On May 28, 1997, the General Services Administration broke ground for the first federal courthouse to be built in Cleveland in over 87 years. The new courthouse will meet the federal court's space needs into the early years of the 21st century. The structure has a gross area of 727,000 square feet for courtrooms, judges' chambers, Clerk of the U.S. District Court, U.S. Attorney, U.S. Pretrial Services and Probation Office, U.S. Marshals Service, and other court related agencies.
Situated at the northeast corner of the site, the building rises 22 stories (430 feet) above its entrance on Huron Road with the curved side overlooking the river. Above the seventh floor, the juncture of the two flat sides is clipped, forming a diagonal fourth wall oriented to downtown and the Terminal Tower. The project is one of the first in Cleveland using metric measurement throughout construction. It also employs a mat foundation as a cost saving alternative to drilling deep caissons. The buildings entire 55,000 ton weight rests on a 6-7 foot thick concrete mat. Pouring the mat took approximately 1,000 truckloads of cement, but was about 60% of the cost of digging and pouring deep caissons. The design visually relates to neighboring buildings. The roof line of the seven story base, corresponding to the height of nearby buildings, is sharply marked off with setbacks and cornices that repeat the architecture of a previous era. The shaft, accented with gray and light limestone, rises fifteen levels above the base and is capped with a large, distinctive abstraction of the cornices below.
Views from the courtroom lobbies in the high rise tower look towards downtown and the historic Howard M. Metzenbaum U. S. Court House on Superior Avenue built in 1910. Facing the corner of Huron Road and Superior Avenue, the buildings monumental entrance will feature a sculpture of Justice, commissioned through GSA's Art-in-Architecture program. The new Carl B. Stokes U. S. Court House is considered a major addition to the Civic Structures in Cleveland, and a distinguished addition to the Cleveland skyline. The design will provide efficient and economical workspace for the U. S. Courts and other federal agencies. It is a state of the art facility giving visual testimony to the enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American government.
The new facility houses the court and court-related agencies. The mix of courtrooms includes ten district (including one special proceedings and five senior judge courtrooms) and six magistrate judge courtrooms. The Bankruptcy Court will remain in the existing courthouse. The building will accommodate the 10-year growth requirements of the U.S. District Courts with potential to add space on the same site in the future.
The new building is situated on more than five acres overlooking the Cuyahoga River at Superior Avenue and Huron Road. The address is 801 West Superior Avenue. The site is a landmark location that anchors the eastern end of a major redevelopment corridor. The location of the building was carefully considered to provide a secure setback yet maintain a very identifiable public entry. Detailed study was given to the scale of the building to the site in order to establish a monumental building mass without compromising the view corridor.