Ameritrust Tower re-bid shows new hotel, offices, condos at site

8:03 AM, Apr 4, 2008   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- A developer has made a second bid to buy the Ameritrust Tower downtown from Cuyahoga County and rolled out more details of a big multi-use project today. Click for project sketches Doug Price, of the Willoughby-based K&D Group, previously bid on the property but that bid was rejected because of unacceptable financing. Price is restructuring his financing plan and expects that the Cuyahoga County Commissioners will accept this bid. Price is promising a luxury, "boutique" hotel in the tower and will name the hotel within 30 days. The historic Ameritrust rotunda at East 9th & Euclid would become a grand ballroom for the hotel. Upper floors of the Ameritrust Tower will be converted to luxury condos. The project will also include a new office building, likely to be a corporate headquarters for one of several firms seeking downtown office space. Price says he hopes to break ground later this year. He is partnering with the local architectural firm of Westlake Reed Leskosky, of Cleveland, which worked with famous architect Marcel Breuer on the original tower. The Ameritrust Tower has been a source of controversy and criticism for the county commissioners. Many think they overpaid when they bought the building from developer Dick Jacobs' The Richard E. Jacobs Group in 2005 for $22 million. And commissioners wound up paying millions more than expected for asbestos removal. A Plain Dealer story today suggests commissioners had illegal executive session discussions about contracts for the building and did not closely monitor the qualifications of a minority firm doing construction management. Originally, commissioners planned to demolish the tower for a new county headquarters building but preservationists objected because it was designed by Breuer. That headquarters project went by the wayside because of money problems and other projects with higher priority, like the new Juvenile Justice complex and the Medical Mart/Convention Center project.

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