Boutique Kimpton Schofield Hotel: historic on the outside, modern on the inside

The Kimpton Schofield Hotel opened its doors on March 8 with a host of signature features and perks including being pet friendly, offering free bicycle use, and hosting a nightly wine happy hour.

The renovated 14-story Schofield Building houses 122 hotel rooms and six suites on floors two through seven, with 52 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments on the upper floors.

Cleveland architect Levi Schofield constructed the building in 1901 just steps from his childhood home in the boarding house his father built. The $50 million project included six years of renovation to restore the building’s exterior to its original 1901 glory, for which developer CRM Companies secured $5 million in historic state tax credits.

“It was a very exciting project,” says Jeff Smith, principal director with StudioCRM, the architect firm charged with the restoration. “It’s great to finally see it come to fruition and people enjoying it.”

The process began in earnest in 2009 when crews removed a fiberglass curtain that shrouded the original brick and terra cotta façade and dated back to the 1960s. By the time that segment of the project was done in 2010, Smith was looking at a beautiful, albeit beaten up, Cleveland landmark.

“It was in pretty rough shape,” recalls Smith when the original exterior was revealed. “A lot of detail was broken off from the curtain wall.”

The team, which included StudioCRM, CRM Companies, Cleveland Construction, preservation consultant Sandvick Architects and New York-based brand design firm Warren Red, set about repairing and replicating the exterior details and creating an appropriate look for the interior.

Shields with letters that spell out “Schofield” and the date of the building’s construction were recreated. They line the building about two-thirds of the way up and are illuminated at night.

“Pieces that were no longer intact were replaced with terra cotta or RFP,” explains Smith. “It was a painstaking process to recreate.”

More than 1,000 windows that had been reduced in size with the curtain wall were returned to their original sizes and openings. The new windows, which actually open, offer spectacular views of Cleveland.

<span class="content-image-text">Shields with letters that spell out “Schofield” were recreated and line the side of the building</span>Shields with letters that spell out “Schofield” were recreated and line the side of the building

“There are awesome views out of the building in all directions,” says Smith. “You can see the lake, Playhouse Square, Public Square, East Ninth Street and you can see toward Gateway.”

Of course the most prominent view is that of the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Public Square, which Schofield also designed. “He was a bit of an egoist,” says Marcie Gilmore, a marketing consultant for the Kimpton who led a tour of the hotel and apartments for members for the Cleveland Restoration Society last Saturday. “He built this building with the purpose of seeing his work on Public Square.”

There was not much historical significance to the interior, Smith says, other than the center staircase that runs throughout the building and features Schofield’s signature “S” on each newell post. “Everything else is new,” he says. “There wasn’t much left.”

<span class="content-image-text">The view down Euclid Ave of the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Public Square</span>The view down Euclid Ave of the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Public Square

However, Smith did pay homage to Schofield and Cleveland’s history with the décor. Kimpton extensively researches their hotel's host cities, says Gilmore, and hotel planners incorporate each city’s personality into the motif.

In Cleveland that means guitars in the lobby that guests can borrow as a nod to the Rock Hall, a map of the world with push pins for them to mark their hometowns and a “good news board” by the elevator bank for broadcasting positive local news.

Since Levi Schofield was a founding member of a group that collected and discussed animal specimens called the Cleveland Ark Club, many of the Kimpton rooms feature prints of different insects and butterflies. Other artwork includes prints of historic matchbook covers from Cleveland businesses.

The lobby will will be flanked by retail space at the north end of the building and will also connect to the forthcoming Parker’s Downtown restaurant. The hotel also features a 3,800-square-foot ballroom.

<span class="content-image-text">One of the suites in the hotel</span>One of the suites in the hotel

The apartments feature stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, slate back splashes and walnut trim. The floor plans range from about 700 to 3,000 square feet, with corresponding monthly rents of $1,495 to $7,200. Thus far, 13 of the apartments are occupied. When the historic state tax credits expire in five years, Kimpton may convert the apartments to condominiums.

Hotel rates are running at a discounted rate of about $130 to $160 a night this month as the hotel ramps up, but will increase next month. Gilmore says rooms at the Kimpton Schofield are going for a premium and outpacing other area hotels for the Republican National Convention in July.

About 100 people are employed by the hotel while approximately 150 worked on the renovation project. 

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.