connected parking garage. Total payout: more than $45 million.

County Executive Ed FitzGerald has proposed a deal in which Streetsboro-based Geis Cos. would erect a headquarters on the downtown Ameritrust complex and turn over the building to the county at the end of a 26-year lease. His consultants believe the building will be worth $36.5 million in 2040.

They released the cheapest proposal was to use 45 Erieview, also known as the AT&T Building. That would cost $115 million. But that plan was not in the top, finishing third mainly because of building services, parking and environmental concerns.

If you are concerned about the financing, Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority agreed to issue $90 million in bonds to pay for the project. The Port will act as a conduit for the deal, issuing tax-exempt lease revenue bonds that will be paid off using rent from the county.

The bond financing only applies to the county headquarters on 0.72 acres of a larger site involving several old office buildings and parking structures. Geis acquired that property, the Ameritrust complex, from Cuyahoga County in February for $27 million.

The developer will turn the complex, which includes a historic rotunda and the tower into apartments, a hotel and offices. The Port is not involved in this phase of the project.

Cuyahoga County is selling off some furniture.

Filing cabinets, tables, chair and more are for sale. This includes items that once belonged to former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora or auditor Frank Russo.

As far as what items belonged to whom, the county is not saying.