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Original 'Illuminating Building' to become Cleveland’s newest apartments, retail space

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Posted at 8:00 AM, Jul 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-24 09:18:11-04

CLEVELAND — Construction on 75 Public Square will be finished by the end of the year, according to The Millennia Companies, meaning that the first residents and businesses could start moving in during the first few months of 2022.

The new uses

The roughly $25 million project will put 114 apartments on floors 2-14 above Public Square. The 15th floor is reserved for a common area and rooftop access. The street-level features include 3,000 and 1,200 square foot retail spaces.

“It can house anything form a bank branch to a cafe to a coffee shop,” said Millennia Asset Manager Cheryl Wearsch.

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Views from the right apartments give residents a bird's eye view of Public Square.

It’ll be some of the newest retail locations to be available after other new buildings also added potential storefronts or restaurants during the pandemic.

“What we’re finding is that retail is coming back and we’re giving more and more tours and showcase the spaces that are on Euclid, such as the Statler and the Garfield,” said Wearsch, mentioning two other properties that Millennia also owns.

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75 Public Square used to be one of the tallest buildings around Public Square. Now it is on the smaller end compared to later development.

Millennia says the project will also have the amenities residents have come to expect in downtown projects: Community room, fitness center, storage, dog facilities, and a game room.

The history

“The building belong to the history of Downtown Cleveland,” said Project Manager Maria Banig.

She works on the historic restoration piece of the project, which will restore the exterior of the building roughly to how it looked when it was built in 1914.

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This postcard shows what Public Square and 75 Public Square looked like around 1916, a few years after the building was constructed.

Original wood windows are being replaced with modern materials that will look like the original materials. The finishings along the outside of the building are also being restored based on historic pictures of the building and Public Square.

“The building was designed and built in 1914 so we are talking about 107 years that is here,” said Banig.

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75 Public Square as it stood on Public Square long before more modern and taller buildings stood all around it.

The building was originally built as the headquarters for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, where it stayed until 1958, when it moved across the street to 55 Public Square, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

Banig says some of Millennia’s other properties, The Statler and The Garfield also celebrate Cleveland’s history along Euclid Avenue and that 75 Public Square will do the same. They’re granted under Millennia’s “Century Modern Collection”.

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The John Hartness Brown complex as it stood along Euclid Avenue around 1915. The Statler Hotel is to the right in the picture and is now owned and operated by Millennia.

“Thought the artwork, our intent is always to tell that history and the history of the building,” said Banig.

The experience

“No matter what unit you’re in in this building, you’re going to have amazing views of downtown,” said Millennia Regional Property Manager Kevin Davey.

Davey says the rent will be roughly in line with market rate units through downtown, with one-bedrooms starting at about $1,1700 per month and two-bedrooms starting at roughly $2,190.

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The original wood window frames are being replaced with modern materials that are still true to the original look of 75 Public Square.

The key is that the location of the building in the middle of Downtown Cleveland, walking distance to the Flats, Playhouse Square, Warehouse District, and Cleveland’s sports venues.

“It gives you that lifestyle and the excitement of being within steps of everything and it gives you access without having to worry about Uber-ing, without having to worry about driving,” said Property Manager Donna-Marie Epstein.

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The facade of the building is being restored to look as it did when it was first built by studying historic pictures.

“I think we see folks looking to be close and into the downtown area,” said Davey. “We’ve seen a big resurgence in activity in the first half of this year with people moving back. Demand in the downtown market has really increased.”

Have you ever noticed something interesting in Northeast Ohio and wondered, “Hey…what’s going on there?”

Us, too. We love learning more about what shapes the world around us -- the buildings, the spaces and the ways we move between them.

Next time you're wondering about some building, project or piece of land, send me an email at Kevin.Barry@wews.com and I'll look into it for a possible story.

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