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Cleveland: Midtown: Development and News

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It's hard to say that it isn't good news, but prepare to barf when you see the design:

 

 

State awards $3.5 million grant to MidTown Tech Park in Cleveland

Published: Friday, July 30, 2010, 3:04 PM    Updated: Friday, July 30, 2010, 3:46 PM

Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer

 

CLEVELAND -- The state will grant $3.5 million to an office, laboratory and research building in the Midtown neighborhood, where a developer says he has several interested tenants and is ready to start construction "as soon as possible."

 

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher announced at a news conference that the state will give its maximum grant for job-ready sites to the MidTown Tech Park, a $21 million project being developed by the Geis Cos. and the Coyne family. The project, formerly called the Euclid Tech Center, will comprise 128,500 square feet of offices, labs and research space, aimed at growing biomedical and technology companies.

 

At the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East 69th Street, the development site sits in the middle of the burgeoning Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor, a district that runs from East 22nd Street out to University Circle. Last month, state officials earmarked the corridor as a "Hub of Innovation and Opportunity," bringing the area a $250,000 matching grant and priority status for grants and loans awarded by the Ohio Department of Development and other state agencies.

 

more at:  http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2010/07/state_awards_35_million_grant.html

 

 

 

Similar story in Crain's:  http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20100730/FREE/100739974

 

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actually, I don't think it is nearly as bad as it could have been.  It's multi-storied, primarily brick, and by in large fronts euclid, with parking in the rear mainly visible to carnegie.  of course I am not quite sure of the need for it to be on a 30 degree angle  creating a small lawn... but it also does have 2 "front doors" on euclid, which make it more transit friendly.  And of course not to mention.... if they can fill 130,000 sf of office space it could create a need for more of the type of development we would like to see in some of these barren lots around it.

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Not sure why they wouldn't build a 4 story building and leave the remainder of the land for future development.  Design is of course a complete disaster, offering the worst the suburbs have to offer.  I'd really rather have an empty lot than allow this to set the precedent for future development in this area.  Yet another sad trade:  formly a high density, mixed use, transit dependent urban neighborhood for low density, insert cornice here architecture, "high tech" developement.  We should be expecting more.

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I agree with McCleveland about the design.  The building itself is quite drab and 1995 but the setback could be a lot worse.  It definitely has room for improvement aesthetically but hopefully they can add a bit more style for the final design.

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I was definitely fearing a lot worse.  If your goal is $14 psf leasable space, your building design is going to be pretty blah.  I was more worried about there being a sea of surface parking in front of a single story building, which thankfully won't be the case.  The lawn and angled setback are pretty awful though.  I would have been fine with a smaller, uniform [non grass] landscaped set-back, but the angle is just gratuitous.

 

W28th (or anyone), would going up for stories on half the footprint increased the overall construction costs?

 

Best case is that this gets the ball rolling so that the market can support higher lease rates and better buildings down the line.

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I doubt Geis would know how to build a 4 story building.  They'd stare at you with a confused look on their faces and think you were asking for a warehouse.

 

It's certainly the nicest looking building to ever come out of that company  :wink:

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The rendering seems to contemplate the demo of the older brick bookstore building at the corner of 69th (see below), which I didn't think was part of the initial Geis land purchase.  Anyone know if he now controls this parcel too?  Would have been a nice gesture to keep that old shell, but I'm guessing Geis would disagree.

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Cleveland,+OH&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.456673,101.513672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Cleveland,+Cuyahoga,+Ohio&ll=41.504227,-81.642446&spn=0.002282,0.006196&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=41.504357,-81.64215&panoid=TauJA2VTAMTTVV80tcSNVQ&cbp=12,208.1,,0,-8.83

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Good lord.  I guess they truely see it as progress.... :cry:

 

*btw, I found some great Cleveland books in that store a number of years ago. Including some on Shaker Hts. design standards.

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I was expecting a lot worse from Geis, as I could probably build many of their designs with one of those build-it-in-a-weekend steel building kits advertised on TV... http://www.us-buildings-direct.com/?cmp=150384

 

While I'm surprised Geis has provided the building with windows, it's still way too suburban with no attempt at offering mixed-use or an inviting sidewalk presence with first-floor leasable spaces accessible from the sidewalk. In other words, the only people likely to be using this building are those working there. And that sure doesn't do much for pedestrianism.

 

The client and the architect should be asking: how many different uses and entry points to these differing uses are fronting Euclid? If it's just one, then do you realize that when developing in a city, you have a larger responsibility than only to your client or to your principal user? Responsibilities like increasing sidewalk activity, promoting interaction with nearby buildings by offering complementary uses and multiple access points, making walking interesting/inviting instead of boring/intimidating, enhancing security through natural surveillance (ie: eyes on the street), etc. etc. If they dismiss these things, then no wonder we end up with sexy fortresses and urban bunkers with no sidewalk activity and unrealized business opportunities. The perception to the passerby is that no one lives or works in the area.

 

Sadly (OK, frustratingly!), it takes a lot of searching to find some decent resources to show folks what we're talking about, and I doubt architects seeking to re-package another cookie-cutter suburban structure will take the incredible amount time I took to find these less-than dazzling resources....

 

http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/docs/publications/commmixedusecode.pdf?ga=t (probably the best one I could find)

 

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/planning/neighborhood/downloads/scongress/sccp_commdesign_8.pdf

 

http://www.smartgrowth.bc.ca/Portals/0/Downloads/SGBC_Health_Report_FINAL.pdf


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I don't think the design is that horrible, maybe not what we would prefer but still. The area could definitely use some development and this could help spure other development. We can't be to picky, im glad anything is going up. And i don't find them responsible for trying to increase sidewalk activity. I mean look at the area, its has a long way to go until there will be sidewalk activity. And this will look better then an empty lot. Imagine being a tourist and driving down the cities main street and seeing an ugly giant empty lot or a brand new brick and glass building. Which one would you prefer?

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I was definitely fearing a lot worse.  If your goal is $14 psf leasable space, your building design is going to be pretty blah.  I was more worried about there being a sea of surface parking in front of a single story building, which thankfully won't be the case.  The lawn and angled setback are pretty awful though.  I would have been fine with a smaller, uniform [non grass] landscaped set-back, but the angle is just gratuitous.

 

W28th (or anyone), would going up for stories on half the footprint increased the overall construction costs?

 

Best case is that this gets the ball rolling so that the market can support higher lease rates and better buildings down the line.

 

Its hard to say for sure.  One problem I see with an 8 story building is the cost of the elevator.  Once you go over 7 stories (I'm pretty sure that's the cut-off) you have to get into a different type of elevator, different mechanically.  You would probably have some increase in plumbing costs, taller building have to get water up to top.

 

You would save some cost on foundations and possibly civil work (not digging as much dirt out).  Its hard to say either way, also potential tenants of senior housing might be more inclined to like a lower height building b/c it doesn't look as imposing and would have a more "residential" feel.

 

I was definitely fearing a lot worse. If your goal is $14 psf leasable space, your building design is going to be pretty blah. I was more worried about there being a sea of surface parking in front of a single story building, which thankfully won't be the case. The lawn and angled setback are pretty awful though. I would have been fine with a smaller, uniform [non grass] landscaped set-back, but the angle is just gratuitous.

 

W28th (or anyone), would going up for stories on half the footprint increased the overall construction costs?

 

Best case is that this gets the ball rolling so that the market can support higher lease rates and better buildings down the line.

 

That's the biggest misconception in construction.  Just because a building looks good doesn't mean it costs more.  Good Architects are very aware of construction costs and alternative materials.  A good Architect can make a great design for any budget.

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And i don't find them responsible for trying to increase sidewalk activity. I mean look at the area, its has a looooooooooong way to go until there will be sidewalk activity.

 

Agreed.  Except I decided to add some emphasis.  My opinion would change if the site was west of E55.

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That's the biggest misconception in construction.  Just because a building looks good doesn't mean it costs more.  Good Architects are very aware of construction costs and alternative materials.  A good Architect can make a great design for any budget.

 

I need this guys name.

 

$12-$14 is what you will see in the market for the area they are talking. We've found at Tyler that building out brand new space (including new systems, windows, new power..new, new, new, except for the exterior brick wall and concrete floor and ceilings) has brought us $65 to $85 PSF project costs (remember, have to pay the brokers, lawyers, designers, builders etc.. not just the contractor). That gets you to $15 PSF net pretty quickly if you want to get paid back in a reasonable amount of time (most people do).

 

Anyway, I don't know enough about the nuances of Geis' project, but I can assume he's been beating up his own guys to get to the $14 mark he's at. And pot shots asides about suburban office parks (which is admittedly been their wheel house), if you've ever worked with either the architect or engineer from Geis you'd have little to nothing negative to say about them. Absolutely class from start to finish.

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I'm sure they're fine individuals, but they clearly can't design themselves out of a box.

Whatever. I'm happy Fred's working in Cleveland and putting his money into the city. If I had to do a design build somewhere in the city I'd happily hire his company for it. I've worked with other architects and builders in Cleveland and none of them provide the kind of professionalism and customer service to the level Geis does. At least from my experience working with tenants, owners, contractors and designers.

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Does anyone have any information on the Upper Chester Project?  The project is still listed on the Planning Commissions website so I would assume the project is still under serious consideration. Anyone know if there is a new groundbreaking date set or if the it's dead in the water.

 

In my opinion the project would have the greatest impact on the city as a whole by connecting the cleveland clinic and university circle area and making chester a vibrant street that will hopefully attract other developers to finish the job connecting downtown with the clinic/university circle area.

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I'm sure they're fine individuals, but they clearly can't design themselves out of a box.

Whatever. I'm happy Fred's working in Cleveland and putting his money into the city. If I had to do a design build somewhere in the city I'd happily hire his company for it. I've worked with other architects and builders in Cleveland and none of them provide the kind of professionalism and customer service to the level Geis does. At least from my experience working with tenants, owners, contractors and designers.

 

I'm not speaking directly to any one company, but let me ask you a question.  How does a contractor make their profit?  By markup on materials and cutting corners on construction.  Now if you have a designer in your back pocket, do you think the designer will object when they go to the job site and see what they had on the drawings is not how it is being constructed?  Not if they want to keep their job.

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Does anyone have any information on the Upper Chester Project?  The project is still listed on the Planning Commissions website so I would assume the project is still under serious consideration. Anyone know if there is a new groundbreaking date set or if the it's dead in the water.

 

In my opinion the project would have the greatest impact on the city as a whole by connecting the cleveland clinic and university circle area and making chester a vibrant street that will hopefully attract other developers to finish the job connecting downtown with the clinic/university circle area.

I saw some work going on at upper chester the other day and I was wondering the same thing

 

 

We do have a thread for Upper Chester...although it is in "Abandoned Projects:"

 

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,13381.60.html

 

 

Also, does this link still work? http://www.chester82.com/

 

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I'm sure they're fine individuals, but they clearly can't design themselves out of a box.

Whatever. I'm happy Fred's working in Cleveland and putting his money into the city. If I had to do a design build somewhere in the city I'd happily hire his company for it. I've worked with other architects and builders in Cleveland and none of them provide the kind of professionalism and customer service to the level Geis does. At least from my experience working with tenants, owners, contractors and designers.

 

I'm not speaking directly to any one company, but let me ask you a question.  How does a contractor make their profit?  By markup on materials and cutting corners on construction.  Now if you have a designer in your back pocket, do you think the designer will object when they go to the job site and see what they had on the drawings is not how it is being constructed?  Not if they want to keep their job.

 

I'm not getting what you're trying to say here.

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I'm sure they're fine individuals, but they clearly can't design themselves out of a box.

Whatever. I'm happy Fred's working in Cleveland and putting his money into the city. If I had to do a design build somewhere in the city I'd happily hire his company for it. I've worked with other architects and builders in Cleveland and none of them provide the kind of professionalism and customer service to the level Geis does. At least from my experience working with tenants, owners, contractors and designers.

 

I'm not speaking directly to any one company, but let me ask you a question. How does a contractor make their profit? By markup on materials and cutting corners on construction. Now if you have a designer in your back pocket, do you think the designer will object when they go to the job site and see what they had on the drawings is not how it is being constructed? Not if they want to keep their job.

 

I'm not getting what you're trying to say here.

 

He is saying that if an architect or civil constantly works for Geis, and constantly is invoicing Geis for work, then they are not going to do anyhing to destroy that relationship.  Therefore, they will not say anything if Geis wants to change plans during construction.  I don't know if I believe this though.

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No the post still does not make sense...he said the contractor not the developer...the developer (Gies) is not making profit from the material markup.  I agree X...not quite sure what he is getting at.

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I'm not speaking directly to any one company, but let me ask you a question.  How does a contractor make their profit?  By markup on materials and cutting corners on construction.  Now if you have a designer in your back pocket, do you think the designer will object when they go to the job site and see what they had on the drawings is not how it is being constructed?  Not if they want to keep their job.

 

Geis has a design/build team, so he has an architect and an engineer on staff. Geis also bids out all their construction costs at the start of the year(is my understanding). So they can stay true to their credo: on time and on budget. Geis makes their money in multiple spots, is my guess. Be it land, rent, sale, construction supervision, etc. The key to their success is that they are one of the easiest companies to work with from the clients perspective. They check egos at the door and approach everything from the clients perspective.

 

So, when people ask Geis why a 2 story building, not a 4 story building, they should be asking whoever signed those letters of intent. That's who drives all of Geis developments. End users. And believe me, what they have on the drawings is always what is being constructed. The difference is the engineer/builder isn't fighting with the architect and pointing fingers at each other on cost over-runs.

 

* like how I go from Geis the individual to Geis the company in half a sentence? I need to brush up on my writing skills!

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No the post still does not make sense...he said the contractor not the developer...the developer (Gies) is not making profit from the material markup. I agree X...not quite sure what he is getting at.

 

Gies doesn't do construction? 

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No the post still does not make sense...he said the contractor not the developer...the developer (Gies) is not making profit from the material markup. I agree X...not quite sure what he is getting at.

 

Gies doesn't do construction?

 

Yes they do.  The are CM's on their jobs.  They hire out GC's to do more than 50% of the work.  Geis is a design builder similar to Turner on a much smaller scale.  If you want a comparison, think Marous Brothers.

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No the post still does not make sense...he said the contractor not the developer...the developer (Gies) is not making profit from the material markup.  I agree X...not quite sure what he is getting at.

 

Gies doesn't do construction? 

 

Yes they do.  The are CM's on their jobs.  They hire out GC's to do more than 50% of the work.  Geis is a design builder similar to Turner on a much smaller scale.  If you want a comparison, think Marous Brothers.

 

:shoot:  CM?!

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the building on the corner of the Geis site has been demolished.  There has been a lot of preparation at this site so I would guess that it is moving along well.  No actual construction yet but a lot of dirt moving

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I thought it was going to be an expansion, not "replacement?"

 

Pierre's Begins Work on New Ice Cream Factory in Cleveland

By Leader Staff. Published on 09/13/2010 - 2:27pm

 

This week, Pierre's Ice Cream begins construction on a new production facility that will be adjacent to the company's office and distribution center in Cleveland's Midtown district on Euclid Ave. The 35,000 square-foot facility will replace the Ohio-based company's ice cream plant near E. 65th Street and Carnegie Ave., and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2011.

 

http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/14660

 

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They started laying the foundation for the Geis building in the last week and the setback looks like even less than in the picture.  It honestly appears to be not much more than enough room for a flower bed.

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That might be for the landscape. The building will be much larger. Also, they have the foundation going up on the project at Euclid and E. 75th'ish, I believe it is the senior low income housing. Appears to be 3 stories, right up to the curb.

 

On a side note, according to my sources, the building immediately west of the Geis project is also going to be tied into the site. It's a large multi-level warehouse that backs up behind Galucci's There is some sort of plan to run a roadway through there, although it's already possible to do so.

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I am pretty sure that it is the foundation of the building but I guess I should elaborate that the max setback seems to be only about 7-8 feet but since the front setback is tapered most of it will be less than that.  Now that this is finally under construction and the footprint of the building can be seen I think it will actually work pretty well in that spot.  Building a new office building on that site that basically fronts the street in this economic climate is difficult to do and I think it will be a definite improvement.

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On a side note, according to my sources, the building immediately west of the Geis project is also going to be tied into the site. It's a large multi-level warehouse that backs up behind Galucci's There is some sort of plan to run a roadway through there, although it's already possible to do so.

 

There is a huge banner on that building that announces this.

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I drove past today and it says work studio space coming soon. It doesn't mention that there is a plan to make a road that connects Carnegie to Euclid.

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agreed.  one concern we don't really discuss on here is the fact that this part of cleveland, will be priced much lower for office space than downtown...which has to be appealing to some degree to businesses.  It would seem that a move from Downtown to Midtown would be a lot easier to orchestrate versus say moving from a Medina, Strongsville, or Beachwood would be to midtown

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^The hope, though, is that the space will be occupied by biotech businesses.  I don't think there are very many downtown to poach, other than JumpStart, which sounds like a good fit.  Ideally this will project will lure all the fledgling companies currently in the incubators in UC or at the Clinic as they staff up and  need more space.  If so, it won't require much poaching from anywhere.

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^The hope, though, is that the space will be occupied by biotech businesses. I don't think there are very many downtown to poach, other than JumpStart, which sounds like a good fit. Ideally this will project will lure all the fledgling companies currently in the incubators in UC or at the Clinic as they staff up and need more space. If so, it won't require much poaching from anywhere.

 

That's what I was thinking as well. To that end, having a company that's about to go to market share office space with JumpStart is a selling point for the building.

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How about the CEO's comment that one of the main factors they moved to this location is because of free parking.  Forget the fact that they are on the new healthline, they like the free parking.  Come on, even if that is a main factor, he should have at least said they like the fact the are located right along the health line. 

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^Yeah, that certainly wasn't very PR-y of him.

 

Once tenants move in, I wonder how many of them will use the HL for workday travel.  From that location, it would actually be a pretty efficient way to head downtown or the Clinic for lunch or a meeting or something rather than finding a parking space.

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^Yeah, that certainly wasn't very PR-y of him.

 

Once tenants move in, I wonder how many of them will use the HL for workday travel. From that location, it would actually be a pretty efficient way to head downtown or the Clinic for lunch or a meeting or something rather than finding a parking space.

 

Probably a fair amount. A family member had a software company in the Case incubator right near Cedar hill back in the late 90's early 2000's, and the programmers loved the location because they all rode the bus, or hopped off the red line rapid to get there.

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agreed. one concern we don't really discuss on here is the fact that this part of cleveland, will be priced much lower for office space than downtown...which has to be appealing to some degree to businesses. It would seem that a move from Downtown to Midtown would be a lot easier to orchestrate versus say moving from a Medina, Strongsville, or Beachwood would be to midtown

 

That hasn't exactly played out. The only "cheap option" these new buildings offer or new construction offers has been in the form of free parking. Otherwise the rental rates you see in Geis project on E.C. are not dissimilar than what you'd expect to see in a downtown office building.

 

The reality is free parking and easy parking are huge factors in business location decisions. I like when I have creative owners who offer to buy bus passes etc. for their employees, but most owners know that parking for their employees will be a major requirement.

 

I wonder if the city of Cleveland could figure out a way to create a massive parking structure that offered abundant and free parking, the city could attract more companies from the burbs/keep more companies from moving. Find some way to offset the costs with new income tax coming in by way of employee hiring.. (I have no idea how that would work, actually). Anyway, free parking in MidTown is a big draw, maybe bigger than the HL.

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^The problem with that however is, if free parking proves to be a huge draw in Midtown, then that's they type of development we can expect to see.  Lets face it, there is plenty of room in Midtown to develop office buildings with huge asphalt parking lots.  Even if the lots are hidden behind the buildings, we are not creating any type of density whatsoever that you should around a brand new BRT line. 

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^The problem with that however is, if free parking proves to be a huge draw in Midtown, then that's they type of development we can expect to see. Lets face it, there is plenty of room in Midtown to develop office buildings with huge asphalt parking lots. Even if the lots are hidden behind the buildings, we are not creating any type of density whatsoever that you should around a brand new BRT line.

 

And we'll end up with a traffic nightmare.

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