55 Public Square

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55 Public Square
55 Public Square from West 3rd Street.jpg
55 Public Square
General information
LocationCleveland, Ohio
Coordinates41°30′01″N 81°41′46″W / 41.500263°N 81.696039°W / 41.500263; -81.696039Coordinates: 41°30′01″N 81°41′46″W / 41.500263°N 81.696039°W / 41.500263; -81.696039
Estimated completion1958
OwnerOptima International LLC.
Top floor300 feet (91 m)
Technical details
Floor count22
Floor area430,000 square feet (40,000 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectCarson Lundin & Shaw

55 Public Square (formerly known as the Illuminating Building, after the Illuminating Company, the building's primary tenant) is a 22-story skyscraper located at number 55 Public Square, the town square of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Designed by Carson Lundin & Shaw Architects, it is 300 feet (91 m) tall, was completed in 1958,[1] and was the first new skyscraper built in Cleveland since the Terminal Tower complex was completed in 1930. It was also the first tall International Style building in the city and the first to use a reinforced concrete frame.[2] The consulate general of Slovenia is located in the building.[3]

Design and history[edit]

Like other modernist office towers of its time (including the Seagram Building, built in the same year), it is set back from the street by a small pedestrian plaza, which is interrupted only by a single-story restaurant at one end. The tower was initially intended to employ a steel frame, but reinforced concrete was used for the upper 12 floors because of a steel shortage.[2] A seven-story parking garage adjoins it on the north side. The building was built at a cost of $17 million, and was first owned by Vincent Astor and the Brooks-Harvey Co. of New York City.[4] Willett Properties LLC. of Rye, New York purchased the building in late 2003, and owned it until July 2008 when it was sold to Optima International LLC for $34 million,[5][6] a Miami-based real estate investment firm led by Chaim Schochet and 2/3rd owned by the Privat Group, one of Ukraine's largest business and banking groups.[7][8] It is classified as class B office space.[9]

55 Public Square is reminiscent of New York City's Lever House which was designed by Gordon Bunshaft.[citation needed] The Lever House and 55 Public Square are almost identical looking with its curtain wall. A main difference is that Lever House has 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) while 55 Public Square has 430,000 square feet (40,000 m2).

The structure was built on the site of Charles F. Brush's first arc lamp, which in 1879 was the world's first electric street light, and a replica of the lamp hangs outside the restaurant. Also previously on the site were the third and fourth Cuyahoga County courthouses. The third was built in 1860, and was replaced by the fourth in 1875, which in turn was replaced by the current Cuyahoga County Courthouse on Lakeside Avenue in 1912. Courthouse number four was demolished in 1931 for a parking lot.[4]

In 2005, there was small fire on the building's 18th floor which according to the Cleveland Fire Department was caused by a piece of overheated office equipment. The Cleveland Fire Department had contained the fire to the 18th floor, the only thing lost was a piece of glass window and a few smoke covered panels. The office was renovated and cleaned up.

In 2013, First National Bank of Pennsylvania acquired Cleveland's Parkview Federal and moved Parkview Federal from its Solon Headquarters to the Illuminating building. The bank put new signage and modernized the 55 on the building.

The building was sold in 2018 to The K&D Group, a properties company with significant holdings in Cleveland. At the time of sale the building was partially vacant, with the First National Bank and Law Offices of Cleveland as the largest tenants.[6]

From 1959 to 2013, John Q's Steakhouse was located just outside the base of the building, with outdoor seating on the plaza in front of the building during summer months. Originally owned by Stouffer's, John Q's was sold in the 1980s but retained its name. The restaurant was highly popular with residents and celebrities for a number of years and was slated to be replaced by another steakhouse. It remains vacant today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Emporis.com: 55 Public Square. Accessed October 9, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Johannesen, Eric. Cleveland Architecture 1876-1976, Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979. ISBN 0-911704-21-3
  3. ^ Slovenian Diplomatic and Consular Representations in the United States. Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia website. Accessed September 21, 2007
  4. ^ a b Herrick, Clay Jr. Cleveland Landmarks, Landmarks Publishing Company, 1986. ISBN 0-9646459-0-4
  5. ^ Jarboe, Michelle (2008-07-10). "55 Public Square sells to buyer bullish on Cleveland". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
  6. ^ a b Jarboe, Michelle (May 30, 2018). "K&D strikes deal to buy 55 Public Square office tower, with mixed-use renovation plans". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  7. ^ Cleveland Plain Dealer: "The most important guy you've never heard of: Chaim Schochet, 25, builds downtown Cleveland empire" By Michelle Jarboe McFee February 04, 2012
  8. ^ Cleveland Plain Dealer: "55 Public Square sells to buyer bullish on Cleveland" By Michelle Jarboe McFee July 10, 2008
  9. ^ 55 Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio, Willet Companies LLC. Accessed October 12, 2006.

External links[edit]