Monday, January 7, 2019

County engineer's Ohio City property hits the market

The former Cuyahoga County Engineer's headquarters
in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood is for sale and
is expected to attract a lot of interest from real estate
developers to build new housing on the site (Allegro).
It's official. Cuyahoga County has put on the market one of the most attractive properties for redevelopment in years. The former Cuyahoga County Engineer's headquarters at the west end of the Detroit-Superior Veterans Memorial Bridge is expected to fetch the most interest by real estate developers among four sites in the county's latest disposition of surplus properties.

Last month, I wrote that the engineer's office and its 2 acres of land at 2429 Superior Viaduct would soon go on the market. It is one of five major development locations or projects emerging along the West Rim of the Cuyahoga River valley, in Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood.

The property at 2429 Superior Viaduct is surrounded by recent and planned developments including the newly opened, $60 million apartment complex to the west called The Quarter. Its developed area is slightly larger than the county engineer's property. Just east is the multi-building Stonebridge development built in the early 2000s.

To the south is the planned and partially funded, 20-acre, roughly $100 million Irishtown Bend Park. To the north is 2210 Superior Viaduct, a proposed 11-story apartment building proposed by Activity Capital, an investor group led by Daryl Kertesz who says this project is still active.

These are two views of the former county engineer's
site that were included in the marketing flyer designed
by the county's real estate consultant (Allegro).
According to a new listing by Allegro Realty Advisors Ltd., all four of the county's excess properties will be sold through an open-bid Requests For Proposals (RFP). Bids must be received by March 18. Each property can be toured in person on one of two dates later this month. The tour dates are different for each property, per their listings.

"The one (county engineer's property) is definitely exciting," said Damon Taseff, a principal at Allegro Realty Advisors. "It's redevelopment will help keep building momentum in the area."

Taseff notes that there are two issues with the site. One is that its 2.03 acres of land includes easements that extend out into the roadways for West 25th Street and old Detroit Avenue. Those easements cannot be built upon, reducing the developable land area to 1.6 acres.

The other issue is that there is an abandoned street running diagonally through the site. He said the county is working with the city on vacating the street and removing the right of way. That will cause its ownership to revert to the adjoining parcels, all owned by the county and which are the subject of the RFP. Taseff expects the right of way to be removed by the March 18 RFP deadline, so it is shown as "to be vacated" on Allegro's marketing materials.

A 2017 satellite view of the county engineer's property. (Google)
The Cuyahoga County Personnel Review Commission still has offices in the building but Taseff said it will be moving out soon. The Cuyahoga County Engineer, which plans, builds and maintains all Cuyahoga County-owned roads, bridges and structures, was changed into the Department of Public Works during the county's reform in 2009. Its offices were relocated to the new county administration building at East 9th Street and Huron Road downtown.

Actually, there are four structures and six parcels which comprise the former county engineer's headquarters. According to the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer, the structures were built between 1947 and 1964, with the two largest buildings remodeled in 1970 and 1993. In total, there are 21,616 square feet of usable buildings on site. The entire property was appraised by the county at $732,300 in 2018 but was valued at $1,015,200 in 1999. The appraisals didn't include the street right of way.

The other three county-owned properties to hit the market in this latest offering are at 4000 Brookpark Rd. in Cleveland, 6100 W. Canal Rd. in Valley View, and 14875 York Rd. in North Royalton. These three are being advertised as potential light-industrial/warehousing sites.

Cuyahoga County hired Allegro Realty Advisors to help it review its real estate needs and recommend follow-up actions. After an analysis, Allegro identified dozens of properties countywide as no longer essential to the operation of county government. Many properties have already been sold off. Taseff said the four properties in this latest RFP will be the last to be disposed of for the foreseeable future.



  1. Any hints on how access to the underside of the Detroit Superior Bridge will be accounted for in this RFP? Is the County appreciative of its potential to one day provide pedestrian access?

  2. No. I asked about the subway deck of the bridge or how the easements could affect it. It is considered separate and unrelated to this property sale.