Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Sherwin-Williams HQ+R&D is down to two sites; decision due soon

This unofficial massing represents how Sherwin-Williams' new
headquarters and new/renovated research facilities (all shown
in dark orange) might appear if built on Bedrock Cleveland's
and SHW's properties between the Cuyahoga River and Tower
City Center in downtown Cleveland. It also shows, to the right
of the increasingly likely SHW site, apartment, hotel and office
buildings that represent later phases of Bedrock's CityBlock
development (Geowizical). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
A source close to ongoing property negotiations said Sherwin-Williams could decide in "the next week or so" between two downtown Cleveland sites for its new global headquarters plus research and development facility.

Officially, SHW has held steady to its official statement that it will announce its HQ+R&D site decision by the "end of this year or early 2020."

However, the source said SHW's decision is now down to two sites and may be leaning toward one of them:

1. Bedrock/SHW riverfront: The site includes about 2.7 acres of Bedrock Cleveland-owned land, between Huron and Canal roads, and between the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse tower and the Tower City Center Riverview entrance. Next to it, SHW owns 9.2 acres between Canal and the Cuyahoga River. It is where SHW's John G. Breen Technology Center is located and where SHW was founded 153 years ago.

2. Jacobs/Weston: West of Public Square, a total of 6.77 acres of parking lots owned by the Jacobs Group and the Weston Group would provide the site for a connected, urbanized office campus. It would be fully integrated into the amenities of a major city's central business district. Cuyahoga County officials apparently are interested in this site for a new Justice Center complex, as well.

The source believed that the Bedrock/SHW riverfront site had the advantage for several reasons.

"They (Bedrock) can move quicker, they can take a lower return since Dan Gilbert is a multi-billionaire, and it will also tie better into CityBlock, giving that some life," the source said. "I think there's enough of a push politically by Bedrock and the CityBlock team that will probably get it done."
Another view of the unofficial massing, showing a possible
juxtaposition of new and renovated SHW buildings in dark
orange at the riverfront site. To their right or east are four
buildings that could become the later phases of Bedrock's
CityBlock development. To the right of them are new and
planned buildings by Stark Enterprises (Geowizical).
Previously, NEOtrans reported that SHW had narrowed its HQ+R&D search down to four downtown Cleveland sites.

In 2014-15, SHW had completed civil engineering and architectural work for a 900,000-square-foot headquarters on the Jacobs lot on Public Square. That effort was shelved as SHW worked to acquire rival Valspar.

This time around, SHW, led by its facilities consultant Welty Buidling Co., is pursuing a 1.8-million-square-foot HQ+R&D complex, highlighted by a 40-story HQ tower. On Oct. 8, SHW through Welty chose Gilbane Building Co. as its construction manager, according to a high-level source.

That same source said that the HQ+R&D facilities would be immediately adjacent to each other, regardless of site, and accommodate up to 6,000 employees. About 3,300 SHW workers are currently employed in downtown Cleveland and another 1,100 elsewhere in Northeast Ohio.

If the Jacobs lot on Public Square was chosen for the HQ, then the R&D facility and all structured parking for the HQ+R&D would probably go on the neighboring Weston-owned lots in the Warehouse District. Yet there has been no chatter among insiders in Cleveland's close-knit real estate community that the Jacobs/Weston site was favored by SHW in this HQ endeavor.

Instead, a source said that the county and many influential law firms want a new Justice Center courthouse tower built within a few blocks of Public Square. Even with the jail possibly relocated out of downtown, the only undeveloped lands large enough and so close to Public Square are the Jacobs and Weston lots.

Any deal that might be part of a new Justice Center is still years off as the county has yet to decide its course of action. But it could be enticing to Weston and/or Jacobs to accommodate a new courthouse tower if the county buys their land and, in exchange, gives the keys to the old Justice Center complex to rebuild or raze it for new development.

Adding 1.8 million square feet of new HQ+R&D facilities for
SHW just west of Public Square could require more significant
new construction yet fill downtown Cleveland's largest parking
crater. But developing that 7 acres of parking lots may have to
wait for a decision by county officials on whether to build a
new Justice Center courthouse tower (Geowizical).
Meanwhile, relocating to the Bedrock/SHW site would be less disruptive to SHW. It could use its existing parking, albeit expanded. And it could allow SHW to modernize and expand its existing, 140,000-square-foot R&D facilities at the Breen Center. Without it, SHW would have to build an entirely new R&D facility measuring, by some estimates, up to 350,000 square feet.

How easy could relocating to the Bedrock/SHW riverfront site be for SHW? It could move its office furniture, equipment and materials without using trucks or even having to go outside. Passageways through Tower City Center would allow for such an indoors move.

Recent news has created a buzz around the Bedrock site. It started with CityBlock's announced $110 million first phase in The Avenue Shops at Tower City which is due to get underway in early 2020. The next phases of CityBlock, between Tower City and the Cuyahoga River along Huron and Canal roads east of SHW's Breen Center, may soon receive a jolt of capital.

Bedrock Real Estate exited its casino businesses including selling off and leasing back its Cleveland-area casinos, raising $843 million in capital in the process. That capital may stay with Rock Ohio Ventures, allowing it to develop the riverside phases of its CityBlock project.

"The combined efforts of our gaming properties together with the other Cleveland assets operated by our sister companies including the Cavs, Avenue Shops at Tower City and the May Company Building, have created a strong connection to the city and allows us to remain heavily committed to the Cleveland area," said Mark Dunkeson, CEO of JACK Entertainment.

This massing by Vocon, SHW's and CityBlock's architect,
shows future phases of CityBlock immediately east of the
 site that some say has the lead in landing SHW's HQ. And
it is just east of SHW's existing R&D facilities that could
soon be expanded. This massing's view is cut off right at
the edge of a candidate SHW HQ+R&D site (Vocon).
"We will continue to invest significant capital into these properties which will have a lasting positive impact on the city and Cuyahoga County," he added.

Several large buildings are proposed by Bedrock adjacent to and east of the site that SHW is weighing. They were included in a massing for Bedrock by Cleveland-based Vocon Partners LLC, which is also SHW's architect. The massing represented potential future work by Bedrock above the river but south of Huron Road, including offices, apartment buildings and hotels, according to another source.

It should also be noted that the law firm guiding SHW's HQ+R&D project -- Korman, Jackson & Krantz LLP -- is the same law firm assisting the CityBlock effort. But it is not the same law firm representing Bedrock Cleveland in its negotiations with SHW. Instead, that law firm is Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.

More news this week pointed to increased buzz surrounding the CityBlock site. The London Stock Exchange Group's Elite Initiative, an international business support program, chose Cleveland for its North American headquarters. A source close to Bedrock's CityBlock project was hopeful that Elite would soon sign a lease at CityBlock for its HQ.

In the early 1970s, SHW's 19th-century HQ and factory in the
foreground still stood next to its 1948 research facilities that
would be expanded in 1998. This view looks west from SHW's
post-1930 HQ in the Landmark Building. Scranton Peninsula is
at left and Ohio City is beyond the many bridges (SHW).
Lastly, just across the river, NRP Group is finalizing its designs for 330 residences on Scranton Peninsula. NRP Group usually goes where the action is or is going to be. But what action exists on Scranton Peninsula -- currently a desolate, 80-acre blank slate of land?

None, but the calculus changes dramatically if a Fortune 500 company builds a massive new facility just a half-mile walk away. NRP Group reportedly was aware that the Bedrock/SHW riverfront site was seriously being considered by SHW for many months.

A real estate development source with intimate knowledge of downtown Cleveland projects pointed to the developments at and near Bedrock's CityBlock and its legal and architectural linkages to SHW as intriguing. He argued that it reinforces what the source close to the SHW negotiations believed -- the Bedrock site had the edge for SHW's HQ+R&D.

"At this point, I would be shocked if the Bedrock site wasn't selected," he said.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

TMUD tax credit could be law in November; help big Cleveland projects

Stark Enterprises released a new presentation for its $350
million nuCLEus development in downtown Cleveland on
Oct. 22 -- while new life was breathed back into legislation
that would benefit nuCLEus and other Ohio mega projects
Skyline-changing legislation has suddenly sparked back to life in the Ohio legislature. Substitute Senate Bill 39, to create a tax credit for insurance companies to invest in Transformational Mixed Use Developments (TMUDs), could aid several big real estate developments in Cleveland.

If the legislation continues on what appears to be a new, fast track, it could become law as early as next month.

There was little visible activity surrounding Sub. SB 39 since it passed the Ohio Senate 32-1 on June 25. It was introduced into the House of Representatives the following day. But there had been no action on the bill since it was referred to the Economic & Workforce Development Committee on June 30.

That changed this month when three hearings were scheduled, with Sub. SB No. 39 being the only legislation on the committee's docket. The bill could be reported out of the committee as early as Oct. 30 or Nov. 6 for a vote by the full House, with as many as a half dozen House sessions available in November for the House to pass it.

The House may move the bill quickly as it had already passed a similar bill, House Bill 469, last year by a 91-0 vote. It came after six hearings over two months in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. But the legislative session expired before the Senate could pass it.

Originally drafted by Thompson Hine LLP at the request of Stark Enterprises, the legislation would allow an insurance company investor to fill a missing piece in the capital stack for Stark's nuCLEus development in downtown Cleveland. In fact, a source said the $350 million, 2-million-square-foot project couldn't move forward without it.

The level of detail in Stark's newest presentation about its
nuCLEus development is omnipresent. So is the fact that
it centers on the commercial uses in the new-construction
project for which there are few public-sector incentives
from the city and others (Cresco/Loopnet).
Perhaps coincidentally, and with the legislation showing promise of passage, Stark's real estate broker Cresco released on Oct. 22 a new nuCLEus presentation with more detailed images about the project.

The presentation heavily promoted the office building, more half of which is already spoken for by prospective tenants. And it promoted specific retail spaces, the rentable areas of those spaces, and noted that the spaces would become available in "March 2020." While tax abatement is available from the city for residential real estate it is not available for commercial development.

Ezra Stark, chief operating officer, of Stark Enterprises did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment for this article.

NuCLEus is proposed to feature two 24-story buildings, one for residential and the other for offices, atop a muli-story pedestal of parking and retail between Prospect Avenue and Huron Road at East 4th Street. NuCLEus is pursued by a partnership called Gateway Huron LLC, comprised of Stark Enterprises and J-Dek Investments Ltd.

For a development to be considered a TMUD it must include a mix of land uses, have a development cost of more than $50 million and be 15 or more stories in height or at least 350,000 square feet. The bill authorizes a nonrefundable insurance company tax credit of up to 10 percent of total eligible project costs for contributions of capital to eligible projects.

The transformational aspects of the nuCLEus development
are also emphasized in Stark's latest presentation, which is
no coincidence since sources say the downtown Cleveland
mega project can't proceed with the proposed transforma-
tional tax credit (Cresco/Loopnet).
NuCLEus would likely qualify, but a number of TMUD credits per year still has to be authorized by budget corrections language that has yet to be introduced to the Ohio General Assembly. Then, nuCLEus would have to be one of the limited number of projects certified by the state's Director of  Development Services as eligible for the tax credit.

Ohio Senator Kirk Schuring (R-29, Canton) is sponsoring Sub. SB 39. The bill has 18 bipartisan co-sponsors. Schuring delivered his sponsor testimony Oct. 16 to the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.

"Sub. SB 39 will have a catalytic effect on the surrounding areas where these mega projects are constructed," Schuring testified. "It will trigger an economic chain reaction that truly will be transformational, fostering new retail establishments, new office buildings, new residential facilities and new entertainment venues. In short, it will be a vibrant place where people will want to live, work and play."

It isn't known if the new Sherwin-Williams (SHW) headquarters and research & development facilities, likely to be built in downtown Cleveland, would be eligible for the TMUD tax credit. It has been assumed that SHW would pay for the roughly $1 billion project from its own significant net cash flow, which is nearly $2 billion per year.

But if an insurance company did invest in SHW's new HQ+R&D under the TMUD program, it could create a roughly $100 million public incentive to build the anticipated 1.8-million-square-foot project in Ohio. Sources say that up to $200 million in public incentives from the city, county and state were pledged to SHW to build its new HQ+R&D in Cleveland.

A week after Senator Schuring testified, on Oct. 23, Frank Sinito, CEO of Cleveland-based Millennia Group of Companies, testified before the committee that redevelopment of its 1.3-million-square-foot Centennial building couldn't happen without Sub. SB 39. The Centennial is the former Huntington Bank building at 925 Euclid Ave.

Redevelopment of  the 1.3-million-square-foot The Centennial
in downtown Cleveland could also benefit from the proposed
TMUD tax credit. The legislation was written so it could aid
new-construction megaprojects, but it could also help a few
large-scale historic redevelopments (Millennia).
He noted that, as opposed to new construction, the redistribution of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and other circulation systems throughout an existing building is extremely challenging and "far exceeds" the cost of new construction.

The renovation of existing buildings often results in much lower efficiency factors in the range of 65 percent as opposed to new construction which is usually 85 percent and above. Of the 1.3 million square feet in The Centennial, over 350,000 square feet is non-income producing circulation and other space.

"The rents from the other income-producing areas of the building simply are not sufficient to subsidize the costs associated with these very large but non-income-producing areas of the building," Sinito testified.

"So, given these realities, it is very important to see -- and I think it becomes quite clear -- that existing buildings often have an even greater need for the type of financial assistance that SB 39 is intended to provide than new construction does," he added.

In his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in April, Stark Enterprises CEO Robert Stark said that the TMUD tax credit wouldn't be a replacement for the limited-duration and since-expired "catalytic" historic tax credit. Instead, it would apply equally to new construction and foster investment in the future of Ohio's cities.

"We're seeing an international phenomenon of re-urbanization," Stark said. "We're faced with attracting and keeping the best and the brightest. To do that requires a culture of an interconnected, collaborative society and undoing the isolationism of sprawl."


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Cleveland neighborhoods win $9 million to boost development

The Buckeye-Kinsman is one of Cleveland's neighborhoods
that will benefit from new funding to improve housing, work-
force development, access to living-wage jobs and fresh food,
as well as support of small businesses and minority entrepre-
Cleveland Development Advisors today announced $9 million in new commitments to help stimulate projects with measurable social impacts in the Cleveland neighborhoods of Clark-Fulton, Glenville and Buckeye-Kinsman, and the immediately surrounding areas.

JPMorgan Chase is investing $5 million over three years to expand access to opportunity in Cleveland's target neighborhoods so more residents can share in the rewards of a growing economy. This investment is part of the company's sixth Partnership for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) competition to support neighborhood development projects and promote inclusive growth across communities in the U.S.

Cleveland is one of only seven winning submissions in this year's national competition for philanthropic funding. Overall this year, JPMorgan Chase received 75 applications covering 49 U.S. cities to support capital and planning projects. The successful application was submitted by Cleveland Development Advisors, the real estate and business development financing affiliate of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and Finance Fund Capital Corporation, a nonprofit real estate developer serving Ohio.

Cleveland Development Advisors will add $3.75 million to JPMorgan Chase’s commitment, and form and oversee a revolving loan fund that will offer qualifying developers financing at below market lending rates. Finance Fund Capital Corporation will provide real estate technical assistance.

These neighborhoods have an average poverty rate of 44 percent and an unemployment rate of 25 percent, which exceeds the city’s overall poverty rate of 31 percent and jobless rate of 18 percent.

The nearly $9 million in commitments will be coupled with other incentives to attract projects that residents of the neighborhoods have identified as top priorities:  affordable housing, access to fresh food and greenspace, access to living wage jobs, workforce development, digital connectivity and support of small businesses and minority entrepreneurs.

"This commitment from JPMorgan Chase and the matching loan funds from Cleveland Development Advisors will give us another significant tool to leverage new investments aimed at benefitting residents of the Clark-Fulton, Glenville and Buckeye-Kinsman neighborhoods," Mayor Frank Jackson said. "These funds will complement my Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, which has designated all or parts of these neighborhoods for economic development funding and other assistance."
NRP Group is building a $60 million mixed-income apartment
complex in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. The new funding
awarded today can help put more opportunities within walking
distance of this and other new housing developments (RDL).
"Helping more people share in the rewards of a growing economy is critical for the long-term viability of Cleveland," said Rudy Bentlage, Market Leader for JPMorgan Chase in Northeast Ohio. "We have an important role in working with the local leaders and community partners to identify solutions that promote growth, development and collaboration. This investment is a great example of this partnership at work and we’re proud to work with Cleveland Development Advisors to ensure that more residents have the resources they need to grow and thrive."

Yvette Ittu, Cleveland Development Advisors President, said the new funds will help to attract additional incentive financing including Opportunity Zone funds to these neighborhoods. Federally-sanctioned Opportunity Zones offer tax breaks for investors as an incentive to attract and assist development projects in designated areas.

"We're very focused on trying to attract projects to these neighborhoods that will improve the lives of the residents there," Ittu said. "These dollars complement our work, and our community's work, by strategically investing in neighborhoods that can benefit from it the most. This grant from JPMorgan Chase – when bundled with the city's incentives, other public and private monies and the Opportunity Zone designations – allows us greater ability to attract, encourage and assist investment and development to empower these neighborhoods."

Since 1989, Cleveland Development Advisors has invested nearly $450 million in more than 135 projects in Greater Cleveland that have resulted in 6,750 new housing units and seven million square feet of commercial space.

Cleveland City Councilman Blaine Griffin, whose ward includes a neighborhood selected for the new investments, lauded the announcement.

"This is great news for three Cleveland neighborhoods that have experienced years of abandonment, disinvestment and neglect," said Councilman Griffin. "And I commend JPMorgan Chase and Cleveland Development Advisors for this infusion of much needed capital that will surely help in the revitalization efforts already happening in these neighborhoods."

Finance Fund Capital Corporation has worked with Cleveland Development Advisors previously on a wide range of community development projects in the Cleveland area. The organizations will partner in working with the neighborhoods and local community development corporations including Famicos, MetroWest and Burten Bell Carr.

"This investment from JPMorgan Chase gives us another opportunity to work successfully with Cleveland Development Advisors to help create positive change in Cleveland neighborhoods driven by local residents," said Diana Turoff, President and CEO of Finance Fund Capital Corporation. "Our past working relationships with Cleveland Development Advisors and neighborhood organizations in Cleveland give us a strong foundation upon which to build. We look forward to working with them as well as local residents and leaders to cultivate sustainable growth in these three neighborhoods."

The Glenville, Clark-Fulton and Buckeye/Kinsman neighborhoods were chosen by the applicants for the Chase grant application based on a study by Cleveland State University that identified areas in Cleveland with Opportunity Zone designations where focused planning could attract private investment to the benefit of existing residents and businesses.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Lakewood's East End gets some refreshments

Developer Jim Miketo bought this Birdtown building whose
ground floor featured the Madison Bi-Rite until it closed two
years ago. This is what the building could look like with its
 white paint removed and the bricks restored to their natural
Several properties at Lakewood's East End have changed hands recently, resulting in new investments that are due to turn underutilized structures into productive buildings once again.

The latest and largest transaction occurred Oct. 16 when Jim Miketo, owner of Forest City Shuffleboard in Ohio City, acquired a three-story, 101-year-old, mixed-use building at 12501 Madison Ave., county records show. It recently hosted the Madison Bi-Rite grocery store and Silhouette School of Dance.

Starting in mid- to late-2020, Miketo plans to transform the upper two-thirds of the 30,588-square-foot building into approximately 20 new apartments, according to real estate brokerage Cresco which handled the property sale. The rest, about 9,000 square feet, will feature ground-floor retail fronting busy Madison, the main street of Lakewood's Birdtown neighborhood.

Along with converting the property into apartments over retail, Miketo proposes to offer a new fitness center, dedicated parking, outdoor spaces for grilling and an expansive rooftop deck that promises to offer views of Lake Erie and downtown Cleveland's skyline.

“We are all about elevating historic neighborhoods and galvanizing communities while bringing new and unique developments to the area,” Miketo said in Cresco's Oct. 16 blog. “This property is a cornerstone building in a community that has incredible historic significance and a thriving demographic. We’re beyond excited to be able to contribute to such a beautiful neighborhood and help continue its rich legacy.”
This is how 12501 Madison Ave. looked until its grocery store
closed two years ago. It has sat vacant ever since (Cresco). 
The three-parcel property was acquired for $750,000 through a company named Little Jemmy, LLC that Miketo formed in July. The property was previously owned by Nicholas A. Sanfilippo's Mulberry Street Properties LLC, county records show.

Another important property sale took place in July. Gregory Rossi of Rocky River bought the property at 11824 Detroit Ave. that contained the former Maria's Roman Room restaurant for 44 years until it closed in 2005.

"He is opening a sports bar called the Ohio Inn," said Ward 4 Councilman Dan O'Malley. "When I talked to him over the summer, he was ambitiously hoping to open for football season. Obviously it's not yet open, but it's progressing."

Rossi has installed new windows and doors in the 96-year-old, 4,870-square-foot building that contains the restaurant on the first floor and apartments above. O'Malley said Rossi doesn't own any other restaurants or bars in the Cleveland area but said he may have owned an establishment previously in the Youngstown area.

According to LoveLakewood.com, Maria and Anthony "Chick" Bastulli owned and operated Maria's Roman Room for 44 years before she sold the restaurant business in early 2005 to Leonard and Olga Fink, according to Lakewood Patch. The restaurant has been closed since 2009. Maria Bastulli passed away in 2017.
The building at 11824 Detroit Ave. that was home to Maria's
Roman Room for 44 years until 2005. At left is the driveway
to the Value World store and municipal parking lot (Google).
County deed records show a company named Vibracorp, Inc. whose president was Angelo Gallo, acquired the property in 2012 for $110,000. Paul Colletti, owner of Brickhouse Bar and Grill in Slavic Village, tried in vain in 2013 to reopen the restaurant as a steakhouse called "Braised."

Rossi, under the name 11824 Detroit LLC, bought the restaurant property for $350,000 on July 10, according to Cuyahoga County records that were later corrected on Sept. 6.

Another property transaction occurred June 27 when the city acquired the closed Cove United Methodist Church, 12525 Lake Ave., for $900,000. The city had been looking for a large, underutilized property for it to build additional capacity for aging storm and sanitary sewers at Lakewood's East End.

With this large, 1.765-acre property, the city will be able to install an underground sewer retention tank and possibly retain the church for a future civic use like a community center. Or it could be demolished for development, considering the rising rents and low vacancies in the Gold Coast area. That will be decided after the sewer project, city officials said.

More refreshments are coming to the city's East End. City officials are planning some modest streetscape improvements in the Rockport area, including new pole-mounted traffic lights on Detroit Avenue for the Coutant Avenue and Ridgewood/Cove Avenue intersections as well as renovations to the pocket park on Clifton Prado, O'Malley said.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Planning starts for cross-county Lake Erie trail, erosion control

Plans for the first phases of Euclid's Waterfront Improvement
project are near to being realized, as construction is wrapping
up on the first half-mile of lakefront trail and enhancements.
This is a model for the rest of Cuyahoga County to address
lakefront access and erosion issues simultaneously (City
A large investment in Greater Cleveland's greatest natural asset could result from a multi-jurisdictional planning effort announced on Oct. 17 at the Lakewood Women's Club Pavilion at  Lakewood Park. The investment could result in a transformative economic and quality of life payback for the region.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced $500,000 for conceptual-level planning for the cross-county Lake Erie Trail along more than 30 miles of the county's shoreline.

Funding will come from the county, the Cleveland Metroparks, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency's (NOACA) Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative, the Cleveland Foundation and others.

The model for this program is the City of Euclid's waterfront improvements plan. Like most of Cuyahoga County, Euclid has two basic problems involving Lake Erie: lack of public access to the lake and an ongoing shoreline erosion challenge.

Lakewood is another Cleveland suburb that has invested in its
lakefront, including the Solstice Steps and Promenade seen
here at Lakewood Park (Environmental Design Group).
Only 6 percent of Euclid's shoreline is publicly accessible. Most of it is owned privately, usually by single-family households which are perched atop 20-foot-high cliffs above the eroding shoreline.

To protect those properties and to increase their values, the City of Euclid is investing up to $19 million to construct a 10-foot-wide lakefront trail to link several high-rise apartment complexes with the Kenneth J. Sims Park. The trail is aligned behind an erosion-resistant barricade comprised of two-ton limestone boulders and concrete retaining walls.

But Euclid's portion is only two-thirds of a mile long and will cost nearly $13 million, including beaches, fishing piers, access points and replacing cliffs with more gentle slopes covered with native vegetation to prevent erosion.

Construction on the first phases of Euclid's waterfront improve-
ment project got underway in November 2018 (City of Euclid).
To offer the same shoreline treatments along the entire northern edge of the county where breakwalls or trails do not already exist could cost several hundred million dollars. Again, however, Euclid showed how it could be funded.

Euclid used a mix of local tax-increment financing from the higher property values, Cuyahoga County Casino Revenue Funds and Federal Emergency Management Agency grants through a pre-disaster mitigation program.

The participation of the Cleveland Metroparks, NOACA and Cleveland Foundation presumably would bring more funding resources into play. The effort could also spur private sector investments from real estate developers attracted to a more accessible, erosion-resistant lakefront.

There are already five miles of publicly accessible, dedicated trails along Cuyahoga County's lakefront, located at Huntington Park, Lakewood Park, Edgewater Park, Gordon Park and the new Lakefront Bikeway along the West Shoreway.

It doesn't include the unimproved, non-dedicated (not traffic-separated) Lakefront Bikeway in North Marginal Road along the East Shoreway, or other locations lacking non-dedicated biking/hiking infrastructure.

Once completed, the cross-county planning effort will prioritize investments based on costs-benefits and provide guidance for the next steps -- namely, more detailed engineering and environmental documentation.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Scranton Peninsula's first major project gets a little denser

NRP Group's revised plan for developing a residential
complex along Carter Road on Scranton Peninsula in
Cleveland-based NRP Group has submitted to the city revised plans for its Scranton Peninsula development, after an earlier version was rejected by the City Planning Commission as having too much surface parking and looking too suburban.

The new plan features 315 apartments in two buildings plus 15 townhomes. The site plan reduces the amount of surface parking while preserving the total number of spaces by providing a two-level parking deck. It also offers the semblance of a street grid, removes gated entrances and puts buildings up close to the street.

A source said that as Scranton Peninsula develops, the NRP site can be rearranged a bit and tied in with surrounding developments. NRP Group has an option to buy 7.44 acres of land from the so-called Thunderbird development site led by Fred Geis, East-West Alliance and J-Roc Development.
Site plan for NRP Group's Scranton Peninsula development,
showing the apartment buildings in dark orange, the town-
houses in light orange, the parking garage in light gray,
and the surface parking/driveways in dark gray (BKV).
Another 8 acres of the 22-acre site was sold in 2018 to Great Lakes Brewing Co. for an undefined project. And, earlier this year, the first phase of construction began with J-Roc's redevelopment of an abandoned, 27,000-square-foot commercial structure into offices called The Avian at Thunderbird, located at about 1950 Carter Rd.

NRP Group added so much parking at Scranton Peninsula because of their experience in providing so little parking at The Edison At Gordon Square, 6060 Father Caruso Dr. That development, which opened in 2017, has fewer than one parking space for each of the 306 apartments.

The source said that residents complain about the lack of parking and the frequency of car break-ins. NRP Group reportedly is concerned the development won't be successful without the parking since Scranton Peninsula is even more isolated and less walkable than the north end of Gordon Square where The Edison is located.
Although Scranton Peninsula currently lacks other develop-
ments (aside from The Avian), uses or activities, NRP Group
is proposing to build five-story apartment buildings in anti-
cipation of additional surrounding development (BKV).
It is likely that Scranton Peninsula will be more walkable as it develops, but it is literally a blank slate at this point with nothing else within a comfortable walk of the proposed NRP apartment complex.

NEOtrans first broke the story in May of NRP Group seeking to acquire land and proposing to build several hundred apartments on Scranton Peninsula. NRP has shelved plans for building a 323-unit phase two of the Edison on the south side of Breakwater Avenue in Gordon Square.

NRP officials also reportedly considered developing one of several sites on Cleveland's near-West Side. But those were too close to The Edison and might have put NRP in competition with itself for residents. Scranton Peninsula was considered a unique setting for NRP's latest housing products in Cleveland.

In June, NRP announced it is partnering with MetroHealth Medical Center on developing a $60 million, 250-unit residential development near the hospital along West 25th Street in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Sherwin-Williams HQ+R&D will be in downtown Cleveland

The four finalists for Sherwin-Williams global headquarters
and research & development facilities are all in downtown
Cleveland. No other sites are reportedly being considered.
In fact, the list may in reality be down to two finalists at
this point (KJP/Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Not only will Sherwin-Williams' new headquarters plus research and development facilities be located in downtown Cleveland, but the coatings giant also has chosen its construction manager, learned the amount of its public incentives package and set its deadline for announcing its HQ+R&D site.

By the end of this month, SHW reportedly expects to announce the site for its new HQ+R&D, according to two sources. The approximately $1 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot HQ+R&D will be built adjacent to each other on whatever site is chosen and they will consolidate up to 6,000 SHW employees from throughout Northeast Ohio, Minneapolis and potentially other locations.

Among the existing, cramped and aging HQ+R&D facilities (Landmark Building and John G. Breen Technology Center), SHW totals 3,300 employees in downtown Cleveland. It has another 1,100 office and research employees scattered throughout Northeast Ohio that could be consolidated. Furthermore, about 1,600 jobs would be added through corporate growth or relocated here from other states, namely as a result of SHW's acquisition of rival Valspar.

For "weeks," SHW has been negotiating with the legal representatives of owners of up to four sites -- and two in particular, two sources say. SHW will take the best deal offered by the property owners.

All four sites are in downtown Cleveland. SHW has received proposals for sites outside of downtown Cleveland but, according to sources, SHW is not negotiating the terms of acquiring non-downtown sites.

The four downtown sites identified by SHW and its project consultant Welty Building Co. are:

1. Jacobs/Weston: West of Public Square, a total of 8.93 acres of parking lots owned by the Jacobs Group and the Weston Group would provide the site for a connected, urbanized office campus. It would be fully integrated into the amenities of a major city's central business district. The city and county also may be interested in this site for a new Justice Center complex, however.
An unofficial massing of a SHW HQ+R&D campus on the
Jacobs/Weston lots west of Public Square (Geowizical).
2. Bedrock/SHW riverfront: The site includes about 2.7 acres of Bedrock Cleveland-owned land, between Huron and Canal roads and between the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse tower and the Tower City Center Riverview entrance. SHW also owns 9.2 acres between Canal and the Cuyahoga River. It is where SHW's Breen Technology Center is located and where SHW was founded 153 years ago.
Outlined in blue, a SHW HQ+R&D campus site on land owned
by Bedrock Cleveland and SHW could feature a tower of up to
40 stories or 500+ feet. For reference, the Carl B. Stokes U.S.
Courthouse tower in the foreground is 430 feet tall. (Google).
3. Lakefront: While the site isn't specifically known, it could be at the most recent location a Fortune 500 company had considered for an HQ. In 2008, Eaton Corp. proposed building a new HQ on 9 acres at the northern edge of the Flats East Bank district on mostly Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority-owned land. But SHW's needs are potentially larger and might need to expand onto parking lots to the east or south.
The last time a major corporate headquarters was planned on
the lakefront, it was proposed to be built north of the Flats
East Bank development, shown here (Wolstein/Fairmount).
4. Flats South: A mix of land owned by Bedrock Cleveland and real estate investor Joel Scheer (as Flats South Cleveland LLC) totaling 14.5 acres may be in play but is probably a long-shot considering the extensive amount of infrastructure investment required to provide sufficient access.
Flats South Innovation District, as proposed at full build-out
by Joel Scheer, was heavy on residential with less restaurant/
retail and even less office/live-work space (Cresco).
From all indications, the first two sites have a leg up on the other two. The first site, the Jacobs/Weston lots, is where SHW wanted to build a new HQ back in 2014-15 before the Valspar acquisition redirected corporate resources. SHW would add the R&D facility to the site, for which SHW is reportedly excited about building an urban campus marked by a roughly 40-story tower whose design would have no equal in Cleveland.

But if the city and county are intransigent about wanting to build the new Justice Center complex here, then SHW would turn to the Bedrock riverfront site. Two sources say SHW has been negotiating with Bedrock's lawyers at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP for "weeks."

Again, a stunning tower of up to 40 stories would be this site's most prominent feature, but so would the riverfront which is so prominent in the Fortune 500 company's long history. There, Breen Center would be expanded or replaced.

Notice that SHW publicly announced its HQ+R&D project on Sept. 12 although it solicited proposals starting in August. Its deadline for solicited proposals was Sept. 25. That suggests SHW wasn't very serious about accepting proposals except for those that Welty was able to generate. And Welty generated only downtown Cleveland sites for SHW's consideration, although unsolicited proposals were accepted in that two-week window.

Who will build SHW's new HQ+R&D?

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s new Akron HQ was built near
to where the company was founded in 1898. Welty Building
and Gilbane Building Co. partnered on the project (Goodyear).
On Oct. 8, and through Welty, SHW chose Gilbane Building Co. as its construction management firm. Gilbane will work in a joint venture with Welty. It is a partnership that Welty and Gilbane have undertaken before on an HQ project in Northeast Ohio -- the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. global HQ that opened in 2013 in Akron.

Welty also has significant political connections including former Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor who now chairs Welty's Finance Committee and is married to Welty President & CEO Don Taylor.

A campaign to retain the HQ+R&D facilities in Cleveland was formed under the leadership of Gov. Mike DeWine and overseen by retired Forest City Enterprises CEO Albert Ratner.

That campaign reportedly has amassed $200 million in pledged public incentives to SHW, a source said. Such an amount represents an insurance policy against any incentive package offered by other cities or states to pay what would have been SHW's substantial relocation costs.

Sherwin-Williams' headquarters and first factory occupied
a growing area of land in 1891 along Canal Road and the
Cuyahoga River where the Breen Center stands (SHW).
Gilbane was selected two days before a construction accident occurred at another site that Gilbane is managing -- the 34-story Lumen apartment tower in Playhouse Square. No injuries were reported at what will be the city's largest residentiial building. A safety review is underway.

Welty and Gilbane have several HQ credits on their resumes. Welty provided construction services at the Dealer Tire LLC HQ in Cleveland, Goodyear's new HQ in Akron and the Timken World HQ in Canton. Welty also worked with Scheer on his Settler's Point development in the Flats, which is home to Welty's Cleveland office. Its main office is in the Akron suburb of Fairlawn.

Gilbane built the 20-story Ernst & Young Building at Flats East Bank in 2012, the last office tower built in downtown Cleveland. Gilbane also teamed with Welty on the Goodyear HQ. Goodyear's HQ reportedly impressed SHW CEO John Morikis.

Last week, NEOtrans reported that Morikis and his wife moved in March into a new 22,197-square-foot primary residence they built in Bay Village. It offered a reasonable argument that SHW's HQ wasn't going anywhere but within the Greater Cleveland area, despite media overreactions since SHW's Sept. 12 announcement of plans to build a new HQ+R&D facility.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sherwin-Williams HQ and CEO are finding new homes

Paint is still drying on the brand-new, roughly $10 million lake-
front home of Sherwin-Williams CEO John G. Morikis. It looks
magnificent from Lake Road, which offers a view of only the
skinny side of this 22,197-square-foot mansion (Mark Carlson).
If you were the chief executive officer of a major corporation that is about to build a new global headquarters in a new location, would you build a brand-new mansion for your primary residence right now? And if you did, where would you build it?

Chances are, you'd probably build it in the same metro area where your new headquarters will be located.

According to public records, Mr. and Mrs. John G. Morikis put the finishing touches earlier this year on their beautiful, brand-new 22,197-square-foot mansion. They moved in in March. Mr. Morikis, if the name doesn't immediately ring a bell, is the CEO of Sherwin-Williams Corp. (SHW).

As most of Greater Cleveland is almost certainly aware by now, SHW announced publicly in September that it is looking at establishing a new global headquarters building and research facilities for the the Fortune 500 company.

Morikis said SHW will consider multiple potential sites, including locations in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and several other states.

So where did Mr. and Mrs. Morikis build their new home? At 24300 Lake Road in the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village.
Construction work was near to wrapping up on the Morikis'
new mansion in October 2018. That same month, a satellite
view of the property was recorded, showing how the new
mansion sets on the property, with Lake Road to the south
or left and Lake Erie to the north or right (Google).

The huge house sets on one-fourth of a 2-acre parcel overlooking Lake Erie. The property was bought by a trust in the name of Tammy Rae Morikis, the CEO's wife. Their previous home, at 6586 Summer Wind Drive in Brecksville, was also in her name. They sold their Brecksville house on Jan. 31, 2019 for $1.3 million after residing there since 2000, according to Cuyahoga County records.

It isn't known how much the Morikis' paid to build and landscape their dream house. But a 9,073-square-foot house on 0.92 acres with a lake view, set eight houses farther west at 24524 Lake, sold in June for $3.65 million, county records show. That's $402 per square foot. On that score, the Morikis' 22,197-square-foot house and 2-acre property could be valued at up to $10 million.

Some suggested that SHW might move to Brecksville because they thought Morikis still lived there. And, DiGeronimo Cos. was making a vocal case that the global coatings firm should at least put its new, consolidated research and development facility and possibly its HQ at DiGeronimo's Valor Acres development in Brecksville.

Hopefully no one is wondering. But just in case they are, it should be said that Bay Village, a built-out bedroom community, isn't in contention for SHW's HQ+R&D. No sources have suggested that Westlake, Avon or Avon Lake are in contention either.
View of Lake Erie, Lakewood and downtown Cleveland in the
distance, as seen from the Morikis' property (realtor.com).
The Morikis trust bought their Bay Village property for $1.5 million from Susan J. Cook on June 20, 2016, eight months after Mr. Morikis was elected as SHW's ninth CEO. Morikis was previously the chief operating officer and, in 2014-15, in charge of efforts to build a new SHW headquarters on the Jacobs-owned lot on the west side of Cleveland's Public Square.

Morikis knew of Cook in her role since 2009 as vice president of strategic facilities planning at Eaton Corp. In other words, Cook was in charge of building Eaton's new HQ that opened in 2012 in Beachwood. By the way, the word is that Morikis isn't a fan of Eaton's new HQ.

SHW principal offices have been located in downtown's Landmark Office Tower, 101 W. Prospect Ave., since 1930. It outgrew that 900,000-square-foot building in 2014, spreading up to 4,400 employees into numerous buildings in Northeast Ohio.

But the 2014-15 effort to build a new SHW HQ was shelved when the opportunity arose to buy rival coatings firm Valspar in 2016. Since then, SHW is on an increasingly speedy glidepath to pay down debt from the Valspar acquisition, possibly returning to a coatings industry standard 1:1 debt-to-equity ratio by 2022.

SHW reignited planning for new HQ+R&D facilities more than a year ago, around the time NEOtrans first got wind of it. Up to 1.8 million square feet of new facilities are planned. Any transition to new HQ+R&D facilities is not expected to occur until 2023 at the earliest, SHW officials have said.
A 3,965-square-foot house built in 1990 by David and Carol
Panacoast was demolished in 2015 to eventually make way
for the Morikis' grand mansion (movoto.com).
Like many new lakefront mansions built in Bay Village, the Morikis home was built on the site of a previously existing house. But most new mansions replaced small, aging lakefront bungalows. Not the Morikis'.

The Morikis' house was built on the site of a 3,965-square-foot, four-bed, four-bath house built in 1990, and listed for sale in 2014 at $900,000 per movoto.com. That home was built by David and Carol Pancoast, the latter serving on the Bay Village school board for 28 years. She died in February 2014, 4 1/2 years after her husband passed. Cook bought the property in September 2014 and demolished the Pancoast house in 2015.

And in case you were wondering, Morikis shortened his commute to downtown Cleveland by moving to Bay Village. Google Maps show that his drive in light traffic between his old Brecksville home to 101 W. Prospect via Interstate 77 was 17.8 miles and 27 minutes each way. That dropped to 12.7 miles and 18 minutes each way between his new Bay Village address and his downtown office.

BTW, when Interstate 90 gets bogged down in traffic, Morikis has the option of taking U.S. Route 6 (Clifton/West Shoreway) which is just 11.9 miles and 20 minutes in light traffic. And it's often a less stressful trip that takes commuters past some great restaurants and Edgewater Park.

There are unsubstantiated rumors that SHW may announce the location of its new 1.8-million-square-foot HQ+R&D facilities in a month or less. And there is reportedly a substantial public incentive package with SHW's name on it. One wonders if city, county and state officials knew about the CEO's new crib before packing their gift basket to SHW.

It's doubtful that knowledge would have made a difference. Certainly a brand-new, roughly $10 million home of SHW's CEO doesn't prove that SHW will stay in Cleveland. But it is a powerfully fragrant tea leave that's hard to avoid reading.


Rebuilding Cleveland's CBD office supply

This group of buildings in the 2100 block of Superior Avenue
will soon be renovated into the national headquarters of the
fast-growing CrossCountry Mortgage LLC that is relocating
from Brecksville to downtown Cleveland (Google).
A decaying, aging hulk of a building in or near downtown today could be tomorrow's next premier, Class A office space. Why? Because that's the most economical way that new office space can be added to Cleveland's Central Business District (CBD).

Absent a sudden jump in rents, new public subsidies or a large company pursuing a new building for itself, adding new CBD office space has proven to be extremely difficult. For those reasons, groundbreakings for two new-construction speculative office towers have been postponed indefinitely -- a 24-story high-rise at nuCLEus and a 10-story mid-rise at Market Square in Ohio City.

Developers of both projects sought to create or tap unusual public financing mechanisms that have failed to materialize so far. The reason public financing is needed is because Class A office rents of $23.75 per square foot in Cleveland's CBD don't come close to covering the cost of construction.

Real estate developers lament that the cost of new buildings in downtown Cleveland approaches that of larger cities, primarily due to the cost of materials. Contrast that with Cleveland's top-rung office rents. Meanwhile office rents average $50-$90 per square foot in the CBDs of Chicago, Toronto or New York.

The last new construction office tower in downtown Cleveland was the 21-story Ernst & Young building built in 2012 at Flats East Bank. That project relied heavily on about $30 million in funding from the EB-5 "investor visa" program which has since been curtailed due to recent problems.

And yet the market demand exists in downtown Cleveland for new Class A office space. Vacancy rates have dipped to anywhere between 9.5 percent according to Cushman & Wakefield and 13.3 percent according to Colliers International. That's the threshold a market usually needs in order to trigger construction of new, speculative office buildings. But that's not happening in Cleveland -- yet.

GBX Group's new headquarters fully occupies an historic
building it renovated on the northeast corner of Superior
Avenue and East 21st Street (across from CrossCountry's
future HQ). Absent more public incentives for new construc-
tion office buildings, the renovation and conversion of historic
buildings will likely provide most of the new office supply in
Cleveland's central business district (ArchDaily.com).
"Class A properties have been in high demand, reflecting the flight to quality that many companies believe necessary to attract and retain talent. Notably, the Central Business District (CBD) and Chagrin Corridor submarkets have seen strong leasing activity," wrote Colliers International in its second quarter 2019 office market report.

But the office market has taken a step backwards in 2019 and especially in the third quarter, according to the latest report by Newmark Knight Frank.

"The CBD led the market in negative net absorption for the third quarter in a row, as this sub-market gave back 172,408 square feet in the third quarter, bringing the total space returned so far this year to 417,420 square feet," NKF wrote in its report.

"Downsizing and rightsizing initiatives by occupiers in the CBD have put a damper on an otherwise vibrant year for the sub-market. Despite the space losses, the overall asking rent (in all classes) in the CBD rose by $0.08/SF to $19.32/SF, as the (CBD) sub-market reclaimed the highest average from the East (sub-market)," NKF added.

Another east side of downtown office renovation is the former
Ambassador Lanes bowling alley, proposed to be converted
into The Zeppelin, offering 36,000 square feet of office space
above two levels of parking and ground-floor retail (AO).
Authors of the NKF report noted the uncertainty involving the major projects mentioned earlier, namely the office components of the Market Square and nuCLEus projects, as well as the Cleveland Foundation's pending relocation of its offices from Playhouse Square to Midtown.

So unless you're a CEO building a new office building for your own large company, as Sherwin-Williams is considering, adding new-construction office space in Cleveland's Central Business District is proving extremely difficult.

Although, Sherwin-Williams is likely to reserve a couple hundred thousand square feet of extra office space to allow for future expansion -- space that might be leased out temporarily to other users.

The above market factors are why Millennia Cos. has traded 400,000 square feet of proposed office space for residential in its pending rehabilitation of the 1.3-million-square-foot Centennial project at 925 Euclid Ave. It is also faced with a year-end deadline of having to use a $25 million Ohio historic tax credit or lose it. Construction must get underway soon. Millennia can't wait for a 40,000 to 50,000 square foot anchor office tenant to emerge.

A redesigned entrance to CityBlock, formerly The Avenue at
Tower City Center, seen from Prospect Park, now Prospect
Avenue between West 2nd and West 3rd streets (Vocon).
That doesn't mean the CBD office market is on life support. Far from it. Developers are finding ways to be more creative and cost effective in delivering more office space to the market. And they're doing so while providing the kind of open-floor, more interactive office spaces that today's younger tenants and entrepreneurs want.

Plus, there are more public funding tools for renovating historic structures into modern offices than there are for building new office buildings from scratch. These include state and federal historic tax credits as well as federal New Market Tax Credits to distressed areas and the city's Job Creation Incentive Program that offers grants and refundable loans.

One of the CBD's most visible office development projects is CityBlock that will convert the mostly retail portion of Tower City Center into a unique office complex. At least a half-dozen tenants have been identified, including Stripe, CYBR, Bunq, Ezza, TEDx so far. A naming rights partner is also near to signing, said Jon Pinney, Managing Partner at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz LLP.

The Avenue at Tower City Center is proposed to be purposed
as CityBlock, a hub for local entrepreneurs to "collide" with
each other to bring together and ultimately monetize ideas
into new business enterprises (Vocon).
First envisioned as a tech hub for blockchain- and digital-related companies, backers of the project have embraced a broader goal of an entrepreneurial hub. Bedrock Cleveland Co., Blockland Cleveland, JobsOhio and others are funding the $110 million first phase that could get underway in early 2020.

"It (the tech hub-only vision) doesn't include the people who need help now, the local entrepreneurs," said Blockland founder Bernie Moreno. "This hub has to be at Tower City -- it's our central location for transit. Entrepreneurship is about networks and making connections. If we take 50 percent of the impoverished in this region and turn them into the middle class or more, what's the economic impact of that?"

A potential competitor for CityBlock could be The Zepplin, formerly the Ambassador Lanes, 1500 Superior Ave. Victor Shaia, through Ambassador Superior LLC, purchased the three-story, 96,000-square-foot, 99-year-old former bowling alley in April 2015. It features two levels of parking with ground-floor retail, with the third floor offering a 30,000-square-foot office level and a 6,000-square-foot mezzanine.

The ceiling of the former Ambassador Lanes bowling alley is
how The Zeppelin got its name -- it looks like the inside of a
airship. The open floor concept, like CityBlock, is intended
on creating "collisions" of ideas among entrepreneurs (AO).
Architecture Office (AO) was approached by Shaia to provide conceptual designs and interior layouts to provide flexible work areas and marketing. After working closely with Shaia to determine identity, image and spatial goals, AO provided an overlay of expandable work areas.

But the bigger office development on the east side of downtown -- also involving the conversion of historic building uses -- is that of CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC. After buying up a 6-acre block of downtown buildings in the final days of 2018 and renovating them in 2020, CrossCountry CEO Ron Leonhardt, Jr. will move his fast-growing, 450-employee firm from Brecksville to downtown.

The six-acre block is bounded by Superior, East 21st and East 22nd streets, plus Payne Avenue. All 16 of the parcels in that block were bought on Dec. 28 by CC Superior Holding LLC for $849,500, according to Cuyahoga County records. Leonhardt said CrossCountry, founded in 2003, could see its headquarters staff grow to 1,000 employees in five years.

Tap Packaging, formerly The Chilcote Co., has vacated these
100-year-old buildings in the 2100 block of Superior Avenue
to make way for the corporate headquarters of CrossCountry
Mortgage LLC and its 450 employees and growing (Google).
A source says that news of the renovation will be announced "soon" now that Tap Packaging Solutions (formerly The Chilcote Co.), the block's remaining occupant, has moved its 125-employee operation to a plant on Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn. The other buildings in the block were mostly vacant.

Lastly, New York City-based office investor Somera Road Inc. made an interesting acquisition earlier this year. On April 3, it acquired from the Frangos Group the former Ohio Bell Telephone Co. building, 1020 Bolivar Rd. (not to be confused with the 27-story AT&T, former Ohio Bell tower north of Progressive Field). The purchase price was $10,350,000.

Cushman & Wakefield's second-quarter 2019 office market analysis said 1020 Bolivar's sale is "signaling yet another large redevelopment project in the works that will yield more office supply to match increased demand."

Two stories could be added to the rooftop of 1020 Bolivar,
an historic commercial building that was acquired earlier
this year by New York City-based office space developer
and investor Somera Road which seeks to renovate the
property for a new end-user (LoopNet).
The 108,508-square-foot group of structures offers parking on the lower levels. The largest building, a four-story structure with 36,169-square-foot floorplates, can have additional floors added on top of it, according to marketing materials posted on LoopNet.

Somera Road acquired 1020 Bolivar even though it has owned for three years a completely vacant, 564,976-square-foot office building called The Ellipse, formerly 45 Erieview Plaza, on the southeast corner of East 9th Street and Lakeside Avenue. The 16-story office building was built in 1983 for the Ohio Bell Telephone Co., later Ameritech.