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Lot demolition begins to make way for future Browns Berea facility expansion

Audacy logo Audacy 6/24/2021 Daryl Ruiter
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BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns long-desired expansion of their training and administrative complex in Berea took a big step forward this week.

Demolition of several homes and a church next to the complex is underway after plans to clear the lots were approved on June 17 by the city.

In all, 19 properties will be razed according to Berea municipal planning commission records.

“In addition to making significant investments to improve our team facility in recent years, including in partnership with the City of Berea, Haslam Sports Group has acquired a number of properties in the area surrounding our current footprint,” a team spokesman said in a statement to 92.3 The Fan. “While plans are not final, it is part of our strategic vision for our long-term home in Berea to ensure we continue to provide our organization, players and Browns fans with first-class resources in all aspects of our football and business operations.

“Currently, some of the structures are being deconstructed as we further evaluate the future of our facility. As always, we will be mindful and respectful of our neighbors while working with local officials to safely and effectively complete the process.”

The planning commission recently approved permits for the demolition which includes lots on Pearl Street, Second Avenue and Beech Street.

Over the past few years, the Browns had been quietly acquiring land adjacent to the facility in the hopes of expanding their original 13-acre footprint.

One of the largest acquisitions by the team was the Mt. Zion Baptist church on Pearl Street.

In addition to buying the church, the Browns paid for the relocation and construction of a new sanctuary on Emerson Avenue and made a significant financial contribution to the church.

The team, which agreed to extend the opt out clause in their lease to 2039 as part of their agreement with the city to move the project forward, remains in the exploratory stages of determining what the facility expansion would entail.

Since the Haslam family purchased the Browns in 2012, the Berea complex has undergone a complete facelift inside and out.

In 2016 the team completed an expansion project that included new therapeutic pools, training space and renovation of the locker room, dining area and weight room. Last year the Casey Coleman Fieldhouse received a fresh coat of white paint and new field turf.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced another building renovation in 2020 to separate the football facilities from the business operations. Once cleared by league, the team plans to return the building to its previous configuration but that may not be permitted for this season.

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