Thursday, July 11, 2019

Seeds & Sprouts III - Early intel on real estate projects

This is the third edition of Seeds & Sprouts - Early intelligence on Cleveland-area real estate projects. Because these projects are very early in their process of development or just a long-range plan, a lot can and probably will change their final shape, use and outcome.

After completion this summer of the $515 million Health Edu-
cation Campus, 9501 Euclid Ave., there are no cranes in the
sky over Cleveland Clinic's Main Campus. That will soon
change as several projects shown in red above come to the
Fairfax: Cleveland Clinic shifts back into construction mode

For the first time in a long time, there are no construction cranes over University Circle or the Cleveland Clinic. Just don't get used to it.

In the coming months, look for movement on several Cleveland Clinic-related projects. There is already some visible movement starting on one of them -- the Brooks BioRepository proposed to be built at 10300 Cedar Avenue. The site is at the northwest corner of Cedar and East 105th Street.

City Planning Commission's Design Review Committee will review plans this week for Brooks Automation Inc.'s proposed 21,000-square-foot biorepository to enhance researchers’ study of human tissue samples and advance personalized medicine for an array of conditions -- including cancer, heart disease and epilepsy.

The facility is located in Fairfax's New Economy Neighborhood on the under-construction Opportunity Corridor. Geis Construction is the general contractor and the biorepository will be built on Cleveland Clinic-owned land.

On East 105th's next block north, between Carnegie and Euclid avenues, Cleveland Clinic plans to build a new inpatient facility for the Cole Eye Institute. Dubbed the Cole Bed Tower, the structure will be about four or five stories tall but will fill a large footprint -- an existing parking lot just south of the existing Cole Eye Institute. The new building will be physically connected to the existing institute by walkways.

Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic noted in his annual State of the Clinic address in February that the global health care system would pursue investments in the Cole Eye Institute as well as a new Neurological Institute. The site for a new Neurological Institute isn't known, but sources say that it might be where Buildings M and S are currently located off East 90th Street. Both of those buildings are apparently slated for demolition.

Building M is the old Children's Hospital and Building S is an inpatient facility in a 10-story brick tower with an H-shaped floorplan. It is just south of the historic T Building on Euclid that will not be demolished. Word is that the Cleveland Clinic will issue requests for proposals to construction firms for the Cole Bed Tower and the Neurological Institute by the end of summer or early fall.

Areas shown in red are properties
not yet acquired for the Irishtown
Bend Park. The large Ohio City
Farm, shown in the lower half
 of the image and owned by the
Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing
Authority will likely remain
under its current ownership and
use (Google).
Ohio City: Properties transfer for Irishtown Bend Park

A notable event occurred June 17 in the progress toward building the 17-acre Irishtown Bend Park above the Cuyahoga River. That's when eight parcels totaling 6.9 acres located between Riverbed Street and West 25th Street transferred from the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) to Riverbed West, LLC -- a dba for the West Creek Conservancy.

The transfer of June 17 also started an 18-month clock ticking, during which time West Creek Conservancy must demolish two structures on the CMHA parcels. The structures are a 27,600-square-foot CMHA office building at 1441 W. 25th St. and the Riverview Family Estates, a boarded-up, three-story apartment building at 1505-1525 W. 25th.

A demolition clock exists because a $1.4 million Clean Ohio grant awarded for the property acquisition and structural demolitions included the deadline. The grant was awarded in February 2017.

LAND studio applied for the grant but West Creek Conservancy took possession of the properties because it has better liability protections. The conservancy previously acquired 3 acres of land from private owners in December 2017 between Riverbed Street and the Cuyahoga River. It will eventually transfer all of the Irishtown Bend land to the City of Cleveland for the planned park.

But the grant clock started ticking one year later than hoped due to delays by the federal Department of Housing & Urban Development in signing off on the property transfer. The delay doesn't jeopardize the grant.

Although officials involved with the project hope to demolish the structures and clean the land by the end of this year, next spring is more likely, officials involved with the project said. The unstable hillside demands a careful demolition process, as do the significant foundations on which the newly acquired buildings set.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is organizing funding and implementation of a $49 million hillside stabilization effort. Another 4.5 acres of CMHA-owned land, called Ohio City Farms, will be a part of the park.

Three privately owned parcels are still to be acquired. They are each owned by separate firms -- Snavely Group, Mortgage Investment Group LLC and Front Steps (dba Womens West Housing Corp.). Snavely is donating its land, valued at $95,000, to the conservancy as part of the grant's local match. Snavely is developing multiple properties in the adjacent Hingetown neighborhood.

Front Steps is building a new facility farther south on West 25th and, when completed, its existing site will be vacated, sold to the conservancy for a yet-to-be-determined price and demolished. The future of a commercial building owned by Mortgage Investment Group at the southeast corner of West 25th and Detroit Avenue is unknown.

A Cleveland landmark for more than a century,
the grand old Rockefeller Building has faded with
time, as has the primary partner in its ownership
group. So the word on the street is the building
is for sale, albeit quietly (LoopNet).
Downtown: Shhh...the Rockefeller Building is for sale

Keep an eye on one of Cleveland's most famous and historic buildings -- the Rockefeller Building, 614 W. Superior Ave. You won't see it listed for sale on any real estate brokerage site or other public listing service. However, numerous spaces are available for lease.

But make no mistake about it, the Rockefeller Building is available for sale. At least a half-dozen potential buyers have toured the building in recent months but there have been no takers yet, according to real estate sources.

The current owner is the Rockefeller Building Associates, a partnership of Benjamin Cappadora and Diana Miller, Trustee. The former is of Cleveland; the latter of Brooklyn, NY. But the primary person in the partnership is Cappadora who, before 1988, owned the building as Cappadora Realty Corp.

The reason why the office building is available is because it is half vacant, it cannot leverage high rents as an aging Class C office product, and Cappadora is 87 years old. Miller apparently is not an active partner. It is not listed for sale publicly because Cappadora reportedly doesn't want to spook existing tenants.

Although the 261,261-square-foot building is dirty and in need of updating, it is an architectural gem. It was built in 1905 by the Rockefeller family and named after Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller. When it first opened, it was the city's tallest building at 17 stories and 212 feet.

It was briefly named the Kirby Building (1921-23) by Josiah Kirby, founder of the Cleveland Discount Co., then a large mortgage firm. But that angered the Rockefeller family who bought the building back and renamed the structure. It has been called the Rockefeller Building ever since.


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