Browns to extend lease for team facility in Berea through 2039

Team has been headquartered at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. since 1991

Daryl Ruiter
June 17, 2019 - 9:05 pm

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

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Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns plan to extend their lease at their training and administrative complex in Berea, Ohio through 2039.

The team and city of Berea, which owns and leases the building to the Browns, have agreed in principle to the lease extension that is in the process of being drafted and will require city council approval.

Cleveland.com first reported the agreement, the details of which have not been made public because the deal hasn’t been formally executed, Monday.

“We greatly appreciate our partnership with the City of Berea and are really excited about it remaining our home,” Browns vice president of communications Peter John-Baptiste said.

“Training camp will open next month and we look forward to continuing our tradition of hosting open practices that give our fans an up-close and personal experience as our team prepares for the 2019 season.”

Berea City Council met Monday night to consider authorizing a refinancing of $6.15 million from the $15 million renovation and expansion in 2016 as well as an ordinance authorizing Mayor Cyril Kleem to execute the lease extension with the team.

There are no additional public funds for renovations attached to the new lease agreement and extension.

“This is a great deal for us,” Kleem told 92.3 The Fan Tuesday morning.

The Browns account for 25 percent of Berea’s income tax revenue.

“This is further proof that the Browns are invested here,” Kleem said. “Not just the city of Berea but Cleveland as well. Look at what they’ve done here and what they’re doing with the investment in the stadium which shows they’re fully invested here.”

The Browns have been headquartered at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. since August of 1991 up until the team moved to Baltimore in February 1996. The franchise resumed operations in the fall of 1998 before returning to the NFL in 1999.

“They’re here for at least 20 more years,” Kleem said, “so they just can’t pack up and go.”

The facility, which underwent a $5 million makeover in 2013 to combine the business and football operations under one roof and another $15 million remodel and expansion that included a new locker room, meeting rooms, player lounge, cafeteria, training facilities as well as therapy and training pools in 2016.

In 2015 the lease with the city of Berea was extended through 2028 as part of an agreement in which the city covered most of the cost of the 2016 project.

The Brows lease with the city of Cleveland and FirstEnergy Stadium, which underwent a $125 million renovation in 2014-15, runs through 2028.

“We love our stadium,” Browns executive vice president JW Johnson said last month. “We know we’ve got some things we need to fix, so we’re working through that. We’ve still got a handful of years before we have to make a decision, but we’re in the process of thinking about what we need to do. But right now, we’re comfortable about where we are.”