The MainStreet Cleveland and Museum Center at Five Points board member, and former president of each, plans to offer the use of a 15,000-square-foot building at the corner of Inman and Church streets. The two-story structure, owned by his family, was the original downtown headquarters of Cleveland Bank & Trust before its acquisition by First Tennessee Bank.
The facility had continued to be used as a downtown branch by First Tennessee until about a year ago. It is currently vacant.
Lillios, who is offering the building’s use rent-free for the first year, will appear before City Council members at the 2 p.m. work session at the Cleveland Municipal Building, which is only a few doors down from the building in question.
“This might be a way to get this rolling,” Lillios said Saturday. The Cleveland native said he became aware of the interest by Cleveland City Council and the Bradley County Commission to bring the city and county planning functions and permitting, together under the same roof for a “one-stop-shop” operation.
Such a plan, which was recommended earlier this month by members of the Joint Planning and Inspections Study Committee, would better convenience developers and the public without disrupting the autonomy of either government group. Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland has endorsed the co-location initiative, as have some county governmental leaders.
However, the problem is neither government jurisdiction has an adequate facility for such a conjoined operation — nor a budget for new construction. In an Aug. 9 appearance before City Council members, Study Committee Chairman Tom Cate, an area developer and Cleveland Municipal Planning Commission member, said the group would remain intact to help find a location if the concept is approved by both city and county government bodies.
After learning of local governments’ interest in co-locating the planning and permitting functions, but not having a viable answer due to money constraints, Lillios said he made the decision to offer the former bank with the one-year, rent-free incentive.
Lillios has forwarded his business offer to Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel in a letter that is included in City Council members’ pre-meeting informational packages.
The businessman outlined his proposal and also included three options for the Council’s consideration should local government choose to extend the building’s use beyond one year. Lillios’ proposal for the first year includes:
n Local government will pay no rent or other compensation for the 12-month period starting from the time this offer is presented at the Aug. 24 Council meeting.
n No requirements will be made of local government beyond the 12-month term.
n Local government will have first option during the term.
n Local government will be responsible for utilities, storm damage and vandalism, any build-out items, maintenance of the parking lot and building to include roof and HVAC, and property taxes which total $6,334.
n The drive-through awning must remain.
“This offer is made without requirement for an extended lease beyond the 12-month time frame,” the Lillios letter reads. “It is, however, my hope that your departments will make good use of the facilities and that the taxpayers of this community will appreciate the convenience of the central location and you will therefore wish to extend your time with a rental agreement.”
Lillios also outlines three rental options beyond the first year if local government chooses to stay in the building. They include:
n Option A: Annual rent of $48,000; landlord’s responsibilities include roof, HVAC, storm damage and taxes; and tenant is responsible for utilities, all build-out items, and building and parking lot maintenance. The tenant has right of first refusal.
n Option B: Annual rent of $54,000; landlord is responsible for roof, HVAC, storm damage, taxes, completion of the basement as laid out, and removal of the drive-through; tenant is responsible for utilities, and building and parking lot maintenance. The tenant has the right of first refusal.
n Option C: Annual rent of $38,500; the landlord has no responsibilities; tenant’s responsibilities include utilities, roof, HVAC, storm damage, taxes, all build-out items, and building and parking lot maintenance. The drive-through remains and the tenant will have the right of first refusal.
Constructed in 1967, the concrete-walled building has two floors, a 5,000-square-foot unfinished basement, an open lobby on the main floor with office space above, three vaults, three drive-through stalls and a night deposit vault, an elevator to all floors and dumbwaiter, and 30 parking spaces on-site. It has about 20 on-street parking spaces and another eight to 10 in the drive-through area.
Lillios said the building was originally constructed for Cleveland Bank & Trust and that the basement was built as a fall-out/bomb shelter because of the Cold War era.
Lillios said he understands how bringing the city and county planning and permitting departments under one roof can benefit the community.
In his letter to the city manager and City Council, he adds, “I also understand from your discussions that there is both a lack of available space in either governing bodies’ current facilities to hold the entire group and that there is a lack of funds for such facilities until which time the economy returns city income to higher levels. It is with that in mind that I would like to assist your efforts toward this worthy endeavor.”