DLR Group Tapped to Lead Planning for Cleveland Justice Center

By Aziza Jackson

CLEVELAND — The DLR Group was recently selected to lead the planning process for renovating or replacing the Cuyahoga County Justice Center located in downtown Cleveland.

According to Cleveland.com, the outdated justice center currently houses Cleveland Municipal Court and the county’s main jail and Common Pleas Court. DLR Group, which recently combined with local design firm Westlake Reed Leskosky, will reportedly help a 12-member committee of city and county officials determine what to do with the downtown Justice Center over the next year.

Cleveland.com reports that among the issues to decide are:

  • Whether to build a new center, renovate or some combination of the two (including whether to locate the courts and jail in the same facility, or separate them)
  • How much the county can afford to pay
  • What features should be in the future Justice Center
  • How much space is needed for courts, jail and other operations
  • The criteria that will be used to select a site if the committee decides to build

What reportedly set the DLR Group apart from its two other competitors HDR and HOK, were its subcontractors. According to Cuyahoga County Administrative Judge John J. Russo, it was the subcontractors’ expertise in planning for a new jail that would be beneficial for the project. Those subtractors will reportedly include Chinn Planning Inc. and Pulitzer/Bogard & Associates, which reportedly have expertise in jail medical and mental-health facilities.

“The key for us came down to the jail, and who was the strongest in team presentation in dealing with the jail, mental health (and) safety. This group clearly rose above,” Russo said to Cleveland.com.

Attorney Jeff Appelbaum, who reportedly represents the county during the planning and selection process, said to Cleveland.com that Dan L. Wiley & Associates, one of DLR Group’s subcontractors, will focus on the needs of new or renovated court facilities.

Andrew Cupples, of the DLR Group, will reportedly serve as the project’s leader for the overall project. Cleveland.com reports that once programming is complete, planners can move to the design stage of the project. The whole process is reportedly estimated to take at least five years, and could cost about $800 million, possibly making it the costliest project in the county’s history.

A report from Cleveland.com contributed to this story