By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
An office building in Cleveland’s downtown has been sitting empty since 2009, creating one of the largest dead zones in the city’s former financial district. Now, the K&D Group, Northeast Ohio’s largest privately held owner of apartments, plans to buy the obsolete office tower and convert it into 223 apartments, meeting the strong demand for new living space. The price was not disclosed.
Located at 1717 E. Ninth St., the East Ohio Building stands 275 feet high and is Cleveland’s 22nd tallest building. The skyscraper was constructed in 1959 on the site of the old Greyhound bus station and was one of the first modernist high-rises in Cleveland. Tishman Realty & Construction Co. was the developer and Emery Roth & Sons the designer. It was the home of the East Ohio Gas Co. until the natural gas supplier merged with Dominion Resources from Richmond, Va.
Sovereign Partners L.L.C. bought the 21-story office building for $12 million in 2006. Unable to compete against more modern office buildings, it has been vacant since 2009. Now, Willoughby’s K&D Group has signed a contract to buy the East Ohio Building, and plans to revive it by turning it into apartments.
The contract gives K&D a year to buy the glassy building, including its 550-space garage. During this time, K&D will seek to secure tax credits and other financing for its $65 million project. The company hopes to add the building to the National Register of Historic Places and make it eligible for federal and state tax credits tied to preservation. The building is surely old enough to qualify for the national list.
If all goes as planned, the project will be completed by 2014. It will help reduce the number of downtown office vacancies and create much needed rental housing.
K&D is Northeast Ohio’s largest privately owned management and development firm. It currently owns and manages 38 apartment and condominium communities, consisting of nearly 12,000 suites throughout Greater Cleveland. In December, the company struck a deal to buy the Hanna Building Annex, on East 14th Street, with plans to turn it into 102 apartments.
Image courtesy of www.emporis.com.