Downtown Cleveland: Do we really need more vacant offices?

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Artist's rendering of Dick Jacobs building three years after construction is completed.
While the wonders of Cleveland economics never cease, they recently took a turn toward the surpernatural with the announcement of a proposed new 21-story office tower in Public Square. With the real estate market in utter collapse, it seems the last thing we need is another vacant building. But never fear. This tower is different, because Dick Jacobs is proposing it. Jacobs, you may recall, is the multimillionaire developer who recently suckered county commissioners into buying the Ameritrust complex for $22 million. Never mind that the buildings were long-vacant, filled with asbestos, and so expensive to renovate that the county soon gave up trying. Jacobs has always been a fabulous sugar daddy for political campaigns, and the commissioners were more than happy to help him unload an albatross. The irony is that Jacobs now wants to build another massive building in a dying market -- at the same time the new developer of the Ameritrust complex, the K&D Group, is also planning to build tons of office space. This is what scientists call a glut on the market. —Lisa Rab
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