Cove Church Redevelopment | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Cove Church Redevelopment

Cove Community Center

The Cove Community Center officially opened its doors on April 12, 2022.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 5:30 PM, followed by Mayor George’s State of the City address.  The evening finished with an open house of the new Cove Community Center.

The Lakewood Family Room is currently offering their programming at Cove.  Click here to view their program schedule.  The remainder of the Human Services Department is in the process of moving their offices over to Cove.  Stay tuned for more information soon about additional programming.

Future Home of Lakewood’s Intergenerational Community Center & Stormwater Management

Public Participation Results and Project Renderings

During the second community engagement meeting for the city’s proposed Community Center at Cove, Moody Nolan shared survey results, renderings and plans.  The design is a direct result of community input.

To see what everyone is talking about, view the PDF presentation here or watch the video here.

Community Input

Moody Nolan gathered community input through a virtual meeting and an online survey about what you would like to see at the proposed Cove Intergenerational Community Center. Many thanks to more than 200 community members who participated so far.

Access the video for the first community meeting here or view survey results here.

Community Survey – Lakewood Community Center

Unable to attend the upcoming virtual community meetings on February 23rd or March 23rd at 6:00pm? There are other opportunities to share feedback.

Moody Nolan is gathering community input through an online survey. Access the survey during the month of February using the link below:

Survey Closed March 3rd. Updates coming soon.

Community Engagement – Lakewood Community Center

ZOOM  in to participate in a Community Conversation about what is happening at Cove Church!

  • Tuesday, February 23, 2021  6:00PM
  • Tuesday, March 23, 2021    6:00 PM

Moody Nolan will host a discussion about what you would like to see at the proposed Cove Intergenerational Community Center, the future home of the City of Lakewood’s Department of Human Services, which includes programs of the Division of Aging, Youth and Early Childhood. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to all share feedback and have your voice heard.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 947 7371 8285
Passcode: 44107

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Meeting ID: 947 7371 8285
Passcode: 44107


Project Update November 6, 2020

The City of Lakewood placed the redevelopment of Cove Church on pause while focusing on the response to COVID-19 public health emergency and reevaluating budget priorities. The City is now in a better position to re-engage Infinity Construction to complete the initial phase of the project.

As such, Infinity Construction will be advancing design services and asbestos abatement of the building.  The majority of the Cove Church parking lot will still be available for public use during this phase, however, access will be limited to the Clifton Blvd entrance only. Please see the attached PDF illustrating how the construction team will be utilizing the site. Limited access is anticipated to begin November 13, 2020.

Project Update March 3, 2020

The City of Lakewood’s resident-led Selection Panel unanimously identified Infinity Construction and Moody Nolan as the best and most qualified design-build team for the Intergenerational Community Center adaptive reuse project at the former Cove Church site.

The presentations from the three short-listed firms can be found under the “Interview Presentations” drop down menu located on the right side of this page. The teams for round two included Infinity/Moody Nolan, Krill/Bialosky, and Ruhlin/DS Architecture.

An update recently provided to City Council can be found here.


Project Update January 8, 2020

The City of Lakewood received 11 highly competitive submissions for the adaptive reuse of Cove Church into the City’s Intergenerational Community Center. The resident-led selection panel met to review, discuss, and evaluate the details of the submissions. Following a lengthy review process, three teams were short-listed for the next round and invited to respond to the city’s Request for Proposals (RFP). Those three teams are:

  • ­Infinity Construction and Moody Nolan
  • Ruhlin and DS Architecture
  • ­Krill and Bialosky

Round 1 submissions for all 11 teams can be found under the “Cove RFQ Submissions” drop down menu located on the right side of this page.

Next steps will be for the selection panel to review and evaluate the proposals, interview each team, and recommend the best and most qualified design-build team to City Council.

An update recently provided to City Council can be found here.


Future Use/ Need

The Cove Church property was purchased by the City to assist in developing solutions for stormwater management and compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.  The stormwater use of this property has been incorporated into the proposed Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan the city submitted to the Federal and Ohio EPA. At the same time, the city was looking for a new home for the Department of Human Services which currently resides in three separate locations around the city. Creating a multi-generational community center which will be home to the Department of Human Services has become the secondary focus for the use of this property.

To learn more about the stormwater management component, visit the Clean Water Lakewood page by clicking here.

Below you will find information about the discussions that have been held about the adaptive reuse of Cove Church for an Intergenerational Community Center. Future community updates will be posted here and you may sign up to receive direct email updates by click here.


 October 28, 2019

Mayor Summers, Director Gelsomino and Ms. Hennie presented a proposed time-line for the Design-Build process.  A detailed discussion of the RFQ and the selection process was had and questions answered. All members voted in favor of adoption of the Resolution 9097-19.

Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes


October 7, 2019

Mayor Summers submitted a docket letter recommending the city pursue adaptive reuse of Cove Church for a Intergenerational Community Center and utilize a Design-Build process. Attached to the docket letter was a Draft Resolution and Draft RFQ.

Mayor Summers’ Docket Letter attaching Draft Resolution and Draft RFQ 

September 30, 2019

The city administration through Mayor Summers, Director Gelsomino and Urban Planner Allison Hennie presented to Council about the work and the analysis done to support a future recommendation of adaptive reuse of Cove Church versus new build.

PowerPoint Presentation from Committee of the Whole Meeting

Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes

September 16, 2019

The Mayor introduced a docket letter which laid out the foundational understanding to support the recommendation that Cove Church be used for an Intergenerational Community Center for the city of Lakewood.

Mayor Summers’ Docket Letter to City Council


  • Stormwater Management Updates+-

  • Department of Human Services Vision+-

    Vision: Create a community center that serves residents of all ages providing a gathering space, community connections and program experiences based on the 8 Dimensions of wellness.

    Components of Wellness…some exist some need to grow


    • Congregate Meals
    • Dedicated physical space
    • Transportation to attend activities
    • Universal access/family support for parents/caregivers
    • Visitation space for families


    • Desirable, attractive space
    • Programming on psychological aspects of aging
    • Partnerships


    • Gratitude program
    • Partnerships


    • Programming on technology
    • University access/connection/over 60 reduced cost or free
    • Web based opportunities


    • Tai Chi/exercise
    • Nutrition program/Home delivered and Congregate
    • Medicare education


    • Pleasant gathering space


    • Literacy


    • Volunteerism…meaningful
    • Employment opportunities

    Purpose: To strengthen community through strong partnerships and collaborations, and innovative service delivery

    To utilize a model which is inclusive of all seniors and encourages universal access while recognizing those who are most vulnerable due to age, health, poverty

    To encourage and empower residents to choose health and wellness opportunities

  • Resources+-

  • Donations+-

    Coordination in the Community

    Various items were left behind in the church which had no value to the City or need for reuse. Some of these items included but were not limited to: pianos, chairs/couches, folding tables, kitchen utensils/ trays, desks, Christmas decorations, pews, filing cabinets, decorations. In the efforts to start removing items from the church, the City of Lakewood reached out to local non-profit partners to invite their organization to walk through the church and identify if there were any items their organization could use to support their mission.

    On September 3rd, Lakewood City Council approved the donations of these various items to organizations including the Lakewood Historical Society, LakewoodAlive, Barton Center, The Beck Center, Dr. Christine Johnson with the Worldwide Anglican Church, and Habitat for Humanity. The City is very fortunate that these items will be reused and benefit other prominent organizations in the community.

  • Cove Frequently Asked Questions+-

    Q:  What does Design Build mean and how is it different than a traditional project delivery?

    A:  Below is a graphic explaining the difference between a traditional Design-Bid project delivery process and a Design-Build project delivery process.


    A typical time-line for each of these processes is shown below:


    Q:   Is this a competitive bid process?

    A:    YesThis is a recognized competitive selection process under the laws of the State of Ohio for construction projects and it also authorized by city laws. The process has built in checks and balances.

    Step 1:   The City will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) which will allow the City to identify qualified firms. The RFQ will seek responses regarding the business(es) qualifications regarding such things as:  expertise, experience, completion history, reputation and financial means to execute the project.

    Step 2:  A Selection Panel, made up of members from City Council, the Administration and residents will be established that will evaluate the RFQ responses submitted by the applicant firms and narrow them down to the top three applicants.

    Step 3:  The city will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the three selected applicants and invite them to submit a response to the Request for Proposal which will detail the design, cost and construction schedule.

    Step 4:   The Selection Panel will evaluate the three RFP submissions, including interviews, and will make a recommendation to the administration. The administration will bring the selected firm forward to City Council for approval of a final Design-Build Agreement.

    Step 5:   City Council will utilize its normal process to host appropriate public committee meetings to vet, ask questions, make recommendations and approve the final Design-Build Agreement.

    In addition, the RFQ requires the parties to engage in an “open book” process in which city, the architect and the design-builder will review bids for trade work, the costs proposed for the general conditions of the design-builder and the fee of the design-builder. For each subcontract, there will be competitive pricing obtained from a list of mutually agreed-upon subcontractors.


    Q:  If the Design-Build process is a competitive bid process, why does the language in the resolution regarding the repurposing of Cove Church state “without the necessity of competitive bidding”?:

    Section 1.  The Mayor (Director of Public Safety), the Director of Public Works, the Director of Law, the Director of Finance, and /or the Purchasing Manager may establish procedures for and engage in the process of letting of one or more contracts with one or more qualified entities for the design and construction for the repurposing of Cove Church under the design-build project delivery system without the necessity of competitive bidding.   

     A:  Lakewood Codified Ordinance (LCO) Chapter 111 permits council to award contracts without competitive bidding in certain instances including where Council determines that it is either impractical to award the contract under competitive bidding procedures or cost-effective and in the best interests of the City to award the contract without competitive bidding.

    Because it is recommended that a design-build process be used versus a traditional competitive bidding process that is solely based on lowest bid, Chapter 111 requires Council to acknowledge it will not be using this traditional competitive bidding process.

    The design-build model has a built-in process of checks and balances.  With the traditional delivery method, design it, bid it, build it, the primary, if not only, factor considered in the competition is price. The DesignBuild selection process, conversely, puts in place a rigorous competition procedure that focuses on qualifications, experience, technical approach, price and other factors.


    Q:   Do other governments allow for a design-build process?

    A:   Yes.  The state of Ohio in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 153 provides for the design-build model for State Projects.  This chapter will provide guidance for the city to create its own design-build process which will be reflected in the legislation, all of which is perfectly legal.


    Q:   Has the city ever executed a design-build contract process before?

    A:   Yes.  In 2018 the city initiated a design-build process for the hi-rate treatment plant currently being built next to the city Wastewater Treatment Plant in the metro parks.

    The Cleveland Metro Parks has also completed several design-build projects over the past few years and has been collaborative with the city in providing some best practices for this process.


    Q:  Is the city going to tear down Cove Church to build the new Community Center?

    A:  No. The project will be an “adaptive reuse” versus a “new build” project.  The city is requesting that the contractor propose plans to reuse the Cove Church building for this project, preserving the original Cove Church structure.


    Q:  How much will this project cost the taxpayers of Lakewood?

    A:  The city administration has spent time working with various independent builders to determine the range of cost based on various design methods.  As a result, it is estimated that the cost to renovate Cove Church for use as an Intergenerational Community Center will be between $3 million and $4 million.  If the building were to be torn down and new construction be built, it is estimated that the cost would be between $5 million and $7 million. The fluctuations in these costs are due to the supply of building materials and availability of enough building trade personnel.


    Q:  Who will be on the selection committee for this project?

    A:   The selection committee has not yet been appointed, but it is expected that there will be a representative from City Council, a representative from the Administration, and several residents with backgrounds in such areas as finance, real estate, and/or construction management.


    Q:  Why did the city purchase the Cove Church building in the first place?

    A:  The city purchased the Cove Church property for use in its compliance with the Clean Water Act of 1972. The church had closed its doors and this location at Cove & Lake Avenues worked well for purposes of the city’s Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan.  The property came with the church building.  The city’s review of options to relocate the Human Services Department had been unsuccessful until Cove Church became an option.


    Q:  Will there be any community input about this project?

    A:   Absolutely.  The department of Human Services (Early Childhood, Youth and Aging) has already been polling the residents they serve about innovative programming they want to see available at this new facility. In addition, the following community engagement will be incorporated into the process:

    • RFQ will request each firm to describe their reason for interest in the Cove Church project, anticipated added value to the project, and approach to community engagement and inclusivity.
    • During the time-period of January through March 2020 will be scheduled community engagement forums in the form of focus groups and community meetings to obtain ideas from residents.
    • City Boards and commissions as well as City Council will hold public meetings regarding the design-build project and the design-build agreement, all of which are open to the public.
    • Cove Community Center website will provide the opportunity for residents to submit ideas for programming from the website.

Design-Build Team Selection Process

  • RFQ & Attachments+-

  • Pre-Submission Questions & Attendance+-

    Pre-Submission Questions 

    Q: Who is on the selection committee? Has a final selection committee been chosen?

    A: The selection committee includes representatives from the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Planning and Economic Development, City Council, and Lakewood residents well-versed in architecture, commercial renovations, and real estate development.

    Q: Are consultants who were involved in the Design Criteria documents eligible for the next phase of the Design-Build process?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Is there a third-party owner or developer planning to own and fund the project separate from the City of Lakewood?

    A: No.

    Q: Will the attendance list from the pre-submission walk-through be made available?

    A: Yes, a PDF copy of the “Cove Pre-Submission Attendance” can be found using the accordion menus on the right hand site of the website

    Q: Will the kitchen renovation create a commercial kitchen or a convenience (rewarm) kitchen?

    A: Based on initial design input from Human Services, there are two kitchen areas. The current fit plans/design criteria include a new catering kitchen on the entry level to accommodate 100+ meals a day on-site and 100+ meals a day off-site, and the potential for catered events to a wider public.

    A smaller renovated kitchen on the lower level will be used for staff meals, snack preparation for Early Childhood, heating meals for Youth Services visitors, and potential programming activities for a wider public.

    Q: Are there historical data about the original construction or renovations at Cove Church?

    A: Yes, these items can be found using the accordion menus on the right hand site of the website

    The original 1968 construction documents for Cove Church “Existing Drawings” are located under “RFQ & Attachments.”

    A 1969 copy of “General Specifications” and a copy of the 1984 “Study of Heating System” are located under “Historical Construction Documents.”

    Q: Will the abatement be included in the DB contract as part of the DB’s responsibilities?  

    A: Environmental assessment has been completed for the city by others. Coordination of the budget and schedule for hazardous material abatement to be determined under separate contract.

    What is the status of the Stormwater Management component at the Cove Church site?

    A: The Stormwater Management project at the Cove Church site is part of the city’s IWWIP and currently being negotiated with the US and Ohio EPA. That work is not part of the Cove Church Redevelopment RFQ/RFP and is not expected to begin for several years. 

    To learn more about the city’s future needs for stormwater management, please visit

    Q: Has the city executed a design-build contract process?

    A:   Yes.  In 2018 the city initiated a design-build process for the hi-rate treatment plant currently being built next to the city Wastewater Treatment Plant in the metro parks.

    The Cleveland Metro Parks has also completed several design-build projects over the past few years and has been collaborative with the city in providing some best practices for this process.


    Cove Pre-submission Attendance 11-13-2019

  • Cove RFQ Submissions+-

  • Cove RFP+-

    Click here to view the Cove RFP.

  • Pre-Proposal Q&A and Additional Resources+-


    Q: Should the bond costs for subcontractors be included in the General Conditions or be a separate item?

    A: The General Contractor is responsible for bond in full amount of contract award.

    Q: Are teams allowed to substitute subconsultants?

    A:  Yes. Design-Build teams may add, subtract or substitute subconsultants.

    Q: Does the city maintain a state contract for furniture?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Will fiber technologies be made available to the site by the city?

    A: The city currently maintains a fiber optic network at the city’s largest public parks, schools, public library, and additional Lakewood facilities. The city’s intent is to provide this same service at Cove Church, separate from the design-build contract.

    Q: How many food deliveries does Human Services currently receive? What is the occurrence?

    A: Human Services receives food deliveries daily, Monday through Friday, before 8:00 am. In 2020 they will receive 20,000 congregate meals and 26,000 home delivered meals.

    Q: What is the current total amount for the Human Services food contract?

    A: The catering contract, negotiated by the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, is with the Food Bank. The Human Services meals are part of a contract award that is valued at approximately $200,000.

    Q: Please confirm status of kitchen.

    A: Human Services will require a catering kitchen, not a commercial kitchen. A Type I hood is not required at this time based on the proposed design criteria.

     Q: Our team is capable of providing full Furniture, Fixture and Equipment (FFE) design, bidding and construction oversight. Should this be separated out on the price proposal for items H and J?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Our understanding is that all hazardous material testing and abatement will be performed by the City at a time determined/coordinated between the City and selected D/B. Any unforeseen PACM (Presumed Asbestos Containing Material) encountered during the work will be immediately brought to the City’s attention.

    Please confirm that the D/B team will not be providing phase 1 or 2 environmental analysis?

    A: Correct. Please see additional resources listed under the “Pre-Proposal Q&A and Additional Resources” accordion menu for the environmental analysis.

    Q: The existing documentation provided with the RFP included a set of existing drawings that appear to be incomplete. Are any additional existing drawings, such as original structural and MEP drawings available? 

    Are there any other building assessments the city can share? 

    Is there an existing facility assessment report other than the MEP report provided? 

    A: An incomplete drawing set of the original 1968 construction documents for Cove Church “Existing Drawings” are located under the “RFQ & Attachments” accordion menu. No other drawings from this set were found.

    A 1969 copy of “General Specifications” and a copy of the 1984 “Study of Heating System” are located under “Historical Construction Documents” accordion menu.

    Please see additional resources listed under the “Pre-Proposal Q&A and Additional Resources” accordion menu.

    Q: It does not appear that there is anticipation that the D/B team will provide surveying as a part of their team, is this correct?

    Does the city have a site survey available?

    A: The city currently does not have a site survey. Please provide this service as part of the design-build proposal.

    Q: Please provide a site work-limit plan indicating what exterior spaces are included within this project. What areas will be excluded because of the possible NEORSD storm sewer project?

    It does not appear that there is anticipation that the D/B team will provide civil engineering as a part of their team, is this correct?

    A:  All exterior spaces shown in the design criteria package are included in the adaptive reuse project, however, it is anticipated that the parking lot will only be resurfaced prior to the Stormwater Management project.

    The Stormwater Management project at the Cove Church site is part of the city’s IWWIP and currently being negotiated with the US and Ohio EPA. That work is not part of the Cove Church Redevelopment RFQ/RFP and is not expected to begin for several years.

    To learn more about the city’s future needs for stormwater management, please visit

     Q: Will the price proposal worksheet be considered the team’s first GMP submission?

     With regard to the selection, what is the weighted % for the estimate summary (price proposal worksheet) within the entire response package? 

    A: The Price Proposal worksheet is informational only and intended to help the selection panel better understand the design-build team’s overall Project Approach and Suggested Value-Added Ideas.

    This worksheet will not be considered the first GMP submission.

    The worksheet is not weighted with a separate %.

    Q: Please confirm who will be a voting member of the selection committee.

    A: As previously presented at the public City Council meeting, the selection committee for the Cove Church RFQ/RFP process includes:

    • Dave Robar, Director and Vice President at Vocon Architecture, former ABR Chair
    • Mike Molinski, Director of Operations at RCF Group, former City Architect and ABR Chair
    • Joe Stewart, Vice President at the Jacobs Group (retired)
    • Allison Hennie, AIA, NCARB, Urban Designer in the Planning Department at the City of Lakewood
    • Toni Gelsomino, Director of Human Services at the City of Lakewood
    • John Litten, City Council
    • Dan O’Malley, City Council, President

    Please note, firm’s responding to the RFQ/RFP are required to conduct the preparation of the submissions with professional integrity and prohibited from communicating with any member of the selection committee.

    Q: Will you be providing written responses to the questions raised during Tuesday’s pre-proposal meeting?

    A: Questions not answered during the pre-proposal meeting are answered above. All questions received in writing prior to the deadline are answered above.


    Additional Resources


    Church Commissioned 115749 – Report – DRAFT

    City Commissioned 737-2018-0211_12525 Lake Ave, Lakewood, OH

    Cove Church 12501 Lake11-15-2001 (Proposed elevator and restroom)

    Enviro – 42564,CityLakewood,former church,BSR_Haz

    Enviro – 42564,ESA,CityLakewood

    Enviro – 42564,XRF_COF_RRP

  • Historical Construction Documents+-

  • Interview Presentations+-