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Mar. 4, 2013

Lakewood Center North Sells for $3.4M

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Lakewood Center North, the tallest office building in Cleveland’s second-largest suburb, was purchased by a local investor group led by commercial real estate broker and investor Brad Kowit. According to Cuyahoga County records, the transaction priced at $3.4 million.

The 15-story structure is located at 14600 Detroit Ave. It was constructed in 1974 and comprises more than 258,000 square feet of offices and retail space. Its amenities include a full-service restaurant, a fitness center, a conference facility and a sundry shop.

In recent years, the building saw its value drop dramatically. Lakewood Center North was acquired in late 2006 by a German real estate fund for $14.4 million. Now, the 258,000-square-foot building sits almost half empty, having lost several tenants in recent years. Among those tenants that left Lakewood Center North is the United Transportation Union, a labor union that represents railroad, bus and public-transit workers. When it moved to its new North Olmsted location, the labor union took 175 jobs with it.

Lakewood Center North’s future is uncertain at the moment. The new owners haven’t released any information about what they have planned for the building. It could be redeveloped as a hotel or a residential building. Or it could remain an office building, as recent reports say office vacancy in Greater Cleveland is dropping.

A report released by CBRE for the fourth quarter of 2012 shows a decreasing office vacancy rate in the area, from 20.2 percent in the third quarter of 2012 to 19.9 percent at the end of the year. Vacancy in the Central Business District was at 18.4 percent, the same as in the previous quarter, while the suburban market experienced a drop to 21.3 percent.

Charts courtesy of CBRE.