Press Releases

Challenges, Delays Lead to Pause on Lake Erie Wind Turbine Project

Cleveland – December 8, 2023 — Citing considerable challenges and increased costs resulting from years of delays and obstacles, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) board of directors made the difficult decision to temporarily halt the Icebreaker Wind project.  This innovative project, consisting of six wind turbines, was planned to be located eight miles off Cleveland’s shoreline.  

The board is exploring various avenues that might allow the project to move forward in the future.  

“We join with many civic leaders, businesses and environmental organizations in being disappointed in having to suspend this project,” said Will Friedman, LEEDCo board member and president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland.  “This pause is necessitated by a confluence of adverse circumstances and numerous delays resulting in a financial climate where the project’s commercial viability is in question.”

The project’s development efforts began around 2009.  Since that time, it received approvals from numerous local, state and federal agencies.  But there were significant regulatory and legal hurdles.  

Specifically, LEEDCo pointed to a project killing condition by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) which significantly impeded the project by mandating that Icebreaker cease operations in the evening, making it financially untenable.  The State’s own experts testified under oath the shutdown mandate wasn’t needed. This provision was ultimately reversed, but the lengthy delay significantly dimmed prospects for advancing the project.  

Friedman emphasized that LEEDCo invested great amounts of time reviewing any potential impact on birds.  Siting Board staff determined after 18 months of extensive study and review that with certain conditions, Icebreaker Wind “serves the public interest” and poses “minimal adverse environmental impact.” After thorough review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated the project poses “limited direct risk” to migratory birds.  And many environmental groups have endorsed Icebreaker, including the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Ohio Environmental Council.   

Additionally, Icebreaker Wind faced frivolous and costly lawsuits funded by dark money tied to fossil fuel interests. This burdensome litigation caused years of delays and significant expense.  The delays have led to a constrained economics for the project: 

  • Higher interest rates have driven up financing costs.  General inflation and global circumstances have significantly increased capital costs, especially for materials like steel, making offshore wind particularly susceptible to economic fluctuations.  While LEEDCo is a small non-profit, other projects being pursued by the world’s leading offshore wind developers, with government support, are being stalled by similar factors.  
  • LEEDCo’s private development partner, which was to construct and operate the project, ceased financial support for Icebreaker due to the numerous obstacles presented.  Friedman said LEEDCO is open to the possibility of other developer-owners taking over the project.
  • LEEDCo and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have mutually agreed to terminate a funding award given the delays and the practical inability to meet the Department’s award milestones.  While this award has terminated, the federal government continues to prioritize offshore wind and there might be future opportunities for funding.  

LEEDCo Board Chair Ronn Richard, who was central in conceiving the project, said Northeast Ohio was poised to be a leader in innovation with this potential first of its kind offshore wind project in North American fresh water. 

Richard said the community’s efforts have not been in vain.  “LEEDCo has conducted extensive, expert research about the environmental sustainability of offshore wind, laying the groundwork for future projects,” he said. “We have sparked a meaningful community conversation about the potential offshore wind can provide and the importance of renewable energy. “  

Richard noted many companies in Northeast Ohio and throughout the state have set ambitious renewable targets, underscoring the need for clean energy.  

“I maintain my belief that – just as Ohio was the first in flight – the day will come when Ohio will be a leader in advanced energy.  I am disappointed by this pause on Icebreaker, but I believe that there will be a significant number of offshore wind turbines in the Great Lakes in my lifetime. Climate change will necessitate it,” Richard added.  

Chris Tavenor, associate general counsel for the Ohio Environmental Council, also is optimistic. 

“LEEDCo was ahead of its time when it proposed the Icebreaker Wind Project, the first freshwater offshore wind farm in North America. This innovative project has persevered through significant legal and regulatory challenges that in some cases were funded by the fossil fuel industry,” he said. “For decades, the Ohio Environmental Council has worked to grow Ohio’s renewable energy future by advocating for smart investments that provide Ohioans with clean, affordable energy. That includes the Icebreaker Wind Project, with its potential to reduce carbon emissions and inject millions into the local economy. While we are disappointed by the temporary pause of this innovative clean energy project, we remain optimistic about the potential of offshore wind for Ohio and other Great Lakes states.” 

The LEEDCo board extended its thanks to multiple partners including local and state elected officials who were advocates, environmental groups, labor organizations and others who were staunch advocates.  

About Icebreaker Wind

Icebreaker Wind was anticipated to create over 500 jobs and pump $253 million into the region’s economy.  Ohio already has the largest wind energy manufacturing base of any state in the US, according to the American Wind Energy Association.  More than 275 manufacturing companies had expressed interest in being part of the project.  

The project received approvals from agencies including the Ohio EPA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the Ohio Power Siting Board.  The U.S. Department of Energy conducted an Environmental Assessment and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Eight miles from shore, the proposed turbines would not be visible on most days. On a clear day, a person standing on the downtown Cleveland lakeshore holding their arm out would have seen turbines no taller than half a thumbnail.   The small project would have only occupied .000002% of Lake Erie’s surface area. 

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Canadian Seaway strike threatens severe economic consequences; Port of Cleveland makes urgent call for federal intervention

Cleveland – October 25, 2023 – A labor strike by hundreds of Canadian workers along the St. Lawrence Seaway has, in effect, paralyzed a critical maritime trade route connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Over 100 vessels remain stranded outside the Seaway system, unable to access it, and this backlog will worsen as the strike endures.

The dispute is between Canadian entities St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and UNIFOR, the union representing its workforce. The striking workers walked off in a labor dispute three days ago, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the extensive economic activities that the St. Lawrence Seaway System supports in both Canada and the United States. This lifeline is not just pivotal for Cleveland but also for North America’s broader economy and transportation network. The strike threatens to disrupt the flow of crucial commodities, including steel for example.

The Port of Cleveland will feel the impact of the strike soon if the matter is not quickly resolved. Annually, the Seaway facilitates the movement of approximately 550,000 metric tons of cargo to and from the Port.

In response to this crisis, the Port of Cleveland has urgently dispatched a letter to the Canadian Ministers of Labor and Transportation, along with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, imploring them to promptly help resolve the labor impasse. (See attached letters)

Will Friedman, President and CEO of the Port of Cleveland, expressed deep concern.

“This shutdown is a matter of grave concern for us and numerous local businesses, given its substantial economic ramifications,” he wrote. “This vital waterway is the linchpin of trade and the movement of goods to and from Cleveland. The interruption is particularly disruptive, occurring just before the end-of-season cargoes are expected, and as winter approaches. The consequences include a halt in exports from Cleveland to overseas destinations, and end-of-year cargoes cannot reach businesses relying on them in Cleveland.

“The longer this stranglehold on commerce in and out of the Great Lakes persists, the more significant the consequences will be,” he continued. “It not only jeopardizes the operations of ships and cargoes but could result in substantial daily economic losses. Ultimately, it may negatively impact Port workers due to dwindling traffic, and severely impact local businesses.”

Friedman said the Port is anticipating several vessels this autumn with imports that are crucial to regional manufacturing, and the longer this crisis endures, it may lead to increased costs for consumers both locally and beyond.

“Much of the high grade imported steel that moves through the Port of Cleveland is destined for local businesses, where it is processed and/or made into products such as nuts, bolts, screws, food grade tin cans, battery casings, automobile parts, and appliances that consumers use daily,” Friedman added in the letter.

Immediate intervention is imperative to avert an escalating economic catastrophe, Friedman said.

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Port of Cleveland Recognized with Ohio Auditor's Financial Excellence Award

Port of Cleveland Recognized with Ohio Auditor’s Financial Excellence Award

Cleveland – October 16, 2023— The Port of Cleveland has been honored with the Ohio State Auditor’s Award for Financial Excellence, underscoring the agency’s robust financial health and exemplary management.

“This prestigious award validates the unwavering commitment, meticulous attention to detail, and fiscal responsibility exhibited by our dedicated financial team and leadership,” expressed Carl Naso, the Port’s chief financial officer. “I am exceptionally proud of my team, who consistently perform at the highest standard of financial reporting and accountable government.”

Board Chair J. Stefan Holmes said the award is a testament to Port staff. “We’re very pleased with this award because it shows our commitment to financial accountability, transparency and responsibility to the taxpayers.”

Naso noted that the Port has maintained a spotless audits for at least five consecutive years in the State of Ohio’s audits. This accomplishment signifies that the audit reports have consistently been free from any findings, management recommendations, internal control weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Uniform Guidance (Single Audit) findings or questions regarding costs. Naso has been with the Port for the past six years.

Kathryn Semo, Northeast Regional Liaison, presented the award from Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber.

“There are not many entities that receive this award,’’ she said, noting that very few of the nearly 6,000 entities which are audited each year are eligible to be considered. “We are happy to have had the opportunity to come in person and present this Auditor of State award to the Port.”

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Left to right: Port Board Chairman Stefan Holmes, Carl Naso Port’s Chief Financial Officer, Kathryn Semo, Northeast Regional Liaison, Ohio Auditor of State and Port financial team Margaret Rivalsky, Renee Snipes and Rhonda Winslow. (missing is Justina Dugan).

Port strengthens commitment to environmental sustainability by becoming first port on Great Lakes to implement a Climate Action Plan

Cleveland – September 7, 2023 -- The Port of Cleveland has refreshed its strategic vision to spur job creation, expand economic vitality and advance environmental and recreation opportunities.  Particularly noteworthy is a commitment to a Climate Action Plan, with the goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  The Port of Cleveland is the first port in the Great Lakes to adopt  such a plan. 

For more than a year, the Port’s board has intensely reviewed the Port’s needs and potential, and undertook a rigorous self-examination to consider how they could optimize the economic potential of being a port community.  Numerous public workshops reviewed port operations; facilities; commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; and other business areas.  

“A thriving port serves as the lifeblood of a community,” said Will Friedman, Port President and CEO. “To fulfill our role as an economic powerhouse, we must continually adapt and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our community and the global economy.  This plan will help serve as a progressive blueprint to sharpen focus, enhance efficiency and strengthen international competitiveness, unlocking the vast potential inherent in being a port community.”

Friedman said the Port is evolving with changing technologies, trade dynamics and environmental sustainability goals.  

Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb said the strategic plan is “admirably aggressive in its objectives.  It promises focused leadership and allocates resources that will build resiliency to climate change impacts such as increased storm intensity and heavy rainfalls, while also decarbonizing the Port.”


The 2024-2028 Strategic Plan approved by the board of directors today envisions: 

Creating new opportunities for business expansion & job growth

The plan identified new opportunities for exporting Ohio-grown products and manufactured merchandise to Europe.  The Port is positioned to grow its container business with additional agricultural exports, wood products, lumber and polymers. Liquid bulk materials, namely palm oil, represent a significant revenue growth opportunity.  

Project cargo and cruise business also was identified as having great potential for growth and jobs impact.  

The Port is also planning to expand the reach of its development financing programs to serve more communities and organizations. 


Elevating the Port’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Recognizing the importance of creating a more equitable landscape, the Port has already increased its minority and female business participation goal from 20% to 30% for port projects.  

Going forward, the Port is resolute in its commitment to being both aware and intentional in efforts to encourage and facilitate the engagement of MBE/FBE, small and disadvantaged companies in procurement opportunities.  As an integral part of this commitment, the Port will proactively reach out to and support historically disadvantaged businesses, offering them resources and guidance to help them partner with the agency. 

The Port will also continue strategic community investments via its Community Impact Fund that uses a portion of development finance fees to make grants targeted at workforce development programs.  Through this fund, the Port sponsors the Argonaut partnership for CMSD’s Davis Aviation & Maritime High School with paid internships to work on Flotsam and Jetsam to clear debris from the harbor and river.  The fund has awarded $662,000 in grants since its inception in 2018.

“We are deeply committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all facets of our operations,” Friedman said. “Our aim is to foster a business environment where everyone, regardless of background, has an equal opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the growth and success of the Port.”  


Net-Zero by 2050: Incorporating Sustainable Practices Across Port Activities With The Intention Of Becoming One Of The Most Environmentally Responsible Ports In The Nation. 

The Port has already taken on sustainability practices including sediment processing/management, stormwater filtration, and planning for electrification of Port equipment, docks and terminals. In addition, the Port today announced it was incorporating “green” in all port business practices, including being one of the first climate action plans among Great Lakes ports. 

The goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, in alignment with the Biden administration’s greenhouse gas reduction targets and goals of the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency

The Port of Cleveland has long been at the forefront of environmental sustainability, thoughtfully balancing economic vitality with our responsibility to ensure a healthy, clean waterfront for our neighbors and workers,” Friedman said.  

“Today, we embark on our most ambitious environmental initiative yet – a Climate Action Plan that charts the path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,’’ he continued. “While we acknowledge that reaching this ambitious goal demands close collaboration with our industry, community and government partners, the Port has a proven track record of rising to challenges. We wholeheartedly embrace this opportunity to lead the way toward a cleaner, greener future for our region, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and the well-being of our community.” 

The Port began tracking its air quality impacts in 2016, calculating the pollution emitted from equipment and vehicles associated with port activity, including cargo handling equipment, vessels, harbor craft and trucks.  Vessel emissions now are higher than they were in 2016 due to the addition of cruise ships coming through Cleveland and increased activity at the Bulk Terminal. Other emissions sectors are generally lower because equipment is now more efficient.

In addition to the obvious impact on the environment, the Plan positions the Port to better compete for federal grants such as the Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Improvements grant for the Port’s Advanced Cargo Processing & Fiber Connectivity Project and the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities grant program.

The Climate Action Plan addresses action items and areas of focus in buildings and energy efficiency, renewable energy, vehicles and equipment, marine operations and development financing.


Developing Civic Assets By Solving Community Challenges

The Port will continue to lead critical renewal initiatives for river infrastructure and renewal, including the stabilization of Irishtown Bend and leading the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment & Resiliency (CHEERS) project that will create a new lakefront park with open spaces, trails, fishing and other amenities along roughly 80 acres between the East 55th Street Marina and Gordon Park on the city’s east side.  

“We are steadfastly committed to balancing a working and recreational waterfront,” said Stefan Holmes, Port Board Chairman.  “We have already begun endeavors to build out recreational assets along the riverfront and lake. We are also continuing our efforts to improve the environmental health of the watershed and protect water quality. And, of course, it is critical we continue our focus to ensure unimpeded navigation of the shipping channel and the beneficial re-use of dredged sediments.”  


The economic impact of the Port assessed by a leading national transportation economist concluded that, annually, the Port creates:   

  • 22,368 jobs
  • 4.7 billion in economic activity
  • $240 million in local and state tax revenue

The 2022 review showed that growth since the last economic impact study in 2016 was $100 million more in state and local income and 2,000+ more jobs.  The Port’s development finance capabilities were also assessed – coming in at $5.3 billion secured for 164 projects dating back to 1993. The majority of those projects were within the City of Cleveland. 

County Executive Chris Ronayne said he applauds the Port for “this visionary, forward-thinking program that will not only chart the course for the Port’s success, but also position it to become a leader in economic development and environmental sustainability in the country.”

Port of Cleveland kicks off $60 million Irishtown Bend stabilization project at the Cuyahoga River

CLEVELAND, August 25, 2023 –   Irish immigrants flocked to Cleveland after the potato famine in the 1840s, and an enclave on the near west side became known as Irishtown Bend, named as such because it was alongside a large curve in the meandering Cuyahoga River.  By the 1900s, most Irish residents and other immigrants had left the area. The neighborhood fell into decline and was razed in the 1950s.  Fill material was placed on the hillside in the 1960s which combined with a weak clay layer deep beneath the surface, creates the conditions for a catastrophic landslide that would block shipping.

Today, horns blew from vessels on the river and triggered a community celebration and the start of excavators operating to stabilize the hillside.  The project is reality now after more than a decade of work and collaboration. The $60 million stabilization project sets the stage to transform the hillside into a 23-acre public park and community amenity, in total a $100 million+ project. 

The Port of Cleveland has been leading the effort to stabilize Irishtown Bend since 2010 and credited multiple community stakeholders in getting to this point. 

“Today, we add another pivotal marker to the history of Irishtown Bend,” said Port President and CEO William Friedman. “This project would not be happening without the extensive teamwork and financial support of a variety of government and non-profit entities.  The danger that this hillside could catastrophically collapse into the shipping channel and impact our $4.7 billion million maritime shipping economy and the 22,000 jobs it supports was very real.”

“Protecting this shipping channel is critical to keep our economy flowing, but also a priority for the Port is maximizing the potential of Cleveland’s waterfront – balancing tourism, public access, recreational uses and, of course, vital job-creating industrial uses. All these things mean economic growth and an improved quality of life,” Friedman continued.  

More than $14 million in federal dollars are supporting the project, and Friedman credited Senator Sherrod Brown for being a steadfast advocate on behalf of Greater Cleveland. 

“So many of us have fought for so long to get this project done, and today we finally begin this new chapter for our lake and for Cleveland,” said Senator Brown. “The Irishtown Bend project will play an important role in the continued economic resurgence of Northeast Ohio, connecting communities with the lakefront, protecting vital waterways, and encouraging future economic and maritime development.”

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said “No big project in Cleveland gets done in a vacuum. This is a prime example of what can be accomplished when the private and public sectors align on equitable initiative

in support of all Clevelanders. Partners are critical, and I’d like to thank every agency here for looking at the big picture and planning for the future.”

County Executive Chris Ronayne agreed. 

“Today is an exciting day, as we watch years of planning turn into action,” he said.  “County Executive Chris Ronayne. “The Cuyahoga River valley is seeing a tremendous amount of investment including the completion of the Towpath Trail, the construction of Canal Basin Park, and now the vision for the future of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The protection and stabilization of Irishtown Bend is critical to our economy and I am thrilled that we’ll soon see a new public space, where nature and the Cuyahoga River can be enjoyed by residents for decades to come.”

Councilman Kerry McCormack said he is looking forward to the years ahead, when the stabilized hillside is home to a new park with extensive views of the river and Cleveland’s downtown skyline.

“This project will dramatically change the Cleveland landscape,” he said.  “It is a symbol of Cleveland’s history and a positive reflection of where Cleveland is going.  This is so much more than a major infrastructure project, it is also the foundation for equitable access to new high quality public green space for Cleveland residents, including thousands living in public housing, and visitors of all different backgrounds.”

Friedman recognized Grace Gallucci, Executive Director and CEO of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordination Agency, for being stalwart in her efforts that helped secure nearly half of the funding for the project.

Gallucci said, “This project is crucial to economic development and quality of life in the region, and that’s why NOACA contributed nearly half of the necessary funding to bring it to fruition.’’

In addition to NOACA and the City, County and Federal governments, Friedman acknowledged other key partners and funders including:


West Creek Conservancy

Ohio City Inc.

LAND studio

Cleveland Metroparks


The State of Ohio (including ODNR, ODOT and the Ohio Public Works Commission)


The first step in the stabilization process will be to remove fill material placed on the hillside in the 1960s, which will reduce the forces causing the slope failure when combined with the natural geology of the site. That slope failure has eroded and caused the 2007 closure of Riverbed Road and threatens a key sewer line that services Cleveland’s west side, which will be repaired as well. The project also includes installing more than 2,100 linear feet of bulkhead at the river’s edge.

In addition to the more than $14 million in federal funds, the project includes $14.5 million from the State of Ohio and a total of nearly $19 million from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

Goettle Inc., a Cincinnati-based company with expertise in deep foundations, earth retention systems and marine construction, is the lead contractor on the stabilization project.

Port Board approves contract to begin $60 million stabilization of Irishtown Bend hillside; Work to begin in late summer

CLEVELAND, July 13, 2023 — The Port of Cleveland board or directors today approved the hiring of an Ohio construction company for nearly $60 million to stabilize and rehabilitate the Irishtown Bend hillside, a project critical to maintaining the Cuyahoga River shipping channel that will also lead to the creation of a 23-acre park.

Goettle Inc., a Cincinnati-based company with expertise in deep foundations, earth retention systems and marine construction, is expected to start work on the project by early September. Linda Sternheimer, the Port’s Vice President of Urban Planning and Engagement, said the construction project is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

Irishtown Bend is between West 25th Street and the Cuyahoga River, and between Columbus Road and the Detroit Superior Bridge. Once the hillside is stabilized and the new bulkhead is in place, plans are to transform the area into a park, a major asset for the adjacent neighborhood, which includes about 2,000 public housing residents, as well as for the entire region. The creation of the park brings the total project cost to about $100 million.

The first step in the stabilization process will be to remove fill material placed on the hillside in the 1960s that will reduce the forces causing the slope failure when combined with the natural geology of the site. That slope failure has eroded the roadbed of, and caused the 2007 closure of, Riverbed Road and threatens a key sewer line that services Cleveland’s west side. The project also includes replacing more than 2,100 linear feet of bulkhead

The Port has been leading the effort to stabilize Irishtown Bend since 2013. “Many people don’t understand how much work has been involved in getting us to this point,’’ said Sternheimer. “Such a large infrastructure project requires intricate coordination and funding efforts.  This is a big milestone.’’

Port President and CEO William Friedman said many government entities and non-profits have been crucial partners in getting the project started.

“The danger that this hillside could slip into the shipping channel and impact our waterfront economy and thousands of jobs is very real,’’ he said. “Such a disaster would have drastic, adverse economic ripple effects throughout the region. Many area leaders understood this and supported our efforts.’’

A video simulation of such a collapse can be viewed here.

Friedman noted those leaders included Grace Gallucci, Executive Director and CEO of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordination Agency, which helped secure at least 40 percent of the funding for the project.

“NOACA is very excited to see the Irishtown Bend project finally move forward into the construction phase,” Gallucci said. “”This transportation project is crucial to economic development and quality of life in Northeast Ohio, which is precisely the reason NOACA identified it as regionally significant and contributed nearly half of the necessary funding to bring it to fruition.’’

Additional critical funding for the project has come from the Port, the City of Cleveland and various Ohio and federal agencies.

“Goettle is thrilled to be on the Irishtown Bend project team,” said Brian Heck, the company’s vice president. “We look forward to lending our expertise in sheet pile construction to stabilize the landslide and build the foundation for the future greenway.  We know this is a significant project that has been in the works for a long time.  We are excited to engage not only with the project team but also the community stakeholders to provide a successful, on time and on budget project.’’

The project was delayed by a lawsuit to acquire an easement on the last parcel needed to start stabilization. That delay of more than two years took place during an unprecedented time of inflation in the construction sector. In total, project costs increased 32%, about half of that in steel costs alone, said Sternheimer. To help with that, the Port board today authorized accepting more than $3.5 million in grant funds that they sought from Ohio Department of Transportation Maritime Assistance Program.

Painesville project key to remaking property across from Veterans Park

In other action, the Port board approved providing up to $7 million in conduit bond financing for a $25.1 million project to redevelop a downtown Painesville office building. The Victoria Place Office Building is being redone by Renew Partners and will include residential units and space for offices, retail, restaurants and a conference center. The Cleveland Port is working collaboratively with the Lake County Ohio Port & Economic Development Authority via a Cooperative Agreement which is subject to approval by the Lake County Port board.

When completed, the Victoria Place Office Building will have three stories including 75 residential units, about 29,800 sq. ft. of office space, 7,400 sq. ft. of retail space, 5,800 sq. ft of restaurant space and about 1,200 sq. ft. for a conference center.

The 1.84 acre site is on the Painesville Square, across from Veterans Park. This isn’t Renew’s first project in that immediate area. The company is working with Lake Erie College on student housing at the square.

Renew Partners is a development and management company focused on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings throughout Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga counties. Notable projects include the Historic Hotel Ashtabula; the Historic Mentor Village Mall; the Historic Chardon Port Office; a four-story, 82 room Hampton Inn; AQUA OHIO Operations Center; and Kids College Daycare Center in Ashtabula.

Renew Partners is led by Shawn Neece and Charles Borsukoff. Borsukoff also is chairman of JCI Contractors Inc, the general contractor for Renew’s projects.

“Port bond financing allows us to lock-in a favorable long-term rate, which is the difference in making our project viable,’’ said Neece. “We are very appreciative of the collaboration between the Port, the City of Painesville, and Painesville City Local Schools in making this a reality.”

Port Board Approves $32 Million in Financing for New Roundstone Headquarters, Ensuring the Growing Company Remains in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, June 8, 2023 — The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority agreed today to provide up to $32 million in conduit bond financing for Roundstone Insurance’s new headquarters, helping to keep the growing company in Greater Cleveland and providing the space to accommodate additional employees.

Roundstone Insurance is planning a three-story building with approximately 57,000 square feet of office space located at 19621 Lake Road in Rocky River.

“We’re excited for this next chapter in our company’s history. This financing will help us to build a strong foundation in Rocky River, allowing us to stay and grow in Northeast Ohio,” said Michael Schroeder, president and founder of Roundstone. “We’ve outgrown our current location and this new headquarters will give us the space to attract top talent from the local area, create a positive culture, and keep delivering on our mission: creating affordable, quality healthcare for all.”

The Port Authority is providing taxable lease revenue bonds to assist with financing a portion of project costs. Construction is expected to begin this year with completion anticipated in the third quarter of 2024.

Vocon, a well-known Cleveland architecture firm, is designing the project, which will replace the growing company’s 20,000 square foot office in a former Lakewood church. Roundstone had outgrown the space but was able to make the space work due to remote working conditions over the last several years.

The new headquarters will accommodate Roundstone’s 140 employees and will provide room to add another 100 or more over the next five years.

“This is a winning proposition for business and jobs here in Northeast Ohio,’’ said William Friedman, president and CEO of the Port of Cleveland.  “We’re pleased our economic development incentives can support our region’s companies by assisting with capital financing challenges.”

Roundstone was founded in 2003 and has been recognized as an INC 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies honoree for the past five years. The company provides a solution that gives small and midsize businesses a better alternative for affordable, high-quality healthcare for their employees. Their unique and innovative approach bands employers together in a group captive, enabling them to share costs and self-fund their employee health plans like larger Fortune 500 companies do.

CMSD students & Argonaut cleaning Cuyahoga River, North Coast Harbor; Program also helping prepare students for maritime careers

CLEVELAND, May 25, 2023 — High school students and Argonaut employees are hard at work removing floating debris from the Cuyahoga River and North Coast Harbor using a pair of specially designed tandem Port of Cleveland vessels, Flotsam and Jetsam, that are back in the water to keep the navigation channel clean for commercial and recreational traffic. 

The Port of Cleveland contracts with Argonaut to captain the vessels and work with Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School students.  Argonaut’s mission is to build adventurers through immersive learning experiences that challenge assumptions and shift norms for growing empowered talent in aerospace and maritime fields. Argonaut co-leads the Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. 

Two to three Davis A&M students help out three to four days a week after school and then throughout the summer with the clean-up, as well as helping with special events including River Sweep, Blazing Paddles, rowing regattas and the July 4th boat parade. 

“Annually, the vessels remove on average 300,000 pounds of debris from the water,’’ said Jared Magyar, The Port’s Vice President of Operations and Facilities.

In addition to removing debris from the water, the students help with mechanical, fueling and safety inspections and operations of Flotsam and Jetsam.

Argonaut is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded by D. Andrew Ferguson and Douglas McConnell, incorporates a project-based learning environment and real-life experiences for Cleveland high school students, and increase the number of youths who enter careers in the fields of maritime and aerospace.

The partnership with the high school is growing. Recently the Port’s board of directors approved development of the Maritime Learning and Resource Center for the school.

“We’re enthusiastic about helping these high school students who are interested in careers on the water and keeping our waterways clean and safe,” said William Friedman, Port president and CEO.  “The center will give students a new learning space on the port and place where they can stow some of their gear and store their boats in the winter.”

Flotsam and jetsam are terms that describe two types of marine debris associated with vessels. Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.

To see Flotsam & Jetsam in action:

Port Advances Measures to Create New Lakefront Park, Make the Port Greener & More State of the Art

CLEVELAND – May 11, 2023 — The Port of Cleveland board of directors today took several measures that invest in critical infrastructure and better position the Cleveland Harbor to remain competitive while at the same time enhancing a publicly accessible lakefront.

”Today’s actions solidify our commitments to responsible stewardship of our lake, finding ways to remake the water’s edge into a natural habitat to be enjoyed by more people and continuing to modernize our port to maximize economic and community benefit,” said William Friedman, Port president & CEO.  Below are summaries of key board actions approved today:

Continued progress on CHEERS project with added design and engineering work

The Port board approved additional consultant services with Arup, a global engineering consultant, to take the CHEERS project to the next level of design.  The additional services will be paid for from a $2 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

CHEERS is short for the Cleveland Harbor Eastern Embayment Resilience Strategy, a collaborative effort with partners including the Cleveland Metroparks, the City of Cleveland, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the nonprofit Black Environmental Leaders Association.

When complete, the project will create a new lakefront park with open spaces, trails, fishing and other amenities along roughly 80 acres between the East 55th Street Marina and Gordon Park on the city’s east side.

“This project will be transformational for the city and particularly east side neighborhoods that currently do not have the same access to lakefront property as those who are living on the west side,” Friedman said. “We are committed to engaging community members throughout the planning and development of the site.”

The parkland would be developed using clean sediment dredged along the navigation channels, with the Port spearheading the creation of the in-water infrastructure to create the park on top of it, which will be led by the Metroparks. The park will fully be developed over the next two decades, but construction by the Port can begin potentially within the next three years with the initial park phase open within the next seven years.

Investments in improved infrastructure, environmental sustainability

A combination of port funds along with state and federal grants will be invested in significant port upgrades:

  • Zero Emissions Master Plan for General Cargo Terminal and development of a Maritime Learning and Resource Center for CMSD students: Approved today was the first contract in support of what is currently estimated to be a $34 million dollar project to modernize a key warehouse on-site, expand stormwater collection and treatment, and upgrade the electric infrastructure servicing the Port Authority’s General Cargo Terminal to prepare it for the next 50 years.

 The modernization project will include power upgrades to the terminal and a complete rehab and upgrade of “Warehouse A,” built more than 50 years ago. The improved 144,000-square-foot warehouse will become an electric distribution hub for the rest of the port, allowing cargo handlers and crane operators to switch from diesel combustion engines to more environmentally-friendly battery-electric and other zero-emission emerging industrial power alternatives.

Friedman said the Port is enthusiastic about the development of the Maritime Learning and Resource Center for students from the Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School, part of the Cleveland Municipal School District.

“The Port has enjoyed partnering with this program in the past several years and helping these high school students who are interested in careers on the water and keeping our waterways clean and safe,” Friedman said.  “This facility will give them a learning space on the port and place where they can stow some of their gear and store their boats in the winter.”

  • New storage containment capacity for dredge materials: With all permanent fill storage capacity exhausted, the Port must construct new storage containment facilities in advance of next year’s dredge season. The cost – slightly over $1 million — will be recovered by fees paid for by users of the facilities.
  • Improvements to the dock used for the Cleveland-Europe Express: The Port of Cleveland is the only Great Lakes port with regular container service to Europe. Directors today approved a bid to pave and improve the infrastructure of Dock 20N, which is used for the Cleveland-Europe Express. The existing surface of the dock needs to be upgraded to handle the growth of containerized cargo.  The project will cost slightly over $4 million. Funds will come from a grant awarded to the Port by the Ohio Maritime Assistance Program, ODOT and Port matching funds.

Port of Cleveland’s Board approves funding for Bridgeworks’ downtown redevelopment project

Cleveland, OH (April 13, 2023) – The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s Board of Directors approved a financing agreement with Bridgeworks LLC for the redevelopment of the former Cuyahoga County parking garage into a mixed-use building. The Bridgeworks Project, located on W. Superior and Detroit Ave., will feature a 130-room hotel, 140 residential units (70 of which will be affordable housing), a 120-seat restaurant and bar, office space, and ground floor retail.

“It’s an exciting time for downtown Cleveland, and the Bridgeworks Project is the latest renovation effort that the Port has made possible for our city,” said Rhonda Winslow, Vice President of Development Finance for the Port of Cleveland. “Transforming an old parking garage into a newly designed mixed-use attraction will be a direct and tangible benefit to both Cleveland residents and visitors.”

The Board approved two resolutions Thursday related to financing the Bridgeworks Project. One authorizes the issuance and sale of $80 million in taxable Lease Revenue Bonds and the other authorizes the issuance and sale of $4.23 million of taxable Bond Fund Tax Increment Financing Bonds.

The project developer, M. Panzica Development, plans to complete construction on the Bridgeworks Project by Q4 of 2024. Total costs for the project are an estimated $103,096,325.