Lyndhurst Mayor Patrick Ward said he is trying to remain optimistic as the city’s largest employer, Cleveland Clinic, prepares to vacate its Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and sell the former TRW campus.
The hospital system is relocating the 400 employees at 1900 Richmond Road to its administrative campus 3.4 miles away at the former MBNA headquarters at Beachwood’s Science Park.
“I am honored that the Cleveland Clinic will be expanding its footprint,” Beachwood Mayor Martin S. Horwitz said in a statement. “We value our partnership with the Cleveland Clinic and are happy to welcome more of their world-class employees to our city.”
Cleveland Clinic is also Beachwood’s largest employer.
Angela Smith, director of corporate communications for Cleveland Clinic, confirmed the relocation plan for the Lyndhurst offices, which were used for administrative purposes and wellness appointments.
“We have entered into an agreement to list the Lyndhurst campus for sale,” she wrote in a July 1 email. “Soon, we will begin consolidating certain areas at our Beachwood location … in preparation for relocating approximately 400 employees. We should have more details later this summer.”
Ward said the loss of $850,000 in income tax revenue will be significant to Lyndhurst. The next largest single employer, the South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District, contributes about $350,000 in income tax, he said.
Eclipsing that loss of income, Ward is concerned about the future of the 98-acre campus, which includes the 16,000-square-foot Bolton mansion, a former farm, as well as the 480,000- square-foot former corporate headquarters of TRW, all of which were donated to Cleveland Clinic after TRW was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2002.
“I only have one ask that I have repeated over and over again,” Ward told the Cleveland Jewish News on July 2. “And that is that the Clinic maintain its presence in our city until such time as the property is ready to transition to whatever new ownership, new use, whatever comes forward.”
Smith said the timing of the move will depend on the sale.
“Planning is just getting started and we are committed to working closely with the city during this transition,” she wrote.
Ward said the property occupies a critical place in the watershed and has historical significance. The Bolton mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was home to Frances and Chester Bolton, who both served in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We have wetlands,” he said. “The Euclid Creek runs through there.”
Ward said stream restoration on the property has been done by watershed groups in concert with Cleveland Clinic.
“And yet there could be some development there that … could actually, with the right type of work, help further retain water up here and kind of send it more slowly downstream and assist in mitigating flooding in communities to our north, because we’re holding water back.”
The parcel is sandwiched between Legacy Village and Hawken School. It is across the street from the former Acacia Country Club, now Acacia Reservation.
“The significance to Acacia (Reservation) and everything that’s going on at Acacia, restoring that property to its natural status, is really and primarily the benefit to the watershed,” Ward said.
Ideally, Ward would like to see a “significant” corporate presence at the former TRW headquarters and what he called “conscious housing development on the west side of the building that could have some synergy with Legacy Village, perhaps.”
Lyndhurst realized immediate tax losses when defense contractor TRW pulled out in 2002 and donated the property to the nonprofit Cleveland Clinic.
“Not only did the city lose the income tax generated by the executives of TRW, the city of Lyndhurst and the schools and the county lost the taxable valuation, which was then on a $61 million value,” he said. “If it had not been for the fact that Legacy Village was coming online just as that was going off line, we really would have gone under.”
In the 16 years Cleveland Clinic has owned the parcel, Ward said the parcel has been “under-maintained and underutilized.”
Ward said he realizes hospitals choose visible locations from highways, contrasting the site of the former TRW headquarters, which is nestled in a wooded area largely hidden from roadside view.
“I’ve known forever that this was not a sustainable situation given what hospitals are looking for from a visibility standpoint,” he said. “If you’re not going to make a significant commitment to a significant piece of property, it’s not going to be long for this world. The relationship has got to end. … That being said, there is a moral obligation to take what you were given as a gift and return it in some proper way back to the community that has supported it. It’s just the right thing to do.”