Submitted by johnmcgovern on Mon, 04/30/2007 - 16:04.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ms. Daryl Davis, event coordinator
216-631-0557 (day) or daryl [dot] davis [at] sbcglobal [dot] net


A coalition of good government and fiscal responsibility advocates,
environmentalists and historic preservationists will assemble at 5:00 pm
on Thursday, May 3, 2007 outside the Ameritrust Tower, located at East
9th Street between Euclid and Prospect Avenues, to protest the Cuyahoga
County Commissioners' plan to raze the building.

Last year the Commissioners purchased the 29-story tower designed by
world- renowned architect Marcel Breuer for $21 million. Demolition,
including asbestos abatement, is estimated to cost $11 million. On the
surface this appears to be a $32,000,000 expenditure to create an empty
lot. Upon closer examination the costs associated with the commissioners
plan exceed this.

The coalition is picketing in order to call attention to the fact that
Commissioners Tim Hagan and Jimmy Dimora ignored input from their fellow
Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones and architectural experts who objected
to the proposed project from the standpoint of its cost and the loss to
Cleveland's skyline of one of its historically significant buildings.
The coalition is opposed to the demolition of the tower, whether the
site is used to create a new county administration center or not.

Total cost for building the new county administration complex has been
estimated at $164 million with contracts of $10 million and $13.5
million already awarded to R.P. Carbone Construction and Robert P.
Madison International, Architects. It is likely that the estimated cost
is too low and will increase during construction.

Dimora and Hagan have said they want the new administration building to
be “green” or “sustainable”. Destruction of the Ameritrust Tower, and
the resultant waste of its “embodied energy” effectively cancels-out any
legitimate claim the project may make to environmental responsibility.

The “embodied” energy contained in the structure can be estimated at 15
gallons of gasoline per square foot; equal to approximately $11,000,000.
Discounting the other environmental costs associated with the demolition
of the tower, this figure brings the total amount of wasted public funds
to well over $44,000,000.

Government waste

See Built too well--READ


Total cost for building the new county administration complex has been
estimated at $164 million with contracts of $10 million and $13.5
million already awarded to R.P. Carbone Construction and Robert P.
Madison International, Architects. It is likely that the estimated cost
is too low and will increase during construction.

Whether you like Breuer or not, tearing down the Ameritrust Building does not make economic sense.

I believe there will be a MTB with Lawson-Jones on this

Gloria Ferris told me there will be a Meet the Bloggers with Peter Lawson Jones on this very matter - so we are about to break it wide open.

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Breuer Building Community forum Meet The Bloggers

Last night, Martha Eakin and I went down to join with others to protest the razing of the Breuer. It was good to be involved with a group of like minded citizens. Marc Lefkowitz was there and will surely report on Green City Blue Lake. There will be more protests; I'll try to help keep us updated here.

Oengus, Norm is right, we do have a physical presence in community planning; those of us who post here and elsewhere in blogs in NEO don't just write about it online, we go to meetings, share our thoughts, and serve on committees and as consulting parties to local, state and federal decision-making processes. Just ask Ed Hauser. He attends almost as many meetings as our elected officials – maybe more since there are so many silos of government in NEO.

There is a contingent of architects (the AIA and Cleveland Restoration have quietly protested as well) and citizens concerned about wasting taxpayer dollars and those interested in preservation and the arts. We joined together last night on the sidewalk with signs buoyed by the wind along the corridor. There was a game in progress and many motorists and pedestrians asked questions and learned about the embodied energy, fiscal issues and the history of the building. It was a small protest and no news media arrived with their cameras, but as Margaret Meade said, "Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

We are not just writing here, we are showing up and speaking up. If you would like to show up, here's your chance: Come to this forum on the subject hosted by Meet the Bloggers. Gloria and Tim Ferris, George Nemeth and others have dutifully offered these forums for public dialogue to provide a window to our region and its issues. Thanks! Last night after protesting taxpayer waste, Martha and I visited a Meet the Bloggers interview with Holly Harlan of E4S, the room was crowded; there were plenty of questions and answers and more questions. We began to uncover some of the barriers facing sustainability in our region and learned about successes. By the way, Meet the Bloggers is so successful and respected that Peter Lawson Jones contacted Gloria to ask to be part of the program to air his concerns about the Cleveland Trust Tower. That's when you know people are listening, when the county commissioner calls to ask if he can get on your podcasted show. Our faces are not unknown to these leaders. They know we vote for them or don't, support their plans or don't. You would be surprised, too, to learn who is registered here and perhaps reading your posts. In fact recently Norm was on WVIZ's Applause because a news researcher found realneo to be a veritable compendium of arts coverage. Needless to say, there are others here in Northeast Ohio and well beyond who have bookmarked realneo as a source to check for what is happening in our region and the world.

I believe the Breuer is far more important than the Post

I went down to photograph the Breuer and the Rotunda Sunday evening and posted about it here. Bottom line is that the Breuer is as or more important than the Rotunda, and which you like better is purely personal preference, so there is no justification for tearing down the Breuer over the Post. Would you tear down the Rotunda?

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In the eye of the beholder?

I do not believe all architecture is venerated in time.  I believe it becomes significant if it is economically impossible to reproduce being it would not even be possible to build a building of that type today.   What was designed and constructed over the few past decades may in fact never truly be considered significant under that criterion. The 70’s did not utilize any forgone building technologies nothing built in that period could not be reproduced in exact detail today. Doing so would be a matter of design and desire or taste.  The Marcel building is brutalism, it stood at odds with other structures cold sterile representing forms that follow function, glass and steel boxes. 


Buildings should be sustainable, what criteria do you apply to define sustainability? 

Energy efficient functional and also marketable unfortunately the tower is not ranking high on any of those criteria.  


It could be mindset that institutions have not seen this space as viable, one would think that if a corporation is looking to expand it would have seen this space as accommodating certainly large enough.  The market has a glut of office space economics are at play here…mostly bad. 


If the county was forced to use this existing structure as is, then, well, it would be forced into upgrading it, can a 1970 building be made more energy efficient?   I would like to think that they are already past that point in analysis they say they are.  I believe they derived that conclusion that it would be best to tear it down and rebuild.


I can’t convince myself that a building that I personally think is ugly should be saved, especially one that has been vacant for a decade. 


I believe that the Rotunda on Euclid and the 1010 building next to it should be saved and adaptively reused.  I believe that the tower the adjacent mid-rise, walkway and garage should either get reused by the county or demolished it is there decision.  I believe that KPF the design architect can design a structure that is green and easily far more attractive than the current complex.  In fact I think that being able to take that space and make it more attractive would not be that challenging, since I personally think the Marcel Breuer building is ugly, Marcel designed many things mostly he was know for his furniture, anyone like 1970 furniture?   Nothing from the 70’s represents the superior design or construction for that matter. 


You know there is embodied energy in a plastic bottle; it does not mean it cannot be recycled. 


I think the county should build a green building and one that will meet its needs for the next century. 


I also think that the Rotunda and the brick building next to it should be residential and retail, something revenue and tax generating, since the county is eliminating the rest of the site from that potential, they could at least develop something in proximity that is private.                             

County should anchor Group Plan - but go Mall

I think the County should take over Erie View Plaza and the Galleria - it is already designed to service large numbers of customers - it has great parking and street and public transportation access - nice views - is modern and relatively efficient, and the owner bought it cheap and needs a boost - very low occupancy. This would anchor that end of town, and be a big boost for the Avenue District. Make this the social service core - one stop mall of contralized resources, with related offices in surrounding office buildings. Have a program for county workers to get some interest break for living in that neighborhood.

The big issue I see with this is that vacates many important but very out of date buildings on the west end of the Group Plan - the current County buildings and offices. Those will not be easy to rent or sell and need a fortune in updates. Perhaps they could be converted to lofts, but we may as well be talkiing about the whole ecosystem of this.

In the Breuer - which I think is a great looking and significant building - I would put the Kent State University School of Architecture on the top floors, their CUDC on the first few floors - a bunch of galleries on other floors - other arts and culture things all through the building - a media arts high school. If my arguement is this is a work of art - an inspiring architectural masterpiece - then I expand upon that saying we leverage that as an attraction of arts related activity - that pays rent and so supports the building - and wants a landmark building more than some MacBuilding.

Make the Rotunda some sort of museum or performance space - something sustainable - Perhaos part of CSU's new arts facilities, or CIA.

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Seperate things.

I am sure people that are spending 500k for their luxury condo would enjoy being next to a social service center.  I thought the county is building to centralize its administrative offices?  I suppose that would include the social services as well, but not necessarily the actual processing…that being an application center for services.  I believe that would be decentralized, handled through agencies that offer the actual services.


It is so contradictory to talk about sustainability and then go on about moving things around. 


I would like to see a school of architecture in town, but not interested in stealing Kent states, I think the old Cleveland College in Tremont would be a good choice, actually a school of design not just architecture, fashion and interior as well. 

You know that the Breuer building has been evaluated repeatedly for its viability for a decade and failed to produce positive results.  Everything has a life cycle that structure seems to have had a short one…in reality.  It would be a good case study for the student at Kent.  The consideration would be how to ensure the structure can be reused in the event of change, especially how did the Breuer fail to do that…aside from it being butt ugly.          

The county needs to stay with the Group Plan

Just because the County has decided to move into the Huron/Euclid/E.9th neighborhood doesn't mean that is a good decision. I contend it is not and should be changed. Since the Group Plan developed over the first two decades of the last century, everything in Cleveland and the region has developed around a blueprint set in stone - the Mall connects all the government buildings, library and Lakeview, where you have City Hall and the Courthouses, and Civic Center (only thing missing is the rail station) - and then there are lots of support and law offices and businesses in the area - and some people who work around there live around there, because it is walkable. We need to keep that ecosystem intact and build upon it - add residental, especially affordable - building on the legal and government sectors based there.

If County moves out of that part of the Plan, it should stay within the transportation grid and be as walkable as possible to the current location (many people need to walk back and forth between all these government offices). The Galleria and surrounding buildings are close enough and offer a good anchor at the East end of the grid. Putting the county administrative and operations activity there is a good solution for the county and redevelopment of all neighborhoods impacted..

I work a lot with county health and planning and development people - it is a huge organization with many functions. I don't think they plan to move and consolidate everything but do plan to consolidate lots of offices and public services, I expect mostly from the old buildings around the courthouse. I'd move all that to the Galleria and office towers around there. These are well paid people providing high value services to other high value people - they deserve nice space and views and could put the mall areas to good use - could even keep a mix of retail - would keep public food court. It would be a lovely space for all of that, convenient to lots of car and public transportation and parking and still sort of part of the Group Plan. It would bring new purpose to a real dead zone that should not be retail - that will be developing around Public Square with Stark and Maron and others. We need to develop districts. Avenue District needs to find its identity but it can't just copy what's happening west. Building on 1,000s of county employees and all the activity that generates seems a good boost for them.

Where the Breuer is located is between the Gateway District - which is an entertainment and sports district - and Playhouse Square - which is an entertainment and technology entrepreneurship district - and the Design District - and Cleveland State. That is not the place to put any county workers or business. They need more attractions for Gen-X, alternative housing and hotel/hostel, small businesses, tourist destinations. Keep the city business on the Group Plan and over where it has settled - further North on E. 9th, and build new assets upon old assets where they are opportune - like Huron and E.9th.

Kent School of Architecture and Environmental Design has already announced they are moving to Cleveland, combining with the current CUDC and expanding that - the Breuer should work well for that - perhas 5 floors. CUDC should have a street level public exhibition, meeting and showroom... that could go on the first floor of the Breuer. We can incorporate the Rotunda into the plan as a shared exhibition space for all the universities and schools in town - and it wouldn't hurt to include a few floors for a downtown collaboration museum

We also need a collaboration university of all the area universities - so much of this building could be used for education. There is a 5,000-10,000 person shortage of employee candidates for high tech jobs here - we aren't educating people with the right skills - perhaps all the universities working together in a shared space could get it right. May as well include preschool through high school.

As for what is going to be vacated by the county - that is over by the warehouse district and courthouses, County Administration Building, etc. There is need for more housing around there so if the County wants to do something smart they could convert these to affordable loft housing for young professionals.... that is what is in greatest shortage in downtown.

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I do understand, the same

I do understand, the same thing could have been said for RTA locating its offices in the Warehouse District.    I believe that employees should feel like they want to leave the office for lunch or stick around after work, or even consider living downtown. 


As for the county they should be looking forward and assuring that they consolidate as much as possible of relating functions into one location with room for growth.  They also need to assure they have adequate parking.   


I do not think a small group of people that have no real control over what happens can direct were everything can and should go, they should be more concerned with the details of what is happening, in reality. 


The towers location was a finance center, no demand for it as of today, not for the specific site. The county office sitting in the center of finance is not that odd, the area is mixed in use and mixed uses create more dynamics.   Similar entities all grouped together creates dead times, period of time when the area is devoid of activity. 


Considering that the site is now vacant all the surrounding business will be glad to have the activity and people, but may be concerned about parking.  The areas that the county leaves may have concerns that nobody is even thinking about them.  You are either bringing people or offering them something, the 9th street area offers a lot to the county workers. 


I am most concerned for the Rotunda and 1010 Euclid, I do not think they should be incorporated into the county offices.  I think that they should be developed with funds from the project and historical grants to attempt to create residential and retail space. The budget of that should run tangent to the main budget.  An attempt should be to recuperate all the funds that go into that part; it is good test of market viability.  I believe that demand for housing downtown today is strong and the retail space should have unique window of opportunity.  The number of adjacent county workers and the corridor project are there to align with.  I can vision a high concentration of luxury housing and retail at ground level on Euclid a magnificent half mile?  Luxury rental and condominiums, parking garages and ground floor retail.       

What is Kents plans?  Tell us what Dean Fong would like to see, what is his vision?  

The Breuer is off the table, it is to big for that, plus it is all ready commited.  Will this be shared program with KSU and CSU?  Could it be located on the CSU campus?  What is their budget to move and when will it happen?     How about a deck over the interbelt on Euchlid?  Oh that could happen!  State people could make that happen!    Maybe decking on both sides of Euchild, the performing art on one side and the college of architecture on the other?    

We have a role in NEO planning

Most of the people posting here have some personal role in planning and community leadership, and can influence many other people, so this community has a role in planning NEO and this is a good place to explore related issues.

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Embodied Energy

At the protest, Martha and I met Daryl Davis and David Ellison ( I had known David way back when Cleveland Public Theater was just in the upstairs theater -- the old dance hall. He is still on the board, I believe and has been steadfast as CPT's realestate holdings expanded and anchored the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood despite having little government assistance. He's the architect for the Gordon Square Theater. I remembered Daryl, too from the late nights at CPT in the 1980s and 90s -- the days when we stayed up all night during the Performance Arts Festival often retiring to the now gone Big Egg for breakfast after hours.) They had the press release in hand and on the back was this messgae concerning embodied energy. Daryl sent it to me to share with everyone. Here you are...

Embodied energy is all of the energy used to create the building in the first place, the mining of raw materials, transporting the raw materials to a manufacturing site, manufacturing the products, transporting the products to the building site, and finally all the energy used to construct the building.
This is not a new concept.  When I tried to quantify the amount that might be contained in this building I wrote to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to see if they had updated their 1979 study "Energy Conservation and Historic Preservation".  This study gives several methods of measuring the energy contained in various types and sizes of buildings.

Rhonda Sincavage of the National Trust referred me to Mike Jackson of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency who has been writing and speaking on the subject and is the author of "Embodied Energy and Historic Preservation: A Needed Reassessment"
published in the Bulletin of The Association for Preservation Technology, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2005.  I have a copy of that publication and it is probably still available from the APT.

I wrote to Mike Jackson who responded with the following:

"The data from the earlier ACHP study is still pretty valid for older buildings, particularly of the era of the Breuer building.”  

"I have found that talking in Btu's is something people can't relate to, so I have converted the eco equation of equivalent gallons of gasoline per square foot.  A typical office building of the era you are examining has an embodied energy of 10 - 15 gallons of gas per square foot. Only a small fraction of that embodied energy is recoverable when the building is demolished, mostly in the metals.  So, demolition will result in a huge amount of waste, and any new building to replace this building will require another input of non-renewable energy resources to construct.”

"If this building is being demolished to construct a more energy efficient new building of equivalent size, it is virtually impossible to make the new building so energy efficient that you can compensate for the wasted embodied energy.  (I'm developing some more comparisons on this topic using real examples, but haven't completed this research yet.)"

"We are also hearing people use the presence of asbestos as a reason to demolish a building. Depending upon the nature of the asbestos containing materials, it is often necessary to remove these materials before any larger regular demolition can be done.  This is the same kind of removal that would be needed for renovation."

Daryl Davis
May 1, 2007

Make Breuer a case study

The Breuer is the perfect building for a globally significant case study on embodied energy and many other things... it is a fascinating story. Some smart documentary filmmaker should pick this up - it may take years to play out but you have the star (Breuer), and an important environmentalism topic that has not been addressed before (embodied energy), set in the charming NEO - this is getting interesting.

I'd guess the Breuer is around 500,000 square feet - and they plan to demolish another 250,000 sq ft of parking (my guess) - so 750,000 x 15 gallons = 11,250,000 gallons of gasoline, at $3.25/gallon is $36,562,500 in value of embodied energy - plus the energy wasted to build whatever is next... foolishness... what was the embodied energy of the Fulton Road Bridge - energy waste of new bridge? Time to start thinking this way about everything!

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yeah it is case study.

You need to factor in the recovery cost of the material produced, steel and aggregate.  The value added from the resulting product, the concrete will get pulverized and then sold as aggregate.  The steal girders as well, melted down and reused, its good argument it is ridiculous to tear down a 29-story building that is only 36 years old.  Structures should last longer than that, but I agree with the county plan it is not or will never be viable, that is a matter of ten years vacancy and the surrounding vacancy rate of the city.


I believe that there are other abandoned buildings across the world.   We are not good at reclaiming high rises?  I believe Johannesburg has a many vacated towers. 


Look at pricing for office space, if you apply supply and demand then you would get a price to fill all the space, but they actually keep the price high and write off the loses for the vacant space.  I would like to see how much a ten-year of empty space cost the taxpayers?  You would also need to factor that in how much was written off? 


Next thing you know they will be righting off the loss of embodied energy?  Who incurs this loss?  Nature?  Matter can never be destroyed it just get manipulated, that is the big thing too much of that going on.   How much of the tower is recyclable?  


You know that much of this dilemma can be linked to banks and the mergers all of these losses linked to the mergers.  These national banks with little to do with banking and what it is for investing in communities they exist in.  

I think you bring up very valid points and they need to be brought up, but you are swimming against the current.  Make sure you call out accountability to the spaces the county leaves behind.  Abandonment is what all this is about, it like giant shell game. They need to have an action plans for all the spaces, what they acquire and what they leave behind.   Simply consolidating the county offices does little for economic growth, they need some linkage that leverages capital and either breaks even or makes marginal profit. All the building they leave need to be considered.     

efficient buildings/port musings

In today's NYTimes Magazine I read this quote, "a building’s efficiency should be measured not just by its mechanical systems but also by how much energy it uses over its lifetime. More energy is expended in a building’s construction than at any other stage, so a structure that lasts 100 years will use far less energy than one that lasts 5, no matter how efficient." The full article is here:
Why Are They Greener Than We Are?

So while the mayor struggles to get city council to pass appropriate measures to insure affordable residential development be energy efficient, the county commissioners have overlooked a basic tenant of green building, the long term economics of development and construction and the prudent use of the funds with which they are entrusted.

Yesterday at Whiskey Island, we heard Paul Alsenas say that the handful of developers (whose names are all familiar -- Wolstein, Stark, Jacobs) who will travel to the big Las Vegas retail development networking event this week, now say that Whiskey Island as public green space is integral to their plans for our riverfront downtown planning. I am pleased that they finally get it, and as I gazed across the river to the current port dock with it's gravel piles and imagined it moving east to occupy the east end of Burke Lakefront instead of the hot spot it currently underutilizes, I imagined a new development there. Set back from the river's and the harbor's edge with a wide berth of public green space there might be a memoir to the former port site that makes a statement about past and future.

Our new port Chair, Adam Wasserman has been noted in the press addressing the possibility of container shipping via the port of Cleveland. If we were to begin to ship and receive containers this project (or one similar) might be an appropriate link from past to future of the maritime activities of Cleveland a port city on a great lake.

Container City designed by MVRDV - the same architectural firm chosen by CIA for their eastward expansion. (everything you wanted to know about container building) Nearby the remaining two Huletts should be reassembled to reflect the city's heritage as an important iron ore and steel manufacturer.

Check out this award winning plan for Rotterdam Harbor. Now imagine something similar at the east end of Burke Lakefront.

Now imagine a connector of the past and a view of the future -- and historical society spur at the mouth of the river; a small exhibit that would provide an overview of Cleveland and it's history, a gateway to the region's past, its environment and the milestones that have shaped its current identity (linked to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Canalway and the Western Reserve Historical Society). There is plenty of money in the region to accomplish these dreams and others. These are just my musings. The question remains unanswered though… is there the vision?

Modern Port, Green Port

I totally agree that Burke is the best location for the port.  I do think that the future will have modular housing.  Affordable housing should be small.  The Huletts, I would think should be reassembled next to the William G Mather, were better than next to one of the boats they would have unloaded. 


I also think that the aggregate and the pellets could be stored more efficiently, if the pile is always the same size then obviously they are not using JIT, correct.  Vats or containers that have capacity that is more in alignment with consumption, as the vats or container empties then the new shipment comes in.  I am thinking of Silo type structures       


All of these things are part of the port, and the piles along the river are they necessary or just a cheap way to store the material?  I think that it is extra handling since having silos would also have conveyors, to fill the silos and transfer it to trucks or rail.  These processes also add to airborne particulates, that being just dumping it on the ground into the open and then scooping it up with front-end loaders.   Dusty and Dirty!    


actually Norm seems rather left

I really enjoyed the statement Mayor Jackson made, it was related to the delegation of authority.  “We hire these people based on their credentials we should just let them do their jobs”
I believe the Internet is the biggest source of misinformation in the history of mankind, add that the naivety of some, it conjures both productive but also not productive thoughts.  I believe it is easy to question the actions of government, but there are always these processes, I think that they may actually be slowing things down.  People thrive on encouragement and recognition, contradicting and criticizing falls at a personal level someplace.  People that lie and cover up get promotions and people that come clean are made the scapegoats.
I also enjoyed the mayor’s comment made during his campaign “I have seen areas, during my campaign, that I have never seen before.”   I wonder shouldn’t that have disqualified him for being mayor? 
Jane Campbell was a very nice lady that could not accomplish anything even if her life depended on it.  What school of managements teaches you to make you predecessor look bad in an attempt to make your self look good?   I guess the attempt to make her self look like she saved the city from the brink of bankruptcy failed.  
What about Stephanie Tubbs Jones- “I am the first African American woman on the house ways and mean committee” I was astonished when she actually held public meetings to endorse and convince voters to take advantage of the natural gas energy choice program.  FYI it is not mathematically possible to save money being enrolled in that program.   I would like to be able to tell her constituents that choosing an energy choice provider will get you twice the tax on a higher rate.   The way we do things and how we go about them, we skip the analysis.  We capitalize on a state program to make our constituents think we are on their side that her ways and means.
Why is it taking the county so long to consolidate its offices, oh by the way the energy choice program feeds into their budget…sales tax?  I wonder if as people became aware of the higher tax, it takes a while for people to pull out the calculator, did the county see a spike the first year and then see it fall off.
My question are we a dumb city?   We have had sixty percent drop out rate in high schools since desegregation.   At that same point in time money went from maintenance to busses.  The schools fell apart literally, every school had it own custodian before and lost them right after.  When a politician says we want community involvement, they are asking people with little or no education, they may have street smart and horse sense but they do not have an education and many have never been outside of the city.    
Then we have the suburban urban studies people….ugh
I would say that the graduate program of the Kent State College of Architecture and environmental design should be integrated into CSU actually all of Kent State should be assimilated in CSU and the university should be renamed Northern Ohio State University.   They could also have a football team and take use of the stadium.
Why did the state build so many universities so close, we should grow CSU and it should be empowered and marketed internationally, people talk about attracting immigrant, I know that graduate student often take root in the city they attend graduate studies in. 
I think that the inner belt should have decking; it should take out the riff to the east of the university, from Prospect to Chester.  Connecting to the University, adding the entire college of architecture from KSU not just the graduate program.  Then also locating a new building a combined college of art for CSU and KSU, that is when the name should be changed.     Then migrations of other departments or schools should or could be consolidated into the corridor.  Nursing, Biomedical Sciences, basically over decades the KSU campus could be deconstructed and converted to wildlife refuge, diverting state funds into the larger consolidated Northern Ohio State University. 
Grow CSU and change it, make it attract people from outside the state. Use it to draw people from the hinterland into the city.  Empower it and rename it.   
There should be focus on Euclid ave, the section between the university and Public Square.  Unfortunately the changes to roads are occurring on a street that need major work to it structures.  That corridor should be residential with retail on the ground level. It should also have parking garages between some of these buildings; basically the worst structures should be removed and filled in with garages.  For every building you renovate you should be able to produce 50-60 condominiums. If you add in residential each unit needs to have at least one assigned parking space.  Do they teach that in Maxine Goodman College perhaps under urban planning 101?   If you sell a condo it is more marketable if it has a parking space, if that person likes they can rent it out, that being if they decide that they do not need it.  Also if they rarely use the car then that’s green enough, some coupled people may share a single car.  That also is greener than the normal. 
Is there a group or entity focused on that corridor?  The “magnificent half-mile” was the capital building project analyzed?  Was that profitable, it is a good model of what can be done, can the May company building be next?  Does Key still own that as well?  Last time I checked it had plastic banner on it calling it a data center.  That was some time ago, by the way people would not trust their data to people that advertise with a plastic banner.  I can see rows of condominiums, and all of them having a couple of store fronts.
If the population grows then retail space will fill in the demand will be there for everything. 
I believe that downtown needs to add residential, what the county leaves behind should be addressed as part of its project, it should not be allowed to leave awake of vacant space behind it.  If it removes the tower then it should also have an action plan for the site as well as for the sites it leaves behind.  It should disclose all of it sites and what space exists there, we need to reduce office vacancy rates.  It is a measure of viability of the city. 
All major construction projects should have linkages, they can be thought of as opportunities to consolidate project management and financials.  They can be aligned in some cases with other initiatives, like the Euclid corridor.  The county should separate the older building from the project and manage that project as part of their adjacent office complex.   Keep in mind the county owns the big daddy database, they have a complete list of every parcel and who owns them.  Any database system should be based off that, it is the primary data set.  The primary key is parcel numbers.  The primary purpose of urban planning is to create value, the highest and best use of a parcel of land. 
I am glad politicians come to this site, I am here to plant seeds of thought.   I use pragmatics and applied knowledge.  I am a pragmatic problem solver I enjoy change.  I think little of credentials; I think people sometimes buy them.  I often rant but tell people pick out the stuff you like; I do not care for notoriety and attempt not to personalize things.  I have allot of life experience I have designs for everything; I can conjure designs in minutes.  I do not subscribe to public forums often or for long, it taints my vision.  I wish for a wise and benevolent dictator that is elected.  Funny how politician rarely proclaim they have a vision, Mike White did and he did a lot for the city. 

I will not likely attend any public meetings; I know the channels to get a message into city hall.  I abandoned most of those connections years ago, but it is easy to express thoughts to people in government if you make sense and the person receiving it has the light on they see it, your correct you can affect the process.  

Good plan for Northern Ohio State University

Good perspectives. I agree the many universities here should consolidate into a super university - some of that can be on CSU footprint - some in University Circle - some in new structures downtown - growing the resident student population in Cleveland by 10,000s, many drawn here from around the world and setting up businesses here as they graduate... there is no reason the dominent state school should be in Columbus... that is like being in another state.

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don't forget though what happened at Kent

OK a big university, but let's not forget what happened in that rural setting of the KSU campus on May 4, 1970. That day, the movement for change in the US went underground. We had been vocal, we had held nonviolent protests, sit-ins, rallies. That day, when we realized that the government would come onto our campuses and shoot us, the whole business of representation and taxation changed. It was a pivotal moment in our history. We will never forget.

I know

I did think about that, the shootings.
An economics professor told me once that Ohio over built its universities, he also pointed out that regional education was the purpose of the community colleges and state universities serve that as well but do much more for the local economy when they draw students from outside the state. 
The concept of transplanting the graduate program from KSU for Architecture is a small, good but small, 50 students I believe.   But they should look into locating, like I said, the whole college of Architecture and also combining both universities performing arts programs into one larger college of a renamed CSU.... Northern Ohio State University...academia needs to be learn to evolve and change.  
CSU is looking at 50M to move the performing arts to a new structure, and ODOT is considering the use of decking at certain location of the inner belt; the inner belt crosses though the campus.  Building new structures for the University combining funds, setting longer term plans to grow a much larger university…one that attracts outside the state. 

I think that in 100 years KSU’s campus could be Kent memorial wildlife refuge.  

Something for the OHIO Board of regeants


CSU's charter has been relegated to attempting to serve the locals and it does effectively in many ways, but it should not be misinterpreted as being able to save the region by educating only local residents.
OSU is I believe the largest university in the nation, it is not wrong for the state to emulate that model on CSU, in fact it should attempt to grow CSU to the same size and use the name of it’s largest university not to detract from it but to emulate it.
KSU is a well-respected institution…but the city of Kent is only 30,000 people, serving local residents for education does not require a state university.  Its programs should be migrated into CSU and Akron University.  It would be very budget conscious as well.
Look at what OSU does for Columbus’s economy. 
Did you know that the success of the CCF is in part on them emulating the Mayo clinic?     

Why not just consolidate funding and program and grow fewer and bigger Universities.     

Why is Neoucom in the middle of no place?  Rootstown?  Move that to midtown and then keep the name for all of CSU "Northeastern Ohio University"?          

I agree about NEOU... we need that here

This all makes sense to me... not only would this be great for the regional economy, long term, but it would eliminate redundent curriculums and expand the range of offerings available to the people - instead of dozens of basic Information Systems programs in each school, now, we could have deep IS offerings, R&D, and entrepreneurship, with a super university system.

I'll find out more about what is moving from Kent so far and will post it here.

I love the idea that 100 years from now Kent State University in Kent would be a memorial forest.

Kent is a good example of a school that could fill two floors of the NEO super museum in the Breuer, one drawing from their fashion museum/collection/school and the other from their fine arts...

Imagine the floors of the NEO super museum that Oberlin would put together...

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The NEO Museum in NEO's best work of public art

I've been thinking more about the Breuer and have figured out the ultimate use. Convert the entire building into a collaborative museum and art exhibition and performance space for all the universities, public museums, and school systems with arts programs in the region - one floor per university/college/museum - perhaps more for some than others - and create shared performance and exhibition space in the Rotunda for similar use. This would create a cultural draw generating significant public activity fitting to the location, surrounded by the entertainment, arts, sports, design and education neighborhoods of downtown. This will be the place that connects all the arts and culture of the region in the arts and culture capital - Downtown Cleveland.

So every day there will be 20+ major exhibitions on display, curated by 20 regional arts programs - most days there will be major openings, lectures, receptions and other events - probably many films and performances as well... a hub of arts activity for all the colleges and arts organizations of the region. The range and quality of art and programming that will be created will be globally significant, and benefit both Cleveland and all the associated organizations, which will gain expanded audience, exposure, and revenue opportunities.

There is no reason work of students and faculty cannot be offered for sale - this can be a major art marketplace. Each institution can also use this presence for fundraising in Cleveland, and to grow alumni relations. All these organizations can leverage other downtown resources - hotels, Playhouse Square, Ideacenter - by better integrating programs like at Oberlin, Baldwin Wallace, John Carroll, Kent State (all campuses), etc., at the urban core of Cleveland, we build a stronger community, where people throughout the region become more familiar with their #1 city - they come to town for more than just an annual ball game or the circus.

The choice of the Breuer and Rotunda for this is a no-brainer... what other buildings in Cleveland are such significant works of art, and so worthy of housing such an innovative arts entity.

This complex will be one of the biggest single tourist and local attendance draws in this region and will be the anchor of much community development and related economic activity, as is expected around a brand new 500,000 square foot world class museum and performance center affiliated with such important arts organizations.

That is my recommendation.


arts programs in the region


I like that idea…the tower would make for interesting space for galleries its interior wall are really unusual looking.  But you are at odds with what is happening, you do not have the time to get all the resources and support to accomplish it.  Basically you would have to buy the county out of its interests at this point. 

I would like to see the old Cleveland University/Humiston Institute/Gospel press building utilized for the arts…I think it is an interesting building, maybe an arts college that offers a collection of curriculum from a variety of colleges, a collection of satellite programs.  I think Tremont would be great for that; it could be a central school for a collection of courses offered by different universities?   I think that courses could be offered in flux student could come for a semester or more to fulfill curriculum of other colleges elective courses towards their degree.  I think if it was sponsored through the county like the community college it could be priced right.  It could attract instructors from around the globe they could attract student from all around the country.  You could get some interesting dynamics out of that. 
It could be the home of all off TRI-C’s arts programs, and then instructors from other college’s art institutes could come in for semesters at a time.  The course they would teach would be universally accepted in all the participating arts programs.

I would like it to be TRI-C because they are very affordable, that would offset the trip for students even there out of state prices are cheaper than most colleges.  Then also temporary housing would grow, artist hostiles?   You could end up with offer local residents with a community based arts program that is world-renowned!   It would need entrance criteria, you do not want the best instructors teaching student with little or no talent.  I think the local high schools could be feeders and award special students with invitations to enroll.  I would think that Cuyahoga County should have enough talent?    

I thought the Gospel was going condo

The Gospel Press building is awesome and should become a core asset of Tremont and NEO, but I thought is was bought recently for redevelopment - for housing. I could be wrong or plans may have changed. In either case, it is a very important property.

I don't have a problem being at odds with the county on their plans... I know Hagan says he has made up his mind and will demolish the Breuer but I don't consider his the final word, but his are fighting words... that he doesn't care what voters think doesn't mean he is right or will win a battle against the ret of the community.

His easy way out of this mess is for the community to help him find a better use for the Breuer than would be accomplished by putting the county at that site, and finding a better site for the county. I really like the idea of a regional super-museum in the Breuer and Post - right down the Silver Line from our other arts HQ, University Circle - right down E9th from our lakefront cultural assets - all reasons for tourists and locals to spend more time in more areas of the community, yet while all connected with Public Transit and walkable cultural zones.

As for where to put the county building, Mason claims he did a site analysis and determined the Breuer site is best for the county, but I have never seen real evidence of that. If such analysis exists, it should be made public so the taxpayers can see what is planned and why, and the large community of planners in the region can help the commissioners make sound planning decisions in step with all else being planned around here.

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The Big Lie

As a Cleveland resident who has been subjected to the big lie many times--I am sharing my neighbor's own take on the Fulton Rd. Bridge debacle and Breuer building debate.

Breuer Tower makes AP news

While I was out of town in New Orleans last week, apparently our squabble about the tower made it into the associated press. Cleveland office tower facing demolition. Hagan's dismisal is now national news. Now everyone knows how our political machine here works -- the  flick of a wrist, the wave of the hand.

Breuer battle in Business Week - how cool

That has got to sting Hagan and Dimora. Will they listen if the criticism becomes more global and at this high level? Yes - but they need two outs... a better use for the Breuer (arts and culture center) and a better site for the county.

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PD (and CPC)'s reckless rush to wreck the Breuer

I wish I had known the Planning Commission called an emergency session today to decide the Breuer's fate. As Gloria Ferris says, how can they possibly have come up with the answers to all their own questions about adaptive reuse in about a week's time?

I just read this Plain Dealer commentary calling for the county to just 'push ahead' (blindly... follow the easy course of demolition when the world is watching Cleveland, the poorest city in the nation, how it handles its historic and physical assets).

Why the lazy reporting? It's as if none of the reporting done on blogs like this one, Gloria Ferris', GreenCityBlueLake, Cleveland vs. the World even the PD's own architecture critic Steven Litt ever existed? Is it arrogance or a more serious abuse of power when the city's only daily newspaper ignores the facts that each and every criticism that the county's team has thrown up against the Breuer tower was either refuted or dealt with deftly by the one proposal calling for adaptive reuse from the Cleveland firm of Davis Brody Bond. (only one, but there are probably a dozen more answers to save $20 million and have the greenest project possible by reusing the tower.)

Here are slides from the firm's principal Doug Hoffman who presented to the Planning Commission on June 1. The proposal gains more ceiling height by placing mechanicals in the floor; it deals with the single-pane windows and leaves the asbestos in the curtain wall in place by elegantly wrapping the tower in glass. And it expands the floor space by rearranging the restrooms and service core. The issue of earthquakes sounds like a very fishy red herring.

It was the only adaptive reuse proposal because the county changed the RFP in the second round by eliminating adaptive reuse. Read more on that subject.

Read more about Hoffman's presentation here

And read Gloria Ferris' excellent reportage from the June 8th Planning Commission meeting and the follow up.

The way this is being handled by the Planning Commision casts a pall on that august body.

What facts are they basing their decision on? Certain not respected former Cleveland Planning Commission director Hunter Morrison's Seven decision making principles for major redevelopment projects

To not reuse the Breuer tower and then claim you're going to make it a green building is, in the words of local architect David Ellison, the definition of hypocrisy. Period.

Please, I hope some of the bloggers following this were able to attend this morning's meeting and just haven't written about it yet. I'll wait to hear about how things went...

Especially considering Brookings Institution report in same PD

Thanks for this well organized perspective. I was not at all surprised by the editorial encouraging demolition of the Breuer in the PD... nor the fact the Cleveland Planning Commission voted 5-2 today to allow demolition of the Breuer.

As usual, the PD "editors" have spoken with apparently-God-given directives to the rightful people and intelligent planners of this region and the world to shut up about the environment and arts and culture of this community and take whatever the taxpayer-paid agents of the City and County want to force up whatever hole in our ozone they choose - clearly none of these people care about the environment, or arts and culture (we'll see what their grandchildren think of their families leadership in a few decades).

The PD editors publish their command to destroy the Breuer the same day and across the page from a more intelligent set of perspective about the future of this region, from the Brookings Instution, titled "The goal: 43,000 residents" which finds: "Diversity, authenticity, institutions of knowledge, waterfronts, downtowns and the urban form - "cityness" in a word - matter again to a growing and diverse set of families and firms. Urban densities and the transportation alternatives that come with them are also increasingly being recognized as important antidotes to climate change." Unfortunately, the PD is not a diverse, authentici institution of knowledge so not only does the PD not help improve this city but it has played a huge role in destroying our citiness.

The best of the Citiness - the Urban Form - of NEO is being destroyed by our current generation of "leaders", who have names we may memorialize for all, forever in the history of this region. So we can attach the five names of the City Planning Commission members who voted to demolish the Breuer to the names of the two Cuy. County Commissioners who are pushing this plan and assign to those seven people full responsibility for destroying $millions in embodied energy, and a globally siginificant architectural landmark, and the citiness of downtown Cleveland, forever. We shall need to tombstone... here is the first report I've found about the CPC vote today to demolish the Breuer - so who are the five members who voted to demolish, and who voted against as their names shall now be carved in stone forever. Oh, and let's not forget the names of "The Editors" of the PD... for now we can just call them the Breuer Bashers.

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This is the text of an email

This is the text of an email I just sent to Marc, Peter Lawson Jones, Lillian Kuri, Norm Krumholz and tim Ferris in response to Tim's notes on the PD editorial where he laid out his reasons to refute the article.

Right on Tim! I have so many thoughts on this.


Commissioners Hagan and Dimora and their teams were in a big hurry to act in an obfuscating way with little to no concern for involving the taxpaying public of the County in any of the early on process. Like the med mart and convention center, someone is getting a powerful kick back, and it is too bad that the people of Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland are too busy working such long hours just to stay solvent that they don’t have time to be more informed and more involved. In this scenario, the fat cats will continue to drive disinvestment in our region and make Cleveland sprawl central.


The kind of arrogant, bread-and-circuses, shell game that Hagan and Dimora play drives people, who would see the County and the City do well, to despair and apathy. Expect to see this sort of action drive down voter turnout rather than drive it up. What’s worse (and was pointed out this morning) is that if the tax increase does come to a vote and is voted down, the county may indeed have paid a potential crook to tear down a work of art (whose restoration, preservation and adaptive reuse should be in line with the recent sin tax objectives – arts and culture support), only to find that it has inadequate funds to complete the plan to consolidate the County offices.


And since we lag behind other cities in terms of the regionalism discussion, (we don’t seem to even be talking about annexing the inner ring), it occurs to me that all this talk about adding space in the tower to make floorplates useable and ADA compliant and blah, blah (no real facts uncovered and compared here) is short sighted. Imagine a City of Cleveland that is all of Cuyahoga County, a regional government that needs more space for its services and offices. Wouldn’t these commissioners have been forward thinking to have adapted this space for just such a consideration? Apparently Hagan and Dimora have no plans for a regional government because, judging by the way they have acted, they stand little chance of being elected to help run such a recovery based initiative. Small minds making small plans that cost huge dollars in the long run, that’s what we have. Where are the visionaries? I want to move to where they are. I am tired of paying for shortsightedness and waste.


Norman Krumholz must have a strong stomach to be able to go to work everyday knowing that his groundbreaking Cleveland Policy Plan, declared a "Planning Landmark", has been and continues to be ignored too often by our local governments – both of them -- county and city. This morning I noticed that he carried with him the program from last night’s Cleveland Arts Prize Awards Event at which he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Prize in Design for his work in the region and beyond – a policy document that has guided leaders in many other regions and cities, just not here. His legacy on the ground in our region may indeed be not about what he built, but what he insured was not built, like the Lee and Clark Freeway and the Parma Freeway. I am still new to this and still learning, but I think we can all be appreciative that he was there to help stop those disasters. It is unfortunate that he and his visionary colleague Lillian Kuri could not stop this one. Norm must have a seriously strong constitution to be able to go to school everyday to guide young hopeful planners in the vast and complex considerations involved in Urban Planning while this sort of scenario plays out in City Hall. I would not be surprised if he puts the proclamation given him by the BOCC last night directly in the recycling today. What a sham!


We, the residents, artists, educators and innovators, slave away to find appropriate solutions while Jacobs has the city (with ODOT urging them on) doing precisely not what they wanted to do in some deer’s backyard at 271 and Harvard. Forest City plans to make more money from our central city with the “let’s fund it before it’s a sure thing” Convention Center/Medical Mart non-plan, while when our many already lead-poisoned children in the city go to school and want to make a garden, soil tests come back too high for agricultural and therefore educational uses. Now there’s some really great due diligence on all those fronts!


Frank Jackson and Martin Sweeney should remain focused on the neighborhoods and stop looking for silver bullets like this imagined one. This project may well be about as silver a bullet as the Stadium, Gateway and the Rock Hall. Promises, promises…The BOCC have left out as usual the “and here’s why”. One thing is for sure with regard to our elected officials, “The higher climbs the ape, the more he shows his bum.” That said, one might hope they would be sure to put on pants, but as Norm Roulet so deftly pointed out, it might just be that the emperor has no clothes.


Ultimately, pleas for further study and a side by side comparison of raze or renovate by Norm as well as suggestions of mixed-use development with more than 9-5 weekday liveliness on the street made by Lillian Kuri were ignored in this morning’s proceedings. The referendum to allow for the demolition, drawn up by City’s planning staff, (obviously in expectation of just this result) passed despite statements made by the final speaker, an architect whose own personal proceedings before the City Planning Commission dragged on for a year while this went through like a federal agent with high level security clearance. He said, “When you do this sort of thing – tear down a significant building by a significant historical figure in the world of art, you tear at our hearts”.


Wide-eyed indeed and sad at heart for the lack of understanding and communication, for the short shrift given the collective intelligence of our architectural community, our history and our taxpaying public,




PS. I haven’t even read the PD editorial this morning yet, (not sure I want to) but thanks to those journalists who have kept us abreast, asking questions and digging the dirt here, advising and protecting us and educating us as best they could about the issues. May they flourish as writers even as our assets are squandered, for without the alternative press (even those housed within the media conglomerates of the likes of New House publications), we would have lost the building without ever knowing that the wrecking ball was poised.

Excelle nt Expose

Well written by one of our REALNEO stars, Susan Miller - while I think all your points are evidenced by excellent expository I can't say I agree with you wholeheartedly.  Such is the beauty diversity of opinion brings.

Well done regardless.

Welcome to Sleazeland+

"Believe in Sleazeland". "Sleazeland+". To live in a city that will hereinafter be known for demolishing one of Breuer's most important buildings - his only high-rise - is globally significant... better than having a mayor who set his hair on fire or being home of a river that burns. Now, about that brutal Portal sculpture Aggie Gund gave the community for in front of the Justice Center... the county commissioners need private parking spaces and that Noguchi is so foreign and dated... it must go... (Sleazelanders always hated it anyways).

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Why NEO is such a cultural backwater today

Worth repeating, about "Portal", in the context of current leadership demolishing the Breuer... obviously, our leadership today is less sophisticated and appreciative today than in the 1970, and 1980s:

By far, in my lifetime, the creation of this work of art in NEO has been the most perfect statement about the arts in NEO, as your community was largely ungrateful. I remember when the Justice Center opened, my grandmother took me down for a public tour and she explained how Aggie (Gund) had given the city "Portal" and there was a big, ignorant, ungrateful uproar - community leaders complained about the GIFT - I remember Aggie being shocked the community didn't appreciate a $100,000 masterpiece (which is now probably worth $10 million, if it were sale) - hey, there's an idea for funding and relocating the Hullets... sell "Portal" to an arts-appreciative city and use the money to put a rusty old Hullet in front of the Justice Center. Are the people and leaders of NEO any more sophisticated and appreciative today than in the 1970, and 1980s, or worse? For those appreciative, here are some photos of "Portal" and an interesting historical perspective from James Neff, who wrote for the PD back in the 1980's (since he got out of art criticism and the PD (and) has written books about Sam Sheppard and the Mafia), which helps us understand why NEO is such a cultural backwater today... the people here have been programmed by the media to be lame...

From Neff, formerly of the PD, programming NEO to be the mess it is today...

Must Be Profound
James Neff
The Plain Dealer
December 3, 1984

Gracing our city are many profound examples of modern art. I know they must be profound because I do not understand them.

Take, for example, Isamu Noguchi's sculpture "Portal" at the Justice Center. "Portal" still befuddles some citizens. It looks like a piece of a giant pretzel. The modern sculpture weighs 15 tons, stands 36 feet high and cost $100,000.

Art experts such as Sherman Lee called it "one of the best monumental sculptures produced in the world since World War II."

To the untrained eyes of those who pass "Portal" each workday, it seems useless, just a giant pretzel. They might feel differently if they could snack on it.

It is too bad Sherman Lee is dead (I never thought I'd be saying that) and Cleveland has not found any strong arts and culture leadership since, as all the arts and culture "powers that be" have been absolutely silent about the Breuer issue. Of course, they all want their share of the $20 million per year for arts and culture we just taxed ourselves to give the commissioners.... what masterful politics these old boys play....

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walk on by

This point is so well taken Norm. Why ? Why didn't the arts community shout out in rage? Is this the sort of community where we see someone struggling, begging for help, and we just walk on by because we "don't want to be involved"? I could name names, but these people know who they are, and they are probably not so involved as to be reading this blog. The venereable and established arts community has been repped by the lone figure of Peter Van Dijk as a member of the arts public in this town at these meetings, the AIA by the well researched and well spoken Anthony Hiti (all by himself). (David Ellison repped the architectural, green party and environmental community. Where was David Beach, Where was the Cleveland Green Building Coalition?)

During Meet the Bloggers with Peter Lawson Jones, Tim Ferris read statements he gathered from Robert Gaede. The offices of two other major figures in the architectural community almost touch the site of this travesty. They will have front row seats for the demolition. May their hearts be torn daily for the many months this operation on the city will take as a work by a major figure is excised. It is possible that they have private back door access like so many neighbors who pull into the drives and garages as they make their way to their offices and homes. They might never have to "notice" this greusome act.

I noticed that the border of the District of Design comes just to the eastern edge of the BOCC rip down and rebuild site. How is it that these players whose investment in the design district concept could be so callous as to turn their attention away from Marcel Breuer? Is the arts community like the abused spouse of the BOCC, the one who just takes it and remains quiet?

So I'll ask you again, Norm, if you have access to Aggie Gund and Graham Gund, can you be certain that their letters have been recieved? How about Katherine Lee Reid? These are people who have left Northeast Ohio but remain major figures in the art history of the region. What about Peter B. Lewis? Can he "get over it" long enough to write a letter or enlist the arts community to rise up? It is all fine and good to make a gift, but you may from time to time have to step in to see that your gifts are well cared for, to make the curators snap to attention if the galleries are falling into disrepair threatening your efforts as cultural literacy. The Rockefeller Brothers made just such a move with a Breuer house built for the MOMA in NYC.

As ususal, arts leaders are struggling too hard to "get invloved". They are afraid for their own organization's self interest, protecting their own bottom lines.

There is clout in the arts. These words were spoken at a recent arts event:

"Here in Cuyahoga County, the more than one-hundred non-profit arts organization add more than one-billion dollars to the local economy, annually.  These arts institutions employ three-thousand full-time workers; and more than seven-thousand people who work in related businesses. The Cavaliers made it to the NBA finals and the Indians are contenders in the American League pennant race, but the economic impact of the arts is still larger than that of all of Cleveland's major professional sports teams."

In my mind, the arts community has been asleep at the wheel in this one. And after the passage of Issue 18, they were supposedly galvanized. Whatever. Apparently not galvanized enough to stand up in support of the arts. This is a telling tale. Now that everyone of them is in line for a buck from the county, they are loathe to speak out against a massive injustice done to their canvas, they stand silently by like slaves and watch the master sell their child down the river. Is the arts community like the preservation community "officially neutral" on this issue? Apparently they are, and we know why. They are afraid that if they stand by their missions, their charters, they will lose the support of the masters, the money holders in the community. This action casts a pall on the supposedly "galvanized" arts community here. They like some of our visionary planners have been gagged and tied.

Who will be our Oliver Twist, standing up with the empty bowl in the dining hall, brazen enough to say, "Please sir, I want some more..."? Who among us will create a local chapter of DOCOMO? I challenge those with time and power, connections to stand up, launch this effort to save our modern landscape (Breuer included). Rise up out of your easy chairs in Shaker Heights and Hunting Valley and get busy protecting our legacy of works by modern masters. District of Design, my ass! This is a pitiful state of affairs for the arts community in NEO. The gauntlet is down.

Today's PD adds to the list of Sleazelanders+

Today for the first time the PD puts additional blame (or, in the PD perspective, praise) for the Breuer demolition at the feet of area business and political leaders: "The Cleveland Planning Commission satisfied top political and business leaders Friday when it voted to raze a landmark office tower that many preservationists want saved." "Kenneth Silliman, Mayor Frank Jackson's chief of staff, reminded the commission of the mayor's support of the demolition." "The Downtown Cleveland Alliance, representing developers and property owners, pushed for demolition, as did the area's largest commercial real estate brokers."

So, we have a list of Sleazelanders+ coming together. And a new name surfaced in opposition: "Razing the tower "has been universally condemned as a shortsighted, ill-conceived decision," renowned architect Rafael Vinoly said in a letter."

It occurs to me that if the areas "top political and business leaders" will demolish a Breuer, they will demolish a Rafael Vinoly, and a MVRDV, and a Foreign Office, so such top international architects cannot afford to waste their time designing buildings for this city. That fits with the conclusion of a major local developer, who said serious international developers will not come to work in this area because it is too corrupt (which is good for the local developers).

So, my advice, as a next step in the battle against "top political and business leaders" war against global arts and culture is to request all the architects of the world to impose a moratorium on working in Northeast Ohio. Sure, there are plenty of bottom-feeders who will still design Crocker Parks and Avenue Districts here, but at least we will never be universally embarrassed for being so Sleazeland+ as to destroy a Pietà

As for where were the arts leaders in all this - they have shown where there hearts and minds are and so can be eternally condemned for that. Names the names?!?! Everyone but those on the list to speak at the City Planning Commission meetings or writing in opposition, which makes the list easy to compile and long, including "the more than one-hundred non-profit arts organization(s)" you mention above, which SUCK more than one-billion dollars from the local economy.

I'll work on the international response to this - the Sleazelanders have laid on their backs and whimpered.

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isn't this all because our system is financially compromised?

Doesn't all this stem from the fact that the money flows through the government? Don't most of the nonprofits, who are supposed to hold the public interest foremost, as it says in their mission statements, get a good amount of their funding sent to them through the city or the county? Doesn't this cash-flow routing compromise the entire set-up? How can a nonprofit ever speak out against the government, if that speaking out results in a denial of funding or services? Our community organizations are not really free to speak. And they don't.

And, if our churches speak out on government/political matters, they lose their nonprofit status. If a hospital or an arts organization speaks out, do they lose their tax-exempt status too?

About the only thing that will cure this in the long run, it seems, is elimination of the current tax system--income taxes, especially. We've been compromised there since 1913, the year the income tax began. How do you suppose our country got so big and so wealthy prior to that? Do you think things have gotten a lot less fair since then, with concentrations of money in all the wrong places? Consider if you will that most of the wealth you see in Cleveland was in place prior to 1913, and government had no really huge money, it just served.

If everything were based on consumption, and not on income, we'd all go forward a lot quicker. We'd all have money--more money to take care of our community as we saw fit. The tax would be fairly and evenly applied; as we use, we pay.

For the time being, what we can do is to re-route the cash flow to our advocates so that it does not come to them through other entities that would compromise them. This is a very simple concept, but you won't hear much support for it. The people currently dispensing the funds also have a lot to do with controlling the public dialogue.

We also need to share the real-estate tax assessments more fairly. We have way too many exempt parties who own real property, don't share the load, and yet use common services.

With regard to the Breuer situation, we can begin to mend ourselves by getting the sales tax increase on the ballot and defeating it. We should also, perhaps, get a sales tax decrease on the ballot at the same time as well. If they won't eliminate the income tax and share the real-estate tax more fairly, we can at least do away with the consumption tax, for a while.

we need to read the resolution

Tony Coyne says we need to read the resolution they, the Cleveland Planning Commission, voted on to see what's in store, before the Breuer Tower gets whacked. How can we get a copy of it?

Resolution to demolish Breuer landmark

Thanks to David Ellison for forwarding the following... what does this mean to you, as to me this resolution is complete idiocy... especially considering the "Rock and Roll Boulevard" crap? Yeah, let's hang on that one... rock and roll (see raised hands with demon fingers in tribute to Van Halen). I'll take the city of Dead Boys and Bone Thugs, being real.

Huge, huge props to Norman Krumholz and Lillian Kuri for being real and voting against this sham from day one to the end.

Hello all:

'spoke with Tony Coyne at the front door of City Hall after the meeting
yesterday morning.  He suggested we look at a copy of the actual
resolution - which I went back upstairs and got.  I've transcribed it
below.  In my opinion, it's not particularly well written, it reveals a
narrow and limited perception of what has transpired up until this
point, and does not have very sharp teeth - but that's just my opinion. 
At least it wasn't an unconditional approval for the demolition permit. 
This isn't over yet.

Yours truly, David Ellison

Proposed Resolution  (passed by the CPC June 29, 2007 by 5-2 vote - Kuri
and Krumholz voting Nay)

The City Planning Commission approves consolidating non-judicial offices
and agencies into a new County Administrative Complex at East 9th Street
between Prospect and Euclid avenues that are now located in buildings in
and around downtown Cleveland to best serve the citizens of Cuyahoga
County.  This new County Administrative Complex will be a
high-performance, integrated environment for a minimum of 1,500 County
employees and some 1,700 daily visitors in the downtown core that will:

1.  Renovate the historic Rotunda Building (900 Euclid Avenue) as a main
public entry for the new County Administrative Complex with pedestrian
access available through the existing Euclid Avenue entrances during
normal business hours and incorporate flexibility for reuse of the grand
interior space that encourages its use for community and special events, and

2.  Construct new offices and support facilities specifically for a new
County Administrative Complex on a consolidated site with the
understanding that this requires the following:

a.  Deconstruction of the Ameritrust Tower (2017 East 9th Street) that
ensures preservation of the Rotunda Building as an integral part of the
new complex;

b.  Demolition of the Prospect Building (2073 East 9th Street) and the
Huron Building (917 Huron Road) previously approved by the City Planning
Commission on March 30, 2007;

c.  Vacation of the Barn Court public right-of-way that bisects the
proposed site of the County Administrative Complex and dedication of a
new public right-of-way from Huron Road that wiil maintain vehicular
access to properties east of the new County Administrative Complex that
currently have access along Barn Court, in accordance with provisions of
the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cleveland.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission supports the County's intentions
to meet the highest standards of:  1)  architectural design to create an
integrated workplace adaptable to future needs that functions at the
highest levels possible for green building and sustainable architecture
as demonstrated by LEED certification, and 2) urban design to ensure the
new County Administrative Complex supports the revitalization of
downtown Cleveland, advances the concept of transforming East 9th Street
into Rock and Roll Boulevard and enhances the vitality of the
surrounding Historic Gateway neighborhood and Euclid Corridor area
through improved streetscapes and integrated plazas and courtyards.

To ensure that private investment occurs in the area surrounding the new
County Administrative Complex, the City of Cleveland will convene an
interdepartmental task force to prepare and implement a redevelopment
strategy for the super-block bordered by East 9th Street, Euclid Avenue
and Huron Road for vacant and underutilized property and enhancement of
Barn Court and East 12th Street public right-of-ways as active
pedestrian environments.

During the project master plan, schematic design and design development
phases, the County will provide monthly reports or presentations at the
regularly scheduled meetings of the Cleveland City Planning Commission
and its Design Review Committee.  As part of the project master plan
phase that is now underway, community meetings sponsored by the Board of
County Commissioners and the Cleveland City Planning Commission will be
held  to encourage public engagement in the planning and design of the
new County Administrative Complex including the following information as
it becomes available but no later than December 31, 2007:

*  Report on Using Historic Tax Credits to Renovate the Rotunda Building
and 1010 Euclid Building to support Development of the New County
Administrative Complex
*  Statement of Design Intent for LEED Certification
*  Facilities Development Program
*  Project Master Plan
*  Architectural and Urban Design Guidelines

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rock and roll, rock and roll

Whose idea is it about this Rock and Roll Boulevard? Can we name names? Who's taking responsibility for this "concept"? Who "owns" it?


Nobody is thinking about actually changing the name of the street from East Ninth to something else, are they? When I worked out of the Ohio Savings Plaza, it was good to have "East Ninth" on the stationery. The connotation was that I was one of those guys from the financial district.

Manson Road... Thug Drive... Dead Boys Blvd.... Pere Ubu Place

Yes, Tim, let's catch this one before we must see the County Commissioners gyrating in tight pants to good-ole rock-n-roll oldies from Time Life Books. Choose any of the names above and I'm on board... I especially like "Pere Ubu Place", although "Tool Way" fits the current leadership situation in NEO best.

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Tool Way

You're in great form tonight Norm! It is good to laugh

the Dead Kennedys

Since you're running through the pantheon of bands, perhaps "The Boulevard of the Dead Kennedys" ( would be something to consider, and it would be thematic with the proposed medical merchandise mart and might perhaps give some inspired planner/developer the idea to collocate projects.


As Forrest Gump might say about the project, "Punk is as punk does."

apt Kennedy link with Hagan

Note the connection to the Kennedy family here:

Rude, but so is Hagan

Really fascinating read, Susan. So Huron from R&R to Playhouse Square can be Dead Kennedys Drive... I like it.

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Building on R&R Boulevard concept...

I was trying to keep it local (the bands I mentioned all have some connections to Sleazeland+) but we should go international with this.

The first reference I find on Google for "Rock and Roll Boulevard", "Cleveland" and "Resolution" together is from 2005, on REALNEO (thank God for this archive), from Sudhir's excellent notes at a NEO Excellence Roundtable featuring Chris Ronayne... perhaps Chris and others spoke about it before and  that was not captured with effective technology, like used here.

In any case, "Rock and Roll Boulevard" is now on our street signs, Google Earth, etc. The change doesn't seem to have changed our economy so the concept hasn't worked... YET. But, it is not too late. The city recently passed an "Emergency Measure" (this, our city leaders find an "emergency") whereby East 25th Street between St. Clair and Superior avenues has been renamed Gerald Levert Lane. Canton already beat Cleveland to having "The O'Jays Boulevard", which sparked the idea there that "Hopefully someday we'll be able to tell people to take the The Ohio Players' Parkway to the Bootsy Collins' Ave. exit and then turn left on The O'Jays Boulevard." Now they get branding there... so let's Supersize, er Sleazeland+, our R&R footprint here and now!

Name your favorite streets for your favorite musicians, bands... whatever is Rock and Roll to you. Picture yourself there and surrounded by the music of your choice... what makes sense to you.

  • I'll start with the shoreway west, from downtown to Lakewood, which passes by Edgewater Beach and our polluted Lake Erie... that obviously should be Butthole Surfer Way... catch the wave at the remarkable Butthole Radio site (listening to the stream right now... one of the coolest uses of the Internet ever).
  • 90 West from downtown must be the Bone Thugs N' Harmony Highway, in recognition of the greatest creative force ever to surface from the East Side (E.99 and St. Clair), evacuated by all the whites who fled Bone's "Thug Culture", and are daily driving scared.
  • The road along the Cuyahoga River through the new Wolstein Development - once River Road, I believe - must be Pere Ubu Place, in recognition of their roots in this place once so cool, and the absurdity of the current state of planning for the Flats.
  • When the road enters Sleazeland's new Porn Zone it could become X Way, but I lean toward Wendy O Williams Way, in recognition of the great Plasmatics' singer's pornographic-penchant... that can become Plasmatic Place as it passes Stonebridge, in sarcastic appreciation for all the Plasma screen TVs in nouveau-condo land.
  • In my current Ohio City neighborhood, Detroit Road should be renamed "Queen's Way"... no explanation required, if you know NEO.
  • My cross street, W. 45th, from Butthole Surfer Blvd., crossing Queen's Way south, is largely a cut through for speeding drunks, and quite Hillbilly, so I'd say that should be Charlie Daniels Drive.
  • The Gateway District should be renamed The Tool Zone, for the tools who put that one together...
  • The road along the Rock Hall, Science Center and Browns stadium can be renamed for Yanni... yawn.
  • Superior, from Rock and Roll east past the PD should be The Cobra Verde Corridor, as Singer-guitarist John Petkovic of the band works at the PD... and in celebration of the slave-culture long permeating from there.
  • My new home is on Roxbury, so we can just respell that to Rockbury.
  • My two new cross streets and neighborhood are like 98% black... 97% after my family moves there (joked Mayor Brewer) so we should show appreciation for major forces in that culture. Euclid from University Circle east should be Public Enemy Place ("Thug Culture" is the public enemy, right Regina) and Forest Hills Drive should be Chuck D Drive... my hero.

So, where do you live, in the Rock and Roll world of Sleazeland+? Rename your/our streets and add them here.

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Actually, to celebrate our bar arts and culture here...

Let's make W. 45th Jimmy Buffett Boulevard, in celebration of "Why Don't We Get Drunk And Screw" and recognition of the condoms left on the streets around here by the drunk whores and johns enjoying my neighborhood at night.

BTW, how is

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Mental vacation

As I am famous for getting off-track--Check out David Ellison's travel photos.  Bellissimo!

Ellison's work all looks Bellissimo

I'm really glad Ellison got in touch as it brough his beautiful work to my attention - I could use his help. Even if I can't afford to hire an architect for the fix-up of our 1905 house in East Cleveland, I can learn some great design and decoration ideas here. And it is nice to know who has done some of the great other preservation and classical design work around the region. Great work, David - do you know Joe Stanley, of NEOMainstreet... he has similar design interests and you should know each other.

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conservation easments for art

Maybe we need conservation easements for public art. Could you imagine that City Hall would expand so far east as to need to toss the Free Stamp into the river? I can. Apparently now as arts are concerned in NEO, anything goes. "Yeah, guys, just toss that puppy out there in the lake with the old stadium", we might hear a contractor say answereing the crane operator who lifts the Free Stamp from it's location in Willard Park at 9th and Lakeside.

Are we free as the stamp suggests? Apparently not. We may need to enact an "arts rights" movement to protect our legacy.

"one-hundred years from now people will be looking at, listening to, and reading art that was created here and now, just as we look at listen to art that was created here one-hundred years ago – and art that was created in other places one-thousand years ago.  The arts are what remain.  Art is what stays on, long after the artists have gone.  It’s how we know about past cultures and civilizations.  It’s how future ones will know about us."

Well maybe not...

Free Stamp already symbol of Sleazeland+ leaders

What an embarrassment the Free Stamp has been for Clevelanders. First it was intended for Public Square, where there is no real public art, and was intended to be upright, with the FREE word hidden as a statement. The sclpture was mothballed when SOHIO became part of BP and was resurrected years later by past generations at Cleveland City Hall - the Cleveland website says: "The lawn at Willard Park inspired Oldenburg and van Bruggen to alter the position of the Free Stamp so that it would lie on its side, as if it had toppled over on someone’s desk. Van Bruggen felt that the new design reflected the Free Stamp’s history as it was “flung” from Public Square only to “land” in Willard Park". Oldenburg (for whom my son Claes is named) should have told Sleazeland+ forget it, as it is not at all as he and his wife or the arts leaders of our past had intended. It should be sold to a community that cares about arts and culture... our "top political and business leaders" already threw it in the lake years ago.

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focus on the rubber stamp, not on the FREE

Norm, I've always thought Oldenburg was having some fun with all of us with the sculpture. He saw that lots of people were in lockstep in corporations and in the government, and that many things were not thought-through, but merely "rubber-stamped."


The old SOHIO/BP culture was much like this, and government around here has been like that for at least a few decades. Now, in this Breuer conflict, the government go-go boys (Cimperman, Jackson, DiMora, and Hagan) are hoping to have the Cleveland Planning Commission rubber-stamp anything they propose, just because. Trust us, they say (even when the county has no money). Don't hurt our relationships with the county commissioners, Joe says. Just rubber stamp this, and let us get on with what we want to do, without oversight.


"We the people" are now faced with the grim realization that our elected help are really not that good at what we hired them to do, which is to run government efficiently and effectively. They also think they're no longer people who serve; we need to disabuse them of that notion.


We need to take away their power. We need to do to them the same thing they've been doing to us: Take away their time, their money, and their energy, first on a professional and job-related level, and then back into doing the same thing on a personal level, if we find evidence of malfeasance, self-dealing, or other corruption.


The other part of the stamp is FREE--if you rubber-stamp everything FREE, the irony is that you're not really FREE. Oldenburg reminds us of the tension there, a tension we must constantly consciously address. Freedom and being FREE come with awareness. Rubber-stamping is the ultimate existence without conscious, without awareness.


Freedom is never FREE; there's always a price to being FREE. You can play with that concept all day long, and then some, and that's what makes it art.

The ugliest building in Sleazeland?

It occurs to me, looking at the Free Stamp photo, that this shot also captures a bit of the ugliest building and greatest symbol of Sleazeland - the Jones Day building at E. 9th and Lakeside. What an ugly city our leaders have built over the past several decades... no hope that will change now - the Breuer is by far the best building in Cleveland, of my generation.

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Ignorance is no excuse for the law.

There is an average cost of construction based on sq ft.  When government constructs it must be close to average, if the cost is not then investigation needs to take place.  The investigation is through the FBI. 


The county says that it could not find a site in the CBD that met its needs other than the site they choose.  FYI at 668 Euclid is an abandoned building that has vacant lot next to it.  These parcels are about 100,000 sq ft combined.  This is just around the corner from the site, they choose. 


If the county chooses a site it has to be with costs in mind it is not there money to spend, it is tax dollars, if they over spend then that is illegal. 


This county administration building costs will be off the charts when completed its dollar per sq ft will or could set a record. 


When you look at costs they in turn becomes revenue for someone else.  These extra costs are money trails and often accompany kickbacks. 


The value of 668 Euclid is at 3 million or less, check the county data base, the parking lot next door is worth less, 1 million for the parking lot that a total cost of 4 million to 21 million that they spent.  


It is simple land is what the county required and nothing else, they cannot do favors they have to focus on the costs and value of the money spent.     That already is 17 million in waste, they said they would like to be on Euclid and ignored this property on Euclid.  They purposely chose a very expensive site. 


We know that politician become corrupt and kickback are not unheard of; simply comparing apples to apples, this whole thing looks very suspicious. 


I can see it but who do you tell, I say look this is actually illegal and there is no one to tell.  


This is very sad, the FBI has to investigate this, and the county never should have put us in this type of position. 


This is the same as what happened with the regional sewer district, except that is so painfully obvious.  Jacobs did not overage the county intentionally the county over bought and he received the capital because of that.  With the sewer district the situation was through comparable costs, in this case it needs to be against comparable land.  


The situation was and is lost through overly emotional personalized rhetoric, it still need to be looked at, in fact it should be before it happens but may not until after it happens. 


All three of these commissioners agreed to the purchase, it was a ridiculous decision.   



OENGUS sees right through it,  but the county will pay  blindly.  The internet helps spread the word - the word that our government is corrupt, ignorant, or both. 

Why buy a building if you want an empty lot?


Reasonable question.    Taxpayers, we need to sue for the answer.  I'll sign on as a plaintiff. 

Who else?


Tear it down and then sell it!

  The 10/8-15/2007 Crain's article is now linkable.  Read it and pull your hair out.


Classic line... "“I’m open to it. We’ve got to always consider every option,” Mr. Dimora said. “We could always go other places.”

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"Government is an art, not a science."

45 million dollars later and it is back to square one....Has Cleveland had enough bullshit ART, yet?

Historic Preservation IS Smart Growth