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Cleveland: Downtown: Jacobs' Public Square Property

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I figured it was time to start a thread on this. I resisted the temptation to put "skyscraper" in the subject line, even though that's the only thing which could effectively be built on this very expensive piece of undeveloped real estate.

 

And it's been reported from several sources, including some I've spoken to at City Hall, that the Richard E. Jacobs Group is seeking to build a 60-story tower on this property owned by Jacobs. Bob Stark says he thinks Jacobs wants to build a 70-story tower. I also understand that potentially two firms are considering going in together on such a large 'scraper which, if built, would be Ohio's new tallest (overshadowing neighboring Key Tower). For more information, see this terrific presentation by the PD.... http://blog.cleveland.com/business/2007/08/31FGOFFICE.pdf

 

While I love skyscrapers for their soaring vistas and chest-thumping hutzpah, I just don't think such a huge building makes economic sense for downtown Cleveland at this time. We have way too many swaths of surface parking lots which sap the streetlife from downtown (as do many self-contained office towers). Stark's vision of multiple buildings in the 8- to 30-story range, with major retailers and other non-office uses on their ground floors, makes much more sense for nurturing a vibrant city, IMHO. Too many downtown skyscrapers act as bunkers --  many office workers in them never set foot on city streets to take care of their shopping needs. Even before or after work, they never come outside, driving to/from their office tower's parking garage and the suburbs. What if they lived downtown? What if they shopped downtown? What if we designed downtown buildings not for scale but for interaction?

 

I hope that's what the Jacobs Group does with its Public Square property.

 

Anyway, here's some factoids on The Parking Lot On Public Square:

 

Owner: Public Square West Ltd (a Jacobs Group company)

            25425 Center Ridge Rd

            Westlake, OH 44145-4122

Land area: 50,974 square feet or 1.17 acres

Market value: $12,784,500 (according to the Cuyahoga County Auditor's office).

Last structural use:  1990, when two 14-story buildings on the site, One Public Square and 33 Public Square, were demolished.

Last proposed use:   Ameritrust Tower plus a 484-room Hyatt Regency Hotel. Plans cancelled in 1994 when Ameritrust and Central National Bank, both Cleveland companies, were absorbed by Society Corp. Society later merged with KeyBank of Albany, NY which relocated its headquarters here, to the then-called Society Center Tower, now Key Tower, on Public Square.

 

The Ameritrust Center building's proposed structural height (not incl. antennas etc.) was 1,197 feet, with 63 floors. Total leasable space was projected to be about 1 million square feet...

 

AmeritrustTowerproposed.gif

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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So, I'm just going to speculate, using help from that PD info graphic, that Eaton and Ernst & Young (OK, so maybe I'm wrong. I'm a lousy sleuth :) are the two companies that would go halfsies on a skyscraper, as they have the largest number of employees and are two places on the bubble for new leases.

 

I think a skyscraper is stupid in this case -- it doesn't make sense economically or for the urban landscape. I'd much rather have a shorter, more dense neighborhood in the Warehouse District than some Goliath new building that'll probably be ugly and inundate the office market with available space. Where are the tenants going to come from? There's office space all over downtown that's in decent shape.

 

I think a new skyscraper would be an ego-driven venture meant to be a landmark for these companies and the developer. Unfortunately, I don't think it would do anyone else any good.

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Ironically, if a skyscaper were to be built on the public square lot I believe that it would fill the gap in the skyline left by the demolition of the AT tower.  Of course, the above would only apply to the view of Cleveland's skyline seen on the front page of this site (the best view in town IMO).

 

I love skyscrapers and really feel that they add to the asthetics of any urban area.... from a distance albeit.  They provide somewhat of a light which beckons you to the CBD.  However, as far as the ground level asthetics, function, use, enjoyment, and pretty much any other factor you can consider.... the Pesht plans blow any proposed skyscraper out of the water.

 

If Pesht fails I would rather have two buildings the height of Erieview (with better design of course) instead of an Ameritrust-like tower.  Add on any hotel planned near the convention center and our skyline will look plenty impressive for a city our size.  We have three buildings of 600 ft. plus already.  We need to fill it up now.  I also worry about some behemoth of a building smothering the terminal tower and making it look insignificant. 

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^Isn't the declining availability of class A space driving these new office projects? Class A availability is at 10% now, so new construction is warranted. I just don't know if a 60 or 70 story is what is needed.

 

If it is built, I hope it connects well with the street, is multi use and doesn't kill other projects on the table.

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Yes. If there were large "vacancies holes" in other downtown office buildings, the eight firms whose leases are up could simply move into them. But those holes don't exist. They would, however, if one of the firms now using 200,000+ square feet like Eaton, E&Y or Huntington moves out of their spaces to a new tower. That would start to create some holes. Let the shuffle begin!


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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One question. Assuming both new tenants need 200,000-300,000 square feet of space that still leaves about between 400,000 and 600,000 square feet of space open. I wonder if that would be all office space or some other component.

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I suspect Jacobs is still interested in having a hotel as part of whatever he's working on, especially now that the convention center tax is coming in. I don't know what the square footage of a hotel would be, but if he's still interested in a 450-room hotel, that represents roughly 15-20 stories (incl. supportive service areas) or 250,000 to 300,000 square feet.


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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For sh!ts and giggles, I sketched up some generic massing renderings. I have to agree with Hts44121, one of the merits of the Ameritrust Center design was that though it was a monster tower, the majority of it was placed on the northern end of the site which gave Terminal Tower some visual breathing room.

 

This is the approximate Ameritrust model - with the tower on the northern portion and a base that topped out at the height of the 55 Building on the southern portion:

jacobsmassing3.jpg

 

Similar but with a base that topped out at Terminal's first setback:

jacobsmassing2.jpg

 

And a big leviathan version that fills the entire site with a uniform height:

jacobsmassing1.jpg

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So, I'm just going to speculate, using help from that PD info graphic, that Eaton and Ernst & Young (OK, so maybe I'm wrong. I'm a lousy sleuth :) are the two companies that would go halfsies on a skyscraper, as they have the largest number of employees and are two places on the bubble for new leases.

 

Actually, City Hall sources said the two companies going together were/are Eaton and Baker Hostetler. Whether they go to Jacobs' parking lot or some other site  (Stark's WHD project, Wolstein's FEB, or Ferchill's North Point) is unknown.


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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I think a skyscraper 60+ stories is great for the city and good for the economy of Cleveland because it will insert huge amounts of cash into the city, remember there will be 700+ people working in that building which provides the city with alot of income tax. The bad thing is that one building only fixes that one parking area. Starks plan is much better for the city but the skyscraper will be more usefull

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Yes that is good because it opens up more office space in different buildings for different types of business's, here's a perfect example right now my employer is out growing his office space in the Hannah building but he cant find a good location downtown so he is looking to the suburbs for offices he has found many spots in independence, and beachwood but theres not the right type of space downtown

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Yes that is good because it opens up more office space in different buildings for different types of business's, here's a perfect example right now my employer is out growing his office space in the Hannah building but he cant find a good location downtown so he is looking to the suburbs for offices he has found many spots in independence, and beachwood but theres not the right type of space downtown

 

I find that hard to believe.  There is plenty of Class B space that can be upgraded.  However, that might be a deal breaker as "b" class space might not be the "type" of space your employeer can upgrade, pay rent and move and stay withing budget.

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Yes that is good because it opens up more office space in different buildings for different types of business's, here's a perfect example right now my employer is out growing his office space in the Hannah building but he cant find a good location downtown so he is looking to the suburbs for offices he has found many spots in independence, and beachwood but theres not the right type of space downtown

 

How many firms in the city are really in that position though?

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Welcome aboard, Cleveland! Glad to see the whole city is posting!!  :-D


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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^ Well, if that's true, it's good news! I'm sure there are some places out there that are shrinking or looking for similarly sized spaces in other buildings, though. I know of a number of buildings, like the Hanna, that aren't very full -- why else would they institute that month-to-month rent plan for new tech businesses? You wouldn't do that if you had a steady stream of tenants.

 

My fear is, a glitzy new skyscraper will distract the non-UrbanOhio reader from what we should be concentrating on, increasing our density, bringing retail to the street, increasing the residential population, etc. I've seen the History Channel shows on the birth of skyscrapers, and the fundamental point behind it all is -- skyscrapers are expensive, flamboyant landmarks to ego, wealth and economic strength - even the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building had high vacancies for years after their construction. At this point in Cleveland's history, it's my argument that we should look be more pragmatic and thrifty and look to traditional neighborhoods to help spur the city's rebirth. Instead of copying Dubai, we should be copying Ohio City. Leasing a Hummer doesn't make you a rich man.

 

 

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Yes that is good because it opens up more office space in different buildings for different types of business's, here's a perfect example right now my employer is out growing his office space in the Hannah building but he cant find a good location downtown so he is looking to the suburbs for offices he has found many spots in independence, and beachwood but theres not the right type of space downtown

 

Do you work for Cleveland Magazine?

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Whether they go to Jacobs' parking lot or some other site  (Stark's WHD project, Wolstein's FEB, or Ferchill's North Point) is unknown.

 

I forgot about North Point, talk about making things more complicated!

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i hope jacobs gets his clients, that a hotel bites, which in that case i am sure would happen, and that he then builds a massively tall and spectacular mixed use tower.

 

to stark, wolstein & any other developer i say snooze ya loose. this kind of business isnt for the faint-hearted.

 

while i admire stark's chutzpah, one of those 3 has got to move from the talk stage to the dirt digging stage around here. so may the best man win. i know that with action on at least 2/3 of these 3 major projects that overall the cleve will be a winner.

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I think that if the city truly needs a new skyscraper, it would be great to have another one. Skyscrapers, especially in Cleveland's case, do help a city's self-image and whatnot. My question is what happens with all the vacant space left behind by the companies moving into the new skyscrapers? That's my main concern. I'm not sure that the demand for NEW office space justifies building new skyscrapers, does it?

 

^ Well, if that's true, it's good news! I'm sure there are some places out there that are shrinking or looking for similarly sized spaces in other buildings, though. I know of a number of buildings, like the Hanna, that aren't very full -- why else would they institute that month-to-month rent plan for new tech businesses? You wouldn't do that if you had a steady stream of tenants.

 

My fear is, a glitzy new skyscraper will distract the non-UrbanOhio reader from what we should be concentrating on, increasing our density, bringing retail to the street, increasing the residential population, etc. I've seen the History Channel shows on the birth of skyscrapers, and the fundamental point behind it all is -- skyscrapers are expensive, flamboyant landmarks to ego, wealth and economic strength - even the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building had high vacancies for years after their construction. At this point in Cleveland's history, it's my argument that we should look be more pragmatic and thrifty and look to traditional neighborhoods to help spur the city's rebirth. Instead of copying Dubai, we should be copying Ohio City. Leasing a Hummer doesn't make you a rich man.

 

 

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I think that if the city truly needs a new skyscraper, it would be great to have another one. Skyscrapers, especially in Cleveland's case, do help a city's self-image and whatnot. My question is what happens with all the vacant space left behind by the companies moving into the new skyscrapers? That's my main concern. I'm not sure that the demand for NEW office space justifies building new skyscrapers, does it?

 

And the "new building" equals "prosperity" is exactly what we don't need.  to the uneducated, it would seem like everything is coming up roses.

 

I've highlighted the 50 million dollar question!

 

KJP has answered the "need" for new space down thread.

 

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I do agree a new 60+ story skyscraper would do wonders for the skyline and image of Cleveland.  However, I too would prefer to see two 30-35 story mixed use buildings.  From afar, the skyline starting with the Carl B. Stokes Fed. Courthouse, two new 30-35 story buildings, public square scrapers over to the E. 9th CBD buildings looks more impressive.  A skyline with 3-4 pencils amongst the crayons doesn't look as impressive in my opinion as several crayons stretching across the horizon.

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^I am less concerned about the skyline and more concerned about what is going on on the stret level.  That is what makes a city.

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If the main justification for building a skyscraper is fulfilling some phallic pride in the residents of greater Cleveland, then I cannot imagine how that could possibly be a good idea. Downtown's main aesthetic challenge, in my opinion, is missing teeth, not height. We're already home to Ohio's largest skyscraper, also one of the 20 tallest in the country and 100 in the world. Something along the scale of FEB or Pesht makes more sense, particularly because it's in a mixed-use context. Building a neighborhood that can serve as a magnet for a dense pool of knowledge workers seems more likely to attract businesses to the CBD than would a monolithic single use office tower.

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outside of this forum, how many people really take pride in their cities skyscrapers?

 

Man, Dubai must be a sweet city because of the skyscrapers going up. But unless you've been or watch a lot of PBS, the project probably doesn't even phase you (sorry for the over generalization)

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i disagree.

 

skyscrapers = a city to most people. meaning visitors.

 

its the neighborhood stuff they dont notice or care about. outside of their own of course. meaning locals.

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i disagree.

 

skyscrapers = a city to most people. meaning visitors.

 

its the neighborhood stuff they dont notice or care about. outside of their own of course. meaning locals.

 

hmm...must explain why atlanta is such a great city then.

 

Sorry, low blow.

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i disagree.

 

skyscrapers = a city to most people. meaning visitors.

 

its the neighborhood stuff they dont notice or care about. outside of their own of course. meaning locals.

 

hmm...must explain why atlanta is such a great city then.

 

Sorry, low blow.

 

Its your honest opinion though.

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If we're not going to build something that makes sense (aka Pesht) then we may as well go for the full phallus and build a skyscraper 1 foot taller than the new record-setting Dubai one...and add on to it any time anyone passes us up...and use MayDay's design, a gray gradient building would be pimp!

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Yeah, if we're going to take leave of our senses, we might as well burn them as well. Good plan.


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" -- Lady Liberty

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i disagree.

 

skyscrapers = a city to most people. meaning visitors.

 

its the neighborhood stuff they dont notice or care about. outside of their own of course. meaning locals.

 

hmm...must explain why atlanta is such a great city then.

 

Sorry, low blow.

 

But you've got to look at things like ,why are Chicago and The City of New York's skylines so admired?

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^are they really?

 

John Doe, "I'm thinking about traveling to NYC for a vacation"

Jane Doe, "why"

John Doe, "Because that skyline is just so sweet, I have to be there, screw everything else to do, I'm even staying in New Jersey to just stare at the skyline."

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^are they really?

 

John Doe, "I'm thinking about traveling to NYC for a vacation"

Jane Doe, "why"

John Doe, "Because that skyline is just so sweet, I have to be there, screw everything else to do, I'm even staying in New Jersey to just stare at the skyline."

 

Please Pope, people are always talking about those cities skyline, you can act like they don't, that's OK.

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