Proposal Would Save Marcel Breuer Building in Cleveland

<p>As part of a mixed use development proposal, the 1971 Marcel Breuer-designed office tower in Cleveland would become a boutique hotel and residences. The adjacent Cleveland Trust rotunda, designed by G. B. Post &amp; Sons, would become the hotel's lobby.</p>
January 19, 2008, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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A developer plans to turn the vacant Ameritrust property into a $200 million complex of hotel rooms, residences, a new office tower, and a smattering of stores.

The K&D Group would preserve the 29-story Breuer tower at East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue, along with an historic rotunda next door, and incorporate them into what could be a 10-block transformation along the Euclid corridor.

"We're really trying to bring life back to the center of town, instead of spreading it out," chief executive Doug Price said Tuesday.

K&D was the only bidder Tuesday for the property, which Cuyahoga County bought in 2005. County commissioners paid $22 million for the property, where they planned to build government offices. They invested about $15 million more before abandoning the plan and setting a minimum price of $35 million to sell. K&D offered the county $35,005,000. In the end, the county will have lost about $3 million on the transaction.

The tower, designed by Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, would house a boutique hotel of about 170 rooms, topped by about 200 residences. Hotel visitors would enter the building through the connected historic rotunda, while tower residents would come in through the Breuer building's lobby. The adjacent building at 1010 Euclid Ave. likely would become office space or residences, said architect Robert Corna, who is designing this project and who worked with K&D on Stonebridge.

Nearby buildings at East Ninth and Prospect would come down, to be replaced by a contemporary office tower with as many as 20 floors. This building, comprising 250,000 to 400,000 square feet of top-shelf office space, could feature a rooftop restaurant, ground-floor retail, "green" features and a pedestrian bridge leading to the parking garage across Prospect.

Being the county's sole bidder doesn't necessarily lock things up for K&D. The county first has to accept the bid, and K&D has to obtain financing for the $35 million purchase. The company plans to explore a variety of tax credits, tax abatement options, city-sponsored tax increment financing, and private sources of funding for the project, Price said. "It's nothing we haven't done before," he said. "It's just a matter of getting it done."

Thanks to Richard Sicha

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Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 in The Plain Dealer
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