Second SoFla buyer bets on Cleveland landmark

The lobby of the old Huntington Bank building.
The lobby of the old Huntington Bank building.

South Florida developer Andrew “Avi” Greenbaum plans to revitalize a nearly vacant commercial landmark in downtown Cleveland that he bought in June from a Miami-based company.

Greenbaum, a principal of Hudson Holdings in Delray Beach, paid $22 million for the classically designed high-rise known as the Huntington Building, which encompasses 1.4 million square feet.

He plans to spend $280 million to transform the property to a complex of 500 apartments, 300 hotel rooms and 200,000 square feet of retail, conference and banquet space. He expects the redevelopment of the building to be complete by 2018.

Greenbaum is rebranding the property as the 925 Building and plans to make its high-ceiling, L-shaped lobby a “focal point” of downtown Cleveland. The lobby has been closed since Huntington Bank moved out in 2012.

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He bought the building from a Miami-based business called Optima Ventures, which bought it for $18.5 million in 2010, when its occupancy rate was much higher. The building’s current occupancy rate is 8 percent.

One of the executives of Optima Ventures is Chaim Schochet, a native of Miami Beach and a leading owner of real estate in downtown Cleveland.

Greenbaum plans more than one real estate venture in Cleveland.

“We don’t come to a city to do one project,” he said. “Generally, it will be mixed-use residential, apartment-hotel, retail or some mixture thereof. We’re looking to come in and be part of investing in the community.” [Cleveland Jewish News] Mike Seemuth