Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Terminal Tower’

Cleveland Offered Terminal Tower for Amazon Headquarters, Wanted to Expand RTA Rail Lines

May 12, 2018

Had Cleveland managed to land the second headquarters for Amazon, it might have been a much-needed boost for Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s rail lines.

Cleveland leaders proposed placing the headquarters in Terminal Tower and the adjacent Post Office Plaza and undertaking a major expansion of RTA’s rail lines.

The proposal even offered to give Amazon employees a 25 percent discount on RTA passes.

The revelation came this week after the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency grudgingly released documents sought by a journalist detailing information about the city’s failed Amazon headquarters bid.

NOACA is a transportation planning agency that prepared information used to support Cleveland’s bid for the Amazon headquarters.

The documents show that Cleveland officials had promised to “accelerate” plans to triple RTA’s capacity, including increasing rail lines from 37 miles to 111 miles by 2029.

The RTA pass discounts would have been worth $121 million over 15 years, the documents say, based on the assumption that 50,000 Amazon employees used RTA.

Access to public transportation is one of many factors that Amazon said it would value in reviewing bids for its second headquarters.

NOACA had sought to shield public access to the Amazon bid documents, arguing that they constituted trade secrets which under Ohio’s open records laws are exempt from disclosure.

But Mark Naymik, a columnist for Cleveland.com, which like The Plain Dealer newspaper is a unit of Advance Ohio, disputed that and took the agency to court.

A special master appointed by the court reviewed the documents and ruled that the location of the proposed Amazon headquarters site is not secret and should be released.

NOACA said in a statement that it disagreed with the special master’s ruling, but decided not to appeal it because it didn’t want to spend more public money trying to keep the records secret.

The documents that NOACA released did not show all of the Amazon headquarters bid including any public tax incentives that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish offered.

The bid was also prepared in cooperation with private, nonprofit economic-development groups Team NEO and the Greater Cleveland Partnership, both of which also have refused to release documents pertaining to the Amazon bid even though Cleveland failed to make the first cut that Amazon announced last January.

Among those still standing in the quest for HQ2 are Pittsburgh, Columbus and Indianapolis.

Amazon received bids from 238 applicants hungry for the 50,000 well-paying Amazon jobs, $5 billion in construction and 250,000 indirect jobs that a successful bid promises to bring.

Terminal Tower and the Post Office Plaza are both owned by K&D Group of Cleveland.

It purchased the 52-story Terminal Tower in 2016 for a reported $38.5 million.

The iconic building, which opened in 1929, was once Cleveland’s primary intercity rail passenger station, but has not seen a passenger train since Conrail discontinued the Cleveland-Youngstown commuter trains in early January 1977.

However, it is the hub of RTA rail lines, serving as the terminus of the Green, Blue and Waterfront lines, and an intermediate stop on the Red Line. Some Red and Blue line trains operate through to and from the Waterfront line.

At one point during its storied life, Terminal Tower was the headquarters of various railroads owned by the Van Sweringen brothers of Cleveland.

Terminal Tower now hosts a shopping center that includes restaurants and a theater that is known as Tower City Center. It was developed by Forest City Enterprises and opened in 1990 as The Avenue.

Upon buying the structure, K&D Enterprises had spoken about developing some of Terminal Tower into residential space.

NS Trains at Cleveland’s Old Broadway

September 11, 2016
NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

Old Broadway is a favorite go-to place of railfan photographers when a Norfolk Southern heritage unit is leading a train eastward on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline through Cleveland.

It features an open view of eastbound traffic with the Cleveland skyline in the background. I’ve seen a number of H units photographed here, but never done it myself.

Old Broadway is also a place where fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk likes to photograph. His strategy is to hang out in Berea until the 22K or the 206 comes past and then barrel up Interstate 71 toward downtown to get into position.

He has been known to get his shot at Old Broadway and then hot foot it out to Willoughby and get the iconic Willoughby Coal Company building in an image.

Going back even father to the 1950s, photography Herbert Harwood photographed at Old Broadway, catching Nickel Plate steam and various passengers trains headed to Cleveland Union Terminal.

As for myself, I had never photographed at Old Broadway and it has long been on my “to do” list.

With the help of my friend Adam, I finally was able to cross it off the list.

It turns out that the term “Old Broadway” is something of misnomer. It is actually located off the end of Rockefeller Avenue.

The Old Broadway name dates to the time when, or so I am told, Broadway Avenue crossed the tracks here.

There is still a concrete foundation that appears to have once supported a bridge.

You park in a cul-de-sac that looks modern. I can’t tell you how many vehicles came down Rockefeller, saw the cul-de-sac and then turned around and went back toward where they came. Either these folks don’t have a GPS, have a faulty GPS or can’t read a map.

We were banking on the fact that the 22K and the 206 both seem to be reliably late morning trains through Cleveland.

Maybe so on most days, but not on this day. We arrived about 9 a.m. and sat for an hour-and-a-half before getting a train. It was a westbound, the 145.

Just over a half-hour passed before another train showed up. It, too was a westbound, the 205.

It was almost noon and we decided to give it just a little more time. Then we got lucky.

The scanner brought news that we not had one, but two eastbounds coming, the 206 and the 310.

As we expected, the 206 arrived first. The last containers of the 206 were still in sight when the head end of the 310 came around the curve.

By now the sky had turned to sun and clouds so we played dodge ball with the light and shadows, not always winning.

But the images turned out well enough. We might have to give Old Broadway another try some day. Maybe this one of those eastbounds will have a heritage unit on the lead.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower, which is partly shrouded in shadows.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren't casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren’t casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

Erie Heritage With the Erie H Unit in Cleveland

April 30, 2016

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The Erie Railroad heritage unit has been assigned to Norfolk Southern intermodal trains 22K and 23K for about a month now. Sometimes it leads, sometimes not, but until today (April 30), I had not been able to catch it.
One challenge in chasing H units is to somehow work in the actual railroad the heritage engine represents.

Catching the New York Central on the NYC or the Pennsylvania on the Pennsy is like a double bonus. Getting the Erie on the Erie is difficult to do in northeast Ohio.

But the 22K, which the Erie lea today, traverses the former Nickel Plate Road east of Cleveland and it passes former although now abandoned tracks that the Erie used.

The Cleveland Union Terminal hosted passenger trains from the NYC, Baltimore & Ohio, NKP and Erie.

This is appropriate as the Erie heritage is based on the two-tone green colors of Erie passenger engines and trains.

Another Erie connection is the Terminal Tower complex seen in the background. Passenger trains ended their run here but Erie also had its headquarters located in this complex.

The Erie at one time was a Van Sweringen road. The Van Sweringen brothers owned a consortium of railroads including the Nickel Plate, Erie, Chesapeake & Ohio and Pere Marquette.

They were also responsible for building the massive Terminal Tower complex, a Cleveland landmark.

Their intent was to merge these holdings into a giant rail system. Alas, these plans fell through and while Pere Marquette did merge with the C&O, the Nickel Plate and Erie went their separate ways.

I wonder how today’s rail network would look had this merger happened. It would likely have been a dominant player in the rail scene.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Holiday Lights on Terminal Tower

January 2, 2013

I went up to downtown Cleveland on Sunday night to photograph the Terminal Tower. The upper sections of it are lighted during the holidays in alternating red and green lights. It was a bitter cold night up there with a cold wind blowing right off the lake.

Although there are no trains in these images, this used to be a train station serving the New York Central, Baltimore, Erie and Nickel Plate Road. Today the only trains to use the terminal are those of the Greater Cleveland RTA.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

High in the Cleveland Sky

August 5, 2010

An eastbound Norfolk Southern coal train with two BNSF units trailing, crosses the Bridge No. 1 over the Cuyahoga River. The view is from the observation of Cleveland Terminal Tower. (Photographs by Roger Durfee)

The public observation deck of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower reopened on July 18, 2010, after being closed since September 2001. ARRC member Roger Dufee and his wife, Michelle, were among those who waited in a long line to reach the perch on the 42nd floor of Cleveland’s most distinctive landmark. From there, they enjoyed a captivating panoramic view that included views of the Norfolk Southern Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline on Cleveland’s lakefront.

The building, officially opened on June 28, 1930, is 52 stories tall.

It was the second tallest building in the world—behind the Empire State Building in New York City—until 1953.

The glass-enclosed observation deck has a capacity of 50 and was to be open for four consecutive weekends beginning July 10. The observation deck has been open only during special occasions in recent years. It was renovated as part of a $40 million rehabilitation project that wrapped up in January this year.

Terminal Tower was built as a office building and hovered over the Cleveland Union Terminal. Intercity trains used CUT until December 31, 1971. A former Erie Lackawanna commuter train continued to use the terminal until it made its last runs on January 14, 1977.

The train station, now a shopping center known as Tower City, continues to serve RTA trains.

Hulett ore unloaders can be seen inside the loop in the trees just below those three tanks in the upper left of the view of Whiskey Island.

An RTA Lakefront line train on the bridge over the NS. Note the Art Deco style of the Coast Guard station on the other side of the Cuyahoga River.