East 9th Street and Prospect buildings get facelift as downtown Cleveland development stays hot

CLEVELAND - Downtown Clelveland's West 6th, also known as the Warehouse District, has been hustling and bustling for years. 

East 4th Street has come on strong as an entertainment district, and Tower City is gaining steam with the new casino.

Meanwhile, East 9th Street and Prospect has been a "dead zone" filled with vacant buildings. But on Tuesday, the future of that area started to change with the sound of a wrecking ball.

Demolition began on the old AmeriTrust building to make room for the new headquarters for 750 employees of Cuyahoga County government. A much larger adjacent building will be renovated for retail space, apartments and hopefully restaurants and a hotel.

During a news conference Tuesday, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald announced that the county headquarters will be moving from the current location on Lakeside Avenue to East 9th Street and Prospect when the new eight story building is completed in July of 2014.

The county will save $126 million over 20 years by consolidating office buildings and by having many workers spread out around the county into a central location.

The new building and renovation is part of a $200 million investment on East 9th Street between Prospect and Euclid avenues.

County officials hope a conference center hotel with about 650 rooms will move into the current county office building on Lakeside Avenue because it's located next to the new convention center and Medical Mart.

Meanwhile, apartment space continues to be in demand in downtown Cleveland, as more people desire to live closer to where they work and spend less time commuting.

While today's news is welcoming to many people in downtown Cleveland, nearby boarded up buildings along Euclid Avenue is a sign that some work still needs to be done.

Before the county corruption scandal investigation in 2005, the previous regime spent millions of dollars on the AmeriTrust building but never moved in.

The county will lease the building from Geis Construction with the option to buy the building years from now.

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