Hotel and apartment project embellishes downtown Cleveland’s historic luster

H&LA’s David Sangree offers his take on the new Kimpton Hotel set to open in March of 2016 in the historic Schofield Building in downtown Cleveland. 

Published by: Stan Bullard, Crain’s Cleveland Business
Published Date: Februrary, 2016

Typically, historic buildings give some inkling what they will look like when restored.

However, the century-old Schofield Building that will open in March as a combination Kimpton Hotel and Schofield Residences apartment building was coy for decades. Its terra cotta surface, columns and other details were masked by a fake front since the 1960s.

As construction workers enter the last lap of Cleveland-based CRM Cos.’ $50 million renovation of the building at 2000 E. Ninth St., the difference is stunning. Even though the project took years to complete, only lately did the degree of transformation become clear.

Tom Yablonsky, executive vice president of Downtown Cleveland Alliance and executive director of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood, said he believes the project will win national preservation awards.

“When we created the Euclid Avenue Historic District, the Schofield was not included even as a contributing historic building,” Yablonsky said, “It was too greatly altered. The amount of exterior remediation was tremendous.”

Now that the metal skin is gone and architectural details restored, the building will set the tone for the district because of its prominent location.

An inside look

Kimpton and the Schofield Residences recently started giving tours that offer the media and local celebrities a taste of what the interior will be like when the 122-room hotel and 52-suite apartment building open next month.

A lobby that is designed to serve as a living room and a Parker’s Grille and Tavern restaurant will go on the first floor. The next six floors are home to rooms and suites that Kimpton designed with its own furnishings and Cleveland-centric flair.

The seventh-floor presidential suite has views of Lake Erie and the Flats as well as Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street.

Jeff Andrews, Kimpton director of sales and marketing, noted the windows at the north end of the building also afford a view of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which was designed by Schofield Building creator Levi Schofield. Even the hallway carpet is designed to reflect a fun atmosphere: it resembles argyle socks.

On floors eight through 14, three suites with three bedrooms and a combination of one- and two-bedroom suites are designed with efficiency in mind, so rooms remain as large as possible. And, noted CRM Cos. leasing agent and marketing director Marcie Gilmore, “there is no wasted space you often find in renovated buildings.”

The three-bedroom suite has full-sized stainless steel appliances. In a one-bedroom, the dishwasher is just 18 inches wide and a built-in bookcase includes a foldout desk to effectively use the space. Pocket doors went into the bedrooms for the same reason.

Gilmore said finding windows that met historic standards was one of the challenges of the project. However, the solution is that they are high-efficiency windows that are warmer in the winter than the originals. Moreover, they open for residents or guests who want fresh air. The building is narrow on its north and south sides, but the east wall facing East Ninth Street stretches a block, which means 1,000 windows are in the structure.

About 70% of the apartment suites are leased, Gilmore said. Rents range from $1,550 for a one-bedroom to $7,500 for the three-bedrooms.

Kimpton uses a “best-available-rate” policy for setting costs at different times, Andrews said. However, he added that prices range from $189 to $359 daily.

Kimpton said the Cleveland property is the brand’s first in Ohio and is the first luxury boutique hotel in Cleveland.

A boost for the economy

Having a Kimpton adds more than some more prestige for Cleveland.

Yablonsky said Kimpton and other Cleveland hotels in historic buildings will be a draw for travelers who prize historic properties. Heritage tourism is a growth area in the tourism business.

David Sangree, president of Lakewood-based Hotel & Leisure Advisors, said adding a Kimpton provides another luxury hotel such as the Autograph and Ritz-Carlton to Cleveland that will support high hotel rates in the market.

“There are also some travelers — not many, but a few — who will only stay at a luxury boutique hotel or a Kimpton,” Sangree said. “They might consider Cleveland now where they would have stayed in Chicago before.”