Justice Center Debate Returns: Renovate or Build Anew?

It’s unclear what’s to come of the 40-year-old Cuyahoga County Justice Center, but word is County Exec Armond Budish is mulling over the idea of constructing a new building vs. renovating the current one. The NEOMG's Karen Farkas reported last week that administration officials are leaning toward the former.

(At the very least, we’ll say this: The center’s Brutalist architecture is a pockmark on an otherwise terrific skyline.)

The future of the Justice Center has always been a talking point downtown. Lately, though, the building’s decrepit structure has become too much to ignore. (“The building has reached its useful life,” former County Director of Public Works Bonnie Teeuwen said last year.) And as many others have pointed out, the prison-and-courts complex currently sits on a primo piece of Lakeside Avenue real estate.

No one knows how much a new building would cost. Estimates for the requisite renovations — which have been discussed for years — have been cited at around $300 million to upwards of $400 million in recent conversations.

And there’s no word yet on when the administration will signal its intent.
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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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