CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County will announce it has a buyer for the old Ameritrust Tower as soon as tomorrow.
The county is expected to get more than the $16 million that the building was recently appraised at, but millions less than the former county commission sunk into the complex.
The old county commission bought the building at the height of the real estate market several years ago.
The stated goal was to move county government to the building at East 9th and Euclid Avenue with the hope of jump-starting economic redevelopment in the area.
But that goal never materialized and the county began pouring money in the complex as well.
In 2007, the FOX 8 I-Team reported that the FBI was investigating an asbestos contract at the building where the county had paid almost $1 million dollars more to a local company rather than to the low bidder out of St. Louis.
That report broke the story of an FBI corruption probe of county government.
Nine months later, in July of 2008, a series of massive FBI raids revealed just how broad the corruption probe really was.
It eventually led to scores of convictions, including those of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Auditor Frank Russo.
Meantime, the new county government led by Ed FitzGerald inherited a complex that has been called a “white elephant.”
The county did have a developer line up before to purchase the property, but that fell through as the real estate market collapsed a few years ago.
The deal would still have to be approved by the County Council