Front Steps Building In Ohio City Scheduled for Demolition This Week

After three years of sitting vacant, it will be razed as part of the Irishtown Bend Park project

click to enlarge The Front Steps building at 1545 West 25th has been an eyesore in Ohio City since 2020. - Mark Oprea
Mark Oprea
The Front Steps building at 1545 West 25th has been an eyesore in Ohio City since 2020.

Nearly three years after it was vacated, the graffitied and hollowed-out Front Steps building at 1545 West 25th in Ohio City began its week-long demolition process Monday. But in unexpected fashion.

Firefighters dealt with a blaze — suspected to be the result of arson — in the property which has recently been used as shelter by some homeless people.

The property, which was donated to Ohio City Inc. in 2020, is a key part in the lengthy development of Irishtown Bend Park, the 23-acre greenspace project set for the surrounding hillside.

The Front Steps structure's razing will allow the Port to proceed with its  stabilization process, which requires 2,600 sheets of bulkhead.

“We are thrilled to see work beginning on the demolition of the former Front Steps building," Tom McNair said in a statement to Scene. "I also want to acknowledge the incredible work that was done transforming lives at this location by Front Steps Housing and Services for over 35 years—work that continues at their new home down the street. This is a time to celebrate the past contributions of this property while looking forward to its incredible future.” 
click to enlarge 1545 West 25th, circa 2018. - Front Steps
Front Steps
1545 West 25th, circa 2018.

Front Step Housing and Services was founded in January 1986 by four Catholic sisters at the Congregation of St. Joseph.

Spearheaded by Sister Loretta Shulte, Transitional Housing Inc., as it was then called, operated as near-west asylum for the homeless, providing mostly women with short-term and permanent housing, along with mental health services and horticultural therapy.

After two years of financing, in June 2019, Front Steps broke ground a half mile down the road, at 2554 West 25th. According to Plain Dealer/ reporting at the time, Front Steps ran out of space for their programming needs, and had felt the need to expand their longer-term housing options.

The new, 60,000-square-foot space opened up in 2020, with a $13 million price tag.

In the meantime, as the pandemic amplified the world's homeless crisis, the former Front Steps building sat vacant.

According to Ohio City Inc., the demolition will take about a week, and will not impact traffic nearby. Once debris is fully cleared, a spokesperson said, the lot will be graded to match the surrounding hillside by late April.

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About The Author

Mark Oprea

Mark Oprea is a staff writer at Scene. For the past seven years, he's covered Cleveland as a freelance journalist, and has contributed to TIME, NPR, the Pacific Standard and the Cleveland Magazine. He's the winner of two Press Club awards.
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