Moore building survives another round of debate

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 2/26/19

Like a cat with with nine lives, downtown Cleveland’s Moore building has survived the wrecking ball for another day.When the Cleveland City Council met earlier this month, it considered a motion to …

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Moore building survives another round of debate

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Like a cat with with nine lives, downtown Cleveland’s Moore building has survived the wrecking ball for another day.

When the Cleveland City Council met earlier this month, it considered a motion to tear down the long-vacant structure to make way for a parking lot, as requested by the Moore family when it was sold to the city. However, it was decided to table the motion until the next city council meeting to consider other options.

But during Monday night’s meeting, council members decided to delay a final decision regarding the building’s future, at least until they receive a quote on a tear-down that will include removal of any asbestos in the nearly century-old structure.

Council members estimated the cost to demolish the structure would run about $250,000, with another $90,000 needed for asbestos removal.

The cost for asbestos removal was based on a quote from 2017.

City Manager Joe Fivas said he expects that a master plan by WSP USA, the firm hired to develop a downtown revitalization plan, will include a building on the site, as opposed to the proposed parking lot. Councilman Dale Hughes said he wanted to do as the Moore family wished.

“I want to follow the wishes of the family to bring the building down,” Hughes said.

Mayor Kevin Brooks said the former owner told him last week that he wanted the building back if the city could not decide what to do with it.

City Attorney John Kimball advised that the city may be able to sell the building back to the Moore family without having to list it as surplus property. If it was so listed, this would require the family to make a bid to reassume ownership.

“We may be able to unwind the deal,” Kimball said.

During the city council’s work session, downtown entrepreneur Nick Lillios told the city council that the Moore building is part of downtown history.

“When people visit downtown, they expect to see an old courthouse, and we lost that,” Lillios said. “It is vital it be maintained because it represents an architectural style from the 1910s and 1920s.”

He said tearing the building down would be unfortunate.

“To turn it into a parking lot would be a grave mistake,” Lillios said.

Councilman Ken Webb said he would like to see the building refurbished, but had doubts this could be achieved.

“I’m not sure we have that option,” Webb said. “The consensus is that we made a commitment and would buy it and tear it down. I’m concerned that we are not honoring our commitments.”

In the end, the council decided that city staff will seek bids for an updated asbestos removal cost.

“I think we need to get an asbestos removal bid that’s not 18 months old,” Brooks said.

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