The long-shuttered historic Santa Fe Railroad depot in Cleveland now belongs to Tomi-ko Bowers and son, Jacob Bowers, both of Cleveland.
Two years after purchasing the depot for $40,000 from Bobby Howell, the City of Cleveland decided to cut its losses and sell the depot to the Bowers for $20,000. The Bowers were awarded the bid for the depot purchase at the Feb. 21 city council meeting.
The depot had become problematic for the City over the last two years. The first issue was finding the right location to move it from its current location next to City Glass on Manthey Street. Council and city leaders had considered moving the depot to a property next to the civic center, but the move alone is estimated to be upwards of $70,000.
The City also invested another $32,000 to have BRW Architects create a design for how the depot would look after renovations. Altogether, the City spent $72,000 on the depot to only recoup $20,000 through the sale.
The good news for Cleveland residents is that the Bowers family intends to restore the depot and move it to a prominent location in the city where it can be enjoyed for future generations.
“I saw the building a long time ago, and I’ve always loved it,” said Tomi-ko Bowers.
The Bowers plan to relocate the depot on Washington Ave., next to Anytime Fitness, on a plot of land they already own. They also hope to restore it to its original condition and make it available for a business of some type. For now, they are happy just to own an important piece of Cleveland’s history.
“The biggest thing for us is to be able to use the building, but we wanted to get it and see it. When I started doing a lot of research on it, there are a lot of those depots that are almost identical to it – all over the place in the U.S. We just don’t know how many of these old railroad depots are left,” said Jacob.