Look familiar?

Submitted by DerekArnold on Fri, 05/25/2007 - 13:22.

Look familiar anyone? This building is on College Street just east of Spadina Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It looks like another building I have seen...can't think of which one though...

Look familiar?
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I see similarities and big differences

I do see the resemblance, except with the setting... I see human scale amenities, like bike racks and nice trees and plantings in the set back, and what looks to be a grand old house next door and other historic buildings. In other words, I see the well planned Toronto, vs. the poorly planned Cleveland. Cleveland will not fix this by tearing down the Breuer and building worse, but by tearing down and restoring it and other area buildings and developing better structures and amenities than exist today, with better planning than ever before (which is easily enabled by better tools, historical perspectives and data).

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foward this to the county please.

I wonder what they will do?  I was on Euclid today, the Rotunda and 1010 Euclid as well as the next building are all ripe for residential.  Basically everything from the Halle building through to Ninth Street should get some consideration. 


I realize that the dismantling the Breuer is disheartening, it should still be viable, but I hope that it is not overshadowing the other significant structures that the county now owns. I believe that the county should look to finance development around its new offices first; the structure will not create further development once it is finished. 


If the county moves 2000 employees under one roof, that will create some serious parking issues, much like a big consolidation.  The same way the employees are spread out so are the associated parking needs. 


If the county wants to be synergistic, it should look into increased residential development to surround those 2000 employees.  It should also look at parking needs. 


1) Renovation and reuse of century structures on the block Euclid and Prospect, all private developed with financing through the county. 

2) Build new parking on the Euclid and Prospect block, it could be masked and should have more spaces than the existing parking structure. Private development financed through the county.   http://www.archnewsnow.com/features/Feature107.htm   


I would suggest the county begin a process of communication with it employees, housing options and incentives, and to determine its own parking needs and those of the area.  The parking facility should be privately owned and leases or prepaid contracts for spaces arranged with the county.  The object would be to entice as many employees of the county to live downtown. 


If done correctly the county could then dismantle the garage on 9th street and build it offices on that site.  This would transfer them into a district that is accommodating and decreases any disruption to the area.    


I would suggest marketing the residential to the 150K market as not to over build the higher end market.  I would suggest targeting development at 500 1500 square foot units. Can these building be converted at $100.00 per square foot? 


I also see this development as an opportunity for advanced parking technology.






Anybody have the mailing list for the CAC?   I am looking for backers!   I say, pretend we are developing in downtown Tokyo, we consider the use of space as if it was so limited.  Then we can laugh and say. Oh it s not, we have so much and it is so cheap. 


I am asking the county to first back 500 units of middle-income housing and a 2500 space robotic parking garage. Develop housing parking and retail space with the funds and then sell and lease them off to pay for your offices.    The county can and does cycle money it needs to learn how to leave trail of tangible assets when it does. 






I want to see this happen!

I wish every business relocation/development project in Cleveland, whether corporate or government, would consider all the issues you list. Architecture - its structure, function, style, and symbolism - has incredible powerful and far reaching effects whether people are aware of them and choose to utilize them or not.

All good ideas - reaching common ground on Breuer

That all makes sense - there are parking structures attached to the Breuer at E9th and Prospect that should come out - I wouldn't necessarily put parking back there - that section of Huron needs more green and public space - the whole corner should have cafes.

There should be a citywide parking needs assessment and it should be kept current and strategy developed for more TOD and public transit. There is lots of extra parking around the Breuer that is only used at day and special events - that can be used for contract at night for people who live downtown - and more parking should be for infrequent drivers, like in NYNY, where you get in more cars per sq.ft.

I still think the County should take another space somewhere else in the city. Where the Breuer is situated is already becoming a pretty dynamic, walkable living community - it needs further 24x7 creative class and entertainment development - things to fill in the peaks and valleys when there are not events at the many surrounding clubs. An arts and culture center in the Breuer would be perfect. Add in there as much residential of all types as possible. Same all through and around CSU.

Putting the County building at the core intersection of E 9th, Euclid, Prospect and Huron would be like digging a black hole there, and bring the wrong type of traffic at the wrong times. I'd put the county in the Galleria - or in the Stark Development in Pubic Square - or as an anchor for majpr redevelopment in Mid-Town, around Euclid and 55th - or to strengthen the entire community of Central and around Tri-C - take on revitalization of an entire neighborhood that has nothing else. Need location with lots of road and public transit access and room for parking - build something really awesome on one of the old brownfields that have been reclaimed, or on a lot that has been cleared already - or where the Aviation High School homeless shelter is, beginning redevelopment of Burke and the lakefront - go Brasilia!

Note, we also need downtown lots of entry level housing - low and middle income - rent and own.

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Bikes vs Breuer

I found it interesting to learn that the US Green Building Coalition's LEED Standards in their blatant disregard for embodied energy (search the rating system for the word “embodied” – not there) give the same number of points for retaining and reusing an existing building as they do for a bike rack -- 1 – 2 points. This is ridiculous and the USGBC should review their ideas. As David Ellison pointed out, the USGBC is all about new construction and is driven by manufacturers and builders, not preservationists and restorers. Here’s a better idea from the National Summit on Greening of Historic Properties.

Obviously I want the building and the bike racks. Let's have a show of the fab bike racks designed by CIA students years ago that are just waiting to be called into production.

I also thought it interesting that Toronto looked to Cleveland for creativity when planning their arty bike rack additions. Does anyone know how to find the catalogue of CIA student designed bike racks?

Of course the world relied on Cleveland artist designer Viktor Schreckengost for bike designs all the way back to 1939 and the 39 World's Fair...


People seem to "get" Viktor's contributions unlike Breuer's. I do wish we had the full story here with the Gunds, I.M. Pei's Erieview Plan, etc. Please write in if you know details or stories.

reply to self -- tangential thinking

I found this in a realneo post about the Excellence Roundtable with Steven Fong when searching for something entirely different. Also found this last evening, but was too tired to post it after being out late listening to Cats on Holiday at the Spider. (I’m too old for late night now…).


This text was an operative lever to my wandering mind: (45) Under Bohn's leadership, a comprehensive plan for downtown development was unveiled in 1957 with a grand affair in Public Hall, but Louis Seltzer, "kingmaker," had hand-picked Frank Celebrezze, state legislator, to be mayor of Cleveland and was planning to build his new headquarters at Lakeside and East 9th Street. Since Bohn's plan concentrated on the revitalization of Euclid Avenue, the heart of our city, it would not serve to appreciate the value of Seltzer's site on Lakeside Avenue. Therefore James Lister, then Director of Urban Planning set up to bypass the Planning Commission, for political reasons sold the mayor on having I.M. Pei -- world-renowned architect and planner -- to come up with Erieview I & II. Now the 1957 plan for downtown development was scrapped in favor of the Erieview plan. The Van Sweringens had aborted the Group Plan and Seltzer aborted the Downtown Plan. Politicians are not interested in long-range planning because it does not produce visible results in time for re-election.

Ernest Bohn was the father of Public Housing. It was Steve Blossom a customer of mine while at the Stone Oven on Lee who suggested I read The Cuyahoga by William Donohue Ellis. He was the Maritime Editor of the PD for decades. Here’s an interesting bit on the history of the port of Cleveland – a scandal he covered before retiring. (I gotta put this on today’s reading agenda!)


Both these tangents converged to remind me that we have a chance to say thanks to Norm Krumholz for his 2007 Lifetime of Achievement Award from the Cleveland Arts Prize coming up, and then I remembered that it would be great to have another Excellence Roundtable to hear from new CUDC director, Christopher Diehl. (You see, Chris Diehl is a board member of the Cleveland Arts Prize (I work for the org), and he is a proponent of saving the Breuer. All these things converged to remind me to post these educational papers for our wider understanding of the history of planning in Cleveland.

Take your time trying to follow the connections or just let it stew over several days. Hopefully no one will chastise me for veering off topic… ;)

I am really getting tired of

I am really getting tired of my city; we are not doing anything smart. 


The county already said it would build green, green parking is robotic. 


Parking is owned by companies in the city the county can get rid of flat lots and older garages by trading them for rights to spaces in new garages.  


Other cities are building them American cities. 


You can have your cafes and green spaces and the garage. They use less space 1/3 less they reduce emission and the faculties require no exhaust systems, they have great cost recovery if they don’t them close down some of the old garages.


Look at the size of the clinic new garage it is for 5000 cars if it was robotic it would be 1/3 the size then half that for 2500 and you see that corner serves well. 


Oh just mandate them the city should pass a law all new offices have to have robotic garages that accommodate at least 120% of their total employees.  They could also require set backs and landscaping with a certain percentage of retail space at ground level. 


Yes government is currently like a black hole; I am calling for a super nova whenever they spend money.   Not just relocating 2000 employees creating state of the art parking and retail space plus financing the rehabilitating of adjacent century buildings.  


I would like to live in a loft in a century building on Euclid, park my car in a high tech robot garage and sit outside in the summer at a café.  Take the silver line to the art museum, walk to Playhouse Square or Tower city. 


The county is doing nothing more than abandoning space and eliminating some vacancies actually quite a bit isn’t the Bruerer 500,000 square ft?   The city is being watched it numbers evaluated we have high vacancy rates for the CBD.    Tear down convert o residential what ever it take to adjust the numbers, improved numbers get attention. We need to double downtown residency all these things can be accomplished. 




1)      Finance renovation of adjacent century buildings into 500 residential units.

2)       Add state of the art robotic parking 2500 units. 


I predict the county will come up with some plan and teardown everything but the Rotunda and use it as it entrance to it new building.  They will do nothing to encourage further development; I do not think they have the vision to see that.  They need to be encouraged and even enlightened…not contradicted that will get you a deaf ear.








I think we should stop the county and get a grip on parking

You are making me think more about who will use the County facility (wherever it is), when, how, and what parking and public transportation employees and customers will use, and where they do live and will live over the next many decades. This is the perfect chance to plan something big, right, and that has not been done so far, here or anywhere... get real transformation for $250 million instead of some pompous offices for administrators.

Phase 1 - get the county people involved in the city.
Phase 2 - make the county matter for the city.

According to local "Talking Head" architect for the County, Madison (no offense, but he is the point man on this, so must defend that and his fee), hired to demolish the globally-significant Breuer (and, BTW, every time we refer to it as the globally-significant Breuer, we take a step further toward saving it... kinda like saving "the only lakefront urban park Whiskey Island"), the only place for the county HQ is where the Breuer is, but without the Breuer. Before we discuss this expert conclusion further we must see the Madison study - the powerful GIS maps of traffic patterns and parking - counter wait times - and social impact analyses that show where dollars, gas and parking dollars, and residential trends are now, versus if we place the county at the Breuer, vs. in the Heart of CSU, vs. Public Square, vs. a mid-town brownfield by E. 55th.... etc.  I'll step out there and claim that  there are no real studies of the economic impact of the county relocation to the Breuer, or Higbees Building, or staying where they are today... unless proved otherwise, it seems the entire Breuer project is smoke and mirrors.

Accepting that, unless proved otherwise, and the fact nobody needs to move now - we as a community can step back and say what is needed from the county in realignment, to make this a better place in the future... sort of like Found For Our Economic Future has been doing in their analyses for several years (for good and bad).

Wow - no hurry - we can figure this out.

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I know the project should

I know the project should include linkages to other projects…housing and marketed to downtown employees.  If done correctly the employees would get information first hand and have time to make the decision. 


I am really keen on the robotic parking, it is a transitional method of getting green, people wan to live downtown and if they live and work downtown they drive less…but they are not so quick t be trapped without a car.  They also are not keen to pay a fortune to store a car they only occasionally use.


There is value in change, it bring attention and consideration. 


It is entirely possible to build a robotic garage, even if you end up with people living and working downtown they still will want a car and a place to store it.  Also more people living in the CBD will mean people will come to visit them.  


We do not need to give up the cars just close the circles and drive them less!   


Just by chance that area has hundreds of thousands of under utilized/vacant sq ft and they just happen to be old century building that make great loft spaces.  Condominiums, I keep saying it.  Owners the building get protected if the people who live in them own them.  Theoretically if building was condominium and had retail space then they could offset the cost of maintenance with that revenue.  When you live in the building and it is self managed then you have concern and interest what retail would be in it. 


The CBD needs to reduce it vacancy rates, this project can do that convert some to housing and integrate the county workers.


Check the market the building all around the project are either inclusive in purchase or are up for sale. 


500 units of housing sell them, then build a big robotic garage lease the spaces and then sell the garage and then build the office tower. 


The goals are to reduce the vacancy rates to that of the national average, increase housing and parking.  These entire things work well to market the city in every way; you have to realize what attracts outsiders.  Bringing money into the city, keeping it in the city.


I looked at the inner circle and see the convergence of Ashbury, Wade Park and 115th as reasonable good for campus housing, that area could be an electric enclave for campus housing, if it was cleaned up and had some security.   I see the land values around the project are so low, a good time for land banking.  If that corridor was cleaned up and patrolled I could see it populated with college students.                

Rototic parking, carsharing, and TOD

I don't know how cost effective robotic parking is but I'll take your word for it. No doubt most people living downtown will want cars as well - planners will have been successful when people use them little. If robotics makes sense then someone should go for it - it makes sense to use as little land for parking as possible. Long run, if Cleveland (and the historic areas around) can retain their character they will become desirable over time - as populations move and settle people will value historic and authentic experiences in America very much. Add our water resources and we are a slam dunk. Just get that damn pollution under control. All a 20 year process

As for the Hough Bakeries - thanks for driving by and sharing your thoughts. I'd love to give you a presentation on the project, and you should try to stop by Friday to see more... details here. The planning is very deep and layered - one aspect we are looking at in detail right from the start, at the highest level, is historic preservation - more on how that is developing here.

I don't think we'll see much student housing - Case just built all those dorms and fenced them in away from East Cleveland, and CIA is building its own dorms - they want the housing income and control, and they want the students to spend their loan and parents' money at University Circle.

But, after you graduate, and are in grad school or looking for your first apartment or home purchase, and want to be near University Circle and the Clinic and downtown and public transportation to all of them, and want a historic neighborhood with lots of trees and some big parks, for less than comparable stock in surrounding neighborhoods, and you can have a world-class charter preschool through 8th grade right in your neighborhood... with a good mix of existing residents, mostly senior citizens, who are very engaged in their community... and some cool new pocket green developments and some nice anchors, like the Star, and the mansions on Euclid - lots of potential here.

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International Design Competition

It won't happen, but I would love to see Cleveland hold an international design competition to rehab the Breuer building as a green building, especially in terms of lighting. 

Now we are talking common sense about Breuer

Yes, we have the potential to make the redevelopment of the Breuer an international sensation - a victory for the arts and culture, our local economy, environmentalism, and common sense, against misguided public servants. I understand local architect Madison made the site selection - I have no idea how Madison and the outside architect were chosen - or why the commissioners bought the Breuer from Jacobs in the first place - we haven't seen a site selection or use analysis (unless anyone else knows of such an analysis on public record) - considering all the talk around town about openness, this is not an open and shut outcome but rather a last shot in the darkness of old-style back-room politics and back-slapping business by a failed NEO power structure. So, those who know better for NEO (e.g. globally and socially conscious environmentalists, historians, architects and planners) need to step up and take the job of planning NEO away from the two lone men leading the county down the wrong path - Commissioners Hagan and Dimora - there are better ways of doing things for a better community than the current leadership has devised. Despite their best efforts, they are not environmentalists, historians, architects and planners, and they are not consulting with those who are, at any reasonable level.

The saddest thing about this whole situation is these two Democratic Cuyahoga County Commissioners are jeopardizing the global reputation or NEO and the entire future of this region and nation with this project, as the Breuer is becoming the GOP poster project for demonstrating corruption among Democratic leadership. Cuyahoga County GOP leader Bob Frost featured the commissioners' behavior in his "News from the Pork Barrel Buffet" e-newsletter, featured in the Plain Dealer here, quoted:

 "How and why did Cuyahoga County become the owner of this albatross of a piece of real estate?" the e-mail asks. "How many fat public contracts will be let to [Commissioner] Dimora's campaign contributors to do the work, and who is keeping an eye on the bidding process? To put it succinctly, how did the Ameritrust Tower become the main entrée on Jimmy Dimora's Pork Barrel Buffet?"

Read more about this at the conservative, political Right Angle Blog. Considering how close the 2004 presidential election was, and that it was lost to the GOP by the Democrats in Ohio, it is safe to say every example of poor performance and questionable judgment by democratic leaders here will be leveraged by republican leadership nation-wide for global political advantage. The wastefulness and divisiveness of the commissioners in dealing with the Breuer is the perfect GOP rallying point for the elections in 2008. Dimora and Hagan are falling right into this trap. It will be impossible to forgive them for any broader political fallout that will result if they demolish the Breuer.

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