Drury Hotels top bidder for Cleveland schools downtown building, sale not official

CLEVELAND - A hotel chain was the top bidder at an auction for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's downtown administrative building, but it hasn't officially been sold.

Five groups attended the auction event on Thursday at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel, the school district said. Drury Hotels had the highest bid for the historic property at East 6th Street and St. Clair Avenue of $4.83 million.

"We see approximately 175 to 180 units of a Drury Plaza with restaurant and full amenities for a full-service hotel," said Dennis Vollink, president of Drury Hotels.

Drury Hotels has seven hotels already in Ohio, including three in the Columbus area.

"When we looked at the surrounding area, the sports teams, the casino, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the lake, city city, everything that's going on, we thought it would be a great mix for us," Rick Drury said. "Our success is tied to the success of the city and we know this is a significant building."

The CMSD school board approved putting the six-story building up for auction, but will still have to formally accept the offer. Officials said the district expects to save more than $13 million over 10 years by moving out of the downtown headquarters.

"What we've sought all along in this process is an understanding of the real market value of this property," said board chair Denise Link, in a news release on Thursday. "The auction does not mean that the building has been sold.  What it does mean is that the Board can now make an informed decision about whether it should accept the bid and move forward with the sale."

The auction was organized by national real estate firm CBRE and Cleveland-based Chartwell Auctions.

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