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The former Cuyahoga County Administration Building in downtown Cleveland has been razed. A 600-room convention center hotel will be built on the site, and the new County headquarters building at the former Ameritrust complex is scheduled to open in July. County offices formerly in the building relocated to temporary locations last fall. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt has written extensively about the plans for the new 30-story hotel (PDF).

The Cleveland Institute of Art broke ground on the $33.5 million second phase of the expansion and renovation of its Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts in University Circle. The four-story, 79,000-square-foot addition will allow the college to unify its campus in a single location. Work is scheduled to be completed in fall 2015.

Local officials celebrated the ribbon-cutting for the new Cleveland Convention Center in mid-June. Shortly after opening, it hosted the 2013 National Senior Games. The attached Global Center for Health Innovation (formerly known as the Medical Mart) is scheduled to open in October. Steven Litt said that the two buildings "project an image of Cleveland as a city able to complete large projects in a timely, efficient manner." Project managers discussed the development on WCPN's The Sound of Ideas.

Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are partnering to build a medical education building on the hospital's main campus in Fairfax. The 165,000-square-foot building will be at the northeast corner of East 93rd Street and Euclid Avenue, currently the site of the Cleveland Clinic Guesthouse. Foster + Partners of London is designing the $80 million building. It's scheduled to open in 2016. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a praiseworthy collaboration."

Work on the new Cuyahoga County headquarters building in downtown Cleveland began in early April with the start of demolition of the former P&H buildings at East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. Demolition is scheduled to be finished by late June and the new building is slated to open by July 2014. The project's architect is striving for a subdued modernist design. The project is supported by $75.5 million in bonds from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Construction of the new convention center in downtown Cleveland is ahead of schedule and about $10 million under budget. Officials anticipate that work will be completed by June 1. Crain's Cleveland Business published a series of articles about the project.

Update: a June 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned.

At a March 7 auction, Drury Hotels was the high bidder for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District headquarters building in downtown Cleveland. The $4.83 million bid was well below the anticipated $8.5 million price, but the school board voted 5-3 to accept the bid. The new hotel will offer about 180 rooms when it opens in 2015, and is one of a number of proposed downtown hotels. The School District may move its offices into the former Eaton headquarters building on Superior Avenue.

A report from the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at how former public school buildings are being reused in 12 cities, including Cleveland. It found that they were most commonly reused as charter schools.

via Fresh Water

The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals operate adjacent facilities near East 185th Street and Lake Shore Boulevard in Euclid. Some Cleveland leaders asked University Hospitals to sell its Euclid Heath Center to the Clinic, which operates the landlocked Euclid Hospital. University Hospitals does not intend to sell its property, and plans to replace its existing facility with a new medical office building.

Update: construction of the new University Hospitals building is scheduled to begin in June.

At its February 14 meeting, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission approved the demolition of the former Euclid Avenue Church of God at East 86th Street. The Commission had rejected earlier requests in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland is pursuing redevelopment plans at West 117th Street and Clifton Avenue that include the demolition of the former Fifth Church of Christ Scientist.

Update: the Cleveland Restoration Society's Perspectives newsletter includes an update on the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist.

Update 2: Fresh Water said that the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist likely will be demolished.

The Transformer Station gallery in Ohio City opened to the public on February 1. The 8,000-square-foot galley is a joint project of art collectors Fred and Laura Bidwell of Peninsula and the Cleveland Museum of Art. One of its inaugural exhibitions features large-scale panoramic images of Cleveland bridges by Vaughn Wascovich.

Update: Steven Litt shared his thoughts about the opening.

At its January 22 meeting, Cuyahoga County Council unanimously voted to sell the Ameritrust complex to the Geis Cos. and to lease a to-be-constructed headquarters building from the company. The Geis Cos. formally took control of the property this week. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "county officials must provide thorough oversight" of the project. Council members pledged to closely monitor spending on the new building, and issued an RFQ for a consultant to oversee construction. The County's decision may force Optima Ventures to reconsider its plans for the Huntington Building.

The Cleveland Institute of Art agreed to sell its Gund Building property to Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art for $9.2 million. The deal for the 4.1-acre site is expected to close in 2015, when the Institute of Art completes the expansion of its McCullough Center. The University Circle institutions have not identified plans for the property. A Plain Dealer editorial praised the agreement.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority completed construction of a 1.1-megawatt solar farm on a six-acre brownfield site adjacent to its Kinsman Avenue headquarters. CMHA officials said it will save the agency million of dollars over its expected 30-year lifespan, while providing it with educational opportunities. A Plain Dealer editorial called it the "sort of idea that could catch on."

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority completed construction of a $4.5 million rail loop at the Port of Cleveland. It provides the port with a direct ship-to-rail connection.

In December, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald recommended a proposal from the Geis Cos. for the Ameritrust complex and new county offices in downtown Cleveland. Under the proposal, Geis would purchase the buildings for $27 million and construct a new eight-story county administration building at the corner of East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. Geis intends to redevelop the the 28-story tower as high-end apartments, the Cleveland Trust rotunda as retail or another public use, and the Swetland Building as apartments and offices.

Cuyahoga County Council heard presentations and discussed the proposal at meetings on December 11, January 2, January 8, and January 15. The recommended agreement would allow the County to own its offices at the end of a 26-year lease, and received the highest score of the nine submitted proposals. Optima Ventures challenged the scoring calculations and offered a revised offer, while the County's real estate consultant said that Optima's numbers were in error.

Michelle Jarboe McFee of The Plain Dealer said that the agreement "could revive a stricken downtown Cleveland intersection," while Stan Bullard and Jay Miller of Crain's Cleveland Business noted that its "impact on the office market, statistically speaking, would be nil at best." Editorials in The Plain Dealer said that the deal has "many appealing elements" and urged County Council to "start asking tough questions about the proposed deal."

Update: Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey asked four questions about the agreement.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District headquarters building will be offered for sale at a public auction on March 7. The school board set an undisclosed reserve price for the landmark building on the Mall in downtown Cleveland. The school district also reopened its search for new downtown office space. CBRE's David Browning described the auction process to WTAM, while Roldo Bartimole called it an example of "smelly cesspool politics."

Cleveland State University razed Viking Hall and the Wolfe Music Building on Euclid Avenue to make way for the planned Center for Innovation in Health Professions. On Chester Avenue, The Langston saw its first tenants move in this past fall. The market-rate apartment project is scheduled to be completed in June. The University is also proceeding with plans to convert Mather Mansion to a boutique hotel, and reached a development agreement with the Chesler Group.

The Stokes VA Medical Center plans to build an outpatient surgery center in Cleveland, on Superior Avenue between East 89th and East 90th streets. The 10,000-square-foot facility could open in late 2013.

The Gund Foundation's November grant awards included $5 million for the Cleveland Museum of Art's expansion, $500,000 for Land Studio to continue its downtown Cleveland greenspace and trail planning, and $75,000 for Bike Cleveland.

MOCA Cleveland celebrated the grand opening of its new University Circle museum in early October. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt covered the occasion, describing the history of the museum, the project's financial considerations, architect Farshid Moussavi's design approach, and the building's distinctive architecture. MOCA Executive Director Jill Snyder said that the building realizes the museum's goals of transparency, flexibility, and sustainability. A Plain Dealer editorial cheered the opening.

The milestone also attracted national and international attention. It was Farshid Moussavi's first project in the U.S., and she was profiled in W magazine and interviewed by the Architects' Journal. The museum's architecture was highlighted in Art in America, Arch Daily, De Zeen, Wallpaper, and Unbeige, among other publications.

Update: Steven Litt followed up with a critique of the building.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General conducted a review of the Cleveland VA's decision to close its Brecksville campus and consolidate its facilities at the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center in University Circle. The review "determined that the decision to completely vacate and close the Brecksville campus and consolidate to the Wade Park campus was not in VA's best interest" because of space, cost, and security issues. It offers a series of recommendations to address the concerns.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is building 4,200 solar panels on a six-acre site adjacent to its headquarters at Kinsman Avenue and East 82nd Street. The one-megawatt array is expected to cover 70% to 80% of the building's electricity needs.

After reaching a compromise with City officials and historic preservationists, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved Cleveland State University's plans to demolish the Wolfe Music Building and Viking Hall. The mitigation agreement calls for the University to salvage elements of the Wolfe Music Building and establish a historic preservation certificate program. CSU and NEOMED plan to build the $45 million Center for Innovation in Health Professions on the site, and three competing architecture firms recently presented concepts for the new building. Steven Litt said that the institutions' design process is not likely to lead to an iconic structure.

Cuyahoga County released a list of the 31 bidders who responded to the County's property consolidation RFP, but did not share any details. County officials hope to reach deals with bidders by the end of the year.

A Cleveland Botanical Garden program was one of eight projects recently certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a national rating system for sustainable built landscapes. It's the first project in Ohio to receive the designation. Eleven projects have achieved certification in the initiative's two-year pilot program.

Fast Track Cycling celebrated the opening of the Cleveland Velodrome on August 30, and it held its first competitive cycling event on September 15. The track in Slavic Village is the only velodrome in Ohio.

Update: Neighborhood Progress Inc. has more information.

Baldwin Wallace University dedicated its new R. Amelia Harding House for Sustainable Living. The renovated residence hall incorporates green building features, and the University hopes the project will receive LEED gold certification.

Cuyahoga County officially launched its property consolidation effort, offering 13 properties for sale and requesting proposals for new office and storage space. The buildings for sale include the County Administration Building, the Ameritrust complex, and the former Juvenile Justice Center. They are being presented to potential purchasers at a series of open houses. The County is seeking 225,000 square feet of downtown office space and 200,000 square feet of storage space. County officials intend to discuss the proposals in private, but County Executive FitzGerald pledged to make public all proposals before presenting them to County Council. County leaders are also considering a real-estate consulting contract.

Erick Trickey of Cleveland Magazine wrote about the lack of transparency and compared the process to old county government practices. A Plain Dealer called it "a huge opportunity for the county to secure its own bottom line and to boost downtown."

Update WKSU's Kevin Niedermier explored how the building sales could affect downtown Cleveland.

For the second time, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission rejected a demolition request for the Euclid Avenue Church of God. The Cleveland Clinic has offered to purchase the property if the building is demolished. In Lakewood, the California-based owner of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building is challenging the City's landmark designation of the property, filing an appeal in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Cuyahoga County officials announced that construction of the new convention center in downtown Cleveland is two months ahead of schedule, and will now open on July 1, 2013. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation added 28 days to the construction schedule for the new Innerbelt Bridge. An October 28, 2013 opening is now planned.

Update: Jim Bennett of MMPI talked about the convention center and Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines.

Voters in Solon could see two zoning issues on the November ballot. One would modify permitted uses in the city's C-5 industrial district, while the other would allow pet stores in the city's C-2 commercial district. Voters in Fairview Park may decide a rezoning issue for Journey Church on Lorain Road.

Update: Westlake voters may decide a rezoning issue for a portion of the Promenade shopping center.

Several local construction projects celebrated milestones:

Update: The Ohio Department of Transportation began work on bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in Cleveland.

The Lakewood Planning Commission designated the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building as a Lakewood landmark. It's the third building in the City to receive the landmark designation.

Southwest General broke ground on its $128 million expansion project. It includes a new emergency room, a critical care unit, and an underground parking garage. Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2015. Meanwhile, MetroHealth began construction of its Middleburg Heights November Family Health Center. When its first building opens next year, the 57,000-square-foot facility will replace the Strongsville Health Center.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that "it makes sense to explore" a proposed sale and possible hotel conversion of the Cleveland Board of Education Building, and that the building is a good candidate for adaptive reuse.

Cuyahoga County selected CBRE Group Inc. to market up to 22 buildings, evaluate potential new office space, and negotiate sales or leases. The process may begin next month.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District leaders are still considering plans to sell the District's administration building on East 6th Street in downtown Cleveland. Roldo Bartimole strongly opposes the proposal.

The Congregation of the Clergy reversed the closings of 13 parishes and churches in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The Vatican panel said that Bishop Lennon had not followed church law or procedures. Boston activist Peter Borre, who advocated on behalf of several parishes, said that the decision was unprecedented. Parishioners urged the Diocese to reopen the churches and discussed the decision on WCPN's Sound of Ideas. Bishop Lennon said that he was reviewing the ruling, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that it's too early to tell how this will end.

Outgoing MetroHealth Chief Executive Mark Moran shared his vision for the health system. It includes an overhaul of its main campus in Cleveland and the construction of four new health centers.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that the new Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland building under construction in University Circle is "shaping up as an architectural thrill ride" and "represents a triumphant return to the neighborhood of MOCA's birth."

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board approved $3.9 million to construct an on-dock rail loop and selected Great Lakes Construction Company to build the track (PDF). Cleveland Commercial Railroad will operate it. A Plain Dealer editorial praised the project.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt analyzed the Cleveland Clinic's master plan for its main campus in Fairfax. The plan, prepared by Foster + Partners of London, calls for the creation of a green corridor through the center of the campus. The plan suggests redeveloping the former Cleveland Play House complex as an education center, but does not address the edges of the campus or the possible demolition of two historic churches.

A real estate study conducted for Cuyahoga County leaders provided recommendations for each property in the county portfolio, and divided them into opportunities for investment, holding, or divestment. The study (PowerPoint) recommended the sale of the Ameritrust complex, the County Administration Building, and the former Juvenile Justice Center, among other structures. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "upshot of all this is that the county may soon become an important player in the local real estate market."

Demolition of the Cleveland School of the Arts building in University Circle is scheduled to begin soon. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to build a new school on the site.

Construction of the new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is on schedule, and contractors say it should open in spring 2013. The City is still trying to finalize eminent domain agreements with several property owners. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic officially opened its new Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon and closed the Westlake Family Health Center.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission designated Fenn Tower, Howe Mansion, and the Stager-Beckwith Mansion as Cleveland landmarks. The Commission will continue to discuss the proposed designation of the Wolfe's Music Store building.

Cleveland State University intends to mothball most of its Rhodes Tower because of the high cost of renovations. A study estimated that it would cost about $37 million to renovate and upgrade the tower.

Cleveland City Council approved a lease with an option to buy for the former site of St. Michael Hospital in Slavic Village. Fast Track Cycling plans to open a bicycle track on the property next year and eventually create a $7.5 million velodrome complex.

Update: Fast Track Cycling launched a new website.

State officials awarded more than $27.5 million in Clean Ohio Fund grants for 15 brownfield cleanup initiatives, including two local projects. Cuyahoga County received $2 million for demolition and remediation of Cleveland State University's Viking Hall and Wolfe's Music Store building. The university now plans to build a health and life sciences building on the site. The City of Cleveland received $2.99 million for infrastructure, demolition, and remediation in the Miceli Dairy expansion. The project broke ground in October.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson wants to save the Wolfe's Music Store building.

RTA continues to develop plans for its West Side Transit Center in the Warehouse District, and will hold a public meeting on Wednesday evening.

Update: RTA posted the presentation (PDF) from the meeting. The agency intends to complete the plans early next year.

Cleveland residents celebrated the opening of the Collinwood Recreation Center on Saturday. Located in a former Big Lots store on Lake Shore Boulevard, it is the City's first new recreation center in 14 years. The Plain Dealer's Joe Frolik looked at the history of the project.

Leaders of Cuyahoga County's MetroHealth System want to demolish and replace the towers at its main campus on West 25th Street in Cleveland. A master plan is being prepared.

Cleveland State University held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $50 million mixed-use Campus Village development today. Construction of phase one is scheduled to end in fall 2012 and phase two in fall 2013.

Update: Channel 5 has more information.

MetroHealth plans to build a $23 million community health center on a 10-acre site at I-71 and Pearl Road in Middleburg Heights. It will replace the system's health center in Strongsville. Construction of the 57,600-square-foot outpatient facility is expected to begin early next year and take 12 to 16 months.

Update: the Plain Dealer and Crain's Cleveland Business have more details.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt contrasted the designs of two new hospital buildings in Cleveland, the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals and the CARES Tower at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Both structures were designed by George Nikolajevich of Cannon Design in St. Louis.

Case Western Reserve University revealed the designs for its planned 82,000-square-foot Tinkham Veale University Center. The University intends to break ground next spring and complete construction by fall 2014.

The City of Cleveland will vacate portions of several streets for the planned Campus Village project at Cleveland State. Developers hope to break ground in the next few weeks.

Images of the winning entries in this year's Cleveland Design Competition are now online. More selections are posted at Facebook.

Southwest General Health System plans to make a $128 million investment in its Middleburg Heights facilities over the next four years. Work on the first part of the two-phase project is scheduled to begin in May 2012.

Real estate advisers told the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that it could save $18 million (PDF) over the next 10 years by moving from its existing building to rented offices downtown.

The Cleveland Restoration Society's October newsletter provides updates the Cleveland Clinic's efforts to demolish the Euclid Avenue Church of God and the nearby Church of the Transfiguration, the recently-demolished St. Catherine Roman Catholic Church on East 93rd Street, and the sale of the Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist Church on Archwood Avenue in Brooklyn Centre.

The conversation on this morning's Sound of Ideas program was about how local universities are encouraging nearby mixed-use development.

Update: Cleveland Magazine explored the changes to the Cleveland State University campus.

On Monday, the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court opened for business in the new Juvenile Justice Center at East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. The $189 million complex's first full day of business will be October 11.

In East Cleveland, the new Cleveland Clinic Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center also opened on Monday. The three-floor, 50,000-square-foot facility is on Euclid Avenue adjacent to the former Huron Hospital. The hospital permanently closed on Friday.

Cuyahoga County Council discussed Medical Mart and convention center construction at a work session on Tuesday. They learned that the service drive off of West 3rd Street will require rebuilding, an estimated $1.6 million expense. This week's issue of Scene looked at how MMPI's concept for the project has evolved.

Update: the Plain Dealer examined the changing Medical Mart plans, while WCPN looked at the county's economic development priorities. A Plain Dealer editorial urges MMPI to keep stakeholders apprised of the changes.

Update 2: MedCity News analyzed the shift in strategy.

Over the next three years, the Cuyahoga County Public Library will invest $100 million to implement its facilities master plan. The work includes construction and renovation at 15 of its 28 branches. New libraries will be built in Garfield Heights, Mayfield Village, North Royalton, Olmsted Falls, Parma, and Warrensville Heights.

The Cleveland Play House opened its first show in the renovated Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. The former 2,500-seat theater is being converted to three smaller theaters that will be used by the Play House and Cleveland State University. The 514-seat theater has reopened, the 314-seat Second Stage will open in January, and the 150-seat Lab Theatre will open in February. Fundraising for the project continues.

The Cleveland Museum of Art and collectors Fred and Laura Bidwell are collaborating to open an art gallery in the former Cleveland Railway Co. transformer station on West 29th Street in Ohio City. The 7,944-square-foot Transformer Station gallery will be used to display contemporary art when it opens late next year.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial is supportive.

The 92 participants in this year's Cleveland Design Competition offered concepts for a future home for the Campus International School near Cleveland State University. The winners were revealed at an event on August 19. Images of the submissions will be displayed at the Ingenuity Festival and at the Colonial Marketplace Arcade, and will be posted online in October. Steven Litt said that the "takeaway from this year's entries is that the competition didn't elicit a single, powerful solution capable of rallying a strong push to get it built."

The Chagrin Falls Historical Society may purchase Linden Hall, the sole remaining Windsor Hospital building. The building on East Summit Street otherwise may be demolished.

Update: developers of the Falls Walk subdivision withdrew their demolition request.

Greenbridge Commons (PDF) is a new $12.5 million permanent supporting housing development at East 75th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. The 70-unit facility will provide homes for chronically homeless individuals. It was developed by the Cleveland Housing Network and will by operated by Eden, Inc.

Cuyahoga Community College is purchasing 11 acres adjacent to its Westshore Campus in Westlake. The College plans to build new classrooms and a workforce development training center on the site.

University Hospitals announced plans to build a $17 million rehabilitation hospital on Harvard Road near Green Road in Beachwood. The 50,000-square-foot project is a partnership with Centerre Healthcare Corporation of Nashville. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and finish in October 2012.

Renovations of the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square are nearing completion. The theater is scheduled to reopen in one month.

Westlake City Council approved the strategic plan for St. John Medical Center's five-year, $100 million modernization and expansion project. St. John Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony late last month.

Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson has proposed designating the Magnolia-Wade Park Historic District as a local historic district. The area is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mt. Zion Congregational Church, which wants to tear down two houses for an addition, opposes the proposal.

While Cuyahoga Community College and Highland Hills officials have not reached an understanding on the future of the 106 acres that Tri-C purchased in 2007, the College does plan to build a facility for workforce training, career training, and sustainability programs on a portion of the site.

Cleveland State University intends to demolish its 13-story Viking Hall and the adjacent Walker and Weeks-designed Wolfe's Music Store building on Euclid Avenue. Cuyahoga County is applying for a $2 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant (PDF) for asbestos remediation and demolition, and will hold a public meeting (PDF) on September 8.

Update: the Plain Dealer described the proposal.

MetroHealth will acquire and demolish the 10-story Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare facility adjacent to its main campus in Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Mental Health will provide $3.4 million for demolition and abatement. The psychiatric hospital's patients are being relocated to the facility in Sagamore Hills Township.

The Cleveland Municipal School District continues to consider the possibility of auctioning off the Board of Education Building in downtown Cleveland and leasing office space elsewhere. The District is working with Weston Development to evaluate its options.

Work on the Cleveland Clinic's $96.3 million Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center is almost finished. The 190,000-square-foot facility will open this month.

The Cleveland Clinic and the City East Cleveland reached an agreement about the planned closing of Huron Hospital. The Clinic will pay the City more than $8 million over five years to offset lost payroll tax revenue. The Clinic will also raze the hospital and turn its land over to the City. The City of Cleveland, however, filed a federal lawsuit against the Clinic, saying that the closure would create a gap in trauma service.

Operators of the I-X Center in Cleveland plan to invest $25 million to $30 million in the facility over the next several years. The exterior and interior improvements are scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the news is encouraging.

Charter school operator White Hat Management acquired five closed churches in Cleveland from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The company paid a total of $2.6 million for the properties.

Update: another charter school operator is buying four closed schools from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The City of Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission reviewed and approved the latest designs for the Medical Mart and new convention center. They include concepts for incorporating the current site of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building into future phases. Marc Lefkowitz has concerns about the plans for Malls B and C.

Cuyahoga Community College held a grand opening ceremony on Thursday for its new Westshore campus in Westlake.

Update: West Life has more details.

The Cleveland Clinic announced on Monday that it intends to close the 137-year-old Huron Hospital in East Cleveland within 90 days, citing a decline in patient use, population decreases, and maintenance expenses. The Clinic plans to continue outpatient care at the health center currently under construction. The New York Times said that the decision "reflects a stark new reality that is likely to play out across the country at hundreds of other hospitals that can no longer afford empty beds or wings and unused medical services."

Frank Jackson feels he was misled by the Clinic, and said that it "has left the City with little choice but to resume legal action in an effort to protect the public health and safety interest of our community." The City of East Cleveland is also considering a lawsuit. Congresswoman Fudge met with Clinic officials, and said she wants to mitigate the harm to the local community. Members of Cuyahoga County Council expressed their concerns, as well. Community groups rallied in opposition to the closure. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the Clinic should have handled the announcement better, while a Sun News editorial said that the Clinic made the right decision.

The Baldwin-Wallace College Board of Trustees approved a new 10-year campus master plan. It calls for unifying the three sections of the campus.

Cleveland State University's trustees approved plans for the 6.8-acre Campus Village development along Chester Avenue between East 21st and East 24th streets. The $50 million mixed-use development will include 308 housing units in nine three- and four-story buildings. The university owns the property, and will lease it to developer Polaris Real Estate Equities of Gates Mills for at least 50 years. Construction is scheduled to begin early this summer.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the decision.

The Plain Dealer provided updates on the experimental wind turbine initiative at Cleveland State University and the status of trail planning for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center dedicated its new inpatient bed tower, homeless veterans domiciliary, and administration building at its Wade Park campus in Cleveland on Monday. The VA is concurrently winding down operations at its Brecksville campus.

Participants in the 2011 Cleveland Design Competition will offer concepts for a new K-12 public school on a site north of Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland. Organizers expect to receive at least 100 entries from around the world.

Case Western Reserve University selected the firm of Perkins+Will to design the Tinkham Veale University Center. The architecture firm was one of four finalists for the proposed $50 million student center. Preliminary designs should be ready by the end of July.

Baldwin-Wallace College and the City of Berea are considering plans to renovate the old Hanson House on East Bagley Road as the R. Amelia Harding House. The $2.1 million project would employ green building techniques to convert it to a sustainability learning center and residence hall.

The new University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland is scheduled to open in June and will host an open house on Sunday. The $260 million tower has 120 beds, and the 375,000-square-foot facility will triple UH's space devoted to cancer services. A Plain Dealer editorial says it "adds a logistical jewel to Cleveland's medical crown."

A Plain Dealer editorial supports Cuyahoga County's exploration of utilizing local hospitals for mental health care, in light of the state's decision to abandon plans for a regional psychiatric hospital in Cleveland. Tracy Plouck, director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health, says that the decision "was based on the rationale that the state will be able to offer the same amount of inpatient hospital capacity to the region at $4 million less per year."

In addition to proposing school closings and layoffs, Cleveland Metropolitan School District officials are considering placing the Board of Education Building in downtown Cleveland up for sale. Developer John Ferchill sought to redevelop the building as a hotel in the mid-1980s. Roldo Bartimole strongly opposes selling the building.

Update: the Cleveland Board of Education voted to close seven schools and lay off 643 teachers. Interim CEO Peter Raskind said that "there are no easy answers to the District's budget woes" and that "cuts in personnel and related expenses are unavoidable."

Cleveland City Council did not vote on an ordinance that would have protected some stained glass windows in churches designated as Cleveland landmarks. The future of the legislation is unclear.

Update: Channel 3 has more details.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial concludes that "Council should give [the agreement] a fair hearing. "

At a press conference today, local and state officials urged Ohio leaders to reverse the decision to cancel the planned regional psychiatric hospital in Cleveland.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information. County Executive FitzGerald issued a press release.

Baldwin-Wallace College shared a preliminary campus master plan with the Berea Planning Commission. The school may reveal its full 10-year plan in April.

In his first State of the State address, Governor Kasich mentioned the decision to abandon plans for a regional psychiatric hospital in Cleveland. Local politicians and mental health advocates continue to object, and a strongly-worded Plain Dealer editorial criticized the move.

The $30 million renovation of the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland is about halfway finished. Work is scheduled to be completed in August.

On Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program, Ohio Department of Mental Health Director Tracy Plouck defended her decision to abandon plans for a new psychiatric hospital on Euclid Avenue and to close the facility near MetroHealth Medical Center.

Developer Andrew Brickman would like to demolish an Edgewater Drive estate in Lakewood and build the Townhomes of Edgewater on the 2.6-acre site. The new development would consist of 14 detached 1,800 to 2,000-square-foot townhouses. Lakewood officials are also considering a proposal to raze the former St. Paul Lutheran Church on Detroit Avenue to make way for a new 14,000-square-foot CVS store.

As University Hospitals opens its new $298 million Ahuja Medical Center in the Chagrin Highlands, the Plain Dealer looked at the hospital's evidence-based design features, usage of new technologies, and its attention to wellness and green building. The 53-acre campus features 144 patient rooms, and has space for two additional towers that could bring the total to 600 rooms. Steven Litt contrasted the hospital's advanced design and construction techniques with its automobile-oriented location in suburban Beachwood.

Cleveland Area History reports that the congregation of the Euclid Avenue Church of God in Cleveland "has been offered an unspecified sum by the Cleveland Clinic in return for demolishing the structure, a Cleveland Landmark, and providing the Clinic with a vacant lot."

The Ohio Department of Mental Health announced that it is dropping its plans to build a new psychiatric hospital on Euclid Avenue and that it will close its facility adjacent to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The department says that it will save $30 million by instead expanding its Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare campus in Sagamore Hills Township. The City of Cleveland has spent more than $4.1 million on land assembly and environmental cleanup for the planned hospital in Midtown.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal provided more details.

The Euclid City Schools are building four new elementary schools. Work on the $65 million project is scheduled to begin in April. When construction is finished next year, the existing buildings will be demolished.

The City of Cleveland plans to build a skatepark on the Columbus Road Peninsula in the Flats, adjacent to the new Rivergate Park. Construction of the $550,000 project could begin this summer. The new facility will replace the North Coast Harbor skatepark, closed last year because of safety concerns. A Plain Dealer editorial says it "makes sense, on a lot of levels, as a way to make the riverfront -- and downtown living -- more inviting."

Cool Cleveland looked at how Cleveland State University is refashioning its campus to make it more attractive to students.

Update: Channel 19 also reported on CSU's plans.

Representatives from the City of Cleveland, the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation, and Cleveland Public Art shared the latest plans for the redesign of Ohio City's Market Square Park. The $1.5 million project at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue is scheduled to be completed by this fall.

Update: an OCNW video describes the project.

On Tuesday, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new building in University Circle. The museum at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road is scheduled to open in fall 2012.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial extols the construction in University Circle.

The Fairview Park Planning and Design Commission recommended rezoning the former Garnett Elementary School property for a proposed skilled nursing and assisted living complex. City Council may place the rezoning on the May ballot.

Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee approved the latest plans for the Medical Mart. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the designs need more refinement.

Update: committee members want more information about the Mall designs before approving that portion of the plans.

Update 2: the Cleveland City Planning Commission also approved the Medical Mart and convention center plans, but not the plans for the Mall.

On Wednesday, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority approved plans to expand rail service at the Port of Cleveland. The work should be completed this year (PDF).

Local, state, and MMPI officials participated in today's ceremonial groundbreaking for the Medical Mart and convention center in downtown Cleveland. They announced the Medical Mart's first 57 tenants and 31 conferences, conventions, and trade shows. The lists include many local companies. Construction at the site started on January 3, and the facilities are scheduled to open in fall 2013. Positively Cleveland posted video and photographs of the event, and MMPI has a live construction webcam.

Update: Cleveland Magazine and the Plain Dealer scrutinized the list of tenants, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that the groundbreaking was "a milestone to celebrate."

Fairview Park residents may vote in May on a proposed rezoning of the Garnett School site on Lorain Road. The City is acquiring the 4.77-acre property from the School District, and an unidentified developer wants to build a skilled nursing and assisted living facility on the property.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County closed on the sale of the City's convention center, and the County will begin construction of the new convention center and Medical Mart next month. City officials are examining their options for Public Auditorium, which will be separated from the convention center.

Update: construction began on January 3, 2011.

At its final meeting of the year (PDF), the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority agreed to accept a loan for a proposed rail project, approved three financing agreements, and discussed the future of the port. Board member John Carney will vacate his seat when his term expires at the end of the year.

Hospice of Western Reserve is completing the deconstruction of the former St. Joseph Christian Life Center in Cleveland. They hope to finish by the end of the month.

Cleveland State University's trustees voted to proceed with plans for the Middough Building at Playhouse Square. The university's theater and visual arts departments will occupy several floors in the building, which the Playhouse Square Foundation will purchase from Middough. The company will remain in the building.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland on January 14. Construction is scheduled to begin on January 3.

In an article about the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland, Bloomberg looked at the project's background, status, and outlook. Medical Mart officials issued a statement in response.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $1.95 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant to the City of Cleveland. The funds will be used to demolish three buildings at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. The hospital plans to begin building a surgery center on the site in 2013.

Cuyahoga County the City of Cleveland finalized their agreement for the construction of the Medical Mart and new convention center in downtown Cleveland. Among other provisions, it calls for the County to pay the City $20 million for the existing convention center, describes the separation and renovation of Public Auditorium, and sets minimum standards for the designs of Malls B and C.

Over the course of five days last week, the Westlake City Schools razed the historic Red Brick school building. The district had planned to demolish it earlier, but was delayed by asbestos abatement.

Update: West Life has details and videos.

Middleburg Heights leaders are considering a proposal to rezone the former C. A. Thomas School property from single-family residential to governmental. The City has offered to purchase the 10-acre site from the Berea City School District.

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard broke ground for a new 24,500-square-foot building at North Coast Harbor in Cleveland. When completed in fall 2012, it will replace several smaller World War II-era buildings.

While the future of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's building program is in question, the school board voted to proceed with construction of three new elementary school buildings and to demolish 13 closed elementary schools.

On Thursday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a series of agreements for the planned Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. They include purchase agreements for the properties, a construction agreement, and a lease with MMPI. Steven Litt said that the project has "switched from imagination to reality" and that "the real impact of the project won't be evident until several years after its completion in 2013."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the actions.

Hillcrest Hospital opened its new Jane and Lee Seidman Tower on Wednesday, marking the completion of the hospital's $163 million expansion and renovation project. The new facility adds 72 beds and 180,000 square feet to the hospital in Mayfield Heights.

Medical Mart Executive Director Dennis Madden and Public Relations Director Dave Johnson discussed the project on WDOK's Cleveland Connection show.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is installing three waste-to-energy incinerators at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights. They are expected to go online in 2013.

Update: a waste-to-energy forum will be held on December 1 in Akron. Registration is free.

The $298 million Ahuja Medical Center at the Chagrin Highlands in Beachwood is scheduled to open early next year. The 144-bed facility is the first new hospital complex built in Cuyahoga County in 30 years.

St. John Medical Center officials announced a five-year strategic plan for the Westlake campus. The plan calls for investing $100 million in a modernization and expansion of the 29-year-old facility.

Monday's Plain Dealer looked at how the Playhouse Square Foundation uses its real estate holdings to support its performing arts mission. The nonprofit owns about 1 million square feet of real estate, and manages other buildings across the region. Managers plan to add the former Woolworth store at 1317 Euclid and the Middough Building to their portfolio.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that "such promising ventures carry the sweet smell of success for downtown Cleveland and the foundation."

Update 2: the Plain Dealer's Tony Brown described the plans for the Middough Building.

Cuyahoga County officials now expect to break ground in early January for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland. The County Commissioners had hoped to begin construction in late October.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt reviewed the two newest buildings at Cleveland State University, the Student Center and Julka Hall (the College of Education and Human Services building). He said that "both are well-designed; both make strong connections between their interiors and the surrounding city; both are flooded with daylight; and both do a lot to improve the appearance of Euclid Avenue."

LMN Architects released the latest design concept for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. The renderings show a concrete and glass building at the corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue. Members of the Cleveland Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission were generally positive about the designs, and granted them conceptual approval. LMN and landscape architects Gustafston Guthrie Nichol continue to prepare designs for Malls B and C, and want to create a space that can be enjoyed in all seasons.

RTA will celebrate the grand opening of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center on October 19. The facility at the corner of East 21st Street and Prospect Avenue is RTA's first downtown Cleveland bus hub.

Update: Channel 5 and Channel 3 reported from the event, and WTAM has pictures of the new facility.

Members of a local group report that they have reached an agreement with the Cleveland Catholic Diocese to purchase the former St. George's Lithuanian Church in Cleveland "to create a local-food centric business development district centered around an 18,000 sq.ft. greenhouse." The effort is modeled on Will Allen's Growing Power project in Milwaukee.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve the revised plans for the new convention center in downtown Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI officials altered the layout and size of the planned Medical Mart and convention center in downtown Cleveland. The changes increased estimated construction costs by $40 million to $465 million. MMPI will pay $8.5 million of the added expense, with the County covering the remainder from a previously-undisclosed $50 million contingency fund. Commissioner Jones said, "We have to spend this additional money so we have a top-quality facility," and a Plain Dealer editorial said the "bump up in projected costs should not become an excuse to derail or abandon the project." The planned late-October groundbreaking remains unchanged.

Update: Jeff Appelbaum's presentation to the Commissioners (PDF) is available online.

Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative completed its move to the Cowell and Hubbard Building at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. A private grand opening reception was held yesterday.

Update: The Record-Courier has more details. Kent State posted video highlights of the event.

As University Hospitals nears the completion of its Vision 2010 plan, the Plain Dealer examined the $1.2 billion expansion project. Its two largest components, the $298 million Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood and the $250 million cancer hospital in University Circle will open next year.

Cuyahoga Community College's new Center for Creative Arts in Cleveland is the first of the college's seven building projects currently underway. The work includes new campuses in Westlake and Brunswick, both scheduled to open in January.

Cleveland State University's new Student Center is complete, and the university will celebrate its grand opening on Wednesday. The 138,000-square-foot building on Euclid Avenue was designed by the late Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.

Update: Channel 8 looked at the changes to CSU's campus.

Among the building projects in the Westlake Schools Master Facilities Plan are new schools, expansions, renovations, and the clearing of five acres of forested land. Neighbors are concerned about the loss of greenspace.

Plans for redeveloping Westlake's historic Red Brick school as an arts center fell through. The Westlake City School District plans to demolish the building, and may raze it as early as next month.

NASA's Glenn Research Center will break ground for its new Centralized Office Building on Friday. The LEED silver building is the centerpiece of the campus master plan. NASA Chief Technologist Robert Braun said that Glenn's future is bright.

Update: the News Sun and West Life have additional information.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed its environmental investigation of the site of the former Nike missile base on the Tri-C West campus in Parma Heights. The proposed plan recommends (PDF) no further action at the location. A public meeting was held on Tuesday, and the public comment period is open until September 4.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission today approved preliminary plans for the new downtown Cleveland convention center under Malls B and C. Members have not voted on plans for the adjoining Medical Mart.

In response to a lawsuit filed by a group of residents, the Village of Hunting Valley may create an institutional zoning classification. It would be applied to Case's Squire Valleevue Farm and the University School campus.

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun provides additional reactions.

In the latest vision for the new Cleveland convention center, Mall B would become a grassy slope above the convention space. The plans developed by LMN Architects call for a gradual slope, starting at St. Clair Avenue and culminating in a 27-foot-high viewing platform at Lakeside Avenue. Cuyahoga County's Jeff Appelbaum said (PDF) that the project is on schedule and on budget, and Steven Litt said that the concept shows great promise. Cleveland's Design Review Committee approved the designs, but the Cleveland City Planning Commission postponed its scheduled vote.

The Cleveland Clinic broke ground for its 135,000 square-foot medical testing laboratory at Carnegie Avenue and East 105th Street in Cleveland. Construction of the $75 million building should be completed by the end of 2011.

The planned October groundbreaking for the Medical Mart and convention center in Cleveland may be pushed back to December. Developer MMPI missed two deadlines in June.

Update: a citizens group wants the County Commissioners to postpone the groundbreaking in order to further study the project.

Last Thursday, MOCA unveiled Farshid Moussavi's designs for the museum's planned University Circle building, and on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved them. The abstract building's six facets will be clad in black stainless steel and glass. MOCA hopes to break ground by late fall on the $26 million project at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "the new building will allow MOCA to burst out of its shell."

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland hired Kauser Razvi to develop plans for the proposed Cleveland International Welcome Center in downtown Cleveland.

The board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland unanimously voted to proceed with construction of a new building in University Circle. A December groundbreaking is planned, and architect Farshid Moussavi's designs for the museum will be unveiled on Thursday. The Gund Foundation recently contributed $2.5 million in grants and loans to the project.

The current issues of the Cleveland Stater includes a series of articles about the evolution of CSU's campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. University President Ronald Berkman also discussed his vision for the campus.

Euclid Beach Park Now and the Euclid Beach Park Carousel Society announced plans to partner with the Western Reserve Historical Society to rebuild the Euclid Beach Park Carousel on the grounds of the Historical Society. They launched a $6 million fundraising campaign and hope to have the restored carousel running in University Circle by 2013.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the effort.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority today voted to hire a team of four consultants (PDF) to "review a wide array of pressing issues and questions that will help define the port's future." The board also decided to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look beyond the proposed East 55th Street site for a new confined disposal facility.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library's board of trustees unanimously voted to adopt the system's facilities master plan.

The Lakewood Planning Commission approved a Historic Preservation Designation for St. James Church. The designation covers its exterior and interior, and it is the first time the City has protected a building's interior. St. James Parish will hold its final Mass on June 26.

The Baldwin-Wallace College South Campus Historic District (PDF) in Berea was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Update: the News Sun has more details.

LMN Architects' latest designs for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland call for a glassy four-story building at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street. It will be connected to the planned new L-shaped convention center.

The Los Angeles Times looked at how the Cleveland Catholic Diocese's parish consolidations and church closures are impacting Northeast Ohio's ethnic communities.

Case Western Reserve University will build a field house adjacent to its Village at 115 complex. The 24,000-square-foot Wyant Field House will feature weight training and cardiovascular areas, a lounge, and multipurpose space.

Cleveland City Council is expected to approve the sale of the convention center under Malls B and C to Cuyahoga County for the Medical Mart project.

Update: City Council approved the agreement. The vote was unanimous.

The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown examined the planned renovations and additions to the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. The Cleveland Play House and Cleveland State University plan to convert the former movie palace to eight smaller theaters with work beginning in September and finishing in fall 2011.

Update: Tony Brown addressed several concerns about the plans.

A reopening ceremony was held on Saturday morning for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square, marking the completion of a two-year, $2 million restoration of its interior. The project included re-colorization, restoration of the sculptures and stained glass, new lighting and HVAC systems, and improved handicapped access. The gardens around the monument were also restored. Admission is free, and it is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Cleveland Clinic broke ground today on a community health center at Huron Hospital in East Cleveland. The three-story, 50,000-square-foot Huron Community Health Center is scheduled to open in late 2011.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called it "welcome interest in a community that hears too little good news."

The Maltz Family Foundation donated $50,000 to the effort to establish an international welcome center in Cleveland. It's the first foundation support for the initiative.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial cheered the announcement.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation that includes a permanent 100% property tax abatement for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. The Ohio Senate has not voted on the proposal.

Cleveland State University selected Polaris Real Estate Equities of Cleveland to develop the first phase of its North Campus Neighborhood. The 6.8-acre residential and retail project will include 275 to 300 market-rate apartments along the north side of Chester Avenue, between East 21st and East 24th streets. They may open in summer 2012.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the announcement is "very good news not only for the school, but for anyone who cares about the future of downtown Cleveland."

The Cuyahoga County Public Library's Facilities Master Plan provides "background data to support future decisions about capital improvements within the system." Branch libraries may be consolidated, expanded, repaired, or replaced. The plan is open to public comment through June 16.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the sale of the Cleveland convention center to Cuyahoga County and the conceptual designs for the new convention center. City Council still must vote on the agreement. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "city and county officials need to keep momentum going" on the Medical Mart and other major downtown projects.

Cuyahoga County reached an agreement to purchase the Sportsman restaurant in Cleveland, the last property needed for the Medical Mart and convention center project. The County and MMPI also announced the selection of Turner Construction Co. as construction manager and URS Corp. as the architect of record. Preliminary renderings by LMN Architects show that views of Lake Erie will be preserved. Project Manager Jeff Appelbaum presented a progress update (PDF) to the County Commissioners.

The landmark Prince Hall Masonic Temple on East 55th Street in Cleveland was heavily damaged in a Wednesday night fire. The cause is under investigation, but arson is suspected. Crews are preparing to demolish the building.

Update: the fire was ruled arson.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation interviewed architect Paul Westlake about the restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Cleveland.

Update: the National Trust also described the monument and the restoration process.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners tentatively approved a purchase agreement for the Cleveland Convention Center. As part of the Medical Mart project, they agreed to pay the City of Cleveland $20 million for the building below Malls B and C and to pay for severing the facility from Public Auditorium. The City will retain ownership of Public Auditorium. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey analyzed the agreement.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District announced plans to demolish 25 closed or closing school buildings. The list includes South and East high schools as well as seven buildings that are Cleveland landmarks or have pending landmark applications.

Update: Cleveland Area History looked at each of the schools slated for demolition. A Plain Dealer editorial said that it "smells like a tactic to evade an Ohio law requiring districts that sell vacant schools to let charter schools bid first."

The Cleveland Clinic hired Foster + Partners of London to conduct a 20-year master plan for the Clinic's main campus in Cleveland. The Clinic is also developing plans for two new buildings at its Cleveland campus.

The Veale Foundation donated $20 million to Case Western Reserve University for a new student center. The Tinkham Veale University Center will be built at the corner of East Boulevard and Bellflower Road.

The Cleveland Clinic's Solon Family Health Center is one of 14 buildings across the country competing in the U.S. EPA's National Building Competition. The participants will work to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, and the winner will be the one with the greatest reduction in wasted energy.

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

Cuyahoga County and MMPI hired Seattle landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland. They also named 10 local companies to the design team, plus Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks. The firms join LMN Architects, the conceptual architects.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese will sell more than 50 closed churches, and placed 17 of them on the market. The properties in Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Summit counties have a total asking price of $11.8 million.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's new headquarters building is under construction at East 80th Street and Kinsman Avenue in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle. The offices are scheduled to open in summer 2011.

The State of Ohio approved $30 million in stimulus bonds for the Medical Mart and convention center project in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County will use the bonds to reduce its borrowing costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland will ask Westlake Reed Leskosky to produce final construction drawings for its planned University Circle building. The board will vote again on June 15, and may then reveal Farshid Moussavi's concept for the museum. A November groundbreaking is possible.

In a letter to Governor Strickland, a top administrator with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that his office will be forced to stop dredging the Port of Cleveland and Cuyahoga River in five years unless a new confined disposal facility is built. Also available is the final report (PDF) from the dredging summit held in February. The Cleveland Dredge Task Force will hold its next meeting on May 5.

Update: Save Our Shore posted a copy of the letter.

The landmark Euclid Avenue Congregational Church in Cleveland was destroyed by an early Tuesday morning fire. The cause is not known, but a lightning strike is suspected. The blaze left the sandstone walls standing, but fire inspectors deemed them too unstable and the remains are being demolished.

Update: Cleveland Area History asks if it would have been possible to preserve part of the church. A few elements were saved.

Update 2: Lightning was confirmed as the cause of the fire.

The Temple–Tifereth Israel and Case Western Reserve University announced that the congregation's historic University Circle synagogue will be renovated as the Milton and Tamar Maltz Center for Performing Arts. It will be the home of the University's performing arts programs, while continuing to serve as a place of worship on holidays and other occasions. The Maltz Family Foundation donated $12 million for the $25.6 million project.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a win-win -- and then some."

In January, the Cleveland Clinic demolished the former Hathaway Brown School building on Chester Avenue without a public hearing. Because the Clinic's campus lies in a gap between design review districts, less public oversight is required. Historic preservationists would like to expand the districts to include the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Play House properties, among other sites. Bill Barrow believes that the local approach to preservation "is too unplanned, piecemeal and last-minute to be effective."

Now that they have reached purchase agreements for most of the properties for the planned Medical Mart, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners are expected to reject proposals for relocating the county offices. The new county government will decide whether or not to leave the County Administration Building on Lakeside Avenue.

The City of Cleveland hired Panzica Construction to build the new Collinwood Community Recreation Center. The conversion of the former Big Lots store near Euclid Beach State Park is scheduled to begin this spring.

While other Great Lakes ports received millions of dollars in federal stimulus grants, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority did not receive funding. The Port Authority applied for a TIGER grant, but was not one of the selected projects. It was the only application that the Port submitted. The Port Authority also dropped its plans to fill a slip and build a warehouse. Interim President Peter Raskind said, "The bottom line is we do not believe it's a good use of public money."

Cuyahoga County and MMPI selected LMN Architects of Seattle to develop conceptual designs for the planned Medical Mart and new convention center in Cleveland. The company will create schematic and design development drawings, but will not be the project's architect of record. LMN will also oversee the construction manager to ensure quality and avoid cost overruns. Concurrently, a citizens group raised questions about the project's financing.

Shaker Heights officials and John Carroll University administrators reached an agreement that establishes rules for off-campus student housing at Fairmount Circle over the next three years. The City had been considering zoning restrictions on the number of student-occupied units.

Update: a Sun Press editorial says that the agreement is good for both sides.

On Friday and Saturday, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland held MOCAmentum, an invitation-only Appreciative Inquiry summit. The museum has raised most of the funds needed for its planned new University Circle building, and may unveil Farshid Moussavi's architectural plans in late March.

Huron Hospital plans to build a $20–30 million expansion of its East Cleveland campus. The hospital will formally announce the expansion along Euclid Avenue later this year.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial called the expansion a "statement of Huron's continued commitment to the community it has served since 1874 -- and as a vote of confidence in East Cleveland's future."

The restoration of Cleveland's Playhouse Square began 40 years ago today when Ray Shepardson first visited the State Theatre.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a $15.2 million option for the purchase of the 113 St. Clair office building and Justice Center Parking Garage. Negotiations are ongoing for the purchase of the Sportsman deli, which would be the last property acquisition for the planned Medical Mart. The Commissioners also announced that they will use the County's entire $64.1 million Recovery Zone Facility Bond allocation for the project.

The Medical Mart and convention center project in Cleveland will include severing Public Auditorium from the complex. The City of Cleveland will invest $5 million in upgrades to Public Auditorium, and Cuyahoga County will demolish a 1964 addition, restore its west face, and remove the ramp on the east side of the Mall. MMPI is still targeting an October groundbreaking.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission recommended designating six additional Catholic churches as Cleveland landmarks. Four of the six are slated to close as part of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese's consolidation program. Diocesan officials are not pleased.

The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland and Cleveland State University continue to pursue plans to create an immigrant welcome center in downtown Cleveland.

Steven Litt critiqued the design of the new Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center building (PDF) on Euclid Avenue in University Circle. He said that the "four-story building is a strong urban presence" and that "Bostwick designed the building as a contributor to an evolving neighborhood, not a stand-alone star."

Plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland have shifted back to the original site, away from the proposal to build at Mall C. The latest plans call for building the medical products showcase at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street, on the site of the privately-owned Justice Center Parking Garage, Sportsman deli, and 113 St. Clair office building, as well as the county-owned Chicago Title Building and Administration Building Annex. The County will not purchase Public Auditorium from the City, but a portion of the $20 million from the convention center purchase will be used for upgrades of Public Auditorium. Steven Litt said that the Mall is at risk of becoming an afterthought, and that it should be "rebuilt according to the highest possible standards."

In addition, the County reached a construction administration agreement with developer MMPI. The agreement provides new protections for taxpayers and sets rules for construction contracting. An October groundbreaking is possible. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey summarized the recent events. In New York City, developers of the competing World Product Centre accelerated their timetable by announcing plans to withdraw from a proposed 60-story skyscraper and lease up to 350,000 square feet of existing space.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a good way to start the year."

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eugene Sanders unveiled the district's transformation plan yesterday. Among other recommendations, it calls for closing 18 schools due to declining enrollment, including East and South high schools. The district will hold a series of community meetings (PDF) this month, and its board is scheduled to vote on the plan on February 23.

Cuyahoga County officials reopened talks with the owners of buildings on the west side of Mall B, and may sign an option to purchase the properties. It would allow MMPI to drop its controversial proposal to build the Medical Mart at Mall C.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officially approved the the master plan for the redevelopment of the current port facilities. The Port Authority posted the presentation (PDF) and agenda (PDF) from the meeting. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Port Authority needs to keep its options open.

Update: William Yankow of the Cleveland Freight Association says that implementing the plan "will leave us with too few acres to expand for port logistics use."

Commissioner Hagan said that the Medical Mart project is proceeding and that he's confident it will open before competing projects in other cities.

The trustees of the Cleveland Museum of Art voted unanimously to proceed with Step C of the museum's building campaign, the second major phase of its $350 million expansion and renovation. The phase will include the construction of the west wing and central atrium.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the planned Medical Mart should proceed, and that "making this work -- in a way that benefits the city, the region and the developer -- needs to be a clear community priority for 2010."

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's real estate and development finance committee approved the port redevelopment plan. The Cleveland City Planning Commission recently approved the same plan, and the full Port Authority board is expected to consider it on Friday.

Update: Virginia Tech's Shrinking Cities weblog says that the market study "reaches many conclusions that the city should be excited to hear."

By a vote of 5-2, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the first two phases of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's plan for the redevelopment of its current downtown location.

Update: Steven Litt supports the Planning Commission's decision.

Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman helped to organize four public meetings about the Medical Mart for early 2010. Roldo Bartimole interpreted them as a political maneuver. Mayor Jackson spoke about the Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines and defended Public Auditorium on Channel 5. Commissioner Jones thinks that Cleveland should reduce its asking price for the property MMPI desires for its revised Medical Mart plans. The Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects opposes the new plans, and Steven Litt considered the aesthetic costs of building on Mall C.

Meanwhile, the developers of the proposed Nashville Medical Trade Center announced the site for the 2 million-square-foot complex, increasing pressure on MMPI to demonstrate progress in Cleveland. Developers of both projects have stressed the importance of being the first to open.

Frank Jackson, displeased with what he views as a lack of communication from MMPI, yesterday sent the company a list of questions (PDF) about the the proposed changes in the design of the Medical Mart. He also said that the City will hire a consultant to independently assess the condition of Public Auditorium. Steven Litt reviewed MMPI's revised plan and is dubious of its merits.

The Cleveland Clinic broke ground today for its new Avon Family Health & Surgery Center near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The 186,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2011. Earlier this month, the Clinic began construction of a location in Twinsburg.

Update: the Morning Journal and Chronicle-Telegram have more details. A Morning Journal editorial says that its construction will be good for Avon.

Details about the upheaval at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority continue to trickle in:

On the most recent Feagler & Friends program, architect Peter van Dijk, Levin College Dean Ned Hill, and the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt discussed the changing plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the project should move forward. The paper also posted MMPI's photographs of Public Auditorium's obsolete utilities.

Update: the Plain Dealer shared more details of MMPI's presentation on the issues with Public Auditorium.

Members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board revealed today that they are reconsidering plans to relocate to new facilities north of East 55th Street and efforts to attract container shipping. They also indicated that the Port Authority faces a budget shortfall this year and reflected on recent events. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Port Authority that failure to establish a new confined disposal facility by 2015 could halt dredging of the Cuyahoga River and the Port of Cleveland.

The owners of the Quay 55 apartments asserted that board member John Carney has conflicts of interest and called for his removal. Longtime port staffer Rose Ann DeLeon resigned on Wednesday, becoming the third official to leave in the last six weeks.

Steven Litt has questions about MMPI's revised concept for the Medical Mart in Cleveland, and participants on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program raised more questions. Cleveland City Council members demanded answers from MMPI representatives at a meeting yesterday. MMPI officials gave their reasons for rejecting Public Auditorium and presented alternate configurations they considered before concluding that Mall C would be the best site. Scene remained unimpressed, as was Roldo Bartimole.

While 20 companies are interested in leasing space at the Medical Mart, none of them have signed agreements. If negotiations bog down, Cuyahoga County leaders could suspend monthly payments to MMPI.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority again declined to share the reasons for CEO Adam Wasserman's recent exit, and the Plain Dealer repeated its call for better communication and transparency from the Port Authority. An article in this week's Scene tells the story of Wasserman's two-year tenure.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority board today delayed the port's planned move to a new dike near East 55th Street. The Port Authority also admitted that it cannot meet the deadline to supply the $158 million local match for the construction of the dike.

MMPI's announcement that they now intend to build the Medical Mart at the northern edge of Mall C surprised Cleveland leaders, and they are concerned about the proposed changes. Steven Litt considered the architectural and urban design implications of the new site and how Public Auditorium would fit in. Commissioner Hagan defended MMPI, while Mayor Jackson still wants the company to renovate Public Auditorium.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the recent events underscore the need for better communication. MedCity News compared the project's timetable with those of competing developments in Nashville and New York City.

The Cleveland Clinic held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 5 for the $96 million Twinsburg Family Health & Surgery Center. The 190,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2011.

Citing higher than anticipated costs, MMPI dropped its plans to renovate Public Auditorium and to use it and neighboring properties as the site of the planned Medical Mart. MMPI officials say they are considering multiple alternatives, but are focusing on building it on Mall C, also known as Strawbridge Plaza.

Update: the changes could also delay the project.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority recently posted two planning documents about the proposed redevelopment of the existing downtown port faculties. The Master Planning & Development for Cleveland's Downtown Lakefront (PDF, 46.6 MB) draft was led by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, and the Cleveland Waterfront Market Demand and Development Options (PDF, 4.2 MB) report was led by the PA Consulting Group.

Brent Larkin thinks that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority needs to provide better leadership and accelerate the timetable of its planned move. Cleveland leaders expressed mixed reactions.

The Great Lakes Science Center will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony this evening to celebrate the completion of the walkway between the Science Center and the Steamship William G. Mather Museum.

Update: WTAM has pictures of the new connector.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer praised City Architecture's design for the planned new Collinwood Community Recreation Center. The $10.8 million conversion of a former Big Lots store will strive for a LEED Gold rating.

The Cleveland Clinic completed the purchase of the Cleveland Play House property on Euclid Avenue, buying the 11.29-acre site for $13 million. The Clinic will lease the complex back to the Play House for free until at least the end of 2011. The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland will leave the facilities when the Play House completes its move to Playhouse Square.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more details.

Sunday's Plain Dealer included several opinion pieces on the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's proposed relocation. Former Cleveland Planning Director Hunter Morrison said that the planning efforts "should look beyond the corporate limits of Cleveland and include all of the region's industrial port assets—including the ports of Lorain, Grand River, Ashtabula and Conneaut". Adam Wasserman and Steven Williams of the Port Authority said that the facts support the planned move, and released a draft of the Port's five-year maritime business plan (PDF). Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and mayoral candidate Bill Patmon also weighed in.

John Carroll University's desire to create more green space for athletic fields by demolishing six houses remains a contentious issue in University Heights. City Council's University Affairs Committee is exploring alternatives.

This week's Scene took a skeptical look at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's relocation plans.

On November 5, the Cleveland Clinic will break ground for the first building at its new Twinsburg medical campus. Construction of the $71 million outpatient surgery and medical office building is scheduled to finish in fall 2011.

As anticipated, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended building a new 157-acre confined disposal facility north of East 55th Street in Cleveland. The $277 million project would provide capacity for 20 years of dredge material from the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Harbor.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority approved modifications of the current downtown port facilities. The $10.3 million project includes filling in a slip, building a warehouse and a road, and purchasing a mobile crane. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Port Authority officials must operate with more transparency.

MMPI is working behind the scenes on the engineering, design, and marketing of the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland. Construction is scheduled to begin late next year.

A $16 million gift from the Mandel family will fund the move of the Jewish Community Federation from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood.

Work on the renovated plaza at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building is nearly complete. The $15 million downtown project includes 27,000 new plants and trees and public art by Pae White.

Hospice of the Western Reserve recently purchased the 12-acre St. Joseph Christian Life Center property from the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. The hospice intends to eventually demolish the site's landmark four-story retreat house.

The first phase of the Cleveland Institute of Art's Campus Unification Project, the renovation of its McCullough Center, began earlier this year and will continue through fall 2010. The planned expansion is scheduled to begin in January 2011.

The City of Brecksville is ready to enter into an agreement with the developers who will be managing the redevelopment of the Brecksville VA hospital campus.

The Jane and Lee Seidman Tower was topped out on Wednesday. The new 72-bed patient tower is part of the $163 million expansion of Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the dormitories under construction at Cleveland State University may enable it to "shed for good its cold commuter-school image and remake itself as an attractive, lively campus."

Cuyahoga County received six proposals for relocating its offices. The potential move is a fallback plan, in the event that negotiations for the preferred site for the Medical Mart fall through.

Shaker Heights and John Carroll University leaders are working to resolve their differences about student housing in university-owned apartments.

Work is scheduled to begin this week on new Cleveland State University dormitories at Euclid Avenue and East 24th Street. The first phase (PDF) consists of three four-story buildings with room for 380 students, plus a 300-space parking garage. They should be completed by fall 2010. The $65 million project will eventually include five residence halls.

On Thursday, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO Adam Wasserman and architect Stanton Eckstut described the downtown Cleveland port redevelopment plan at the City Club (MP3, 55.8 MB). On Friday, they presented the plan to the Cleveland City Planning Commission, where members had many questions about the concept. Adam Wasserman and the Port's Luke Frazier outlined the plan on Channel 3. Also on Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave its tentative approval to the Port's relocation plan, issuing a 241-page draft of its Cleveland Harbor Dredged Material Management Plan & Environmental Impact Statement (PDF, 8.4 MB). A Plain Dealer editorial says that the relocation and redevelopment plans need "a good deal more attention to detail". The Port Authority is preparing My Cleveland Waterfront, a website about the plans.

Update: Port Authority Chairman Steven Williams disputed several items in a Plain Dealer story.

Notre Dame College in South Euclid opened its new South Hall last week. The four-story residence hall will accommodate 208 students. In January, the College opened its new North Hall. They are the first new dormitories at the campus since 1968.

An editorial in the Sun Press says that "the City of Shaker Heights is treading on dangerous ground" with its decision to restrict the expansion of student housing near John Carroll University.

The Jewish Community Federation building on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland could house an international welcome center. The Federation is moving its headquarters to Beachwood.

The Brecksville Planning Commission approved plans for an 80-bed skilled nursing facility on the Pilgrim Inn property. In November, voters passed a zoning overlay for the site.

The City of Shaker Heights and John Carroll University were unable to reach an agreement about the increasing amount of student housing at Fairmount Circle, and Shaker Heights City Council passed an ordinance that limits the expansion of student housing.

The retention of the Innerbelt ramp at Carnegie Avenue may be tied to the future of the nearby Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court building, which the County will vacate when its new Juvenile Justice Center in Fairfax is completed. It is not listed in the National Register of Historic Places, but was determined to be eligible for inclusion.

Chris Warren, Cleveland's Chief of Regional Development, responded to Tom Bier's op-ed from a week earlier. Warren said that "the city of Cleveland has not walked away from its long-standing efforts to promote economic development in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood."

Cleveland State's Tom Bier disapproves of the plans to build a psychiatric hospital and subsidized housing along Euclid Avenue in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood. Dr. Bier, Bill Denihan, and Chris Warren were guests on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN, where they discussed the issues.

The Cleveland Stater explored the new Student Center under construction at CSU's downtown campus. It's scheduled to open in May 2010.

Cleveland State University is demolishing the landmark Corlett Building on Euclid Avenue. Its site will be used for parking, greenspace, and possibly for a farmers market. An arts center has also been proposed for the site. Urban Ohio has a picture of the demolition.

(via Cleveland Design City)

Plain Dealer theater critic Tony Brown said that the Cleveland Play House's plan to move from Fairfax to Playhouse Square "looks like the best deal under the circumstances."

The Cleveland Clinic will purchase the 295,000-square foot Cleveland Play House and its 12-acre property at Euclid Avenue and at East 85th Street. The price was not disclosed, but the Plain Dealer reports it will be in the $13–15 million range. The agreement includes a two-year leaseback clause (PDF) that will allow the Play House time to arrange its planned move to the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square.

With two other local Hungarian Catholic churches scheduled to close by next summer, parishioners at St. Elizabeth of Hungary hope that the area's Hungarian American community will show a renewed interest in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood.

Cuyahoga County officials say that negotiations for the purchase of the office building at 113 St. Clair have stalled. The County wants the downtown property for the planned Medical Mart. If an agreement isn't reached next month, the County will instead utilize the site of its current administration building at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street. The County recently began a formal search for new office space.

Monday's Plain Dealer included updates on the redevelopment of the former St. Luke's Medical Center campus in Buckeye and the plans to restore a portion of Doan Brook in Cleveland.

Construction of an office building and parking garage to accompany the new Veterans Affairs Medical Center in University Circle may begin later this month, if the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority issues bonds to help fund the project.

Update: the Port Authority approved up to $115 million in bonds for the project.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health selected a site along Euclid Avenue between East 55th and East 63rd streets for the new $84 million regional psychiatric hospital. It will replace aging facilities at the MetroHealth campus on Cleveland's west side and in Sagamore Hills Township. The 14-acre site was previously targeted for redevelopment as the Midtown Technology Center. Meanwhile, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded affordable housing tax credits to six projects in Cuyahoga County, including two controversial planned developments in Midtown. Emerald Alliance V, a permanent supportive housing development, received $1 million. A neighboring planned senior housing development received $915,122.

Toby Cosgrove, Tim Hagan, and Chris Kennedy talked about the Medical Mart at the City Club yesterday. MMPI President Chris Kennedy said that the four- or five-story structure will be built at the northeast corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue. He also said that the renovation of Public Auditorium will begin late this year and finish next year. Audio of the forum is available (MP3, 50.9 MB) from the City Club.

Westlake's Planning Commission and City Council approved the development plan for the first phase of Cuyahoga Community College's planned Westshore campus at Bradley and Clemens roads. The College plans a fall groundbreaking, with the first of three buildings scheduled to open in January 2011.

Mark Falanga of MMPI said that the company has cleared most of the challenges to building the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland, and that it soon will begin marketing the project to medical suppliers.

Local stakeholders differ in their visions for the future of the Euclid Avenue corridor in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood. MidTown Cleveland Inc.'s master plan calls for redeveloping the area as a technology and health district, yet current development proposals are more heavily institutional and residential. The City of Cleveland is promoting the proposed Midtown Technology Center site as a location for a new state psychiatric hospital. MidTown Cleveland is not opposing the hospital concept, but objects to the Cleveland Housing Networks plans to build permanent supportive housing and Pirhl's proposed senior housing project. Carole Cohen considers the flexibility of master plans.

Inside Business explored the potential and reservations surrounding the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland, describing it as "a significant risk on a promising concept."

The City of Cleveland quietly initiated repairs of the historic Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island. Workers have begun replacing its deteriorated roof. At the same time, a group of Coast Guard veterans is bringing a retired Coast Guard cutter to Cleveland. They hope to restore it as a maritime museum at the station.

Update: the Apalachee arrived in Cleveland on Sunday.

Cleveland Councilwoman Dona Brady introduced legislation that would designate Saints Philip and James church and school as a Cleveland Landmark. It is one of the churches being closed by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

Cuyahoga County officials opened negotiations for the purchase of three buildings that occupy a portion of the site of the planned Medical Mart. The buildings at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street are the Justice Center Parking Garage, the Sportsman deli, and 113 St. Clair, an office building. If they are unable to reach an agreement, the County will vacate its nearby Administration Building for the project.

Officials with the Cleveland Play House and the Cleveland Clinic confirmed that they are negotiating a sale of the Play House property at East 85th Street. The Plain Dealer reported that the price will be around $13 million to $15 million.

Update: Tony Brown and Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer discussed the anticipated sale.

A proposed 1.5 million-square foot medical trade center in Nashville could provide competition for the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland. Dallas-based Market Center Management Co. has not yet identified a site for the project. Market Center Management and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. executives both say that opening a facility first is critical. A similar development also has been proposed for New York City.

Sisters of Charity Health System hope to embark on a $75 million upgrade of the St. Vincent Charity Hospital campus in Cleveland. They are also interested in developing a neighborhood plan with Quadrangle neighbors Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College.

Hemingway Development purchased the St. Jude Parish property in Warrensville Heights from the Diocese of Cleveland for $2 million. They plan to redevelop it as Hemingway at Richmond, an office park with a retail component.

The Ohio EPA approved the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans to build a medical campus on an 88-acre site in Twinsburg. The property includes high-quality wetlands, which will be protected (PDF) by a 37-acre conservation easement. Construction of the hospital has been delayed by the poor economy, and the Clinic has not set a start date.

The plans to build the Medical Mart along downtown Cleveland's Mall B may include the site currently occupied by the Cuyahoga County Administration Building. If the property is not included in the initial plans, it could be part of a subsequent development. However, County leaders estimate that a decision will not be made until 2012 at the earliest.

The Westlake Historical Society is seeking financial assistance from the City of Westlake for a restoration and expansion of the historic Weston House.

On Monday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners and Mayor Jackson of Cleveland signed a letter of intent for the transfer of Public Auditorium and the existing convention center. The County agreed to purchase the downtown facilities from the City for $20 million, $2.5 million more than the Commissioners offered last week. They suggested that the additional dollars should be used to improve downtown's Perk Park. The agreement must be formally approved by the County Commissioners and Cleveland City Council. WTAM posted audio of the press conference, and Erick Trickey of Cleveland Magazine provided some analysis plus an interview of Commissioner Hagan.

Update: the County Commissioners unanimously approved the agreement.

Bishop Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese amended the plans to consolidate parishes and close churches. Two west side Cleveland churches that had been slated to close will remain open: St. Colman on West 65th Street and St. Ignatius of Antioch on Lorain Avenue. Meanwhile, the Ohio & Erie Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America will continue its tours of historic Cleveland churches with tours of St. James Cathedral and St. Ignatius of Antioch on May 9.

The Finance Committee of Cleveland City Council approved $211,000 in redevelopment funding for the purchase of the Variety Theater on Lorain Avenue. The Friends of the Variety Theater organization has already secured the remainder of the building's $1 million asking price.

Planning Commissioners Journal Editor Wayne Senville recently made three stops in Northeast Ohio as part of his trip across the country. He visited and wrote about how the public library in Hudson has become a community hub, the flexibility and diversity of Shaker Heights, and the strategies identified in the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative. Map of the Week also reposted several images from the Re-Imagining Cleveland guidelines.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners issued a Friday deadline for reaching an agreement with the City of Cleveland on the purchase price for the existing convention center, which would be used in the development of the planned Medical Mart. The Commissioners "will consider other sites" if they cannot reach a deal. The City and County are about $7.5 million apart in their offers.

While the Cleveland Catholic Diocese is closing churches in urban areas, ground was broken for a new Catholic church in exurban Grafton. Parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Peace have been raising funds for the construction of the new $3 million facility.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners today unanimously voted to adopt a development agreement with developer Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the construction and operation of the planned new convention center and Medical Mart. A series of four additional agreements will eventually replace the development agreement, and could take a year to finalize. The next step will be to decide on a location for the new facilities. The Commissioners posted the final development agreement (PDF), and WTAM has audio from the meeting.

Several aspects of Cuyahoga County's convention center and Medical Mart plans have recently appeared in the news:

The Euclid City Schools will not convert Euclid Square Mall into a school building, but leaders are considering other options for building large middle and elementary schools.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners yesterday released a draft of the development agreement (PDF) between Cuyahoga County and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the construction and operation of the planned Medical Mart and new convention center. MMPI is expected to sign the agreement shortly, and the Commissioners may approve the document next week. The 62-page document expands upon last year's tentative agreement.

The Commissioners also released detailed construction requirements (PDFs) that were prepared by consultants Conventional Wisdom Corp. In addition, they hired law firm Bricker & Eckler to help negotiate property acquisitions for the new facilities.

In this week's Scene, Michael Gill considers the future of the churches that the Cleveland Catholic Diocese will close in 2010. Because the church buildings will lose their property tax exemptions once they are no longer used by the Diocese, the Diocese may demolish the churches to reduce its tax obligations.

Update: the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt also examined the challenges of preserving historic church buildings. The Ohio & Erie Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America will lead a tour of St. Colman and St. Stephen (PDF) churches on April 18.

The Cleveland Play House has entered into talks to join Cleveland State University's drama program in a move to the Allen Theater (PDF) at Playhouse Square. Reconfiguring and expanding the Allen Theater would cost an estimated $30 million, and the Play House's longtime home in Midtown is for sale. The Cleveland Clinic is believed to be interested in the 12-acre site, which abuts its main campus. Steven Litt notes that the future of the existing Play House complex is now uncertain. The complex includes two historic 1926 theaters and a notable 1983 postmodern addition designed by Philip Johnson, and is not protected by any landmark ordinances.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial enthusiastically supports the concept.

The Cleveland Clinic will soon raze the Art Deco Carnegie Medical Building at Carnegie Avenue and East 105th Street in Cleveland. The Clinic has no immediate plans to build on the site, which will be used as a surface parking lot.

The Cauldron has more information about planned construction across Cleveland State University's campus, including the North Campus Neighborhood Project.

In an editorial published on Sunday, the Plain Dealer expressed its desire for more information about Cuyahoga County's development agreement with Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the planned Medical Mart and convention center. Yesterday, the paper announced that it had reached a deal with the Cuyahoga County Commissioners. The County will release the tentative agreement at least one week prior to finalizing the document.

Neighbors of John Carroll University remain concerned about the school's plans to grow, and recently presented their own vision to University Heights City Council. Meanwhile, Shaker Heights neighbors of the University want more information about the plans. University officials say that they are keeping Shaker Heights informed.

The restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square is continuing. The work is scheduled to be completed this fall.

A topping out ceremony was held on Thursday for the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, under construction on 53 acres in the Beachwood portion of the Chagrin Highlands. The facility is part of the hospital's Vision 2010 strategic plan.

Forest City Enterprises executives advanced a two-pronged strategy for the Medical Mart and convention center, presenting refined plans for a new riverfront facility at Tower City Center, while challenging the suitability of the Mall site. Simultaneously, the Plain Dealer began questioning Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.'s projections for the number of conventions the Medical Mart will attract and its financial benefits to the area. MMPI responded to the newspaper (PDF), Forest City (PDF), and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners (PDF). The company endorsed the Mall site and rejected the Tower City site, saying that a number of concerns made the location a "non-starter". Today, Cuyahoga County and MMPI reached an agreement in principle for the financing of the convention center and Medical Mart. A final site selection is expected in a few weeks.

Update: Forest City is not giving up. The company stated its position in letters to MMPI and the County Commissioners and launched a special website.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese released the full list of parishes that will close or merge over the next 15 months. In the eight-county Diocese, 29 churches will close and 41 others will merge to form 18 new parishes. In Cuyahoga County, 38 churches will close or merge. Most are in the City of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer mapped the downsizing plans, while WKSU and WCPN looked at the adaptive reuse of former church buildings. WCPN also devoted Monday's Sound of Ideas program to a discussion of the Diocese's plans.

Cleveland State University envisions redeveloping about 25 acres at the northern part of its downtown campus. The North Campus Neighborhood Project would add approximately 800 beds, a baseball stadium, parking structures, and a small amount of commercial development. The University issued an RFP (PDF) yesterday.

The Cleveland Institute of Art will break ground in May on the expansion of its McCullough Center on Euclid Avenue. It will be the first project underway in the Uptown development in University Circle. When construction is completed in 2010, the Institute will consolidate its campus and sell or lease its East Boulevard location.

MOCA was scheduled to unveil the designs for its new University Circle building this month and enter the public phase of its fundraising campaign, but delayed the announcement because of the recession. The museum has raised about half of its target.

Now that an engineering study has verified that the foundation of the Cleveland Convention Center is strong enough to support the proposed new convention center, Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland have begun discussing the purchase of the existing facilities. County leaders want the City to donate the site for the project, but Mayor Jackson feels that the City should be compensated. Officials said that a deal will be reached this month.

Meanwhile, Forest City Enterprises executives were in Chicago yesterday to promote their revised proposal for the Tower City site. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. representatives were not convinced that Forest City's construction estimates were accurate. Positively Cleveland's Dennis Roche encourages leaders to pick a site and build the Medical Mart.

Citing the need to be fiscally responsible, the Cleveland Clinic announced that it will delay the start of construction of planned new medical centers in Twinsburg and Avon. CEO Toby Cosgrove said that the Clinic remains committed to the facilities.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

As predicted, Osborn Engineering today told the Cuyahoga County Commissioners that the foundation of the existing Cleveland Convention Center is sound and that it would be feasible to reuse it for a new facility. The presentation is available online (PPT). On Monday, Cleveland City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling the Mall site the "most advantageous" location for the Medical Mart and new convention center. Meanwhile, Steven Litt examined Forest City Enterprises' revised proposal for a convention center at Tower City, and is concerned that the site may be too small. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Forest City concept deserves to be considered.

Update: Osborn's Convention Center Foundation System Study (PDF, 13.3 MB) is also available.

Some members of Cleveland City Council are pursing landmark designations for churches that the Cleveland Catholic Diocese intends to close as part of its restructuring. The designation would disrupt the Church's plans to remove stained glass windows and other architectural details from the buildings.

Update: City Council may expand its landmark law to cover the interiors of historic buildings. City Council will also consider legislation intended to slow down the potential destruction of closed churches.

Forest City Enterprises yesterday presented simplified plans for building the Medical Mart and convention center at Tower City. Forest City estimates its plans will cost $398 million, $27 million less than than the current estimates for construction at the Mall site. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials said the plans were unworkable, but the two companies will meet on March 10. Steven Litt described the process as "a tug-of-war like the early 20th-century battle over whether to put the city's main train station at the Mall or Tower City."

The Cleveland Clinic plans to build a national reference laboratory on an unidentified site at its main campus in Cleveland. Construction on the 100,000-square-foot, $25 million lab is expected to begin by midyear.

Update: WKSU and MedCity News have more information.

Reactions to last week's presentation about plans for the Medical Mart and convention center were varied:

Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials yesterday presented their planning studies for the Medical Mart and new convention center, first to Cleveland City Council and later at a public meeting attended by over 300 people. The presentations answered many of Steven Litt's questions about the proposal, but left other questions unanswered. Forest City Enterprises used the public meeting to urge officials to reconsider the eliminated Tower City site. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey liveblogged the proceedings and provided other insights.

The Plain Dealer examined the unusual ownership arrangement described in the memorandum of understanding (PDF) between Cuyahoga County and MMPI, and County Administrator Jim McCafferty differed with the paper's portrayal (PDF) of the agreement.

University Heights City Council's Committee on University Affairs is considering the proposed footprint (PDF) offered by John Carroll University. The committee will hold its next meeting on March 5.

At the public meeting on Thursday, Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials are expected to explain that the Mall site is the only option for the planned Medical Mart and convention center. Cuyahoga County Administrator James McCafferty issued a statement (PDF) saying that the Flats site is not a backup, and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority issued a statement saying that Port land in the Flats is unavailable for the development.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. said that they would consider the Flats east bank site as a fallback if building the planned convention center and Medical Mart at the Mall is impractical. The Plain Dealer answered questions about the project.

Update: WCPN and WKSU offer more information about next week's public hearing.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners hired Osborn Engineering to analyze whether the Cleveland Convention Center's foundation can be reused. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. representatives say that they will present their research and proposals on February 12.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer repeats its appeal for openness in the planning process for the Medical Mart and convention center.

Steven Litt considers the available information about the plans to build the new convention center and Medical Mart at Mall B. He identifies the advantages of the site as well as some concerns about the proposal.

When the Cuyahoga County Commissioners made the preliminary selection of the Mall site for the planned Medical Mart and new convention center last week, the estimated costs were a major factor. Developer Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. calculated that construction costs at the Mall could be substantially reduced by reusing the foundation of the existing Cleveland Convention Center. Cuyahoga County may hire Osborn Engineering to evaluate the concept.

Reactions to the announcement were varied. Frank Jackson supported the proposal, but took a cautious approach. The Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association endorsed Mayor Jackson's approach (PDF). On the other hand, Forest City Enterprises and the Greater Cleveland Partnership called for further public review of the decision, and a Plain Dealer editorial asked for increased transparency. Meeting planners simply want a new convention center. Participants in the selection process discussed the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas earlier this week.

Following hours of private meetings yesterday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners announced that the new convention center and Medical Mart will be built at the Mall in downtown Cleveland. The facility will be built on the site of the existing convention center and three other buildings, and will incorporate a renovated Public Auditorium into its design. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. estimated that the project will cost $425 million. Construction could begin by the end of the year.

The Mall location was selected over the Tower City site and a site in the Flats. MMPI estimated that construction behind Tower City would cost an additional $108 million, contradicting an earlier study by the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Developer Scott Wolstein offered a last-minute proposal to build the facility north of a scaled-back version of his stalled Flats east bank project. He continues to advocate for the Flats site.

At a committee work session in University Heights, John Carroll University officials shared a map that shows the University's envisioned footprint in five years. Neighbors of the University say that it's a step in the right direction. The University's expansion plans have been a source of friction with nearby residents, which can be seen in the disagreements over a recent request by the University to demolish six houses for a new athletic field and campus greenspace.

Meeting planner Bruce Harris told the Plain Dealer that he thinks the Tower City site is the best location for the planned new convention center and Medical Mart. The Plain Dealer also published editorials about the siting decision on Saturday and on Tuesday. Roldo Bartimole objects to the way the newspaper is handling the subject.

Frank Jackson traveled to Chicago on Tuesday for a meeting with Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials about plans for the new convention center and Medical Mart. The meeting alleviated the mayor's concerns about the project, and he declared that he was impressed by MMPI's thoroughness. Scene Editor Frank Lewis, on the other hand, remains unimpressed.

MMPI continues to evaluate the Tower City and Mall sites, and company executives are scheduled to share their analysis with Cuyahoga County leaders next week. Commissioner Jones discussed the project's status on Channel 3 yesterday.

The Village at 115 residence hall complex at Case Western Reserve University was awarded a LEED Silver rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Kent State University's Urban Design Collaborative will become the first tenant in the Cleveland District of Design in July when it moves from its current home in the Pointe At Gateway to the Cowell & Hubbard Building at Playhouse Square.

Mark Falanga of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. said that the company will not be rushed into a decision on the location of the planned Medical Mart. He added that the company is "getting close" to completing its evaluation. Meanwhile, Vornado Realty Trust, MMPI's parent company, is seeking federal bailout funds.

The poor economy is impacting area hospitals in different ways. It has not halted expansions by University Hospitals, Hillcrest Hospital, and the Lake Hospital System, but it has delayed construction by the Summa Heath System. The Cleveland Clinic plans to build health centers in Avon and Twinsburg, though it has not set time frames for construction.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners extended their self-imposed January 15 site selection deadline for the planned Medical Mart and convention center by one month. Mayor Jackson was not pleased about the delay, but still supports the project.

Update: the Plain Dealer examined Frank Jackson's role in the Medical Mart negotiations, and in an editorial, urged the County Commissioners to make a decision.

Forest City executives complain about the lack of communication regarding negotiations for the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County officials still intend to select a site by January 15.

The University Circle Design Review Committee approved the Cleveland Institute of Art's revised plans for an expansion of its McCullough Center. The previous design included banners covering the entire west facade, while the updated renderings show an unobscured northwest corner of the building.

The City of Cleveland allocated $175,000 in CDBG funds for the purchase of the landmark Variety Theater on Lorain Avenue. The Friends of the Historic Variety Theater are raising funds for its restoration, and hope to install a new marquee in the spring.

Steven Litt urges Cleveland Institute of Art leaders to drop plans for covering the majority of its planned expansion with large banners, calling it a "strangely comical" idea.

Cuyahoga County hired Conventional Wisdom of Orlando to assist in the design of the convention center portion of the Medical Mart project. The County hopes to name a site for the development by January 15.

The University Circle Design Review Committee tabled the plans for an expansion of the Cleveland Institute of Art, saying that the ideas needed refinement. Winy Maas of MVRDV is collaborating with the Pittsburgh office of Burt Hill on the design.

Cleveland Clinic representatives presented plans for the first phase of a family health center to the Avon Planning Commission on Wednesday. The Clinic wants to build a 120,000-square-foot health facility and a 61,000-square-foot surgery center, plus a 900-space parking lot.

The Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission approved $1 million to the Great Lakes Science Center for the walkway that will connect the museum and the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. Construction of the 400-foot walkway will cost an estimated $3.4 million.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted plans for the first phase of a new heath center in Avon on 40 acres near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The plans show an 181,000-square foot facility with medical offices and an outpatient surgical center.

The Veterans Administration announced plans to build an outpatient health clinic on the site of the Brookpark Golf Driving Range on Brookpark Road in Parma. Construction of the $7 million, 67,000-square foot building is expected to begin in the spring and end in mid-2010. The Brecksville outpatient clinic will be closed.

The planned Medical Mart in Cleveland faces potential competition from World Product Centre, a proposed $1 billion New York City skyscraper targeted at the healthcare industry. The project was first announced last year, and late last month, developers unveiled designs for a 60-story, 1.5 million square foot tower designed by Kohn Pederson Fox. They hope to open the tower in 2013.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland's political and civic leaders must select a site for the Medical Mart.

Summa Health System is continuing with its plans to build a hospital in northern Summit County's Route 8 corridor, despite opposition from Akron General. Industry analysts say that Summa's strategy is to compete with the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals systems.

Regional groups of parishes in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese submitted plans for consolidating churches to the Vibrant Parish Life Committee. The greatest reduction in parishes will be in the City of Cleveland, where recommendations call for closing up to 26 of the 61 parishes. Bishop Lennon will make the final decision on closings next March.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is continuing to develop plans for a renovation and expansion. Architect Curt Fentress recently shared his latest ideas and floor plans. The museum hopes to obtain a LEED Platinum rating and remain open during construction.

Ohio EPA officials are not satisfied with the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a Twinsburg medical campus, and suggested further modifications. The Clinic submitted a second revision on Friday.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

The credit crunch threatens to further slow the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's construction program. In addition, the Ohio School Facilities Commission has suggested enlarging an existing school instead of building a proposed west side reliever high school.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square will be closed for the next eight to nine months while its interior undergoes restoration.

Plain Dealer critics Steven Litt and Tony Brown compared notes about the renovated Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.

By a vote of 4-3, Westlake City Council approved a rezoning for a proposed 32-bed Hospice of the Western Reserve facility on Crocker Road.

Cleveland State University held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Student Center. It is scheduled to be completed in 2010, and is being built on the site of the former University Center. The University has a webcam that shows construction progress.

The nationwide credit crunch has the potential to raise the price of the planned Cleveland Medical Mart and convention center by millions of dollars.

While black churches are facing pressure to follow their congregants to the suburbs, many of them remain committed to their Cleveland neighborhoods. The Plain Dealer used a multimedia presentation to illustrate the role of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Fairfax.

Attendance was sparse at the fourth public forum about the planned Medical Mart and convention center in Cleveland.

The Twinsburg Planning Commission approved the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a medical campus on Darrow Road near I-480.

Steven Litt is not impressed by the exterior architecture of the Cleveland Clinic's new Miller Family Pavilion and Glickman Tower, but is more pleased with their interiors and the work of landscape architect Peter Walker. He also writes about the work of Justin Glanville at Building Cleveland by Design.

The Great Lakes Science Center broke ground on a connector that will link the museum to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum.

Hospice of the Western Reserve proposed building a new facility on Crocker Road in Westlake, but City officials asked the agency to consider building on a site near St. John West Shore Hospital.

This week's Scene summarizes the most recent events in the convention center saga and questions decisions in the site selection process.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted revised plans for a new medical complex off of Darrow Road in Twinsburg. The changes are intended to lessen the impacts upon the 86 acre site's wetlands and springs.

Construction of the Hillcrest Hospital expansion in Mayfield Heights is underway. The work is scheduled to be finished in 2010. In Middleburg Heights, plans were announced for a new 21,100 square foot medical office building next to the Big Creek Surgery Center on Bagley Road.

University Hospitals held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for three new buildings at its University Circle campus. Steven Litt feels that the "major buildings in the expansion are shaping up as a missed opportunity to create a powerful, lively and welcoming new face for the hospital along Euclid Avenue".

Great Lakes Theater Festival's renovation of the Hanna Theatre is finished. Tony Brown of the Plain Dealer is amazed that the company has "managed to accomplish this stunning project in the fairly short span of nine months." A grand reopening gala will be held on September 20.

At the request of Cuyahoga County leaders, Merchandise Mart Properties will lead negotiations on the price of the site for the planned new downtown convention center.

Update: Jay Miller of Crain's Cleveland Business provides some insight into the decision.

The Ohio EPA remains concerned about the effects of a proposed Cleveland Clinic facility on wetlands and streams in Twinsburg. The Clinic is seeking permission to fill in some of the property's high-quality wetlands and rare cold-water springs. The two sides are continuing negotiations.

Channel 8 compared the current proposal for building a convention center at Tower City Center to Forest City Enterprises' 2003 proposal, which included the redevelopment of Scranton Peninsula.

The Jewish Community Federation's Building Committee will recommend moving the agency's headquarters from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood, while maintaining an undefined presence in downtown Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial says the the headquarters should remain downtown. The full board is scheduled to vote on the move this afternoon.

Update: the board of trustees voted to move the offices to Beachwood.

As the Cleveland Clinic prepares to open the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion and the Glickman Tower at its Cleveland campus, the Plain Dealer published a set of articles that explore the impacts of the new buildings. They represent the Clinic's largest expansion ever, an addition of more than 1.25 million square feet.

Two residents who live near John Carroll University proposed a study intended to quantify the economic benefits of the neighborhood surrounding the campus.

Leaders of the Jewish Community Federation appear to favor moving its headquarters to Beachwood, despite advocacy for the existing downtown Cleveland location.

Commissioner Jones scheduled two public forums to discuss the Medical Mart and convention center plans. The first will be held on September 2 at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, and the second will be on September 4 at the Middleburg Heights Community Center.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer critiqued the new Lakewood Public Library. He feels that architect Robert A.M. Stern's neoclassical building "is convincing in many ways, and full of passionate conviction. It's also emotionally cool to a fault and strangely anachronistic, as if the building could have been built 60 to 100 years ago." Construction was completed earlier this year, and the library was rededicated in June.

Supporters of a downtown headquarters for the Jewish Community Federation proposed an expansion its downtown offices into a campus as an alternative to the proposal to move the headquarters to Beachwood.

The Avon Planning Commission approved plans for the planned new YMCA and for Heritage Village, a 79,000 square foot shopping center proposed for Detroit Road.

At a public meeting on Wednesday, Ohio EPA staff expressed "significant concerns" about the Cleveland Clinic's plans to build a new medical campus in Twinsburg. The 86 acre site includes 23.5 acres of wetlands, and the Clinic's plans call for filling in a portion of them. The two sides are in negotiations to resolve the EPA's concerns.

Forest City Enterprises executives indicated that they do not intend to drastically drop their $40 million asking price for land at Tower City Center for the planned new convention center. Cuyahoga County leaders deemed the price unacceptable, but hope to reach a compromise.

Cleveland State University broke ground today for its new College of Education and Human Services building on Euclid Avenue. The 97,000 square foot building is scheduled to open in 2010.

Update: WTAM has more details.

The Plain Dealer examined Cuyahoga County's purchase of the site for the new juvenile justice center in Fairfax and the events that led up to it. County Commissioners purchased the site in 2000 from a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises for $2.75 million.

The Plain Dealer breaks down the new projected $536 million price tag for building the Medical Mart and convention center, while Roldo Bartimole says that it will cost closer to $1 billion. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the Greater Cleveland Partnership's selection of the Tower City site, but Steven Litt has several concerns about the plans and process. Meanwhile, Positively Cleveland leaders are unhappy about the proposal to divert the bureau's funding for the construction.

As expected, the Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee yesterday recommended locating the planned new convention center and Medical Mart on a riverfront site at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland. The committee estimated that construction costs at the Tower City site would be $536 million and that the costs at the Mall site would be $583 million. Because the expense would be in excess of the County's $400 million budget, the committee offered suggestions for covering the funding gap. They predicted that the County's sales tax increase will bring in $90 million more than initially projected, and also suggested raising or redirecting the county bed tax. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners hope to make a decision this fall.

A pair of Downtown Dialogues were held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings about "the future of Jewish life downtown" and the "priorities for reaching that vision." The Jewish Community Federation is contemplating a move from its downtown Cleveland headquarters to Beachwood, an option opposed by an ad hoc group of Jewish citizens. Steven Litt also feels that its headquarters should remain downtown.

Channel 3 and Channel 8 both report that the Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee is expected to recommend that Tower City should be the site of the Medical Mart and new convention center.

Update: the Plain Dealer also reported on the rumors.

Case Western Reserve University's West Quad project, now known as the West Campus, has been scaled back to one $50 million building, the Case Innovation Center for Energy and Medicine.

Euclid City Council agreed to allow Providence Baptist Church to indefinitely delay its plans to build 100 homes off of Hillandale Drive. The church still intends to build new facilities on the site.

Preservationist Steve McQuillin shares his thoughts about the restoration and renovation of the Cleveland Museum of Art's 1916 building, and encourages the museum to continue a public dialogue about the remainder of the expansion plans.

With the expectation that construction costs for the Medical Mart and convention center at either the Mall or Tower City sites will exceed $400 million, two Cuyahoga County Commissioners asserted that the budget must either be supplemented by outside sources or a different site should be selected.

In November, Brecksville voters may have the opportunity to vote on a planned development overlay that would permit the construction of the Brecksville Nursing and Rehab Center, an 80 bed skilled nursing facility on the site of the old Pilgrim Inn.

Update: City Council placed the issue on the ballot.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will accelerate plans for a new west side high school. The school is intended to relieve overcrowding at other buildings. A site has not yet been selected.

Forest City Enterprises presented a revised proposal for a new convention center at Tower City Center in an effort to reduce construction expenses. Instead of selling the air rights, the company now wants to sell the property to Cuyahoga County while retaining the right to build above about a third of the structure.

Plain Dealer theater critic Tony Brown provides more photographs of the ongoing renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

Steven Litt approves of the in-progress renovations (PDF) of the Main Classroom at Cleveland State University, saying that "one the ugliest things in Cleveland is now among the most-improved."

Providence Baptist Church is reconsidering its plans to build houses alongside its new church in Euclid, and is seeking City Council's approval to start by building just the church.

Although the development has been delayed, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority still plans to build a new headquarters in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle.

At a Medical Mart forum on Wednesday, Cuyahoga County and MMPI officials urged patience in the site selection process. They still hope to name a site this month, and may seek outside funding sources if construction costs are too high. A Plain Dealer editorial encourages leaders to "assign the Medical Mart a much higher level of disclosure than the normal development deal."

Architect Winy Mass will continue to work on designs for an expansion of the Cleveland Institute of Art. His first proposal for the expansion was dropped because construction costs would have been too high.

If the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland moves its headquarters to the suburbs from downtown Cleveland, Cleveland State University has expressed an interest in using the existing building for offices. It was built in 1965 and designed by noted modernist architect Edward Durell Stone.

Steven Litt considers how outgoing CSU President Michael Schwartz has improved the campus through better master planning. He says that Schwartz's retirement announcement provides an opportunity to "reflect on just how much the city owes him, not just for raising academic standards over the past seven years, but for scrapping the university's old plan and coming up with something far better."

The Kresge Foundation awarded a $1 million challenge grant to Great Lakes Theater Festival for the renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee for the Medical Mart and new convention center again delayed making a recommendation. Chairman Fred Nance said that construction estimates for the Mall and Tower City sites are "are way over budget." The group now intends to make a recommendation to the Cuyahoga County Commissioners by late July.

While the Lakewood City Schools planned to build or renovate seven elementary schools in its school construction program, the Ohio School Facilities Commission will only commit to funds for six, citing projected declines in enrollment. The District will form a task force to determine if residents want to independently fund construction of the seventh school.

The Euclid City Schools expect to receive school construction funds from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, and will either convert Euclid Square Mall into the proposed K-8 Euclid Educational Center or will build new elementary and middle schools. One drawback of the mall site is that it would necessitate busing for nearly all students.

The Cleveland Museum of Art's board of trustees yesterday voted unanimously to proceed with the second and final phase of the Museum's expansion project. The completion date for the $350 million expansion was pushed back one year to 2012.

Mayor O'Grady of North Olmsted pulled back his plans for a new recreation center and an income tax increase. He intends to revisit the proposal in the future.

South Euclid officials say that demolition of the north side of Cedar Center may begin in August. At Cleveland State, exterior demolition of University Center started this morning.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's Medical Mart site selection committee pushed back its plans to make a recommendation by several weeks.

Preliminary testing indicates the presence of some unstable soil at downtown Cleveland's malls, potentially increasing the cost of convention center and Medical Mart construction at the site.

Feedback from the public led North Olmsted leaders to part ways with YMCA for the proposed $18 million recreation center. Mayor O'Grady still hopes to have a tax issue on the November ballot. The dissolution of the partnership means that the income tax would run for 30 years instead of 20-25 years.

Many questions surround the siting of a proposed new psychiatric hospital in Cuyahoga County.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Roosevelt Coates proposed building the facility in Collinwood.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the biggest challenge facing the construction of a new psychiatric hospital in Cuyahoga County "will be making sure local officials don't get bogged down in a long, drawn-out fight over its location. "

Plans for a new convention center and Medical Mart at the Tower City and Mall sites were presented at yesterday's Medical Mart Site Selection Forum. About 100 people attended the meeting, and most who spoke favored the Mall site. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners still intend to select a location in July.

Update: Jeremy Borger shared his thoughts about the forum.

In a letter sent yesterday, six councilpersons from Cleveland's west side asked the Cleveland Municipal School District to build a new west side high school immediately. District officials say that construction may not begin until 2012.

Citing concerns that construction costs may be too high for the new convention center and Medical Mart at the two leading sites (the Mall and Tower City), Commissioner Hagan asked the Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee to consider a fifth potential location at East 55th Street and Chester Avenue in Midtown.

A capital budget bill introduced in the Ohio legislature yesterday includes $83.7 million for a new psychiatric hospital in Cuyahoga County. The new 300 room hospital would replace the Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare facility on West 25th Street. The bill also includes funding for the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion, the Gordon Square Art Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Institute of Art, University Hospitals, and Cleveland State University.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District's revised building program still includes plans for a west side reliever high school and a new John Marshall High School. The plans do not call for any school closings, but leave the future of over 30 schools to be determined later.

A pair of architecture firms have devised plans that call for putting a new convention center under the Mall and building the Medical Mart on its west side. It would replace two buildings and a parking garage, but the Cuyahoga County Administration Building would be retained. Public Auditorium would be repurposed as a ballroom.

An estimate projects that the design for the Cleveland Institute of Art expansion will cost well over the $55 million budgeted for the project. The school's next steps are unclear, but leaders hope to continue working with architect Winy Maas of MVRDV.

The U.S. General Services Administration posted a video about the history and the award-winning renovation of the Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse on Public Square.

About 400 people celebrated the start of renovation of the Capitol Theatre in Cleveland yesterday. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the $7 million project "could be the star of a much needed revival of the down-on-its heels Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood."

Channel 3's Tim White interviewed Christopher Kennedy of MMPI about the company's plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership hired three construction and engineering companies to evaluate the four locations that have been identified as potential sites for a new convention center and Medical Mart. The GCP's site selection committee plans to recommend a location by early June.

The Chicago Tribune looked at how the Medical Mart could pose a challenge to Chicago's McCormick Place and other popular sites for medical conventions.

Cuyahoga Community College intends to establish a Westlake campus at the corner of Bradley and Clemens Roads, and will pay $4.6 million for the vacant 32.9 acre site. Tri-C has requested a rezoning, because the area is currently zoned for industrial development. The State Controlling Board approved the plans last month.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners revealed that they are now considering a fourth potential location for the planned new convention center and Medical Mart. In addition to the Tower City, Mall, and lakefront sites, they are also looking at a mostly-vacant part of the Warehouse District north of Tower City and west of Public Square. It was one of several sites considered for a new convention center in 2003. Bob Stark also included the area in his proposed Warehouse District development. The Commissioners will hold a public hearing about the four sites on May 22.

Leaders in North Olmsted hope to reach a decision by later this month about the proposed recreation master plan and a possible income tax issue.

The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown narrated an audio slideshow about the ongoing renovation of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

John Carroll University officials presented their new campus master plan to University Heights City Council on Monday. The University is interested in expanding its footprint in order to provide additional athletic fields, residence halls, and surface parking.

The Maple Heights City School District is seeking public input on its school reconstruction plans. Residents are invited to sign up for committees on each of the schools.

Case Western Reserve University is pursuing plans to build the Case Innovation Center for Energy and Medicine at its West Quad. The $105 million project includes a 100,000 square foot building that would house three of the University's cutting-edge programs.

North Olmsted residents packed a recent meeting to see a presentation (PDF) about the City's recreation facilities. Residents may be asked to approve an income tax increase to fund a redesign of the recreation center and other improvements.

Euclid officials recently approved the first phase of Providence Baptist Church's plans for a branch church and about 110 houses on 68 acres on the City's southeast side

James Darr, administrator of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Bond Accountability Commission, urges Cleveland residents to attend community forums (PDF) on Thursday about the District's school construction plans.

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church dropped its plans to move from Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood to Twinsburg. The church will instead refurbish its Quincy Avenue campus.

Update: the Twinsburg Sun offers additional details.

The Ohio EPA has selected a preferred plan for cleaning up contaminated soils in the central-west portion of NASA Glenn Research Center in Brook Park. A public meeting will be held on April 14.

Mayfield Heights City Council upheld a Planning Commission decision and rejected Global Country of World Peace's request to build a wellness center and conference center on Lander Road. The organization had previously sought to build a peace palace on the site.

On Monday, Notre Dame College in South Euclid broke ground on a new dormitory. Work on a second new dormitory is scheduled to begin in May.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is almost halfway through its construction project, and the first renovated portions will reopen to the public on June 29. The reopened galleries are on the second floor of the museum's 1916 building. The first floor is scheduled to reopen a year later.

The Cleveland Clinic must revise its plans for a Twinsburg medical campus because of a technical error in the plans.

With the Great Lakes Theater Festival poised to move to the Hanna Theatre when renovations are complete, the Plain Dealer looks back at the history of its current home, the Ohio Theatre.

In a talk at the City Club on Friday, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones spoke about the reopening of bids for the purchase of the County-owned Ameritrust complex and about the recent Medical Mart agreement. He revealed that the Commissioners are considering a third potential location for the Medical Mart and convention center, a lakefront site west of Cleveland Browns Stadium. Download the speech (MP3, 55.3 MB).

Local economic development experts are upbeat about the recent Medical Mart agreement.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the agreement looks promising.

Yesterday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners awarded $40 million in contracts for the construction of the new juvenile justice center at East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. More contracts will be awarded this spring.

A proposal prepared by neighbors of John Carroll University says that when the University purchases houses near its campus, it creates a loss of municipal income tax revenue. Meanwhile, a study done for the University by CSU's Center for Economic Development says that JCU had a $115.8 million economic impact on Greater Cleveland over a recent one-year period.

Mayfield Heights City Council approved the expansion plans for Hillcrest Hospital, but tabled a decision on the proposed peace palace on Lander Road. Construction of the $162 million hospital expansion is scheduled to begin in early May.

A memorandum of understanding between Cuyahoga County and Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. calls for the County to pay MMPI $103 million over 20 years to manage the planned new Cleveland convention center. The company could earn more if it meets performance standards. Cuyahoga County plans to sell the naming rights for the facility, and will retain all proceeds of the sale.

Update: the County Commissioners approved the MOU this morning.

Environmental cleanup of the Cleveland Pneumatic brownfield site in Slavic Village has been completed, and the Ohio EPA issued a covenant not to sue. The property will be redeveloped for light industrial use and as athletic fields for South High School.

Forest City Enterprises proposed housing the Medical Mart in the Higbee Building and connecting it to a new riverfront convention center built on air rights purchased from the company. The Plain Dealer compared the advantages and disadvantages of the riverfront and mall sites.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the public needs more information about last week's Medical Mart agreement. Bill Callahan also has questions.

Cuyahoga County and Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. reached a tentative agreement to develop a Medical Mart in Cleveland. Full details were not revealed, but MMPI will contribute $20 million and operate the Medical Mart and new convention center. The complex should open in about three years.

The Medical Mart and convention center will be located in downtown Cleveland, and the County Commissioners will select a location in a month or two. The existing Convention Center and Tower City Center are considered the front-runners. The Greater Cleveland Partnership will hire a convention center expert to assist with site selection. Steven Litt says that the process should have public input and oversight.

Several area officials declared that plans for a soccer stadium in northern Summit County are dead.

Neighbors of John Carroll University in University Heights and Shaker Heights are concerned about the institution's plans for growth. The University intends to unveil its new master plan in May.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History shared an early conceptual model of its planned expansion. It includes a new glass lobby and a new parking garage. The project will aim for a LEED Platinum rating.

The Cleveland Clinic is free to demolish the Art Deco Carnegie Medical Building at Carnegie Avenue and East 105th Street, now that it has obtained permission from the University Circle Design Review Committee. The Cleveland Planning Commission approved the demolition last month. By 2009, the eight story building will be replaced by a 206 space parking lot.

The deadline set by the Cuyahoga County Commissioners for reaching an agreement with Merchandise Mart Properties regarding the proposed Medical Mart passed earlier this week, but the company requested and received a one week extension. The Commissioners now expect to have an answer by March 13. A pair of Cleveland councilmen, meanwhile, want the Commissioners to rescind last year's sales tax increase.

The Twinsburg Planning Commission gave its final approval to plans for a new Cleveland Clinic facility on Darrow Road.

If the City's negotiations with the Greater Cleveland YMCA and Fairview Hospital are successful, North Olmsted voters will have the opportunity to vote on recreation center plans in November. Construction of a recreation center was a priority identified in the City's 2005 master plan.

The Economist examined how major hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic have become economic drivers, and also looked at their relationships with their surrounding communities.

(via Smart Communities)

The company that proposed building senior housing on the Memphis School site in Old Brooklyn also wants to build cluster homes for seniors along Denison Avenue east of Pearl Road. Both developments are outgrowths of the MetroHealth Senior Health and Wellness Center that opened last year at the former Deaconess Hospital.

The Red Brick Center for the Arts expects to reach an agreement to lease the Old Red Brick Schoolhouse from the Westlake Board of Education by the end of the month. The group plans to raise $3 million prior to starting renovations, and hopes to open the center in summer 2010.

University Center at Cleveland State University will permanently close on March 17, and it will be demolished this spring. The replacement Student Center is scheduled to open on the site in spring 2010.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District will hold community meetings today and tomorrow about the remaining stages of the district's school construction program. The meetings (PDF) tonight will be held at all high schools, and the meeting tomorrow evening will be at prekindergarten-8 schools.

Akron-based Summa Health System and a group of Medina-based doctors yesterday announced plans to build a 75,000 square foot outpatient medical complex on Route 18 in Medina and Montville Township. The plans follow the local trend of medical facility construction in exurban areas.

The historic Barton Road Church, moved to the Frostville Museum in 2005, will be rededicated on August 3 as the Frostville Church. The restored church will serve as a museum and wedding chapel.

In addition to running the proposed Medical Mart in Cleveland, Merchandise Mart, Inc. wants to operate the proposed new convention center. The existing Convention Center is managed by the City of Cleveland.

50 housing units for low-income seniors might be developed on the site of the former Memphis School in Old Brooklyn. If approved by Cleveland City Council, the NRP Group could begin construction by 2009.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese has the former St. Joseph Christian Life Center on Lake Shore Boulevard listed for sale at $2.75 million. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission has proposed designating the 1927 building and its 11½ acre lakefront site as a historic landmark.

The Cleveland Clinic would like to demolish the Art Deco Carnegie Medical Building (the former home of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine) at Carnegie Avenue and East 105th Street and use the site as a parking lot and for possible future development. The University Circle Design Review Committee (PDF) tabled the request, citing incomplete information about the Clinic's proposal.

Mayor Welo of South Euclid is optimistic about the future of the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council, and hopes to obtain federal or state funding for the proposed regional recreation center.

Construction of a planned new Berea Municipal Court building was postponed for two years, due to increased construction costs and a municipal budget shortfall.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt remains unimpressed with the designs for a new cancer center at the University Hospitals campus in University Circle, saying it "shows only marginal improvement since the hospital unveiled its disappointing initial concept in the spring."

Maple Heights City Council expressed an interest in using Rockside Elementary School as a city hall or senior center, if voters approve the school construction bond issue.

The Great Lakes Theater Festival has raised 75% of the $19.2 million it needs for planned renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square. Architecture firm Westlake Reed Leskosky will unveil its designs for the Theatre today.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the fundraising drive and proposed renovations "deserve a standing ovation from Northeast Ohio theatergoers."

Summa Health System and Western Reserve Hospital Partners have proposed building a new hospital at an undetermined location in northern Summit County's Route 8 corridor. The construction would join a planned Cleveland Clinic facility and a new University Hospitals facility in Twinsburg.

The Gemini Center, Fairview Park's new recreation center, will officially open this weekend. Celebrations will be held on Saturday, and the facility will open to members on Sunday. Its construction was part of the Gemini Project.

Steven Litt revisited his critique of the new Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations building at Case Western Reserve University, and had a change of heart. He now feels that the "Mandel building shows how you can have solid, contemporary architecture and a strong, neighborhood-sensitive design that fits well in its setting."

The Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center plans to build a new home at Euclid Avenue and East 117th Street in University Circle. Steven Litt feels that the Bostwick Design Partnership's preliminary designs for the four-story building are good, but could be better.

Officials with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority say that their proposed facility north of East 55th Street in Cleveland will allow the Port to accommodate containerized shipping.

Designers are planning a 3,500 seat baseball stadium in Avon, part of a recreation complex funded by an income tax that voters approved last month. Mayor Smith says that negotiations with the Frontier League are nearly finished and a team should begin play in 2009.

The Wolstein Sports and Entertainment Group is still interested in building a soccer stadium in Macedonia, which may be possible without a Summit County sin tax. The company is also looking at sites in other counties.

South Euclid's Notre Dame College is adding new buildings. Construction of a new residence hall will start in February or March, and President Andrew Roth envisions additional construction.

Last month, John Carroll University held three neighborhood meetings about the campus master plan at the homes of nearby residents. University officials expect the plan to be finalized in spring 2008.

Dennis Roche and Tamera Brown of Positively Cleveland were guests on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN, where they discussed Cleveland's planned new convention center and Medical Mart.

Yesterday, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's maritime committee unanimously recommended moving the Port's facilities to a new 200 acre site north of East 55th Street in Cleveland. The Port's Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss the proposal on December 21.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted plans for the Cleveland Clinic Twinsburg Medical Campus, which will be reviewed by the Twinsburg Planning Commission on December 17. Plans for the first phase show a four story, 144,000 square foot building on 38 acres. Construction is expected to begin in 2008 and end in 2009.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners intend to sell the 106 acre MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing Care site in Highland Hills to Cuyahoga Community College. The Commissioners had hired a real estate broker to market the property after rejecting a $11 million offer from Tri-C last year.

The Plain Dealer reports that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority narrowed its list of potential relocation sites to two: a man-made island north of Whiskey Island and a man-made site north of East 55th Street, and they appear to favor the East 55th Street site.

In March, Maple Heights voters will be asked to approve a tax issue to raise $53.5 million for the proposed school construction project, which calls for replacing the high school, the middle school, and three elementary school buildings. A pair of public meetings will be held this week.

Positively Cleveland published Characteristics of a Successful Convention Center (PDF), a compilation of "the most current information on the elements of successful centers." It includes suggestions about hotel space, siting, size and expandability, and green building.

University Heights officials say that John Carroll University's decision to rent houses it owns solely to students is not consistent with the properties' current residential zoning.

WKYC's Tom Beres interviewed attorney Fred Nance about his negotiations with Merchandise Mart Properties on the planned Cleveland Medical Mart. Nance is Cuyahoga County's chief negotiator in the talks.

The Maple Heights City Schools asked the state for $55.6 million for a school construction project. The funds require a match from the district. If approved, it will be the largest construction project ever in Maple Heights.

While voters in Berea and Brook Park approved the creation of the Tri-City Joint Recreation District, some councilmen in the two cities remain vocally opposed to a tax to support the Tri-City Senior Center.

The South Euclid-Lyndhurst Board of Education decided to not join the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council "at this time", instead choosing to concentrate on passing an operating levy in March.

Recent and planned medical center construction by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals has been exclusively in suburban and exurban communities, and not in the region's core cities. The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, continues to reshape its main campus in Cleveland. Steven Litt notes that "it's far too soon to judge how good a job the Clinic is doing architecturally," but "it is a good time to start gathering impressions and to hear about the Clinic's design goals."

Last week, local architects offered advice to Beck Center leaders on how the current facilities could be restored and modernized. Increasing the efficiency of the complex is a priority.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cleveland Institute of Art's planned expansion of the McCullough Center will be "a boon for the college and for the Triangle development nearby."

Steven Litt critiqued the designs for the Center for Creative Arts, which is under construction at Tri-C's Metro Campus. He called it "repressed and dull, hard and utilitarian" and "one of the weaker efforts" he's seen in his 16 years in Cleveland.

Steven Fong, dean of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design will leave his post in December to concentrate on opportunities at Khoury Levit Fong, his new firm. His plans to move the school's entire graduate program in architecture to Cleveland are now on hold.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the new convention center and the Medical Mart belongs in downtown Cleveland, and not near University Circle.

The Cleveland Institute of Art unveiled the designs for an expansion of the McCullough Center on upper Euclid Avenue in University Circle. Designed by architect Winy Maas of MVRDV, the 80,000 square foot structure is scheduled to open in 2009.

As in 2005, local leaders are focusing their plans for a new convention center on two downtown Cleveland locations, a site near Tower City Center and the existing Convention Center. Officials with Merchandise Mart Properties are interested in exploring University Circle as a site for the convention center and Medical Mart.

Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the Center for Creative Arts building at Cuyahoga County Community College's Metro Campus. The 75,000 square foot building is a joint project of Tri-C and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's scheduled to open in spring 2009.

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek met with Bishop Lennon to discuss the future of the St. Joseph Christian Life Center property.

A Geauga County developer agreed to purchase the 20.6 acre former Windsor Behavioral Hospital property in Chagrin Falls. He plans to build 35 single-family homes on the property.

Up to $40,000 has been made available to conduct an economic development study for the site of the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia. Mayor Kuchta stated that he would prefer the development to remain on hold until the study is completed.

The relocation study being conducted for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority identified a short list of three preferred sites for a possible move of the Port of Cleveland: a site along the west breakwall, a site at the northeast end of Burke Lakefront Airport, and a site site north of the East 55th Street marina. The new facility could be built on land created with Cuyahoga River dredge material.

Members of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society are continuing their efforts to restore the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse on West 3rd Street in the Flats.

Neighbors of the recently closed St. Joseph Christian Life Center in Euclid are concerned about the future of the 12 acre site. They worry that the Catholic Diocese will board up the building and sell the lakefront property to developers.

Work is continuing on Fairview Park's Gemini Project, and with the opening of the new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School, preparations are underway for the demolition of Garnett and Coffinberry schools. Once the buildings are demolished, the properties will be sold for redevelopment.

Orange residents may have the opportunity to vote on a rezoning issue for the proposed Woodland Preserve development in November 2008, instead of the March vote that the developers initially wanted.

(Update: this week's Chagrin Herald Sun has more details.)

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove again asserted that the Clinic intends to build a facility in Avon, regardless of whether the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road is approved.

Developers hope to break ground in November on a building to support the expansion of the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center at University Circle. It will include 150,000 square feet of office space, a 122 bed residence for homeless veterans, and a 2,080 space parking garage.

Cleveland school officials are preparing a revised school construction plan that includes construction changes and a request for voters to approve an extension of the bond issue. They expect to exhaust the existing $1 billion budget by 2012.

This afternoon, University Hospitals broke ground on the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood. The project's first phase, a 144 bed hospital, should be finished in 2010. When completed, the hospital will have 600 beds.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta declared that "the stadium issue is dead." He said a lack of investments from developers of the proposed soccer stadium complex and an environmental impact study performed by the National Park Service changed his mind about the project.

The master planning process for John Carroll University is taking longer than expected. Sasaki Associates is preparing the plan and is currently gathering information. Representatives from the University and Sasaki are scheduled to meet with community leaders next month and plan to hold a community meeting in late November or early December.

Fuchs Mizrachi School will move from University Heights to a 10 acre site on Shaker Boulevard in Beachwood. Beachwood City Council approved preliminary site plans for the new school.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta expects that the proposed soccer stadium complex will not be built in the near future. He also wants to conduct an economic development study for the Route 8 corridor.

(Update: The News-Leader has more details.)

Developers of the proposed Woodland Preserve development in Orange were informed that they "don't have a chance" of putting a rezoning issue on the March ballot. Stelex Equities is expected to present their plans to Village Council on October 3.

Mayor Welo assured South Euclid residents that the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council will not build a proposed recreation center if they are unable to align grant funding.

A U.S. District Court judge stayed the lawsuit by St. Maron's Church against the City of Independence until December 12. City officials have until then to decide if they will authorize the construction of a new church at the Marycrest site on Brookside Road. If the City refuses, then the case will proceed in December.

Michael Gill of the Free Times examined the construction boom in arts and culture facilities across Northeast Ohio, a "wave of construction projects that has washed over the cultural landscape in the last few years."

A $36 million building for the College of Education and Human Services is being designed to fulfill part of the Cleveland State University campus master plan. The facility will open by Spring 2010.

Some Orange leaders are not pleased with how information about the proposed Woodland Preserve development was released, and that Mayor Mulcahy met with the developer for months prior to last month's presentation.

Mayor Welo of South Euclid offered to personally pay the startup fees for the South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District's entry into the Hillcrest Heights Area Recreation Council. This fall, the mayors of Richmond Heights, South Euclid, and University Heights will meet with Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones to discuss funding sources. They hope to build a new recreation center without the use of local tax dollars.

Plans for the Woodland Preserve, the proposed development on the Weintraub property in Orange, include 663 housing units, public space, a medical building, and a small retail center. The area is currently zoned for single-family residential development, and developers hope to get a rezoning issue on the March ballot.

With a new baseball stadium under construction in Washington, D.C., Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher used Jacobs Field as an example of a stadium that did not catalyze development in the area surrounding it.

Steven Litt praises the design of the new Mixon Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music, calling it "one of the most beautiful new music venues in the region." It's scheduled to open in November.

Scott Muscatello provides images of the planned expansion of the Veterans Administration facility in University Circle.

Last week, the Cleveland City Planning Commission and the Design Review Committee approved the demolition of Don Hisaka's 1974 University Center at Cleveland State, and approved Charles Gwathmey's preliminary designs for its replacement.

Summit County leaders want more information about the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia before they decide whether to put a sin tax for the stadium on the ballot.

Steven Litt critiqued the schematic designs for Charles Gwathmey's new student center at Cleveland State University, and said that it should be "a strong, assertive, memorable building open to the city and campus on all sides." Construction of the building slated to replace the existing University Center is scheduled for 2008 to 2010.

The Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board was unable to align funding for their planned new building on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.

The latest program progress update from the Cleveland Municipal School District's Bond Accountability Commission says that the district's school construction project is at least a year behind schedule.

(Update: WKSU provides more information.)

St. Maron's Church is suing the City of Independence, charging that municipality's planning and zoning code discriminates against it. City officials have not granted permission for a new church at the Marycrest site on Brookside Road.

Foreign Office Architects devised a design for the new MOCA building at Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road in University Circle, but MOCA will not unveil the design until they complete a fundraising feasibility study. MOCA Director Jill Snyder said that the four story museum will qualify for a LEED rating.

Developers of the proposed soccer stadium and retail development scaled back the complex to 125 acres in Macedeonia and dropped the proposed annexation of 200 acres of Northfield Township.

Summit County Council decided not to place a sin tax for the proposed soccer stadium on the November ballot. Officials felt that the timing was wrong because there are two other countywide levies on the November ballot. The sin tax may appear on the March ballot. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that it was a wise decision.

Projected declines in enrollment in the Cleveland schools will force cutbacks to the district's school construction project. When the program started in 2002, enrollment was at 72,500. Today enrollment stands at 55,000, and projections anticipate an enrollment of 41,000 by 2015. The number of new or renovated schools will likely be reduced from the original 111 to 77 or 80. Revised plans may be revealed in two to three weeks.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges Cuyahoga County officials to select a site for a new detention center for nonviolent felons in order to obtain state funding, saying that "the county cannot let this opportunity go."

If local officials can agree on a site for a detention center for nonviolent felons and establish advisory boards by January, the State of Ohio will contribute $10.6 million to build the 200 bed facility. Cuyahoga County officials are considering a four acre property at East 34th Street and Croton Avenue in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County is the only metropolitan county in Ohio without a center.

The Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board will vote on Wednesday on whether to proceed with plans to build a new headquarters on Euclid Avenue at East 69th Street.

Officials from Macedonia and Northfield Center Township reached a tentative agreement that calls for Macedonia to annex more than 200 acres along Route 8 south of Highland Road for the proposed soccer stadium complex. On August 6, Summit County Council is expected to vote on placing the proposed sin tax on the November ballot.

(Update: annexation talks are continuing, and Summit County Council has not yet voted on the sin tax proposal.)

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the concept of a $3.3 million walkway linking the Great Lakes Science Center to the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum, but members did not like its design, and were concerned that the connector would restrict public access to the lakefront.

In the second part of their regionalism series, the Sun News group of newspapers published several articles about how Greater Cleveland communities are sharing recreation center facilities. They also provided four interactive maps showing the locations of area recreation centers.

Case Western Reserve University's Village at 115 complex received the 2007 Honor Award for Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component from the Society for College and University Planning.

The Plain Dealer recently explored the 17 year saga of the former Fisher Body complex at Coit Road and East 140th Street in Collinwood. The State of Ohio spent $47 million to purchase, clear, and clean the 49 acre site, and eventually sold it Forest City Enterprises for $630,000. Forest City sold roughly half the site to the U.S. Department of Labor for $2.5 million, and it is being redeveloped as the new Cleveland Job Corps campus, scheduled to open in August. The other half remains undeveloped. A Plain Dealer editorial says that public officials "must oversee development with much more vigilance and diligence."

The expanded main branch of the Lakewood Public Library opened yesterday. The 38,000 square foot expansion was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York.

The Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board is still trying to identify a site for the planned new State Mental Health Hospital. Councilperson Phyllis Cleveland objects to the proposed site on Quincy Road in Cleveland, so the Board is considering alternative sites in Warrensville Heights and East Cleveland.

After being used for search and rescue training, the former Memphis School in Old Brooklyn is being demolished. The City of Cleveland will maintain the 2.4 acre site as greenspace while officials consider plans for its redevelopment.

Berea City Council approved the purchase of the former Serpentini Chevrolet property on Front Street for the construction of a new Berea Municipal Court building. Mayor Biddlecombe expects that construction of the 25,000 square foot building will begin in the fall.

Independence City Council is considering taking the Marycrest site on Brookside Road by eminent domain to prevent St. Maron's Church from moving to the property. The Planning Commission tabled the Church's request for a permit to build, and the Church's attorney says they will sue the City if it isn't granted.

Developer Paul Garofolo presented his plans for the proposed soccer stadium complex to Summit County Council on Monday. In addition to the retractable roof stadium, the plans call for a large retail component, a medical campus, and hotel development. He said the project could bring as much as $12 billion dollars to the county over the next 30 years.

St. Maron's Catholic Church's proposed move from downtown Cleveland to Independence is opposed by neighbors of the Independence site. St. Maron's wants to build a church, a youth activity center, and a social center at the 22 acre former Marycrest site on Brookside Road. Residents are concerned about possible flooding and traffic congestion.

In what may mark the start of a major cutbacks to Cleveland's school construction project, district CEO Eugene Sanders announced that construction plans for three elementary schools have been put on hold.

Berea City Council is discussing legislation to fund the purchase of the former Serpentini Chevrolet property on Front Street and the construction of a new courthouse on the site. They hope to break ground late this year.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese may close about 20% of its parishes, not the 10% initially reported. Up to 48 churches could be closed, with up to 25 of them in Cleveland. The Plain Dealer explored the potential impacts on the Lakewood cluster, and prepared maps showing the cluster boundaries and population change by parish.

In response to demographic shifts, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is reorganizing into parish clusters, and will close or merge more than 10% of its 231 parishes by 2010. The highest number of closures is expected in older central cities and inner-ring suburbs. The parish clusters will submit their recommendations to Bishop Lennon by the end of 2008.

(Update: The Plain Dealer reports that the Diocese will likely close more than 30 churches and some parochial schools.)

The Cleveland Clinic system is embracing green building and other sustainability programs.

Since negotiations were unsuccessful, Westlake City Council voted to again offer $1.9 million to the the Westlake Board of Education for the purchase of 42 undeveloped acres on Bradley Road.

In an action that may end the disputes over the planned expansion of Bradley Bay Health Center, Bay Village and Bradley Bay officials reached an agreement about landscape buffers for the facility.

The Cleveland Museum of Art opened an exhibition that highlights the museum's expansion and renovation plans. Construction remains on schedule for completion in 2011.

(Update: the Akron Beacon Journal presents additional details.)

Euclid City Council unanimously approved a zoning use district exception for the proposed Cathedral Worship Center on Euclid Avenue. In addition to the church, the complex will include a banquet facility and a gym.

The first buildings in the planned University Hospitals Chagrin Highlands medical center in Beachwood could open as early as next year.

(Update: The Sun Press provides more information. It will be named the Ahuja Medical Center to recognize a $30 million gift from Monte Ahuja.)

Cathedral Worship Center, currently in Wickliffe, wants to build a 37,000 square foot facility at the former Sims Buick property on Euclid Avenue in Euclid. The proposal requires City Council approval.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved conceptual designs for the new Cuyahoga County juvenile justice center planned for East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue in Fairfax. The 581,000 square foot facility is now scheduled to open in 2009.

Cleveland Clinic representatives cautioned that their plans to build a medical campus in Twinsburg have not been finalized.

Construction of Fairview Park's Gemini Project is on time and under budget, and both the new Gilles-Sweet school and the new recreation center should be completed this year.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt is not impressed by the designs of three new buildings planned by University Hospitals for their University Circle campus. Conceptual plans for the three buildings were recently approved by the Cleveland City Planning Commission. The new buildings are part of UH's Vision 2010 plan.

A City Council committee in Berea recommended building a new courthouse for the Berea Municipal Court on the site of the former Serpentini Chevrolet lot on Front Street.

The Cleveland Clinic plans to build medical campus on Darrow Road in Twinsburg, starting with a a 75,000 square foot hospital to be completed in 2008 or 2009. University Hospitals is also building a medical center in the City.

(Update: The Plain Dealer has additional details.)

A Plain Dealer editorial supports Cleveland State University's plans for a new arts complex on Euclid Avenue and says that "school officials are going about it the right way."

The City of Strongsville received a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission for the restoration of Old Town Hall on Route 82. Restoration of the historic building is expected to cost in excess of $400,000.

The proposed downtown Cleveland medical mart would require both public and private funding. Estimates place the cost at around $350 million, and Merchandise Mart Properties says it could generate nearly $331 million annually in direct spending. The project remains tied to the proposal for a new convention center.

Cleveland State University unveiled plans for a $50 million arts building on Euclid Avenue next to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Conceptual plans prepared by Westlake Reed Leskosky include an eight story tower and three theaters. Construction could begin as early as 2010, and the University is seeking private donations to fund its construction. Additional renderings of the conceptual plan are available at Cleveland vs. The World.

Lee Chilcote describes the efforts by Cleveland State University leaders to transform the campus by implementing the campus master plan, employing green building techniques, and restoring historic structures. Officials hope that the investments will serve as a catalyst for development in the area, including the Euclid Avenue collegetown plan.

In November, Avon residents will be asked to vote on a proposed 0.25% income tax on people who work in the City. Tax revenues would be used to pay for a proposed minor league baseball stadium and a sports and recreation complex at I-90 and State Route 611. Roughly 90% of Avon residents would not be affected by the tax.

(Update: the Plain Dealer provides more information.)

Great Lakes Resources was the only company to submit a bid to CMHA to develop a shopping center adjacent to the planned CMHA headquarters at East 80th Street and Kinsman Road in Cleveland's Forgotten Triangle. Great Lakes offered to purchase five acres for $825,000 to build a 52,000 square foot center, or to lease 3.25 acres to build a 21,000 square foot center.

Last Tuesday, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school board rejected all bids for the 10.9 acre Millikin site near Severance Town Center. The site was appraised at $2.5 million, but the highest cash offer was $500,000. The district plans to try to get fair market value for the land and return it to productive use. However, a growing number of neighbors are urging the board to preserve what they call "the city's last wilderness area."

Earlier this month, officials at NASA Glenn Research Center submitted a master plan that involves consolidating its central campus, growing its western campus, and increasing visibility and access to its northern campus. NASA leadership is expected to make a decision on the plan by this summer.

The City of Avon is expected to announce that a minor league baseball team will play at a stadium the City plans to build at I-90 and State Route 611. Plans call for the Frontier League team to join a YMCA, water park, ice rink, and soccer and baseball facilities on the 120 acre site. The project's funding package would include a 0.25% wage tax. Officials from the City of Lorain have also been trying to attract a Frontier League team to Campana Park.

Case Western Reserve University is in the planning stages for a new $40 million, 75,000 square foot campus center near Thwing Center and Kelvin Smith Library. A fall 2008 groundbreaking is planned, with completion expected by spring 2011.

Trustees of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History selected Fentress Bradburn Architects of Denver to design the museum's expansion and renovation. The firm will develop a preliminary design by September.

Officials in Mayfield Heights have not been receptive to plans for a "peace palace" on Lander Road, and the Global Country of World Peace is suing the City, saying they were refused setback variances that were granted to neighboring offices.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education received proposals from four parties interested in redeveloping the 10.9 acre Millikin School property near Severance Town Center. Kingsbury Development Corp. hopes to redevelop the building as 16 townhouses, Mosdos Ohr Hatorah school wants to relocate there, New Community Bible Fellowship would like the site for its ministry, and Ken Hadden of Heights Garden Center wants to partner with the District to build housing while training high school students.

Leaders of the City of Westlake and the Westlake City Schools continue to negotiate on the price for 42 acres of undeveloped land on Bradley Road, but have been unable to reach an agreement. City officials plan to hold a public meeting about the land next month.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that Frank Jackson's plan to delay construction of the planned Collinwood Recreation Center and consider new locations looks like old-school politics.

The Plain Dealer offers additional details about Frank Jackson's decision to delay work on the planned Collinwood recreation center until 2010.

Last week, representatives from the Global Country of World Peace unveiled plans for a $7 million "Peace Palace" at the intersection of Huffman and Stumph Roads in Parma. The site is currently zoned for retail.

The Cleveland Institute of Art selected MVRDV to design their new building on upper Euclid Avenue in the University Circle Arts and Retail District. The cutting-edge Dutch architecture firm is known for "designing apartment slabs and towers with colorful and eccentric window patterns, giant rectangular holes cut into their middles, and highly pronounced staircases that zigzag across their facades."

Today's Plain Dealer provides additional details about the new master plan for NASA Glenn Research Center. If approved by NASA, work could begin in 2009 and continue for 20 years.

Support for converting the Red Brick on Dover Center Road in Westlake to the Red Brick Center for the Arts continues to grow. The project will cost an estimated $5 million. An organizational meeting for volunteers will be held on February 24 at 1:30 p.m. in The Belvedere on Detroit Road.

Cuyahoga County communities are preparing to serve their aging populations by planning recreation center expansions to meet their needs.

The school boards in Lakewood and Olmsted Falls approved May ballot measures for bonds to fund new school construction. Lakewood hopes to move ahead with phase two of their school construction project, and Olmsted Falls wants to build a new school for fourth and fifth graders.

NASA unveiled a new master plan for Glenn Research Center. It calls for new office buildings, an auditorium and conference area, a public outreach district, and "a campus center that would function as downtown Glenn." The public outreach area, which will feature a new Aerospace Education Center, will be built on the site of the Center's two buildings in Fairview Park.

On Friday, Hillcrest Hospital announced plans for a $163 million expansion and renovation of its campus at Mayfield and SOM Center Roads in Mayfield Heights. The five year project includes plans for a new 72-bed tower and an enlarged emergency and trauma area.

Plans for the Collinwood Recreation Center suffered a setback when funding for the project did not appear in Mayor Jackson's new capital improvement plan until 2010. The former Big Lots store purchased by the City may or may not be redeveloped as the recreation center, which will be "in either Ward 10 or Ward 11."

Hoping to encourage the City of Westlake and the Westlake City Schools to reach an accord about the future of the athletic fields on Bradley Road, a group of citizens wants the property to be rezoned for recreational use only.

Some people in Northeast Ohio are leery of Maharishi's plans to build Peace Palaces in Brecksville, Mayfield Heights, Parma, and Strongsville because of poor experiences with properties he formerly owned in North Randall and Avon Lake.

Cleveland officials hope to begin construction of the Collinwood Recreation Center in 2007. Detailed design work should start this spring, a contractor may be selected this summer, and construction could start before the year ends.

The Quad Building at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland is being razed. Demolition of the building built between 1914 and 1930 is expected to be completed in April. The 2.86 acre site will be used as landscaped open space.

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