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Eaton Center, Cleveland, Ohio

Updated on June 8, 2010
Eaton Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Eaton Center, Cleveland, Ohio

This all-glass-clad edifice towering 356 feet above the intersection of East 12th Street and Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland is the Eaton Center.

Originally called Superior Square (prior to the Fortune 500 Eaton Corporation taking much of the office space and the naming rights), this building was one component of the city’s 1980s building boom. Completed in 1983, the tower marked the first time in almost twenty years that the city had seen any new construction at the eastward fringe of its central urban core of high-rises.

Conception of this office tower began with the decision by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to lease land previously occupied by a religious school to a private developer, The Oliver Tyrone Corporation. Plans were soon developed, and by mid-1981, Turner Construction began work erecting the new office building.

Designed by the Chicago architectural office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Superior Square rose as a stair-stepped structure, seemingly composed of an octagonal tower of 25 stories embedded in an adjoining octagonal tower of 28 stories. Both clad in reflective near-black glass from pavement to parapet, and occupying virtually every square inch of their site, these two forms physically and visually dominate the surrounding urban space. The sole visual relief in the towers are the large square mechanical louvers (also black) set into the glass façades at mid-height.

By the time of the structure’s completion, Eaton Corporation — having become cramped in their previous Erieview Tower offices — committed to occupying about a third of the new building’s 614,000 square feet, and Superior Square was promptly renamed Eaton Center. Eaton developed a three-floor executive suite at the top of the structure, while the ground floor contains some retail/commercial space.

By about 2005, Eaton Corporation again began contemplating relocation. One contender for its new headquarters was the Flats East Bank development proposed along the Cuyahoga River by local developer Scott Wolstein, Chairman of DDR. However, by late 2009, Eaton had decided instead to move to the Chagrin Highlands Corporate Community of The Richard E. Jacobs Group and Scott Technologies in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, and began design of its next new headquarters.


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