The city of Lakewood is now the proud owner of a historic building bearing the name of Lakewood’s earliest settlers. The Curtis Block building at the corner of Marlowe and Detroit Avenues is historically significant, and new ownership by the city makes it part of an overall plan to redevelop and revitalize properties in the heart of downtown Lakewood.
Along with acquisition of the Curtis Block building—which will likely be renovated for mixed use—the city has moved forward with other real estate transactions outlined in the master agreement forged between the city, Lakewood Hospital Association and the Cleveland Clinic in December. The city has sold the professional medical office building and parking garage at the southwest corner of Belle and Detroit avenues to the Cleveland Clinic for the appraised value of $1.576 million.
The Cleveland Clinic will build its new $34 million family health center and 24/7/365 emergency department on the site of the office building and garage. The Clinic continues to operate a comprehensive emergency department on the site of the former Lakewood Hospital.
“There is great symbolism in the Curtis Block building transaction,” said Lakewood City Council President Sam O’Leary. “The city now owns a valued piece of our history and will be responsible for its transformation into a contemporary, attractive hub for economic vitality in the center of downtown. This is one more important step in the redesign of health care delivery in our city and the economic development opportunities inspired by change.”
The Lakewood Historical Society notes that the corner of Detroit and Marlowe is one of the last intact corners from the streetcar era and the Curtis Block is an anchor of that corner, once a vital retail building.
“The Lakewood Historical Society looks forward to the rehabilitation of this piece of Lakewood heritage so it can continue to add to the character of our historic community for generations,” said Greg Palumbo, the executive director of the Lakewood Historical Society. “We appreciate the hard work of all those at the Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board and the city who helped protect this important structure.”
The land transfers triggered the first installment of a $7 million payment to the city for the future redevelopment of the former 5.7-acre Lakewood Hospital site at the southeast corner of Belle and Detroit.
In late December, the city received the proceeds of a $6.8 million sale of the medical facility at 850 Columbia Road in Westlake, Ohio, by Lakewood Hospital Association to the Cleveland Clinic.
The plan to create a new health and wellness campus, first proposed in January 2015 and negotiated to completion in December 2015, was reached after an extensive evaluation process by Lakewood Hospital Association trustees and Lakewood City Council. The master agreement reflects community health needs, an acknowledgment of the hospital’s aging facilities (some of which were nearly 100 years old), the continued decline in inpatient volumes and the dramatic shift in the way healthcare is delivered throughout the country.
Other key highlights of the master agreement include:
- More personalized, responsive care and services for residents based on comprehensive research into community health needs
- Location of a modern family health center that creates more value for the downtown district and increases economic development
- Continued access to emergency services in a fully staffed emergency department open 24/7/365
- A unique community health foundation forging a long-term partnership of elected officials, civic leaders, health care providers and others to ensure appropriate and innovative health services
- Accountability for health care providers to create effective programs that improve patient outcomes
- More flexibility in the use of community assets, with increased opportunity to develop city-owned property
- The promise of a vibrant new downtown district to attract employers
- Elements that meet the special needs of the community’s diverse population
- Reassurances of relocation for employees of Lakewood Hospital.