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Federal building on East Ninth Street getting $121 million stimulus makeover

By Joan Mazzolini, The Plain Dealer

February 02, 2010, 6:00PM
celebrezze-building.jpgView full sizeThe federal office building at East Ninth Street and Lakeside Avenue will become more energy efficient after it gets a $121 million makeover with federal stimulus funds.CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland's Federal Office Building at East Ninth Street and Lakeside Avenue is getting a $121 million makeover with stimulus money.

In fact, federal courthouses, buildings, border stations and ports of entry across the country are being renovated and retrofitted to become more energy efficient with some $5.55 billion to be spent over the next several years.

building graphic.jpgView full sizeThe 32-story Anthony J. Celebrezze building in Cleveland will get a new roof. The main change, however, will be a new facade or cladding on the building designed to save energy -- likely a curtain wall that will envelope the current building.

The Celebrezze makeover is the largest project in the Great Lakes states and one of the largest in the country. Federal buildings across Ohio are getting $211 million in renovation work.

The aim is to make the U.S. General Services Association, which owns and manages federal office space, a leader in green building technology and a proving ground for retrofitting buildings, Robert Peck, GSA's commissioner of public buildings, has said.

Some of the targeted buildings are 100 years old. The Celebrezze opened 44 years ago.

The Celebrezze federal building is the government's main office in Cleveland, housing branches of the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Coast Guard and other agencies.

The building has undergone other recent renovations, including a $1.8 million lobby extension in 2004 that added room for security equipment and eliminated a choke point at the East Ninth Street entrance that often forced the public to wait outside in line to get into the building.

Ohio's federal building and courthouse stimulus projects


  • A. J. Celebrezze Federal Building, $121 million
  • Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse, $368,000
  • Carl B Stokes U.S. Courthouse, $1.16 million

  • Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, $813,000
  • John W. Peck Federal Building, $54 million

  • Kinneary U.S. Courthouse, $27 million

  • Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, $4 million

  • Thomas D. Lambros Federal Office Building, $1.2 million
  • Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building, $601,000

In 2008, more than $31 million was spent on the building, adding fire alarms and repairing leaking plazas that flank the building and act as a roof over the basement dining areas and offices. Outside, dozens of trees were planted and a new walkway and lighting were installed.

Chicago-based Interactive Design has been picked as the architecture firm for the current renovation and DCK North America, out of Pennsylvania, is the general contractor.

"It's a fully occupied building and it will remain so during construction," said Charles Young, the lead architect on the project. "That will be sort of the challenge – clad the building while it remains occupied."

Young said the current building, with single pane windows, was built at a time when "energy was so cheap you just put up a wall and overcome the outside by pouring in more and more heat."

A design for the building isn't expected for another six weeks or so. And construction won't get under way until 2011, said David Wilkinson, GSA spokesman for Great Lakes Region 5, which includes Ohio.

Other cities are further along in their designs.

In Portland, Ore., residents are contemplating a change for the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building that would add a series of 250-foot trellises that would create an actual green wall with live plants growing and shading the west wall of the building.

Other projects in Cleveland include $1.2 million in work on the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse at Superior Avenue and Huron Road, which opened in 2002 at a cost of more than $192 million.

And the old Federal Building on Superior Avenue, renamed for longtime Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, had $50 million worth of renovations completed in 2005. It is getting upgrades worth about $368,000.


 (38 total)     RSS
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Posted by gwbdrydrunks
February 02, 2010, 6:28PM

Is it me, or has that building been under some sort of renovation consistently for the past 10 years?

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Posted by The Experts
February 03, 2010, 10:33AM

The building should be sold and the employees let go.

This would save the taxpayers millions. It would be a real genuine stimulus to the economy.

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Posted by hagansucks
February 02, 2010, 6:32PM

Sweet! They blow a cool $1,000,000 on signage reading:


More than $120 million in governmental make-work. That'll end The Great Recession. No doubt.

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Posted by tballer
February 03, 2010, 10:13AM

How much would a new building cost?

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Posted by jonlight
February 02, 2010, 6:50PM

Sad that a architectural firm in Chicago got this job, with so many architectural firms in Cleveland, and no less than two firms in the Penton Building RIGHT NEXT DOOR.

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Posted by booey420
February 02, 2010, 9:29PM

Exactly,why didn't they use local companies to design and general contract the building? Kinda stupid to give the money to outside companies when there are so many great companies here.

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Posted by curiouspaige
February 02, 2010, 7:02PM

What about nastycrudy City Hall!!!??? The bathrooms aren't in the greatest shape either! A person with one arm will be in real trouble in there!

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Posted by glencoerd
February 02, 2010, 7:05PM


A few hundred construction workers to be hired based on race to insulate a 44 year old building filled with make work Federal "jobs". Why not just give away $100M and save the rest. We would be money ahead.

p.s. There will be unforseen cost "overruns" as people work hard to keep this gravy train rolling.


Remember that we send $150M to Washington to "get back" $121M in "free" Federal funds. Watch the pea....

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Posted by Keswick
February 02, 2010, 7:15PM

Every year there is some kind of renovation going on at this . They are are tearing out the concrete and people trying to get to the building must avoid construction and find alternate ways to get to the building.. I guess they never fix what is wrong with it. And the building must have been poorly constructed to warrant this kind of activity every year. Now I guess they are going to make it whole. Waste of our taxpayer money. I guess we need bigger government and government to be involved with every part of our life so they can continue to screw things up. Sue the construction companies who did not properly fix the problem in the first place and save us taxpayers the cost of redoing it again for the tenth time.

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Posted by dave5000
February 02, 2010, 7:16PM


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Posted by kbhret
February 02, 2010, 7:32PM

Another government waste of your money. They do it because they know you don't care.

Ever notice how the same job pays three times as much when it's a federal government job compared to the same job in the private sector. You're getting ripped off America, you're government is ripping you off big time.

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Posted by drdoo2little
February 02, 2010, 7:36PM

"In fact, federal courthouses, buildings, border stations and ports of entry across the country are being renovated and retrofitted to become more energy efficient with some $5.55 billion to be spent over the next several years."

What a scam--hope they got their energy-efficient CFL's from First Energy--they probably have a few just laying around that they aren't using!

This renovation will stimulated absolutely nothing--GIVE US BACK OUR MONEY!

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Posted by ItsallREALCLEAR
February 02, 2010, 8:29PM

Funny. Everyone on this board would be complaining if they read another city getting this grant. Not Clevelanders though!

The people of this region are so hard headed that they believe pork spending CAN stop. Pork spending WILL NEVER stop. That's a fact of life. Instead of complaing, be glad that the area is getting a piece of the pie for once.

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Posted by ourfounders
February 03, 2010, 7:02AM

Oh brilliant one, it will stop when the Chinese pull out of our bond market or the dollar becomes totally worthless. Try to remember who is paying for this boondoggle--Communist China

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Posted by mikes40
February 02, 2010, 8:35PM

$121 million of stimulus for this building? Really, hey Joe Biden, have you already counted these jobs as new or saved? Good thing they are using a Cleveland professionals. Oh yea, the architecture went to a Chicago firm and the General Contractor is from PA. Well, maybe they can ship in some general trades from other cities too, since we have the Medical Mart starting soon.
What a freakin waste of stimulus.

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Posted by hagansucks
February 03, 2010, 9:25AM

These jobs are tallied in neither the "New" nor "Saved"...this $121,000,000 is counted in the Union Payoffs/Bribing The Trades/Thank You For Voting Dem column.

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Posted by bertmans1
February 02, 2010, 8:46PM

how can it cost $121 million dollars to renovate a building? It cost $283 million to build Cleveland Browns Stadium... why not just tear it down and build another one? I would think you could build 10 buildings for that, holy smokes. Why not take that money and make public access walkways connecting buildings like they do in Minneapolis? Basically everybody in America just donated a quarter to fix a building that's 44 years old... stay hot

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Posted by 4day4daysale
February 02, 2010, 8:56PM

I cannot believe that the central armory was torn down in the 60's to build that glass hatbox of a building

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Posted by Dimorajail
February 02, 2010, 9:26PM

What a joke.

Lousy Thieves.

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Posted by booey420
February 02, 2010, 9:38PM

The building on Huron is 8 years old.Why does it need 1.2 million dollars of work?

Maybe they need another stupid statue on the outside?

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