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Cleveland: Richman Bros. Site Re-Development

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Crain's has a front cover story in today's edition about a Chinese investment firm that purchased the Richman Bros. building on E. 55th on September 11th. Plans to re-do the 660,000 square foot site include office, commercial, and even a hotel or residential. The project is proposed at 40 million. It was only a matter of time before foreign investors began to scoop up the deals and infrastructure lurking in our city. This could be the beginning of a new trend. Proximity to the Port's new location and University Circle were cited as reasons. In all honesty, this is an area that has not had major development in so long that it's truly hard to believe it's possible.

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An hotel? At that location?

 

The building is beautiful and huge. I'd love to see something good happen to it.

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I think it will have to be done Tyler Village style- one piece at a time, and build a small community into it.

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Phase-in makes sense. That is a massive structure.

 

Perhaps this make also signal an expansion of Asiatown farther east?


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

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It was only a matter of time before foreign investors began to scoop up the deals and infrastructure lurking in our city. This could be the beginning of a new trend.

 

If investors in Cleveland or the USA don't do it, someone has to.  I'm for foreign investment of this type.  These investors don't haven't been hearing negative stereotypes about this region for 30 years like the rest of us have.  They can look at redevelopment with fresh eyes.

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Perhaps this make also signal an expansion of Asiatown farther east?

 

I wish Asia Town would "dense up" a little ( or a lot) first before it keeps expanding.

 

Either way is a good thing though

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^Maybe with this investment we could begin to see some of the gaps being filled with more Asian businesses.  But I don't look at this development as being a bad thing.  I've always wondered why the building was never redeveloped for any particular use, as it is a massive complex with huge potential. 

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Just because an Asian firm bought it doesn't make it part of AsiaTown. It's a process of if Clevelander's don't want it, and no US investors want it, someone has to sooner or later come around and see the good deal and take it. The real questions I have are if it will be fully developed and how much spin off or copycat investing will follow.

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^Maybe with this investment we could begin to see some of the gaps being filled with more Asian businesses. But I don't look at this development as being a bad thing. I've always wondered why the building was never redeveloped for any particular use, as it is a massive complex with huge potential.

 

Well, it is on E55 which I would not call a hot bed for redevelopment.

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^Maybe with this investment we could begin to see some of the gaps being filled with more Asian businesses.  But I don't look at this development as being a bad thing.  I've always wondered why the building was never redeveloped for any particular use, as it is a massive complex with huge potential. 

 

That location was sort of a "turf war" (in a mild sense) because it was at the border of 2 city wards, the one being Ward 13 (Cimperman's) and the other being the Hough area ward... specifically of the late Fannie Lewis. Cimperman and Lewis had different ideas for the redevelopment of that complex... even though I believe it IS in the Hough ward (Ward # ...I can't recall right now).

 

Anyway i do not know if the forthcoming council reduction has changed these boundaries nor do I know if Mrs. Lewis' replacement (whom I cannot recall by name right now either) has different thoughts about its redevelopment. But these may be reasons why that complex sat empty for sooo long

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The complex sat empty for such a long time for several reasons:

 

1. Greater Cleveland's economy has been flat for 40 years.

2. The East 55th Street's area economy has been depressed for 50 years.

3. The building is a huge structure that requires a great deal of renovation, which wasn't affordable due items 1&2 above and no nearby economic spark to change that until the port relocation came along.

4. One of the owners of the building for many years was a mob-connected guy named Gary Harris, nicknamed Doctor Death, due to his penchant for buying up troubled properties and companies and then killing them. He bought them to pile more debt onto them to benefit himself before letting the companies get taken away from him by creditors in bankruptcy court. I suspect the company he used to purchase the Richman Brothers warehouse was so saddled with liens that it would take years if not decades for a bankruptcy judge to sort through it all.


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

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"Well, it is on E55 which I would not call a hot bed for redevelopment. "

 

"Greater Cleveland's economy has been flat for 40 years."

"The East 55th Street's area economy has been depressed for 50 years."

 

It is precisely because of these realities that Ward 7 leaders at one time suggested that the Richman Brothers complex be developed into a one-stop Social Services Center/City Center (much like the Virgil Brown Center at E. 17 and Payne).

Other city leaders even proposed a jail for here.

The private sector just didn't want anything to do with this place as has been said. And probably for other reasons about the baggage of the owner, etc.

Bordering Ward 13 Councilman Cimperman was adamant about letting any of this happen.

So nothing happened (privately or publicly) and the building was left pretty much abandoned.

 

Anyway, these things are hopefully all in the past now.

It's great to hear what's going on with Port Relocation and the movement, albeit slow movement, on the old Howard Johnson's hotel near the Lake and, now, Richman's.  :-)

 

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4. One of the owners of the building for many years was a mob-connected guy named Gary Harris, nicknamed Doctor Death, due to his penchant for buying up troubled properties and companies and then killing them. He bought them to pile more debt onto them to benefit himself before letting the companies get taken away from him by creditors in bankruptcy court. I suspect the company he used to purchase the Richman Brothers warehouse was so saddled with liens that it would take years if not decades for a bankruptcy judge to sort through it all.

 

Wow.......

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1600 E. 55th. Between Luther and Harlem, it's the entire block and then some. As for where it's at with streets one would know, it's between Superior and Payne on the west side of 55th. It sits on the fringes of AsiaTown, MidTown, Hough, and St. Clair-Superior. However, officially, it's in Goodrich-Kirtland Park.

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part of the rear has been demolished...

 

Are we sure of that?  I looked at Google Earth's aerial of the site and it seems that the whole structure is still there (there are corresponding sections for everything shown)- but this drawing shows the complex stretched out over the whole block, which it does not in actuality cover, at least at present.  Maybe it shrunk.

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How close is this to I-490, or more specifically, how close will it be to the Opportunity Corridor?

 

Never mind, I looked at google maps.  It's a hike

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part of the rear has been demolished...

 

Are we sure of that?  I looked at Google Earth's aerial of the site and it seems that the whole structure is still there (there are corresponding sections for everything shown)- but this drawing shows the complex stretched out over the whole block, which it does not in actuality cover, at least at present.  Maybe it shrunk.

 

I'm pretty sure it's gone.  I looked at a brownstone over there and realized that the parking lot/surface are was part of the RB building.

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How close is this to I-490, or more specifically, how close will it be to the Opportunity Corridor?

 

Not close.  I-490 is way south of Carnegie, and this building is at E. 55th and Superior.

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part of the rear has been demolished...

 

Are we sure of that?  I looked at Google Earth's aerial of the site and it seems that the whole structure is still there (there are corresponding sections for everything shown)- but this drawing shows the complex stretched out over the whole block, which it does not in actuality cover, at least at present.  Maybe it shrunk.

 

When I took pictures of the site a couple of years ago, there's a vacant fenced-in lot at the rear of the site.  It certainly looked like a part of the building was missing, maybe not part of the original 1910's structure?  Since this was a distribution center, it strikes me as strange that there are no truck bays/docks - maybe that's what was demo'ed?

 

060-1.jpg

 

Closeups on Google Earth show some sort of foundation on the now vacant field to the rear:

http://tinyurl.com/yaqdukc

 

But X is right, counting the windows on the north side shows that everything in the original image I posted is still there.

 

 

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E. 55th is a very long street. I-490 is south of Woodland, near Broadway. The Opp. Corridor would extend east to Univ. Circle. The Richman Bros. site is way north at Superior. It is however, very close to the E. 55th exit at I-90.

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part of the rear has been demolished...

 

Are we sure of that? I looked at Google Earth's aerial of the site and it seems that the whole structure is still there (there are corresponding sections for everything shown)- but this drawing shows the complex stretched out over the whole block, which it does not in actuality cover, at least at present. Maybe it shrunk.

 

When I took pictures of the site a couple of years ago, there's a vacant fenced-in lot at the rear of the site. It certainly looked like a part of the building was missing, maybe not part of the original 1910's structure? Since this was a distribution center, it strikes me as strange that there are no truck bays/docks - maybe that's what was demo'ed?

 

060-1.jpg

 

Closeups on Google Earth show some sort of foundation on the now vacant field to the rear:

http://tinyurl.com/yaqdukc

 

But X is right, counting the windows on the north side shows that everything in the original image I posted is still there.

 

 

 

There may have been something there, but it may not have been a part of the current building.  The windows on that western facade look like early 20th century industrial windows and the layout doesn't look like anything would have been built up against that side of the building.

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Per historicaerials.com, there was no extension of the building to the west past what currently exists.

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Per historicaerials.com, there was no extension of the building to the west past what currently exists.

 

good catch w28th!

 

So the lots I was looking at was previously housing.  Those lots, are  adjacent to the RB property.  Interesting.  When you're on the street it looks like one big lot and "something" is missing.

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I'd bet that they decided to make that back lot into parking or shipping at some point.

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I worked with a couple other orgs in town to propose a project for due north of this building, on Luther, for the Re-Imagining Cleveland grant solicitation.  I spent some time in (what's left of) this neighborhood and was impressed by the tight-knit feel of this neighborhood.

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Thanks for posting these. A massive structure. But not exactly what I would call a warm working environment....

 

As we've seen from local warehouse conversions, however, the interior spaces of these buildings can be made into some cozy places.


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

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There was a PD article that stated the goal was to have Chinese start ups occupy the building, so the proximity to Asia town, along with the port seems to be both factors.

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"A massive structure. But not exactly what I would call a warm working environment..."

 

Need a lot of room for "700 fussy tailors". I'm sure that in its last year's of existence, Richman Brothers manufactured their clothes overseas. Anyone know when they stopped making them here?

 

And wasn't the Richman Brothers downtown store somewhere in the 600-800 block of Euclid? Either in what is know the 668 Building, or where Krenzler's parking garage is now?

 

 

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I think I did a market analysis report on this building back when I was in the MUPDD program as CSU.  I should try and dig it up (although, I bet it is pretty terrible!).

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The original downtown Richman's was on the North side of Euclid, just East of the current Holiday Inn Express (Garfield Building), in a space now taken up by part of the Nat City Complex.  Later they moved essentially right across the street and were located between the Hippodrome and the City Club (Citizen's) Building.

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Yes great indeed.  Kindof makes me want to cry :'( .

 

How do you think I feel?

Why would those pics bother you more than anyone else? Oh wait, I get it. You were like, in your 20's then and probably have fond memories from that time period. ;)

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anyone have any idea of how to get a hold of Derek Ng?  I would love to be able to get inside and take some pictures of that building.  I actually did a marketing plan on the building when I was in grad school.

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