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NEWSLETTER

 

Near East Side Factory Rehabilitated - Cont'd

This large fireproof industrial building made of reinforced concrete with brick facing is the western half of an identical two-building complex stretching 283 feet along Superior Ave. and 175 feet along side streets.  It has a rectangular open air courtyard in the rear.  Among its features are Arts and Crafts styling, copper-clad pilasters between its ribbon-like industrial sashes on the upper two floors, a raised basement, and a dramatic sawtooth roof and skylight system on its top floor, concealed behind tall parapet walls.

J. Milton Dyer (1870-1951) http://www.architectureofcleveland.com/html/dyer.html was the architect of this complex and Hunkin-Conkey Co. http://ech.cwru.edu/ech-cgi/article.pl?id=HCC4 was its builder.  Both were prominent in early 20th century Cleveland.  Perhaps Dyer's greatest work was Cleveland City Hall (1916) part of the city's Group Plan of public buildings.  He was also architect of First Methodist Church (1905), the Cleveland Athletic Club (1911) and the U. S. Coast Guard Station (1940), all in the city.  According to Cleveland architectural historian Eric Johannesen, Dyer's "brief output was significant and original.  At the same time it was also characteristic of a period of flux and transition, of high standards and experimentation, and of the clash of the old and new."


The Hunkin-Conkey Co. was an engineering and contracting firm that specialized in larger scale projects.  It existed from 1900-1972.  It erected bridges, docks, roads, breakwaters, factories and hospitals.  Among its works were the old Municipal Stadium (1930) and the early buildings at GE's Nela Park in East Cleveland (1912-21).  The firm had a reputation for competence, speed and a creative approach to engineering.


Charles K. Sunshine (1858-1947) had a successful career in the city's growing clothing industry at the turn of the 20th century.  His firm was founded in 1893 and made cloaks and suits.  Five years later he and partner Louis black acquired the Bailey Company and developed it into one of the city's leading department stores.  He was also a founder and trustee of Mr. Sinai Hospital.


Cleveland's garment industry had its origins in the neighborhood northwest of Public Square now known as the Warehouse District.  Sunshine was located at 1242 West 3rd Street.  In the early 20th century, these expanding industries moved out of their wood and masonry structures to spacious state-of-the art fireproof facilities in an emerging industrial area along Superior Avenue east of downtown, whose core has become a National Register Historic District.  By 1920 Cleveland had become one of the top three garment producing cities in the United States.


Around the time of World War II, the building was developed into a multi-tenant facility, principally clothing manufacturers.  By the 1970s, the facility was largely vacant, but gradually increased its tenant base prior to the initiation of this project.


The building houses a laboratory and offices in its front section.  These spaces were once the former offices for the clothing firm and have rich oak paneling and tall ceilings that have been carefully preserved.  An old shipping desk near the rear entrance has been carefully restored.  An antique and on-line auction house is also on this floor and makes use of the spacious loading dock at the southwest corner.  A variety of tenants is on the second floor and consists of tech firms and other small businesses.  Each has full-height ceilings and lots of window space.  The south end, particularly, has abundant natural lighting.


The third floor remains vacant for now, but building services have been brought up to this area.  Its impressive sawtooth-like skylight system has been covered over my previous roofing applications.  Previously the third floor had been intended to be developed as live-work space, but it may instead be used for office and tech forms, as are the lower floors.  The raised basement will have a tenant in its front section and indoor parking throughout the remainder.  


Much work has gone into restoring the exterior, including rebuilding and repairing sections of the parapets, repairing or replacing damaged or missing copper pilasters and cleaning the exterior brick and stone, showing off its wonderful Arts and Crafts detailing.


Developer David Perkowski has rehabilitated buildings throughout the city, particularly in the Tremont neighborhood and in this industrial historic district.  One of his most innovative projects was the recent transformation of the nearby Tower Press complex into galleries, offices, retail and living units.


The project received funding from a variety of sources, including state of Ohio and federal preservation tax incentives.  


   


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