Long-time vacant downtown Cleveland buildings will get new life

Posted at 10:52 PM, Aug 15, 2017

A stretch of long vacant buildings on one of downtown Cleveland’s most visible streets could finally get new life.

Istanbul-based Alto Partners closed on the former John Hartness Brown buildings in the 1000 block of Euclid Avenue for $9.1 million, Cuyahoga County property records showed.

The string of buildings, which are physically connected, have been vacant for more than a decade, with the previous owner fighting foreclosure.

Mark Dottore is the court-appointed receiver who was tasked with finding a new buyer. He said the $79 million plans call for new retail stores, apartments, parking and an AC Marriott limited service hotel.

“These guys, I vetted. I made sure they had the financing,” Dottore said. "They put $9.1 million in cash, no bank, no financing, just put 9.1 million on the table. Nobody comes into town and does that.”

He said millions of dollars in historic tax credits also made it possible.

In July, squatters set fire to the building and neighbors have complained about the eyesore that sits right across from the recently-opened Heinen’s grocery store and Geiger's clothing and sporting goods store.

“We knew that when we came down here, we didn’t want to be on an island,” Gordon Geiger said. “It’s going well, could be better, but we’re in it for the long road and we knew that it was going to take some time, but the announcement to today is just fantastic.”

Downtown is one of the few Cleveland neighborhoods still adding residents and new businesses. A Los Angeles based fitness studio just opened next to Geigers.

Gordon Geiger said his success depends on more people and more businesses moving in.