This article is published as part of an exclusive content partnership agreement with

Some prominent developers are reportedly offering several prominent, if not surprising, downtown properties as options to host what will be the nearly 900,000-square-foot Cuyahoga County Courthouse consolidation project.

The square footage, not including parking, which would be additional, represents niche office space that landlords are trying to fill in the post-pandemic real estate market. The sheer scale of the courtroom consolidation project may create a competition worth watching.

These proposals come in response to a request for proposals (RFP) for new or renovated/expanded courthouse space issued by the county in late July, in a project estimated to cost between $400 million and $700 million, according to preliminary estimates. The county will only consider downtown Cleveland locations to create a unified court. The county is also offering for sale the existing courthouse tower and nearby buildings totaling 2 million square feet at the 7-acre Justice Center building downtown, 1200 Ontario Street.

Existing downtown office buildings being featured include Millennia Companies’ 1.4 million-square-foot Centennial at 925 Euclid Ave., as well as Bedrock Real Estate’s recently acquired 900,000-square-foot Landmark Building, At 101 W. Prospect Ave. The former building, which is empty, will be 100 years old next year, and the ambitious mixed-use redevelopment of Millennia that includes residential units, hotels, offices, retail and restaurants is struggling to get started while payments are due on some of the financial instruments it acquired for the project, according to… Two anonymous sources.

Millennium is led by CEO Frank Sinito. Bedrock is owned by billionaire Dan Gilbert who also owns the Cleveland Cavs basketball team.

The Landmark Building, in the Tower City Center complex, will be home to Sherwin-Williams’ global headquarters for at least another year while work continues on their new home in the skyscraper west of Public Square. The Landmark Building is 93 years old and, like the Centennial Building, will need major renovations to accommodate the courthouse facilities. However, both buildings contain large former banking lobbies with tall columns resembling a court lobby. The Centennial project is large enough that it can also accommodate 400,000 square feet of private law office and retail space for lease within the same building as the courthouse facilities. The creation of court facilities would greatly simplify the financial picture for each of the pending redevelopments.

The 1.4 million-square-foot Centennial Building at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street is too large to accommodate the 893,120-square-foot Cuyahoga County Unified Courthouse. It will leave enough space in the building for several private law firms and retail tenants and will provide Millennia Companies with streamlined financing for the redevelopment of the 99-year-old (KJP) building.

Bedrock is instead offering a new construction site as part of its massive development vision for the Cuyahoga River waterfront below Tower City Center, sources say. The site is said to be east of the Carl P. Stokes U.S. Courthouse tower, between Huron and Canal avenues, and west of the proposed public space that descends from The Avenue shopping center to the riverbanks.

The site is about 100,000 square feet — large enough that a newly built court facility that would meet the county’s need for 893,120 square feet of usable space could be built here atop a multi-level parking deck without the need for a high-rise building. This can save on the construction costs that come with building a skyscraper: pouring concrete foundations instead of drilling expensive caissons 200 feet down into the bedrock, using lighter steel in the superstructure and not having to install larger, more expensive lateral resistance systems.

But Millennia, Bedrock and Geis also appear to be interested in the current Justice Center site, which includes renovating and expanding the 26-story, 420-foot-tall courthouse tower dating back to 1977. Their interest may emerge through individual proposals, but sources say they are considering working together To carry out a massive redevelopment of the 7-acre site which includes retaining only the court tower. The rest of the Justice Center’s buildings include two jails, the soon-to-be-vacated Cleveland Police Headquarters, the Justice Center lobby and an underground parking lot, all of which were poorly constructed, according to a report commissioned by the Justice Center’s steering committee in 2019.

“We’re looking for the market to basically tell us what it would cost to renovate and/or build another justice center in the 800,000-square-foot range,” Cuyahoga County Public Works Director Michael Dever told the Cuyahoga County Council. Meeting in July. “We think some ideas may come back as to where the current first and second prison would be located and as to what those potential uses could be.”

The 900,000-square-foot Landmark Building, in the center of this photo, has served as Sherwin-Williams' corporate headquarters since the building was built 93 years ago.
The 900,000-square-foot Landmark Building, in the center of this photo, has served as Sherwin-Williams’ corporate headquarters since the building was built 93 years ago. Its new owner, Bedrock, will reportedly offer her as one of her options for the new Unified District Court (Irina Tkachenko).

The current courthouse tower may be renovated, but an effective rebuild can only be done by vacating it completely and stripping it of the steel girders, a real estate insider says. This would require providing at least 675,000 square feet of temporary court space for at least two years. The steering committee said renovating and operating the existing courthouse tower may be more expensive over the next 30 years than constructing and operating a new building. Justice Center Estate and Historic Courthouse Square, 310 W. Lakeside Ave.,
It went on sale last month

Information about downtown properties that might be part of the court’s proposals comes from sources close to the RFP process but who were not authorized to speak about it publicly. Additionally, information regarding interested parties and their proposals was supported by public records formally requested by NEOtrans, including sign-in sheets for interested parties who attended the Court Consolidation RFP briefing meeting held on August 7 at the Justice Center.

If the number of attendees is any indication of interest, Detroit’s Bedrock Real Estate has certainly announced its presence. Of the 37 people who signed on for the meeting, Bedrock directly accounted for five of them: Chief Development Officer John Costello, Senior Director of Engineering Dave Early, Senior Vice President of Construction Joseph Josewicz, Cleveland’s Senior Vice President of Business Development Deb Janek, and Senior Vice President of Cleveland Development Affairs Christopher Noble. Emails sent by NEOtrans to Chante Jones and Kristin Pohlig, who have a Bedrock account at Falls & Co., were opened. to Public Relations in Cleveland, but had not responded before this article was published.

This does not include others who may be part of the Bedrock development team, including Bedrock construction manager Whiting-Turner of Cleveland. They sent two people to the meeting. While the county has hired global real estate brokerage CBRE to assist with the court’s RFP process and disposition of the Justice Center property, it also represents Bedrock in its real estate dealings for its riverfront and city tower redevelopment projects. CBRE was attended by five people.

“The RFP is intended to provide the county with a tool, a process to conduct a transparent, public and competitive process for the courts project,” Ryan Jeffers, senior vice president at CBRE, said at the July County Board meeting.

According to sources, a potential new construction site at the massive riverfront Bedrock project has been unofficially marked in red to show the approximate location and footprint.
According to sources, a potential new construction site at the massive riverfront Bedrock project has been unofficially marked in red to show the approximate location and footprint. What remains of the riverfront site shown here is the official first phase of Bedrock which the developer hopes to move forward with soon (Adjaye Associates).

To confirm Millennia’s interest in the courthouse consolidation project, the company was represented by three people: Tom Kroth, general manager of Key Tower, which is owned by Millennia and houses its headquarters; Tom Mignogna, vice president of Millennia Housing Development, Ltd., who is overseeing the Centennial project; and Millennium President Doug Miller. An email sent to Millennia’s media inquiry address was not responded to. Millennia’s communications director left in June and has not apparently been replaced.

Geis sent two people: general counsel Maura Maresh and chief estimator Tyler Mitchell. Real estate broker and owner’s representative Rico Pietro was there on behalf of brokerage firm Cresco and a mysterious new company called DBL Development that was incorporated in March. Pietro did not respond to two emails inquiring about the director(s) of DBL Development. Their attorney, Doug Paul, a partner at the Aurora-based law firm Reitz, Paul & Shorr, was out of town and unavailable for comment. Cresco President and Managing Director Nathan Kelly was also present at the Courthouse Consolidation meeting but said he had no information about DBL Development or who Cresco represents.

Also in attendance at the courtroom consolidation meeting were two representatives from Key Bank, as well as business development executives from Premier Development Partners in Independence, The Osborne Group (the commercial arm of Keller-Williams Realty) in Mentor, and Turner Construction with a Cleveland office, Ozanne Construction. Cleveland Company, and Karpinski Engineering Company of Cleveland. Architectural firms were also present, including representatives from Richard L. Bowen & Associates in Cleveland, HOK in St. Louis, and DS Architecture in Cleveland. The attendance list was rounded out by seven county employees from the departments of Public Works and Procurement as well as Equity and Inclusion.

If the county chooses to build a new courthouse through a lease, the existing courthouse tower could be disposed of in a manner much like the 1971-built Ameritrust headquarters skyscraper on East Ninth Street, which the county owns but was sold at a discount to help acquire on her. Redevelopment. It was part of a successful project by the county to build a new 220,000-square-foot county office building that opened in 2014.

Although the county administration building is small, it offers insight into the type of ideas the county would like to see from the private sector to create a unified courthouse. The county paid $25 million upfront to Geis Cos. of Cleveland and Streetsboro, which paid the rest of the $80 million construction cost for the eight-story office building on East Ninth Street. The county is compensating Geis by making escalating annual lease payments over 27 years, starting at $6 million. At the end of the lease, the county has the option to buy the building for $1.

Start your day in the best way by subscribing to our free daily newsletter. We arrive in your inbox every morning to keep you up to date with the best guides, home and style tips, and news recaps for all things Cleveland. Click here to subscribe.

Leave a Reply