In September, the seven-story, 168-room former Ramada Inn (and later Red Roof Inn) on Rockside Road in Bedford Heights was demolished by the Cuyahoga Land Bank after months of pre-demolition work. The site of the long-vacant hotel will soon be home to the new $3.5 million corporate headquarters of Universal Windows Direct, a home improvement company with a national network of home improvement contractors currently based in Oakwood.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development team spent five months prior to demolition overseeing a detailed bid process for the project, and performing interior and exterior inspections and hazardous materials evaluations before managing an extensive clean out of the facility that included asbestos abatement. The total cost of the inspections, demolition and site finishing will run more than $600,000, with financial assistance from the City of Bedford Heights, Cuyahoga County Demolition Fund, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“We not only removed tons of furniture and fixtures from the building, but we also had to empty the pool and perform due diligence in checking for environmental issues and other hazardous obstacles,” says Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development for the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Furniture and fixtures removed from the hotel were donated to area non-profit organizations, including a donation of a truckload of housewares to the Us Together Refugee Resettlement Agency.
The demolition was performed by Baumann Enterprises of Garfield Heights in strategic phases over several days. “The building is down, but there is much more work to do,” says Stephens. Completion of the demolition also includes hauling away the debris, inspection of the soils to ensure they are load-bearing for new construction and finishing the site. “This is one of our larger projects in both budget and scope.”
The new Universal Windows Direct corporate offices will bring 80 full-time jobs to Bedford Heights and create another 40 full-time positions. “Our mission at the Cuyahoga Land Bank is to support community goals. Bedford Heights Mayor Fletcher Berger’s goal was to eliminate this blighted structure in his city and improve the lives of its residents,” says Stephens. “Remove the bad and spur reinvestment in the neighborhood – in our work, it doesn’t get much better than that.”