The inside of the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.
How does pretrial diversion work in Cuyahoga County? Credit: Rachel Dissell / Signal Cleveland

After more than three years, the City of Cleveland has paid Cuyahoga County $6,623,776 for use of the current Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) headquarters at the Justice Center downtown – a space the city sold to the county for $9.25 million in October 2018.

This $6.6 million figure represents the amount Cleveland paid the county for rent, parking and utilities from October 2018 to September 2021, according to public records Documenters got from the city.

Third renewal of the Cleveland Police Headquarters

Currently, the city is in its third renewal of what was supposed to be a year-long lease. The current lease, set to run from October 2021 to October 2022, is estimated to cost the city $2,108,652 if CDP remains in its current home at the Justice Center.

The amount spent on leasing back the HQ space at the Justice Center could total $8,732,428 by October 2022. If the lease is extended under similar terms, it would surpass the amount the county paid the city for the space.

Cleveland Documenter Daniel McCarthy took notes at a Finance Committee meeting on Oct. 18, 2021, where City Council members shared their frustration with the situation as the 2021-22 lease renewal was discussed. 

During the meeting, Council Member Brian Kazy said, “I think the city’s getting bamboozled…by the end of this lease, we’ve almost zeroed it with nowhere to go.”

Read Daniel’s full notes here.

When the city made the 2018 sale to Cuyahoga County, it expected to move CDP HQ into 1801 Superior Ave., the former home of the Plain Dealer, by spring 2019, but the city pulled out of the deal in fall 2018 and eventually gave up on buying the property.

The rent amount per square foot of space increased each time the lease was renewed. Starting at “no more than $10/sq. ft.” in 2018, the current lease’s rate is $16/sq. ft. 

Initial Agreement in 2018

The initial agreement in 2018 projected that the city would reduce the amount of space CDP used as the renovated areas of the new HQ were completed, but because the purchase of 1801 Superior Ave. fell through, this transition never happened.

See the original lease agreement and the three renewals here. All agreements were passed by Cleveland City Council as emergency ordinances.

An unclear future

CDP had plans for a brand new HQ building at the intersection of E. 75th and Opportunity Corridor. The city broke ground in December 2021 on a project expected to cost $107.5 million. But little construction progress was made, and on Nov. 2, 2022, the city announced it was seeking proposals for other potential sites.

Cleveland Documenters asked city officials if there were plans to renew the lease at the Justice Center after October 2022 but have not yet received a response.

K-12 Education Reporter (he/him)
Paul, a former City Year Cleveland AmeriCorps member based in a charter school, covered K-12 education for Signal Cleveland until August, 2023. Paul joined us from Cleveland Documenters, where he focused on creating infographics and civic tech to make public information more accessible. Paul is also a musician, photographer and graphic designer.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.