csu to raze viking hall, its first dorm, to clear way for development

The bunker-like concrete building at the corner of Euclid and E. 22nd was built in 1971 as a Holiday Inn. It became Cleveland State University’s first dormitory in 1986. Over the years, Viking Hall has come to be seen as something of a relic — and a barrier to the new, outward-focused identity of the university.

Now, after being closed since 2010 when CSU opened the nearby Euclid Commons residential development, the Campus District eyesore is set to be demolished. CSU has applied for a $2 million “Clean Ohio Fund” grant to help pay for asbestos removal and demolition, and university officials have stated their intention to bring the building down as soon as possible. Grant awards from the Ohio Department of Development will be announced in November.

CSU aims to turn the site into a $50 million commercial, retail and residential development. Currently, the university is preparing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to obtain ideas from developers for potential uses of the property.

The demolition of Viking Hall and preparation of the site for future development is part of a larger effort by the university to transform its campus into a more welcoming, more residential campus. Promoting student life and building a walkable campus environment and retail amenities will encourage students to apply to CSU while helping to improve the neighborhood, say university officials. CSU also received a boost from the completion of the Euclid Corridor project, which has improved infrastructure and spurred new development in the area.

CSU officials plan to use the project to better link Euclid with Wolstein Center to the south. A public walkway or green space are possibilities. The university would like to find a developer for the site by sometime next year, and begin construction by 2013. CSU plans to remain involved in the development project to ensure that its outcome aligns with the goals of the campus Master Plan.

Adding to a slew of recently completed development projects, the university also has announced plans to partner with Polaris Real Estate Equities to develop Campus Village, a $45 million, 308-unit project being built on Chester at E. 22nd that aims to attract faculty, staff, graduate students, professors and young professionals to live on campus.

Fresh Water Cleveland, 8/18/11

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