The old Huntington Bank building at Euclid and East 9th — a massive, 93-percent vacant structure in the heart of downtown Cleveland — was sold last week to Florida-based Hudson Holdings. The company's plan: a $280-million mixed-use renovation that combines residential space, hotel space, office space, party space and, in short, "that kind of lifestyle which we feel is going to bring more and more people downtown," HH principal Avi Greenbaum said today.
Here are the quick numbers: 550 high-end rental units, 400,000 square feet of office space, 300 high-end hotel rooms and the world's largest bank lobby (at 61,000 square feet, ca. 1926; see photos) open to the public and/or private functions.
"This is one of the grandest buildings in the portfolio of downtown Cleveland," Tom Yablonsky, executive director of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corp., said.
With violin accompaniment and flashing photography all around, a small contingent of Cleveland's press corps was led on a tour of the building — from the awe-inspiring lobby to the 21st floor, where the old Mid-Day Club was located, down to the metallic bank vaults, where a check signed by Abraham Lincoln was once found and where a torture scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The visuals alone were astounding. Even basic office space was transformed by rich oak paneling and wide-open views of East 9th. (White marble floors in the old Huntington offices were covered with carpet, to much chagrin.)
Greenbaum, who mentioned frequently the importance of "activating" various rooms and floors of the building, said that his vision is comparable to the Plaza Hotel in New York City. With plenty of room for incoming retail (currently there are only two retail tenants in the building), it's not hard to imagine a bustling world blossoming within the massive structure, what with hotel guests flitting from shop to shop and tenants purchasing sundries on their way to and from their downtown offices.
Along with the impending Kimpton Hotel, the newly opened Heinen's and the PNC Bank building, the corner of Euclid and East 9th is really going to be something else.