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James Kassouf, a longtime real estate owner and parking lot operator, leads an investor group that recently purchased a 40-story building located in downtown Cleveland. The Galleria and Tower at Erieview property sold for $17.7 million at the beginning of August.


The property was listed for sale last year at an undisclosed price by lender-owner RAIT Financial Trust of Philadelphia.


James Kassouf already has renovations plans for the Galleria and Tower at Erieview, located at East 12th Street and St. Clair Avenue. He hopes the renovations will help to bring the building back to its former glory. Currently, the building has 12 empty floors that he plans to convert into 220 luxury apartment units. The Tower lobby will be renovated, and the current tenant suites will be updated, along with the elevators and other various mechanical features.


In 2017, the building was approved to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The designation makes the building eligible for federal historic tax credits, which can be used to help cover the renovations cost. The designation may help to accelerate the plan for redevelopment.


While the building already has a 400-spot parking garage, Kassouf plans to convert a former cafeteria into parking spaces, creating an additional 90 parking spaces. He also plans to add 100 valet spaces for tenants and residents. The Kassouf family has a 40-year history of as the operators of parking lots located in downtown Cleveland. The family currently operates Metro Parking Systems.


In addition to parking areas, the Kassouf group also the nearby property where the FBI regional headquarters is housed. Having two decades of real estate experience in the Cleveland area, Kassouf has stated he intends to operate this property long term.


James Kassouf is excited at the idea of revitalizing one of the most recognizable pieces of property in Cleveland. As the fourth-tallest building in the city, the Galleria and Tower have been a staple of Cleveland since its construction in 1964. The building has 703,000 square feet of office space, 250,000 of which is empty. Currently, the building has several office tenants, restaurants, local businesses, and a YMCA. Two law firms also reside in the building, Walter Haverfield and Weston Hurd.