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Cleveland: Downtown: Jacobs' Public Square Property

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I am really hoping Sherwin chooses this location if they ever build a new HQ. It would be cool to see Scranton peninsula developed, but I have more faith in Geis to get it done without an anchor tenant like Sherwin than I do in Jacobs getting his lot developed. If Sherwin doesn't choose to be on Public Square, then I fear that Jacobs will just sit on that land and do nothing until someone comes to him. He's too busy developing corn fields in Avon.

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First KJP hinted about the landmark building.........now this.  It sure sounds like Sherwin  Williams.  Hoping for more hints....hint hint.

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40 minutes ago, YO to the CLE said:

I am really hoping Sherwin chooses this location if they ever build a new HQ. It would be cool to see Scranton peninsula developed, but I have more faith in Geis to get it done without an anchor tenant like Sherwin than I do in Jacobs getting his lot developed. If Sherwin doesn't choose to be on Public Square, then I fear that Jacobs will just sit on that land and do nothing until someone comes to him. He's too busy developing corn fields in Avon.

Y0...when you say "he", to whom are you referring?  Is it Jeff Jacobs?  I would imagine he is a major shareholder in the company but I not under the impression he is in a management position.

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^^I thought Jacobs Real Estate Services was the property management company created to manage Jeff Jacob's developments? In that case, Jeff would be the developer of the lot and then once the building was constructed, he would employ his property management company to lease and manage the building? Am I wrong in that regard?

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^Jeff Jacobs is out on his own. The Nautica stuff and whatever he does in Florida isn't part of the "Jacobs" company that owns the Public Square site (or Chagrin Highlands). 

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It's astounding to me that you can make enough money on parking to cover your taxes.  That you can just sit and wait for the land to appreciate or the right opportunity to come along.  Even if that is 25, 30 years.

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Just now, RMB said:

It's astounding to me that you can make enough money on parking to cover your taxes.  That you can just sit and wait for the land to appreciate or the right opportunity to come along.  Even if that is 25, 30 years.

 

A few years ago I figured that the Jacobs Group is netting at least $300,000 per year on the Public Square parking lot.


"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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Just now, KJP said:

 

A few years ago I figured that the Jacobs Group is netting at least $300,000 per year on the Public Square parking lot.

 

For that piece of property already in the hands of an able party, that's essentially losing money. 

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Just now, tastybunns said:

Once property taxes go up in that vicinity, $300k wont fit their bill. They're gonna have no choice but to sell it up.

 

From the county auditor's site:

 

101-07-008

PUBLIC SQUARE WEST LTD

W 3 ST

CLEVELAND, OH. 44113

 

2017 Certified Values
Land    $4,787,000.00
Building    $54,000.00
Total    $4,841,000.00

 

2018 Proposed Values
Land    $5,097,400.00
Building    $49,800.00
Total    $5,147,200.00

 

That's a total increase of 6.3%, which is less than the county average increase. Wouldn't that mean Jacob's Group property tax would actually go down?

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The taxable amount is a lot less...

 

Assessed Values

Land Value$1,675,450

Building Value$18,900

Total Value$1,694,350

 

Jacobs Group paid $172,094.58 in taxes on this property in 2017.

 

The property was valued more than three times higher a decade ago and they were assessed more than twice as much in taxes per year.

Edited by KJP

"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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We have watched major local developers who made fortunes in the suburbs turn their attention to the City. We have watched suburban mall magnate Scott Wolstein build Flats East Bank. We are watching the developer of Crocker Park run around the Statehouse trying to get a law passed to make NuCLEus work. We watched the developer of Legacy Village build Steelyard Commons. We watched Weston, a suburban industrial developer, do the Standard Building. We watched Frank Sinito do Statler, Key Tower, now Union Trust. Etc etc etc. These projects are hard to do and those doing them and trying to do them deserve credit.

 

What conclusions can we make about why this piece of land (and also the Nautica parking lots) is undeveloped other than the Jacobs family are lazy and don't care about Cleveland? I get it, the math doesn't quite work yet, but Stark isn't letting that stop him, why do we give a pass to Jacobs? Math doesn't work so guess what? Bob Stark tries to change the math.

 

It's funny, I have mostly referred to Progressive Field as Jacobs Field since the name changed, but I've been catching on to their suckiness and so now I'm proudly calling it Progressive.

Edited by mu2010

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Supporting Progressive doesn't mean supporting urbanism either.

 

Jacobs Group isn't taking the lead in many if any real estate developments. If the Jacobs Lot is developed, they will likely least active member of a multi-faceted team.


"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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It’s shameful that the Jacobs Group has allowed this proud and great city to have a parking lot on its public square for so long. I hope KJP’s “tease” is the news many of us have  been hoping for - that an iconic 21st century  tower will finally  join  the “big 3” in the not-so distant future. 

What a great place to be located, on the revived  and beautiful public square in an energized and increasingly more dynamic  downtown. I’m sure that  challenging market economics have kept such a project at bay - but Cleveland deserves better than what the Jacobs Group has given us. . I only hope that such a project happens before another 2007 type “correction” in the economy puts a halt to major new construction for another decade or so. 

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14 hours ago, Eastside said:

@Cleveland Trust you're tearing down stark's headquarters in your plan fyi.

At the time I sketched this I was hoping that the Stark HQ building facade could be restored and the building expanded to fit the L-shaped block. With this one possible exception, no other buildings would need to be demolished.

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6 hours ago, CleveFan said:

It’s shameful that the Jacobs Group has allowed this proud and great city to have a parking lot on its public square for so long. I hope KJP’s “tease” is the news many of us have  been hoping for - that an iconic 21st century  tower will finally  join  the “big 3” in the not-so distant future. 

What a great place to be located, on the revived  and beautiful public square in an energized and increasingly more dynamic  downtown. I’m sure that  challenging market economics have kept such a project at bay - but Cleveland deserves better than what the Jacobs Group has given us. . I only hope that such a project happens before another 2007 type “correction” in the economy puts a halt to major new construction for another decade or so. 

Personally, I think this comment is somewhat unfair. While I do believe the Jacobs group could be doing more to court a large tenant, or multiple tenants of various types to a new development at this location (assuming they're not), it's not that simple. In the last 30 years what major tenants that could take up enough space in a new Ameritrust sized tower have come downtown. There may be a few now that recently have a need to expand and are looking, but that demand hasn't existed for at least 25 of the last 30 years. We aren't New York, or DC, or Atlanta that have either super high demand for office space or high employment growth rates, or both, that presents the need for a new tower. Only recently have we begun to see some respectable job growth numbers. If our economic conditions continue with the improvement we are seeing currently, then I may share your opinion in another five or ten years because we are really only at the beginning of this increase in demand for downtown space. You can't just build a $500 million spec office tower in a market like this, unless you can privately finance it and even then it wouldn't make sense.

 

Throwing any old project (something less grand than the original Ameritrust proposal) up at that space I think would be more disappointing than the lot sitting there with the opportunity to be turned into something great.

Edited by Mov2Ohio

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2 hours ago, 327 said:

Detroit is about to get a new tallest building, and the renderings look pretty nice.  Gotta keep pace!

 

Right! Who cares about the economics of such a thing! Just get it built. lol.

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15 hours ago, KJP said:

Supporting Progressive doesn't mean supporting urbanism either.

 

Jacobs Group isn't taking the lead in many if any real estate developments. If the Jacobs Lot is developed, they will likely least active member of a multi-faceted team.

Indeed, Jacobs Group is almost a dormant company. They've been selling off land or in some cases, they are almost silent partners. They don't develop much of anything on their own anymore. Their last major development was Cabela's and that was nearly four years ago. The Public Square lots aren't even listed on Jacobs' own website although much of that site is very outdated.  

 

I'm not sure how Jacobs Group's ownership group is structured and I'm curious to know how local it is. As mentioned, Jeff Jacobs lives in Florida. His company is based in Colorado. Most of his major developments are out West. He's been buying up quite a bit of property in Reno. His Cleveland holdings are the only ones that don't include casino gaming of some kind. That leaves Nautica as an outlier among all of his investments. I think that's one reason it takes a backseat. His focus is on casinos, not real estate.

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Cleveland needs to update how it taxes land versus buildings, especially in Downtown.  I've heard that Pittsburgh at some point altered its tax policy in downtown to discourage demolition of buildings only to make way for surface parking lots.  As a result, Pittsburgh's downtown is largely void of surface parking lot craters.  I've always felt that surface parking lots are one of the biggest impediments to growth in Downtown Cleveland. 

 

I'm amazed at how land owners have been able to maintain preferential tax policy, which has scarred downtown for decades and destroyed neighborhoods.  If the city wants to encourage development, its tax policy cannot encourage and promote/enhance the profitability of the lack of development (surface parking lots).  I'm not an expert on tax policy or city politics, but I would think that a proposal to increase taxes on land uses such as surface parking lots (which put unnecessary burdens on city services (non-efficient use of land causing lower density) and the environment) would enjoy a fair amount of support. 

 

I think that downtown Cleveland would have a totally different feel if the Warehouse District, Jacobs and Nucleus lots were developed.  The size of the developments would not even matter.  If that land was built upon and was not barren wasteland, downtown Cleveland would feel so much bigger, connected and more vibrant.

Edited by NYC Boomerang
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Good comments, NYC- looking at models of reasonably similar markets and how they’re succeeding in areas where we need to up our game is logical. Seems to me that for some of us, the first reaction or default is to explain why Cleveland can’t support more big city  Development. And though I agree we can’t just throw economics out the window, I like 327’s competitive mindset. We are, after all, in many ways competing against cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh. 

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11 hours ago, CleveFan said:

Good comments, NYC- looking at models of reasonably similar markets and how they’re succeeding in areas where we need to up our game is logical. Seems to me that for some of us, the first reaction or default is to explain why Cleveland can’t support more big city  Development. And though I agree we can’t just throw economics out the window, I like 327’s competitive mindset. We are, after all, in many ways competing against cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh. 

 

And we should be looking to see what those cities are doing to entice development, attract businesses and creating a market that encourages future development in the city. The State and Federal Tax credits have done a pretty good job on the residential front, so now more needs to be done on the business side of things. That said you still can't just throw up a skyscraper because they did so down the road. I would love to see Cleveland with many more high rises of all use types go up, and I think we will see that moving forward, but sometimes I think forumers here think this is Simcity where you can just plop down a new building vs a real city with real decades old issues, that are only recently being overcome. 

 

Perhaps if Key/Society Didn't buy Ameritrust that lot would have a 70 story office tower and hotel. Perhaps we'd have a 60 story building straddling the railroad tracks north of city hall if Progressive hadn't decided to build a corporate campus in the early 90s. Cleveland's office market was overbuilt by 1991 with the Fifth Third and Key Tower Building's coming online, which obviated the need for new office product. Then by the early 00's there was a recession, that Cleveland never really got out of by the time the 2008 recession hit. All of these things built the environment we are currently in and can't be ignored. 

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I think similar economics and the resulting effect have plagued most Midwest cities - sometimes, perhaps it takes a man/woman  with a love for a city, a vision to build something “transformational” and the money to help to push beyond economic barriers. Imagine if Dan Gilbert felt about Cleveland the way he feels about Detroit. 

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Just now, CleveFan said:

Imagine if Dan Gilbert felt about Cleveland the way he feels about Detroit. 

 

I'll be honest - I'm glad he doesn't. Some of the top-down investment schemes in Detroit scare me in the face of another impending market implosion. It's like he;s playing SimCity with a money cheat. Cleveland is a profoundly aggravating place, but if there is any facet of this annoying city it's that investment has been marginally more incremental and, ideally, sustainable.

 

Though I absolutely agree that someone probably needs to just jump in with a catalytic project here. I still think there is some potential for a more permanent downtown transit hub integrated into a larger building on this lot.

Edited by jws
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On 10/31/2018 at 4:52 PM, NYC Boomerang said:

I think that downtown Cleveland would have a totally different feel if the Warehouse District, Jacobs and Nucleus lots were developed.  The size of the developments would not even matter.  If that land was built upon and was not barren wasteland, downtown Cleveland would feel so much bigger, connected and more vibrant.

 

I think that many people equate downtown to have giant skyscrapers and that’s all they want. Jacobs lot makes sense for a skyscraper, but much of the empty lots really don’t need it. Similarly scaled buildings to the rest of Warehouse District makes sense. Pedestrian level is more important than having a robust skyline. Weston’s plans are nice, but would still be great minus the towers. 

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On 10/31/2018 at 4:28 PM, Mwd711 said:

The Public Square lots aren't even listed on Jacobs' own website although much of that site is very outdated.  

 

That certainly may be one reason why the Public Square lot isn't listed. But there appears to be another reason. And it's the reason many of us have hoped for. I just found out from a very good source that it's the site SHW prefers. But I don't know if it's a done deal.

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"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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1 hour ago, KJP said:

 

That certainly may be one reason why the Public Square lot isn't listed. But there appears to be another reason. And it's the reason many of us have hoped for. I just found out from a very good source that it's the site SHW prefers. But I don't know if it's a done deal.

 

i assume that HB469 transformational tax credit will will play a MAJOR role in Sherwin Williams decision to build this tower.

When do you think we can hear some news on this Jacob's public square property?

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4 hours ago, dave2017 said:

I wish the proposed Ameritrust Tower could  still be built. I feel the design still holds up.

 

Ditteaux.   It's a great design that's at least somewhat timeless, infinitely better than Jenga Tower (aka Nucleus).   

 

But even without the latter does enough demand exist for a 1,200' tower?

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11 hours ago, simplythis said:

 

i assume that HB469 transformational tax credit will will play a MAJOR role in Sherwin Williams decision to build this tower.

When do you think we can hear some news on this Jacob's public square property?

 

It may. And under the current definition of a transformational development, this project would probably qualify if it includes parking and/or retail to go with the offices. But SHW was near to giving this office tower the green light before the Valspar deal, and that was before anyone was talking about the transformational tax credit. So they might proceed without it this time, too. As for when they might announce it...if the planning for it advances enough, the company-wide sales meeting in Orlando in January might be good timing. 

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"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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2 hours ago, KJP said:

 

It may. And under the current definition of a transformational development, this project would probably qualify if it includes parking and/or retail to go with the offices. But SHW was near to giving this office tower the green light before the Valspar deal, and that was before anyone was talking about the transformational tax credit. So they might proceed without it this time, too. As for when they might announce it...if the planning for it advances enough, the company-wide sales meeting in Orlando in January might be good timing. 

This is huge news!

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Sorry. My source whose firm worked with SHW on the HQ project clarified that SHW was favoring the Jacobs Lot two years ago. He says his firm is not currently doing any work with SHW on this project.

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"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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1 hour ago, KJP said:

Sorry. My source whose firm worked with SHW on the HQ project clarified that SHW was favoring the Jacobs Lot two years ago. He says his firm is not currently doing any work with SHW on this project.

So what does this clarification mean?      No Public Square Tower  OR  NO TOWER anywhere?

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2 hours ago, simplythis said:

So what does this clarification mean?      No Public Square Tower  OR  NO TOWER anywhere?

 

Here is what I know....

 

About one month ago, I received information from someone who is very level-headed and whose firm met with a client they could not name. But they said the client was seeking to consolidate its offices into a 40+ story HQ tower. While there's only one company headquartered in Cleveland who has scattered offices and could justify a tower that big, in later conversations I specifically mentioned Sherwin Williams to verify the client and the source associated Sherwin Williams in a response about the project.

 

The person who said Jacobs Lot works at a company who did design work for the HQ project prior to the Valspar deal. It was my assumption that this company was still doing design work for SHW because, when I asked him about this project a month ago, he responded only with "Sworn to secrecy." But I pushed him a little yesterday and got him to acknowledge that the Jacobs Lot was the site for the HQ. Later, after posting the information here on UO, I realized I should have asked how recent that information was. So I asked him and he said "at least 18 months ago." I asked him, so your firm is not currently working on this project? He replied, "No."

 

Furthermore, another source whose relative is an executive with SHW said he was on a committee working on the HQ project in 2016. He said he is not on any such committee now and knows of no renewed efforts to pursue the HQ project. He said it's possible it may have restarted but he doubts it.

 

One month ago, after getting the tip that the project had restarted, I contacted someone I've known for 20 years who works in an executive position at SHW and asked him about it. I told him I planned to write a blog about it. He said to me "This is off the record, OK? There is no HQ project. You can't even use this information on background. There is no project." I asked, why is this off the record if there is no project? Why not just say it publicly? "Because there is nothing to discuss," he said. BTW, that same source denied now (and two years ago) there was anything happening two years ago with any HQ project, too. He said it was just a bunch of real estate developers trying to stir up interest in their own businesses.

 

So what do you think is happening here? Something or nothing?

Edited by KJP
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"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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