SOLD: Lakewood Center North Under New Ownership

The Kowit & Passov Real Estate group closed the deal this week on the acquisition of Lakewood Center North at 14600 Detroit Avenue for just under $3.4 million.

The same folks who brought success to the Bailey and INA buildings on Detroit Avenue are looking to take some of their talents across the street to the largest commercial property of its kind in Lakewood.

The Kowit & Passov Real Estate group closed the deal this week on the acquisition of Lakewood Center North at 14600 Detroit Avenue for just under $3.4 million.

That news comes after the 258,470-square-foot building — among the largest commercial structures in Lakewood and certainly the tallest — has seen its number of tenants dwindle in recent years to about 50 percent occupancy.

United Transportation Union, an AFL-CIO labor union affiliate representing railroad workers, was headquartered in the building until it moved to North Olmsted a few years ago — taking an estimated 175 jobs with it.

Kaiser-Permanente followed suit, vacating its offices last year.

Brad Kowit, who couldn’t be reached for this story, co-owns several other properties in the area — including the INA Building and Bailey Building across the street.

That downtown city block has undergone a complete transformation in the past couple years, with tenants that include the University of Akron, Eddie ‘N Eddie, Panera Bread and World of Beer (expected to open this spring).

More of the same is expected at Lakewood Center North.

“I think we’re ripe for a local owner,” Mayor Michael Summers recently told Lakewood Patch. “Brad Kowit has been a heavy investor in Lakewood.”

An out-of-state investment group had owned Lakewood Center North.

The property houses New York Life Insurance, the largest employer left in the building. 

“Its occupancy is pretty low right now,” added Summers. “We sure would like to get some more action in that building.”

Built in the late-1960s, Lakewood Center North was part of the high-rise commercial development boom in that era.

“The INA building was such a success, that the thought was ‘let’s build another,’” said Summers.

Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, said he believes that the new ownership will bring a fresh approach to the property.

He said that the building could be “mixed use,” adding that “residential isn’t about of the question.” 

Siley also pointed out that the recent study showed that location is a prime spot for a hotel in downtown Lakewood. 

“Kowit & Passov’s acquisition of Lakewood Center North indicates a likely bright future for the life of that building,” he said. “I look forward to working with them on the figuring out the next life of what Lakewood Center North will be.”

Carol Hart February 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM
A hotel here would be fantastic. Everyone I've talked to about this agrees. Great for businesses around the area.
ian king February 22, 2013 at 11:46 PM
and Carol, lets make sure that any hotel developed downtown Lakewood has an outdoor dining/patio area with a fireplace that works 9 months of the year, and in the fall/early winter portable heaters so we can still eatoutside and how about cool jet stream sprayers - like they have in Palm Springs - for those humid, hot summer evenings. i recommend the new owners take a look at a great boutique hotel in downtown grand rapids that has proved highly successful as both a place to stay and a place to eat/gather/have a drink. cityflatshote.com is their web site. it markets itself also has a green hotel, something that is just not available here in ne ohio. this would make it stand out among its competition and would guarantee both local and national press. make it a green hotel with a hip vibe restaurant and i don't see how it cannot be a success. CITY FLATS HOTEL, Grand Rapids, is the future of hotels for small towns like Lakewood! Make it happen Mayor!
ian king February 22, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Hi again - forgot to add, PLEASE lets not rush and put yet another chain hotel in downtown Lakewood. we have enough chain restaurants now, PLEASE folks and city government think long term and outside the rust belt box. I stayed in the City Flats Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids, and it was amazing and made really have a great time in that city. It is small, only 28 room, but everything about it was first class and unique. We don't need a Hampton Inn, Marriott, etc. They are in all the suburbs. Lets create a unique Lakewood original - something we can be proud of in 10 years. And how about letting Nature's Bin supply the morning donuts, etc. and lets have Sweet Designs provide the turndown chocolate treat, and lets have local flowers from Lakewood florists, coffee from The Root, etc. In other words, be creative, think local, and cross-market all the other businesses in Lakewood. Lakewood HAS to be creative to survive a very tough future - move beyond the rust belt into 21st century and we may be able to survive!
Bob Beck February 23, 2013 at 09:01 AM
Bring back the flower beds in front of Lkwd Ctr No. and on the Belle Avenue side! While you're at it, can anybody do anything about the ratty "landscaping" at the parking garage behind the Lakewood Center North Building?
ian king February 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Hi Bob, great comments! It seems to me that there is such a lack of visual/vision for Lakewood streetscape. It is soooo very piecemeal block by block. NO cohesion or long term perspective when you walk Detroit or Madison. Until that happens the "downtown" of Lakewood will be merely a suggestion rather than a reality. The new signage of a few years ago helped a lot but was more of a benefit for car drivers than pedestrians. The city planners should: 1. In the summer, start at Planatation block and go to Breadsmith on Detroit and hang baskets with flowers. Get volunteers to monitor and keep them clean, fresh, etc. 2. Coordinate bus stops. Don't let the bus stop in front of INA building be the norm. Yes, it is artful, but silly when compared to the reality of the streetscape experience in downtown Lakewood. It will age and look like a cartoon! 3. Either repaint the fading Flag Mural across from Chipotle, or better yet, get rid of it. It doesn't really represent Lakewood at all, and it looks very outdated. Have a contest and get a mural that presents most citizens of Lakewood today - and hopefully one that is not political, or nationalistic in its spirit. We are divided enough as a country today. Think like the murals in the library - something that has to do with Lakewood, not the American flag. 4. How about restoring the clock also by Chipotle? That whole structure look ragged. Just some ideas about creating a real sense of a downtown - not just talking about it.
Bob Beck February 23, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Ian ... great comments to you as well. But there is a vision for Lakewood streetscapes.especially in Downtown Lakewood......it's called LakewoodAlive. Lots of flowers in front of businesses in the Spring and Summer and a dedicated volunteer staff to keep them flowering! Yah, we need more. Only thing about hanging baskets...they swing and sway in the wind and fall on people and make a mess. HEY how about some streetscape in front of the new Discount Drug Mart strip? It's just a brick and concrete mecca now. Ian, they need your input at LakewoodAlive...really!
Charles Shaughnessy February 25, 2013 at 04:13 PM
A minor correction. Lakewood Center North (LCN) was not built in the 1960's as stated in the article. Demolition of the predecessor buildings began in the spring of 1972. We had been renters in the apartments on the second floor, above the previous location of Rozi's Wine House.
Cbdactivist February 25, 2013 at 09:12 PM
I think it is a very positive step in the right direction for Lakewood.
Dawn February 27, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Consider adding a rooftop restaurant at LCN building!
ian king February 27, 2013 at 04:25 AM
Hi Dawn - great outside the box creative thinking! that would be awesome!
Bob Beck February 27, 2013 at 05:10 AM
Well yah, it's creative thinking...but what are you going to do with all the air conditioning units and the transmission antennae up there. There's just no room for any of that stuff. And Ian, about the hotel patio...not at Lakewood Center North. The restaurant has all the best space tied up for that.


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