Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 11/09/2007 - 18:40.


Neither the Gund Foundation nor the Cleveland Foundation made a peep to preserve the Breuer, and two of our County Commissioners (with the exception of Mr. Lawson-Jones) are (at best) too ignorant to appreciate the international architectural jewel which Jacobs bought and sold to the County  (The Breuer Tower, like the Coast Guard Station, shows Jacobs has erudite architectural taste?).


But this summer it wasn’t business as usual in Cleveland.  The Greater Cleveland Partnership could pay to fly their plane with the “don’t sign the putitontheballot petition”, but the rest of us weren’t without communication – we have the internet and the blogs.


Though the Dirty Dealer editorial page supported demolishing the Breuer,  from the blogs came  a groundswell of revolt regarding the proposed ignorant demolition plans for the Breuer.  A firestorm of virtual and face to face discussion ensued.   The spotlight was on the Breuer from around the globe. 


Posts on Realneo about the Breuer are constantly hit through Google from around the world. 


And then Susan Miller took it on herself to organize an “appreciative inquiry” (Jackzen) into the Marcel Breuer designed Ameritrust Tower and its nexus with the Bauhaus movement. Ms. Miller’s intensity and organizational skills have produced  three events taking place here in Cleveland, Ohio.  The first is tomorrow, Saturday November 10, 2007, when Anthony Hiti, chair of the historic resources committee of the AIA, Cleveland Chapter will review the history and significance of the Breuer Tower and discuss the challenges of preserving buildings of the recent past.


Now you can attend because you are an architect or designer or historian, but I will  attend because I want to change the government in NEO and in Cuyahoga County.  Marcel Breuer, though dead, in my mind, is a logical vehicle to catalyze this change.   Maybe the FBI thinks so too!


See you there!


It is always a thrill to be taught - having to listen hard and observe intensely as someone like Mr. Hiti fluidly recites what he knows so well.   The atmosphere in the old brick stone-works building next to Lakewood Cemetery was “salon” – 50 of the region's cognoscenti were all there. 


I finally met Laura who I have been virtually communicating with for over a year. 


This engagement would not have taken place if it were not for the internet and blogs. 

Susan Miller, though unable to attend,  must be proud of the results of all her hard work and perspicacity. 


It really was “standing room only!”

60 guests online

  And 60 guests online viewing your comments at 5:30 a.m.  Not bad!

(NOTE: RealNEO is not on daylight savings time--and Jeff--Lakeview Cemetery and Sculpture Center--since, we're all running on coffee these days and we are going to need to edit each other's work)

Get with it

As Steven Litt posted in his architecture blog.

Should be more than entertaining to watch the sparks fly at the next Breuer event and dialogue:

Saturday, November 17, 2007 4:00pm -- The history of why the Bauhaus came to America:

· Bauhaus in America: a film by Judith Pearlman followed by a panel discussion with Cleveland architect, Peter Van Dijk and Associate Professor of Art History at Kent State University, Carol Salus, moderated by Christopher Diehl, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

At the Cleveland Cinematheque general admission $8/members, CIA students, staff $6

· What Would You Do With The Breuer Building (from Ingenuity 2007) will be displayed in the hallway of the CIA Building for those who missed it or would like to view it again -- the show features 27 entries from Australia to Italy with several local architects offering innovative thoughts

At the Cleveland Institute of Art

Design Giant Mort Epstein in the House

Susan, you could not be with us, yesterday, but I think that you would be happy to know that design giant Mort Epstein was in the house. 

I believe Mort Epstein spoke yesterday in defense of the Breuer building, but I could not see from my vantage point.  The fate of Mort Epstein's murals and other great public art projects of the seventies and earlier have been desecrated by this city.  It makes me sick to know that many works of art, by Mort Epstein and other great Cleveland artists like Charles Sallee, have been destroyed.

Perhaps, one of us could make an effort to record Mort Epstein's thoughts on RealNEO? 

Please order this book, which I am ashamed to admit, I can not find in Ohio libraries, but I will make an effort to make sure Cleveland Public Library acquires soon from Loganberry Books:

Mort Epstein: Sixty Nine Years of Design at Ninety – trace the evolution of Epstein’s visual style from the 1940s through the 1980s in hundreds of logos, annual reports, book designs, furniture, wood turnings, and murals for corporate, industrial and not-for-profit organizations.

  From the streamlined designs of the 1940s through the bright colors and bold geometrics of the 1980s, Epstein’s works are an endlessly creative catalogue of the graphic styles of our times.


The exhibit and the full-color book draw from Epstein’s extraordinary library of images from these 69 years of design ranging from graphic, industrial and architectural design to his own fine art, which he continues to pursue today.  Epstein Design – the firm Epstein founded in 1962 and which is celebrating its 45th year as the oldest design firm in Cleveland – designed and produced the book.


In the vein of Viktor Schreckengost, Mort Epstein is a remarkable figure both in the design community and in the history of the city of Cleveland. Raised in New York City, Epstein moved to Cleveland after World War II.

His rich array of projects, clients and involvement in teaching, business and social issues through the decades is an extraordinary first-person vision of Cleveland’s industrial evolution and its civil rights’ struggles in the 1960s and 1970s.


Now that's real marketing savvy! Positively+Cleveland

The BOCC needs to sell five buildings for $35 million. The County’s property tax base is free falling like the stock price at National City Bank and here's what the county does to market this suite of buildings with global cachet.

Weekly for a month since they rejected the bid by K&D (the only one they received), they publish these notices in the PD.

Legal Notices

NOTICE TO BIDDERS Notice is hereby given that sealed proposals will be received by the Board of County Commissioners of Cuyahoga County (the "County") in the Board of County Commissioners Office of Procurement & Diversity, Room 100, County Administration Annex Building, 112 Hamilton Court, Cleveland, Ohio, 44114 until 11:00 AM (local time) Wednesday, April 2, 2008 ("Bid Deadline") for: The purchase of the County's interest in County property known as the former Ameritrust Complex and Related Parking Facilities (the "Property") located in Cleveland, Ohio, consisting of: * The "Ameritrust Rotunda" at Euclid Avenue and E. 9th Street (Permanent Parcel # 101-36-052) * The 29-story Office Building commonly known as the "Ameritrust Tower" at E. 9th Street between Euclid Avenue and Barn Court (Permanent Parcel #s 101-36-014, 101-36-027, and part of 101-36-015) * The 13-story Office Building commonly known as the "1010 Building" at the south side of Euclid Avenue, east of E. 9th Street (A portion of Permanent Parcel # 101-36-015) * Two adjoining Office Buildings on Huron Road and Prospect Avenue commonly known as the "H & P Buildings" at the northeast corner of the intersection of Huron Road, Prospect Avenue and E. 9th Street (Permanent Parcel #s 101-36-025, 101-36-026, and 101-36-024) (limited to 50% ownership in # 101-36-026, with an exclusive leasehold interest in the portion of the building located thereon pursuant to a ground lease) * An 8-story Parking Garage known as the "Ameritrust Garage" at the intersection of Huron Road, Prospect Avenue and E. 9th Street (Permanent Parcel #s 101-36-047 and 101-36-048), and the leasehold interest in property providing access to the Ameritrust Garage from Bolivar Road (Permanent Parcel # 101-36-049) * A 2-story Parking Garage known as the "944 Prospect Garage" at the south side of Prospect Avenue, east of E. 9th Street (Permanent Parcel #s 101-36-045, 101-36-46, and 101-36-050) The official deadline for the submission of offers to purchase the Property ("bids") shall be determined by the wall clock located in the Office of Procurement & Diversity, Room 100, County Administration Annex Building, 112 Hamilton Court, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Late bids will be returned unopened. Any questions concerning the Property may be directed to Barbara Shergalis, Project Director, Ameritrust Complex, at (216) 263-4604. The Property may be inspected by participating in the scheduled site tour to be conducted by the County on March 12, 2008 at 10:00 AM. Additional inspection may be conducted by appointment only. Participants in site tours shall be required to execute a site access release agreement as a condition to entering the Property, and may be required to wear protective clothing and equipment during the tour. All site inspections shall be at the sole risk of the participants and must be completed before the Bid Deadline. A Bidders Package is available for a nonrefundable fee of $50.00 (plus overnight delivery charges if requested) payable by check or money order made out to the Cuyahoga County Treasurer. The Bidder's Package, which includes property information, disclosures, disclaimers, a title commitment, surveys, environmental reports, a Site Access Release, Waiver and Indemnification Agreement, legal descriptions, an Agreement for Purchase of Real Estate ("Purchase Agreement"), form of deed, and other documents, may be obtained from the Office of Procurement and Diversity located at the County Administration Building Annex, 112 Hamilton Court, Room 100, Cleveland, Ohio 44114, upon payment of the aforementioned fee. The minimum bid for this Property is $35,000,000. The Property is being offered "AS IS, WHERE IS" and "WITH ALL FAULTS" and the County makes no representations or warranties related to the Property. Interested parties must submit their bids to the County's Office of Procurement and Diversity by submitting four (4) signed originals of the Purchase Agreement included in the Bidders Package, along with a deposit of $500,000.00 by certified check, cashiers check or money order drawn on a solvent bank or Savings and Loan Association, payable to the Cuyahoga County Treasurer (the "Offer Deposit"). Such signed Purchase Agreement shall constitute an offer to purchase by the bidder on the terms and conditions set forth therein, which offer is irrevocable for a period of sixty (60) days after the Bid Deadline. Upon acceptance of the offer by the County, the Offer Deposit received from the successful bidder (the "Buyer") shall be deposited by the County into an escrow account with Chicago Title Insurance Company at 1360 E. 9th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. An offer shall be deemed to have been accepted by the County at such time, if at all, that the County executes and delivers two (2) copies of the Purchase Agreement to the Buyer. On or before the Closing Date as outlined in the Purchase Agreement, the Buyer shall deposit the balance of the Purchase Price set forth in the Purchase Agreement into escrow. The above described parcels and interest therein shall be conveyed by Quit-Claim Deed, subject to all easements, encumbrances, restrictions, liens, rights or claims of parties in possession or of parties not in possession, and parties shown or not shown in the public records, encroachments, overlaps or boundary line disputes, any lien or right to a lien for services, labor, or materials furnished to the Property, imposed by law, and not shown by the public records, or special assessments and special taxes. The Board of County Commissioners reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids, and to waive any informality, irregularity or nonmaterial deviation in any bid received. By order of the Board of County Commissioners of Cuyahoga County. Jimmy Dimora Timothy F. Hagan Peter Lawson Jones Adrian Maldonado, Director, Office of Procurement & Diversity p.d.mar.4,11,18,25,2008 1916381

Published in Plain Dealer on 03/18

Let me ask you, If you needed to sell an old  tricycle would you choose the PD - maybe, but you would probably use ebay and if you had a building structure, you might get a realtor or someone to help you and at least put it on craigslist or in the MLS. I am not in the real estate buying and selling racket, but I wonder if something more could not be done to "sell" our region and its assets.  The real story is that the commissioners wanted K&D to come back a month later with better math. They want to look like they are in charge. There is something fishy here and one cannot know what the fuck is going on inside that shrouded chamber called executive session.  This is crap! If you ask me the county needs to get their website together and their business together and begin to act like one - a business. Tar pit indeed – I think my friend from NYC was being diplomatic. He might have said, “Yeah I asked some developers here if they wanted to buy the Breuer Tower and the George Post Rotunda in Cleveland and they said, “No, but do you know of any swampland in Florida that’s for sale?” We’re looking for a superfund site first – it might have more potential than anything for sale in Cleveland – hell their Public Square is caving in and that is just the tip of the iceberg of failing infrastructure we see there.”


There are 339 buildings for sale on loopnet in Cleveland.  Steve Litt writes about Euclid Avenue development and shows how a developer plans to increase the height of an existing building. (The BOCC can't figure out such an innovative idea for their own building which was designed for said.) But this listing is in the PD for a few weeks in the legal notices and the bidding info is hidden deep within the procurement and diversity section of the county website.

Now if I was a lover of buildings by Breuer and was interested in this tower - let's say I lived in Switzerland and had $35 million on hand and felt like a challenge - how would I find the info online? I'd have to be pretty determined. Nope - the BOCC has some deal with Price and they are trying to dress it up to look like a good deal for their constituents. Their rejection of the bid looks oddly like "Uh excuse us while we ask Mr. Price to do it "our way". " NO we don't appreciate that he is hoping for some financial forgiveness in getting our asses out of a sling for buying this suite of buildings precipitously and then wasting millions on discussions of tearing down our history, bludgeoning the street level facade with inept contractors (whose court case is still being continued in Lorain County - for money laundering, bribery, conspiracy and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity) and basically making a mess of one of the most important corners in US history.


Why these guys wanted in the first place to be geographically associated with the corner whose buildings stored the cash of some of the most heinous robber barons of the 20th century is beyond me. But since they forgot the Bauhaus, they probably forgot the history of Cleveland Trust as well. When they opened the Rotunda for the public last Labor Day had they been in that basement feeling the history that oozes from those safety deposit boxes? Did they think of the smooth feel of the bills that had passed through the bank? Did they wonder about the opulent wealth - the jewels that were most likely at one time stored in the boxes - the ones that were hauled out for the Kokoon Ball or other such fancy affairs when Cleveland was in its heyday? Perhaps that was the allure. Now the allure is to get the buildings into the hands of someone who can restore them, make them live again. How sweet - a condo on the 29th floor of the Breuer Tower overlooking downtown and the Lake.

Stay tuned for the latest updates on April 2, 2008 when the bidding continues.