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Cleveland: Justice Center Complex Replacement

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1 hour ago, KJP said:

 

Since when is a government investment supposed to produce a return on investment? The justice center is falling apart. It needs to be replaced and the old one given to the private sector to convert it to uses that can produce a return on investment. If the private sector has no interest in it, then demolish it. And furthermore, knowing your distaste for government, you may find some solace in that a new consolidated justice center and regional jail will address one of the biggest problems we have in Cuyahoga County -- too much government. Specifically, too much duplicate government. Why do we have a half-dozen municipal courts and as many municipal jails? These are all very expensive endeavors for our communities and have some duplicate functions that can save taxpayers' money if consolidated.

 

BTW, if you think the last 5-10 years of Justice Center discussions "keeps arising" -- can you imagine the 50 years of discussions that preceded the construction of the current Justice Center.....

 

To your first point, I'm a little confused. Are you implying that tax dollars should not be used in such a way that benefits the taxpaying public in a measurable and efficient way?

 

To your second point, what exactly are the parameters you are using to define the justice center as "falling apart"? How about some specifics instead of emotionally charged rhetoric? They better be catastrophic issues to justify the MILLIONS it will take to replace such a structure rather than renovate or simply cope with it as it is. 

 

To your third point, it's absolutely absurd to suggest that spending millions (billions?) to demolish one of the largest buildings in the city and construct a brand new building to serve as justice center as well as regional jail is 'saving the taxpayers money'. This is the absolute lie that all big government types use to push their plans through. Show me one good example of a government project that ran under budget and can be shown empirically to save taxpayers money in the short and long term. 

 

I know you don't like my attitude toward these government entities and projects but to be frank it is people like me who will end up footing the bill for this kind of stuff and at the same time I'm faced with the reality of having to leave the city with some of the highest taxes in the state once I have children because the schools continue to be pathetic despite all the funding they squander. 

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33 minutes ago, westlake10 said:

 

To your first point, I'm a little confused. Are you implying that tax dollars should not be used in such a way that benefits the taxpaying public in a measurable and efficient way?

 

To your second point, what exactly are the parameters you are using to define the justice center as "falling apart"? How about some specifics instead of emotionally charged rhetoric? They better be catastrophic issues to justify the MILLIONS it will take to replace such a structure rather than renovate or simply cope with it as it is. 

 

To your third point, it's absolutely absurd to suggest that spending millions (billions?) to demolish one of the largest buildings in the city and construct a brand new building to serve as justice center as well as regional jail is 'saving the taxpayers money'. This is the absolute lie that all big government types use to push their plans through. Show me one good example of a government project that ran under budget and can be shown empirically to save taxpayers money in the short and long term. 

 

I know you don't like my attitude toward these government entities and projects but to be frank it is people like me who will end up footing the bill for this kind of stuff and at the same time I'm faced with the reality of having to leave the city with some of the highest taxes in the state once I have children because the schools continue to be pathetic despite all the funding they squander. 

 

You said return on investment. Our public sectors don't get paid back financially for what they do nor should they. We do so for the benefit of humanity. We can measure that without monetizing it.

 

Read the Osborne report of 2014 on the condition of the Justice Center five years ago. In particular, they note the existing center will require $179 million over 10 years in repairs just to survive to its 50th birthday when the complex will need to be completely rebuilt/replaced. So we just p'ssed away $179 million and will have to spend more money for reconstruction/replacement because things only get more expensive the longer we delay acting.

 

No one said demolishing the existing justice center. You assumed it.

 

An example of government project that was under budget and saved taxpayers money? How about two, both by our very own county.... The county's convention center hotel was way under budget, pays its way, and produces economic benefits to the county. The other? The county administration building. It was built by a private developer for less cost than originally budgeted, the county is paying less in lease fees than it was in maintaining/renting its many scattered offices around downtown, and the county gets to buy it at the end of its lease for $1. The latter is probably the model the county will use in building the new justice center. So you wanted one example. I gave you two. Both are by the same county you decry as being unable to achieve it.

 

You might have to move to find whatever makes you happy, although I doubt moving will help you find it. Everything has a price. I prefer a higher quality of life which costs money, often paid in taxes. I prefer one court building, not seven. I prefer one jail, not a handful. We are one urbanized county. Let's not continue as 58 chaotic, powerless, uncoordinated fiefdoms. I don't want to keep playing us-and-them games common to balkanized, stagnant metro areas.

 

 

Edited by KJP
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58 minutes ago, Oldmanladyluck said:

^And if the private sector couldn't get the Parking Lot District filled in within the last 40 years, don't expect people to be falling head-over-heals for the redevelopment of the Justice Center block (it does fill an entire block) anytime soon.  

 

The design of the complex sucks, sure.  There's work that needs to be done at the building, that's a fact.  But for those who want it down- would you be willing to sacrifice yet another block downtown which would more than likely end up being demolished?   

 

I think the most likely replacement would be a new entertainment district block, with an emphasis on Browns games, concerts, and other events at FES. 

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43 minutes ago, YABO713 said:

 

I think the most likely replacement would be a new entertainment district block, with an emphasis on Browns games, concerts, and other events at FES. 

 

10-11 days a year?  I'm crossing my fingers the Browns add a 12th and 13th day next year! 

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Just now, Cleburger said:

 

10-11 days a year?  I'm crossing my fingers the Browns add a 12th and 13th day next year! 

 

I was thinking more along the lines of what Cincinnati did adjacent to Great American Ballpark - ground floor retail, apartments or offices above (no more than 5-6 floors) and perhaps a Browns museum as a satellite to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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The city needs  more office, retail and  residential development before another entertainment district, especially one that lives and dies 10- 12 days a year, depending on the Browns’ fortunes, and is virtually next door to another entertainment district.  And as much as I dislike the architecture of the JC,  if a redevelopment and repurposing of it is  possible,, that might be better than a district that cannot be sustained and becomes another dead zone not far into the future.  But we don’t know  yet if the JC complex will end up being rebuilt or repaired, so one step at a time I guess. 

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Today I had the displeasure of having to conduct a transaction in the Justice Center.  What a DUMP.  They have do-nothing guards hanging around all 4 entrances with wasted space all over the place.  Dirty, terrible lighting, drab finishes.  That place should absolutely be torn down.  Sad.

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11 minutes ago, gottaplan said:

Today I had the displeasure of having to conduct a transaction in the Justice Center.  What a DUMP.  They have do-nothing guards hanging around all 4 entrances with wasted space all over the place.  Dirty, terrible lighting, drab finishes.  That place should absolutely be torn down.  Sad.

The interior is uglier than the exterior. 

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11 hours ago, Mendo said:

Dirt and poor lighting is enough to demolish the building? That's an awfully low bar.

 

It's a secure facility, or at least tries to be.  Has entrances on all four sides.  Huge amount of wasted space in the atrium that is filled with nothing.  Will never be used as a gathering/congregation area because it's all filled with makeshift security desks.  There's no obvious pedestrian flow whatsoever.  As soon as you get through whatever security you need to, you have to meander through the remaining security stations to get to wherever you're going, which in itself is a security problem

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Opinions vary. The building however may be structurally sound and a revenue-producing use along with a lot of subsidies including tax abatements, TIF, port authority bonds, other public sector loans, historic tax credits (post-2026) and Opportunity Zone funding could make redevelopment of a portion of the complex, namely the courts tower, financially viable -- as was the case with the taller but more narrow Ameritrust tower (another county-owned property).

 

But the remodeling of the site while retaining its current use will have to take some very hard financial data into account. One of those is that the building needs $179 million worth of repairs and upkeep over the next 7-8 years. And that gets the county only to the point where this building will be 50 years old and face hundreds of millions of dollar more for major renovations. Furthermore, how well might this complex function under major renovation? How safe will it be?

 

Those are the factors that will have to be taken under consideration.

 

 


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My question is how in the frack does a building that's not even 50 years old require close to $175 million in work just to make it last for another 10 years?  I remember the article where that figure was mentioned but something about that figure doesn't "add up".  I'm not saying that the building doesn't need work... we all know it does.  But $175 big ones?  I don't know...

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The building was constructed when organized crime still ruled Greater Cleveland's labor unions, contractors and government (for background, search on "Cleveland" in this 1978 Union Corruption report from the Justice Department I posted at: http://freepdfhosting.com/7e943594c0.pdf). The corruption resulted in the building costing more than twice what was originally estimated. And it resulted in shoddy construction. The shoddy construction is well in evidence with a casual, visual inspection today. That shoddy construction equals high maintenance.

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6 minutes ago, KJP said:

The building was constructed when organized crime still ruled Greater Cleveland's labor unions, contractors and government (for background, search on "Cleveland" in this 1978 Union Corruption report from the Justice Department I posted at: http://freepdfhosting.com/7e943594c0.pdf). The corruption resulted in the building costing more than twice what was originally estimated. And it resulted in shoddy construction. The shoddy construction is well in evidence with a casual, visual inspection today. That shoddy construction equals high maintenance.

 

Where do you get this stuff? This is great.

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10 minutes ago, ASP1984 said:

 

Where do you get this stuff? This is great.

 

From more than 20 years of writing and researching Cleveland organized crime, though most of my work was more than 15 years ago when I founded and managed a website clevelandmob.com (EDIT: now defunct).

Edited by KJP
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6 minutes ago, KJP said:

 

From more than 20 years of writing and researching Cleveland organized crime, though most of my work was more than 15 years ago when I founded and managed a website clevelandmob.com (EDIT: now defunct).

I used to visit that site many years back.  I had a fascination with organized crime for a bit. 

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4 hours ago, KJP said:

Opinions vary. The building however may be structurally sound and a revenue-producing use along with a lot of subsidies including tax abatements, TIF, port authority bonds, other public sector loans, historic tax credits (post-2026) and Opportunity Zone funding could make redevelopment of a portion of the complex, namely the courts tower, financially viable -- as was the case with the taller but more narrow Ameritrust tower (another county-owned property).

 

But the remodeling of the site while retaining its current use will have to take some very hard financial data into account. One of those is that the building needs $179 million worth of repairs and upkeep over the next 7-8 years. And that gets the county only to the point where this building will be 50 years old and face hundreds of millions of dollar more for major renovations. Furthermore, how well might this complex function under major renovation? How safe will it be?

 

1

 

I concur with KJP.  Let's also remember that it was constructed as a public building that should be open and accessible to everyone.  That influenced the development of the atrium with the multiple entrances, something that is now seen as problematic post-9/11.   The design of the building no longer suits its use.  For that reason, I'd rather see some or all of the county move to another building or buildings and refurbish and repurpose what's left behind.

 

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3 hours ago, KJP said:

 

From more than 20 years of writing and researching Cleveland organized crime, though most of my work was more than 15 years ago when I founded and managed a website clevelandmob.com (EDIT: now defunct).

That was yours?!  I used to read that all the time!!

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4 hours ago, Oldmanladyluck said:

My question is how in the frack does a building that's not even 50 years old require close to $175 million in work just to make it last for another 10 years?  I remember the article where that figure was mentioned but something about that figure doesn't "add up".  I'm not saying that the building doesn't need work... we all know it does.  But $175 big ones?  I don't know...

Asbestos, for one.  My Dad did pipe insulation on the building, he told me it was the last big project he remembers that used lots of asbestos

 

 

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3 hours ago, Foraker said:

 

I concur with KJP.  Let's also remember that it was constructed as a public building that should be open and accessible to everyone.  That influenced the development of the atrium with the multiple entrances, something that is now seen as problematic post-9/11.   The design of the building no longer suits its use.  For that reason, I'd rather see some or all of the county move to another building or buildings and refurbish and repurpose what's left behind.

 

 

This building represents everything that's ever been bad about our city.  We should move on from it.  Maybe there are some Brutalist structures worth preserving but not this.

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From everything I'm hearing, it's going to be at least a new jail and probably a new courts facility too considering that a renovation won't save the county money over the long run. And my assumption that the judges wanted a new building was wrong. Turns out they favored renovation but the many problems with the jail and the advice from enough experts recently convinced them to consider a new facility and to join the other stakeholders in the process....

 

Cuyahoga County and Cleveland agree on firm to lead planning for Justice Center replacement or renovation

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2019/03/cuyahoga-county-and-cleveland-agree-on-firm-to-lead-planning-for-justice-center-replacement-or-renovation.html

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I just don't think that a new building is realistic.  Building something big enough to do everything is likely to cost a Billion dollars. We don't have that bonding capacity.  Renovation will surely be less, much less in up front cost so that is what we will do.

Besides, I always liked the design of the building.

 

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I won't argue the artistic design of a building because to each their own. But wait until you hear what it will probably cost to renovate the Justice Center, only to end up with a 50-year-old building whose design functionality in the 21st century is and will be ever more obsolete. As for bonding, a $1 billion Justice Center complex will cost about $50 million to $60 million per year, depending on the bonding term. And why are we so scared of a billion dollars? That's how much the county is putting in to the remake of the MetroHealth campus. We need more billion-dollar infrastructure projects to boost our economic foundations.

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So would the Justice Center be able to be repurposed in any way or might it have to be destroyed?  I assume its options for conversion are extremely limited and cost prohibitive?   8th tallest building in the city and for better or worse, a fairly unescapable part of the Cleveland skyline.... If it ever came to that, (excluding three World Trade Center buildings) it would be the 18th tallest building ever demolished in the world. 

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Depends on if any developer can make a go of it. The county thought the old Ameritrust tower was hopeless but Geis was able to repurpose it.


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Cuyahoga County Board of Control approves purchase of bunks so jail inmates won’t have to sleep on floor

Updated Mar 25, 2:37 PM; Posted Mar 25, 2:36 PM

By Courtney Astolfi, cleveland.com

 

...Once the bunks are delivered, 500 or so inmates will no longer be sleeping on the floor, interim Chief of Staff Matt Carroll, and interim Warden Phillip Christopher said.

 

The downtown jail, which is supposed to hold up to 1,795 inmates, has been over-populated for years, and a U.S. Marshals Service report released in November found that it was holding more than 2,400 inmates. That number has decreased dramatically over the past several months — there were 1,984 inmates on Monday, according to a county spokeswoman.

 

MORE:

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/03/cuyahoga-county-board-of-control-approves-purchase-of-bunks-so-jail-inmates-wont-have-to-sleep-on-floor.html

 

And

 

Cuyahoga County Jail inmate jumps from balcony in suicide attempt

Updated Mar 25, 2:46 PM; Posted Mar 25, 1:58 PM

By Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cuyahoga County Jail inmate tried to commit suicide late Saturday when he jumped from 15-foot balcony.

 

....Suicide attempts at the Cuyahoga County Jail have tripled in the last three years, peaking with 69 in 2018.

 

The number of attempted suicides, which spiked from 23 in 2016, happened as conditions worsened at the jail, including an increase in forced lockdowns called “red-zoning.”

 

MORE:

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2019/03/cuyahoga-county-jail-inmate-jumps-from-balcony-in-suicide-attempt.html

Edited by KJP
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4 hours ago, KJP said:

Cuyahoga County Board of Control approves purchase of bunks so jail inmates won’t have to sleep on floor

Updated Mar 25, 2:37 PM; Posted Mar 25, 2:36 PM

By Courtney Astolfi, cleveland.com

 

...Once the bunks are delivered, 500 or so inmates will no longer be sleeping on the floor, interim Chief of Staff Matt Carroll, and interim Warden Phillip Christopher said.

 

The downtown jail, which is supposed to hold up to 1,795 inmates, has been over-populated for years, and a U.S. Marshals Service report released in November found that it was holding more than 2,400 inmates. That number has decreased dramatically over the past several months — there were 1,984 inmates on Monday, according to a county spokeswoman.

 

MORE:

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/03/cuyahoga-county-board-of-control-approves-purchase-of-bunks-so-jail-inmates-wont-have-to-sleep-on-floor.html

 

And

 

Cuyahoga County Jail inmate jumps from balcony in suicide attempt

Updated Mar 25, 2:46 PM; Posted Mar 25, 1:58 PM

By Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cuyahoga County Jail inmate tried to commit suicide late Saturday when he jumped from 15-foot balcony.

 

....Suicide attempts at the Cuyahoga County Jail have tripled in the last three years, peaking with 69 in 2018.

 

The number of attempted suicides, which spiked from 23 in 2016, happened as conditions worsened at the jail, including an increase in forced lockdowns called “red-zoning.”

 

MORE:

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2019/03/cuyahoga-county-jail-inmate-jumps-from-balcony-in-suicide-attempt.html

 

Wow

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