Cuyahoga County has officially opened its new headquarters. Today, local officials gave a media tour and formal door-opening ceremony to showcase the new, $260 million facility. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports:
The transition started over a year ago, when Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald gave wrecking crews the signal to start demolishing the former P&H buildings at 9th and Prospect. He used an air horn….and then excavators went to work bashing apart the structures.
From that day in April 2013 until this week, crews with Geis Companies worked to smash the old and build the new. Now the 8-story, 220,000 sq.-ft. building is open for official county business, which includes housing more than 600 government employees.
On the fourth floor of the new facility, County Public Works Director Bonnie Teeuwen shows off the new council chambers…which are bright, open, and modernized.
“We’ve gone beyond the legal requirements for the ADA accessibility," she explains, grasping the upper half of a podium inside the chamber, "this podium is an example, it raises up and down…..”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, FitzGerald told the audience the new headquarters was a symbolic turnaround in the county’s history. with an indirect reference to the Jimmy Dimora administration.
“Because we’re directly adjacent to the Ameritrust complex, which was literally a subject of the corruption investigation," said Fitzgerald. "You have economically a part of the city, where East 9th and Prospect and East 9th and Euclid were at one time in our city’s history, centers of commerce and vitality, and have really been dormant for many, many, many years. And now we’re completely turning that around.”
Joe Marinucci is President of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. He says it’s been a great week and a half for the area.
“Obviously beginning a week ago with the RNC announcement, the LeBron decision later in the week, the fact we’re in Public Square where the Cleveland Foundation announced they were committing $8 million towards the restoration of Public Square, it really does show a lot of our hard work is beginning to pay off.”
The new headquarters will be leased to the county for 26 years, with the option to buy it for a dollar when it ends. A real estate consolidation study showed that the county could potentially save $84 million over 20 years through consolidating its headquarters.
The former site of the county HQ is now a new convention center hotel set to open just before the 2016 Republican National Convention.