CLEVELAND-- Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced on Tuesday that the Geis Companies have agreed to buy the Ameritrust building complex at East Ninth and Euclid for $27 million.
Geis plans to re-develop part of the complex as residential and retail space.
FitzGerald told Fox 8, "We definitely had people say, 'you're not going to get anything for this, you should just have an auction and be done with it’. But we said 'no, let's see if there are some folks who are interested out there’. The fact that we got 27 million shows that really the housing market, I think especially in greater Cleveland, is really coming back, it really is."
As part of the deal with Geis, the developer will build a new administration building for Cuyahoga County on the Ameritrust property, in return for a 25-year lease and eventual ownership by the county.
The scheduled completion date for the project is July 2014.
"We're going to pay about six and a half million dollars a year for that facility and that's six million dollars less than the buildings that we have currently," said FitzGerald.
The Ameritrust complex will be remembered by many as the “Waterloo” of the previous form of county government. It was a report by the Fox 8 I-Team in 2007 that revealed the FBI was investigating a suspicious contract at the county-owned site.
That probe turned out to be the tip of the iceberg that sunk Jimmy Dimora, Frank Russo and other key players in a pay-to-play scheme for the ages.
FitzGerald told Fox 8, "This was such a high profile failure that I think this is really what caused everybody to wake up and say 'what the hell is going on down there', so it's nice to close this chapter and we've tried to make this an example of how to do things completely different."
The $27 million deal and county administration building project are subject to approval by the county council.
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