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The AT&T Building, Cleveland, Ohio
Viewed high above the intersection of East Ninth Street and Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland, the office tower at 45 Erieview Plaza shimmers in the late afternoon winter sun.
Completed in 1983 as the headquarters office facility of the former Ameritech telephone company — one of the ‘Baby Bells’ — this commercial high-rise building is now known as The AT&T Building. Over the past century, the company headquartered there has thus come full circle — from being a division of AT&T in the 1890s to becoming a division of AT&T again by 2006.
All of the original Bell Telephone companies (including all nine of the ‘Baby Bells’) were once part of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T). Within Ohio, the company’s operations were known as the Ohio Bell Telephone Company, with headquarters at first in an area now subsumed by Tower City Center. Later those headquarters moved to Huron Road, and then to Erieview Tower.
As telephone technology and digital transmission and switching expanded through the 1970s, Ohio Bell felt the need for additional space for growth. Planning therefore began on a new 400,000+ square-foot headquarters office facility, to be located within the remainder of the Erieview urban renewal area along East Ninth Street.
In mid-1981, ground was broken on this 16-story, 253-foot tall high-rise, designed by the Cleveland architectural firms of Dalton, Dalton & Newport and Madison-Madison International. Banded in pale gray granite and reflective gray glass, the structure’s curved northwesterly façade reflects the nearby cityscape. The upper office floors are stacked atop a boldly structured base of gray granite, and the fenestration of upper floors varies by cardinal direction and solar orientation.
The structure’s unique shape forms a distinct silhouette within the office corridor of East Ninth Street. The facility is also a good neighbor, nicely complementing and coordinating with the varied structures surrounding it.
The headquarters building opened in 1983, and in the past 30+ years has undergone the name changes associated with continuing evolution in corporate ownership and consolidation: Ohio Bell to Ameritech to SBC to AT&T.
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