Cleveland Investing In Renovations On Historic Rose And AT&T Buildings

The AT&T building in downtown Cleveland towers over a Cleveland Indians "Rally Together" sign.
The AT&T building, just north of Progressive Field, could offer a hotel room with a view by 2020. [Mark Urycki / ideastream]
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Cleveland City Council’s Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee has signed off on plans to renovate two historic buildings downtown. One is the oldest office building in the city. The other is where Superman used to work.

When the Rose building opened in 1902 at the corner of East 9th and Prospect it was reportedly the largest office building in Ohio.  

The Rose Building at the corner of Prospect and E. 9th St. [Mark Urycki / ideastream]

Medical Mutual of Ohio has been there 70 years but when the mortgage went into receivership a couple years ago company officials considered moving outside the city. 

Instead, they purchased the building with plans to spend $12 million in renovations. Cleveland economic development director David Ebersole wants to help with a $1 million loan.

“The loan is a 20-year term loan,” Ebersole explained to the council committee. “It’s deferred for 10 years at which point some or all of the loan may be forgiven based on the job creation and payroll creation within the city.”

The notable brass doors of the Rose Building on East 9th St. [Mark Urycki / ideastream] 

Medical Mutual has 1050 employees in the building. The city wants the company to maintain 900 workers and an annual payroll of $100 million.

Investing in the Medical Mutual HQ is something that benefits the entire city, said Ward 3 councilman Kerry McCormack.

“Over 50 percent of the revenue that pays the bills for the city of Cleveland, that sweeps the streets in Ohio City, and plows the streets in Glenville comes from a healthy downtown,” McCormack said.

The council committee is also in favor of helping another resident of the Gateway neighborhood. They are backing a $2 million tax increment development grant to help renovate the AT&T building at 750 Huron Rd. That art deco building is believed to have been the model for the Daily Planet building for Superman illustrator Joe Shuster

The building looks out over Progressive Field to the south.

Todd Interests of Dallas wants to turn 13 floors into a new Canopy Hotel, a boutique hotel offered by Hilton. The company announced some 23 Canopy Hotels worldwide but only six are open so far.

Director Tara Worthey told council her company would occupy 13 floors, some at the bottom of the building and some at the top.  

“We’re excited to activate the street presence by opening up that lobby as well as some of the upper floors with a bar and letting the beautiful views from some of these balconies be open to the public and accessible,” Worthey explained.

AT&T Building back left, Rose Building right [Mark Urycki / ideastream]

The 1925 building was constructed when AT&T had a much larger presence than it does now. The telecommunications company uses only half the building today.

“There is not the amount of employees that onetime were coming in and out of this building,” said Worthey. “You go on these floors and there is absolutely nothing happening.” 

AT&T would continue to use the remaining floors of the 24-story building.

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