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Description. Founded in 1796 near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland grew rapidly as a transportation hub following the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal in 1832. Public Square, at the heart of downtown, was laid out by Moses Cleaveland in 1796 and its grid has remained largely unchanged since. The lakefront, where the Rock Hall and Burke Airport currently sit, was the site of the Great Lakes Exposition in 1936-1937, which drew 11 million visitors downtown. The Cleveland Port and Burke Lakefront Airport now take up most of the lakefront land abutting Downtown.

Assets. Among the neighborhood’s most significant assets are:

  • historic Public Square , surrounded by three of Cleveland’s landmark skyscrapers, Terminal Tower, Key Tower, and the former BP Building
  • proximity to Lake Erie and the banks of the Cuyahoga River
  • dense concentration of business and office space, including multinational financial services companies, law firms, manufacturing, and government employers
  • professional football, baseball, and basketball teams, each with their own stadiums/arenas
  • major cultural institutions and districts, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center and Playhouse Square, the second largest theater complex in North America
  • growing residential neighborhoods in the Warehouse District, Euclid and E. 4 th, and around Cleveland State University
  • grand architecture and historic buildings, including the Euclid and Colonial Arcades, Huntington Building, and many others
  • hub of public transportation at Public Square, Tower City, and along the new Euclid Corridor
  • easy connections to Interstates 90, 77, and 71

Challenges. Among the challenges faced by the Downtown neighborhood today are:

  • a shrinking business community and rising commercial vacancy rates
  • numerous vacant storefronts and buildings, particularly on Euclid Avenue
  • lack of street life after business hours and on weekends
  • limited retail options
  • the Lakefront is physically cut off from Downtown by the Shoreway
  • aggressive panhandlers and perception downtown is unsafe
  • increasing numbers of people moving and living further and further away from Downtown

Vision. Make Downtown a vibrant, 24-7 neighborhood of choice to live, work, and play. Among the development opportunities and initiatives proposed are the following:

  • construct the Flats East Bank development, a mixed use residential, commercial, and retail project
  • develop the vacant lots on W. 6 th in the Warehouse District into a mixed use Main Street development, with residential and retail space
  • rebuild the Cleveland Technology Center at 14 th and Rockwell, to complement the Avenue District neighborhood
  • transform Public Square into a useable public space in the heart of Downtown
  • redevelop the vacant lots and surface parking on E. 14 th between Prospect and Carnegie into a facility that complements the Playhouse Square arts district
  • build more downtown housing at the Park Building on Public Square, on the parking garage at E. 6 th and Euclid, at 1001-1101 Euclid, and at Stonebridge in the Flats.
  • fill in the empty spaces Downtown between the already successful nodes of Downtown activity, with targeted building redevelopment and retail surrounding Euclid Avenue

Printable version: can be downloaded here.

Maps (current as of May 2007): Assets, Development Opportunities, Land Use (existing and proposed), and Retail Strategies are available here. (PDF)


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