CLEVELAND -- There is a new owner for the Ameritrust building in downtown Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced Geis Companies, of Streetsboro, as the highest bidder for the building with a final sale price of $27 million.
"Theirs was one of 3 serious bids for the complex," said Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald, "and it was $8.5 million dollar more than the next offer."
The Ameritrust complex on the southeast corner of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue has been owned by Cuyahoga County since 2005. It has been vacant since 1996.
Original plans to convert the tower and complex into county office buildings never materialized, despite the county spending nearly $45 million in taxpayer dollars on the property.
Geis will turn the tower into high-end residential units, and preserve the original ornate Cleveland Trust rotunda building for a mixure of public and possibly retail or commercial space.
Part of the deal also includes a new 8-story Cuyahoga County office building. It will be located on the corner of East 9th and Prospect, just south of the Ameritrust Tower.
Geis will tear down the old existing structure on the site, construct the new building, and lease it to the county for approximately $6.6 million per year for 25 years. At the end of the 25 year lease, Cuyahoga County can buy the building for one dollar.
It's estimated that the new county office building will cost about $80 milllion to $100 million FitzGerald said Cuyahoga County would save $126 million over the next 20 years by consolidating its offices and employees into the new building, which is expected to open in July, 2014.