The Future Landscape
Downtown's Multi-Billion Dollar Makeover Continues
By Keith Gribbins, Image by Cody York
At this point, you've probably heard all about "Cleveland's Renaissance" and the upward trajectory of the city. It's all true. And Downtown's multi-billion-dollar makeover continues to accelerate, all within walking distance of nearly 5,000 hotel rooms.
A CITY CONNECTED
The path of progress rarely takes a straight line. In Cleveland, progress comes in the curving form of pedestrian and bike paths—connecting communities and nature with history and the future. The Cleveland Metroparks recently received a $7.95 million grant to build four miles of bike and pedestrian trails, including a bridge linking the Towpath Trail (which follows the old Ohio & Erie Canalway) to the modern lakefront. Canal Basin Park is set to provide 20 acres of waterfront recreation at the Towpath Trail’s northern end, while plans are underway for the Red Line Greenway—a three-mile elevated linear park that would create a commuting corridor between West 65th Street and Downtown. In the metro’s heart, Public Square acts as an oasis of greenspace on the heels of a $50 million renovation.
EMBRACING THE LAKE
The dream of a world-class, mixed-use waterfront in Downtown Cleveland is steadily becoming a reality, in light of a lakefront development plan for the 28 acres north of FirstEnergy Stadium. The Harbor West neighborhood will ultimately encompass 1,000 apartments, a boardwalk, office building, shopping and the 53-slip Rock and Dock Marina (now finished) just off the East 9th Street pier. In July 2016, Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar became the first restaurant attracting the hungry to Harbor West (located behind the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). A four-story, 16-unit apartment building will be similarly drawing year-around urbanites to the waterfront by 2018.
THE FLATS REINVENTED
Cleveland’s classic entertainment riverfront is being revamped. Now complete, Phase II of the $395-million Flats East Bank project has introduced an expansive wooden boardwalk, 242-unit apartment building and an array of dining, retail and entertainment options—including marquee bistros Alley Cat Oyster Bar and Punch Bowl Social. Complementing concert venues like Music Box Supper Club and Jacobs Pavilion, country trio Rascal Flatts plans to open a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and bar in the area, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville opened in summer 2017. Phase III will add a movie theater, street-level retail and up to 100 additional residences.
Meeting planners will find Cleveland’s vibrant urban core already full of potential attendees. Since 2000, Downtown’s population has grown 79 percent—attracting 15,000 additional residents and a 96 percent occupancy rate. New housing projects will push that number to 18,000 residents by 2018 via construction ventures like the Garfield Building (130 apartments), Leader Building (224 units), Standard Building (285 units), The Edge (237 units), The Milton Townhomes (16) and the Beacon (200 residences with a rooftop deck and dog park). Other planned future developments include Weston/Citymark (1,200 units overall in the Warehouse District); NuCLEus (500 apartments in the Gateway District); and the renovations of the Halle Building (125 units) and Terminal Tower (293 apartments).