Downtown Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland

Cleveland skyscrapers of two eras meet on Public Square: Cesar Pelli's 20th Century Key Tower (1992) and John Wellborn Root's 19th Century Society for Savings Building (1890).
Country United States
State Ohio
County Cuyahoga
City Cleveland
Population (2010)
  Total 11,693
  Estimate (2016[1]) 13,886
  21.8% increase from 2000 Census
  White 36.8%
  Black 55.7%
  Hispanic 3%
  Asian 4.1%
  Other 1.1%
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 44113, 44114, 44115
Area code(s) 216
Median income $26,285
Source: 2000 U.S. Census, City Planning Commission of Cleveland[2]
Historical population
Census Pop.
Progressive Field with Quicken Loans Arena in the background

Downtown Cleveland is the central business district of the City of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, United States. It is the economic and symbolic center of the Cleveland-Akron-Canton, OH Combined Statistical Area. As of 2000, 100,000 people worked in the district;[3] as of 2012, it contained more than 16 million square feet of rentable office space.[4]

Reinvestment in the area in the mid-1990s spurred a rebirth that continues to this day, with the residential population growing from 7,261 in 1990 to 9,599 in 2000 and 11,693 in 2010.[5] It had the largest population growth, by percentage, of any Cleveland neighborhood over that time[6] and is Ohio's most populous downtown. Between 2010 and 2014, it saw more than $4.5 billion in residential and commercial developments.[7] In 2012, Forbes included Downtown Cleveland in a list of "15 U.S. Cities Emerging Downtown".[8]

Public Square

North side of Public Square includes the Old Stone Church and Key Tower
Jack Cleveland Casino on the left, attached to the Tower City Center complex creates the SW corner of Public Square
Panorama of Cleveland in 1909

The heart of downtown and the city's first settled area, Public Square was laid out by city founder Moses Cleaveland in 1796 and has remained largely unchanged.[9] It consists of a large open space, cut into quadrants by Ontario Street and Superior Avenue. Public Square is the symbolic heart of the city, and has hosted presidents, vast congregations of people, and a free annual 4th of July concert by the Cleveland Orchestra. At one time, Public Square was fenced off and inaccessible to vehicles. In 1860, the Perry Monument, a memorial to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812, was dedicated in the center of Public Square. In 1892, it was moved out of the square, which by then had the fences removed after lobbying by commercial interests. Public Square is also home to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, which commemorates residents of Cuyahoga County who served in the Civil War. Public Square also features a statue of Cleaveland; a statue of Tom L. Johnson, the city's most famous mayor; a large amount of shrubbery and other landscaping; and a large public fountain.[10] The Consulate-General of Slovenia in Cleveland is in the 55 Public Square building.[11]

Notable buildings on Public Square include the Terminal Tower,[12] home to Tower City Center,[13] 200 Public Square - the former BP Building (renamed in 2005),[14] as well as Key Tower, the tallest building in Ohio and one of the tallest in the United States.[15] Public Square is also home to the historic Old Stone Church,[16] completed in 1855. The west side of Public Square was to become the headquarters of the Cleveland Trust Company, then called Ameritrust, but the project was cancelled after Ameritrust was purchased and merged into Key Bank, leaving that side of the square open to this day, with only a surface parking lot on the site.[17] The classic Higbee's department store building is home to the Jack Cleveland Casino, since its opening on May 14, 2012.[18]

Historic Warehouse District

St. Clair Avenue in the Historic Warehouse District

Originally an early residential neighborhood, The Warehouse District was built into a warehousing and shipping neighborhood during the industrial rise of Cleveland,[19] Within the past few decades, it has been converted again back into an entertainment, dining, and residential hub. The Warehouse District is the largest downtown neighborhood by population, and continues to grow with an assortment of shops, clubs, bars, and loft condos/apartments.[20] West Sixth Street is known as the heart of the district. Famously, the 17-story Rockefeller Building sits on the corner West Sixth and Superior Ave erected by John D. Rockefeller.

Historic Gateway District

Revitalization of the Historic Gateway District began in the 1990s with the Gateway Project, which included construction of Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena, the homes of the MLB Cleveland Indians, NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, AFL Cleveland Gladiators, and AHL Cleveland Monsters. The Gateway complex was built on parking lots on the site of a former produce market.[21] The baseball stadium and basketball arena are connected to Tower City Center, and RTA's rail transit system, via an enclosed walkway.[22] The neighborhood includes retail,[23] housing,[24] and a large variety of restaurants.[25]

East Fourth Street during St Patrick's Day 2012

East 4th Street is a popular restaurant and entertainment street near Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena. It is home to Cleveland's House of Blues, Iron Chef Michael Symon's Lola Bistro, comedy club/restaurant Pickwick and Frolic, as well as a dozen other dining and retail storefronts. The neighborhood is home to hundreds of residents who live in the apartments and loft condominiums above the storefronts.[26] The neighborhood also houses the Cleveland Arcade, the first indoor shopping mall in the United States.[27]

East 4th Street in Downtown Cleveland

Theater District

Home to the second-largest performing arts complex in the U.S.,[28] Playhouse Square Center in the Cleveland Theater District is downtown's cultural heart. The area is dominated by five historic theaters built during the 1920s -- State, Ohio, Allen, Hanna, and Palace theaters are all located in a cluster near the intersection of Euclid Avenue and E. 14th Street.[29] Additionally, the smaller theaters include the 14th Street Theater, Kennedy's Theater, Westfield Insurance Studio Theater, Second Stage, and Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky Lab Theatre.[30] WVIZ-TV 25 (PBS), WCPN FM 90.3 (NPR), and classical music station WCLV FM 104.9 (collectively known as "Ideastream") teamed up with Playhouse Square to renovate the former Playhouse Square Building, an empty office building, transforming it into One Playhouse Square, a downtown broadcast headquarters.[31] The building is now known as the Idea Center, and includes high definition television studios, control rooms, radio studios, and performance space fronting Euclid Avenue, as well as a variety of high-tech business startups and other tenants located on the building's upper floors.[32]

Residents of the district include Cleveland Playhouse and Cleveland State University performing arts.

In spring 2014, a $16 million outdoor streetscape transformation was completed. Focusing primarily on lighting and signage, a centerpiece of a 4,600-piece LED crystal chandelier hangs over the Euclid Ave and East 14th Street intersection 24-feet off the ground. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the largest outdoor chandelier in the world.[33] Other additions include four gateway signs spanning entry points, a large 1920s-era “Playhouse Square” sign at East 13th Street and Euclid Ave intersection, a fire pit at Star Plaza, a 28-foot-tall digital display, and architectural lighting to show off details of the historic buildings.[34]

Civic Center

Main Article: Civic Center

Cleveland City Hall

The Civic Center district holds Cleveland's governmental and public buildings. The most visible structure is the Justice Center Complex, consisting of the Cleveland Police Department headquarters and Cuyahoga County Jail.[35] Other notable structures include Cleveland City Hall,[36]

Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Municipal Courts,[37] Public Auditorium,[38] Cleveland Public Library main buildings,[39] the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland,[40] the Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse,[41] and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District administration building.[42] The Public Malls, Malls A, B, and C, also known as the Burnham Malls, hold public green space and gardens fronting the lake.[43] The Fountain of Eternal Life, also known as the War Memorial Fountain, is centered on the Mall A. On the western edge, Willard Park is host to the controversial public art, known as the Free Stamp. On the eastern edge sits Fort Huntington Park, containing a statue of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commemorating the Battle of Lake Erie, a statue of Clevelander Jesse Owens, and the Cleveland Police Department memorial of officers killed in the line of duty.[44] A major addition

to the area is the $465 million Global Center for Health Innovation and Cleveland Convention Center.

Nine-Twelve District

Main Article: Nine-Twelve District

East 9th Street financial district
Reserve Square Apartments.

Cleveland's financial district, the area around East 9th street from Lake Erie south to Prospect Avenue, serves as corporate or regional home to many firms in the financial, business, legal, communications and publishing sectors of the city's economy.

Architecturally, the area is characterized by large, glass office towers built predominately in the 1950s to 1980s. The tallest is Erieview Tower at 40-stories, the centerpiece of the largely unbuilt Erieview Urban Renewal Project of the 1960s. The Galleria was added to the tower in the 1980s originally as a shopping mall, but today serves as a mix of small stores, office space, gardens under the glass, radio headquarters, and a food court.[45] The 31-story One Cleveland Center is nicknamed the "silver chisel" due to its distinct shape.[46] The seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, is located at the heart of the district on E.9th.[47] There is a large cluster of high-rise downtown housing in this area, largely concentrated in the East 12th Street area.

The district is home to regional offices of PNC Financial Services, law firm Jones Day, and Amtrust Financial[48] as well as Alexander Mann's U.S. headquarters and Medical Mutual headquarters. The City Club of Cleveland is housed in the City Club Building.

WKYC, the local NBC affiliate, has its broadcast center on Lakeside Avenue on the northern end of the district.[49] WOIO, the CBS affiliate, and WUAB, the MyNetworkTV affiliate, both owned by Raycom Media are housed in Reserve Square on East 12th Street.[50] Good Karma Broadcasting houses its two stations, WWGK and WKNR/ESPN Radio 850, inside the Galleria at Erieview.

At the heart of the district located at the intersection of Euclid Ave and E.9th Street, the Ameritrust complex is undergoing a complete revitalization and new construction. A historic rotunda, 29-story tower, and assorted office buildings are all set to be turned into a mixed-use complex of apartments, a hotel, and office space. The Cuyahoga County governmental headquarters is set to be built as an 8-story office tower connected to the main complex.

North Coast Harbor District

North Coast Harbor and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Main article: North Coast Harbor

Home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum,[51] Great Lakes Science Center,[52] Cleveland Browns Stadium,[53] Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum[54] and the USS Cod,[55] North Coast Harbor is the tourist district of downtown Cleveland. The North Coast District is home to the city's port, although there are long-term plans to move the port west of the river and open up the area for housing and lakefront development.[56] North Coast is also the former home of Cleveland Stadium. The city was once known to some as the "Mistake on the Lake" although this pejorative has fallen out of common use. Cleveland Stadium was torn down after the former Cleveland Browns franchise left the city in 1995, and was replaced with Cleveland Browns Stadium, which serves as the home of the reborn NFL football franchise.[57] Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport is located east of the Rock Hall, and serves as a commuter and business airport that reduces small aircraft traffic at the larger Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, located southwest of downtown.[58] The district fronts Lake Erie on the north and also includes Voinovich Park and a fishing pier. Plans for the city's lakefront include adding thousands of housing units, retail shops, a marina, and other amenities to North Coast Harbor, see "Lakefront Plan" below.[56][59]

Campus District

Main Article: Campus District

The Campus District is a 500-acre (2.0 km2) downtown Cleveland neighborhood just east of the central business district. The district is bordered by Lakeside Avenue to the north, Broadway Avenue to the south, East 17th Street to the west and East 30th Street to the east.[60] Members of the Campus District include Cleveland State University, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Cuyahoga Community College and more.

Cleveland State University has in past years been derided as an open enrollment commuter school, but has moved to dispel that belief. The university is progressing through a master plan[61] to raise standards, enrollment, and rebuild its fortress-like campus. CSU plans to build a college town adjacent to downtown, including new retail, restaurants and housing to serve an increase of resident students planned to be in the thousands.[61] The university's desire to attract more traditional college students and begin to raise its stature as a research university figure into these plans a great deal, and CSU opened its second residence hall, a complete retrofit of Fenn Tower, in the fall of 2006.[62] Over the past decade, CSU has partnered with the city and other area stakeholders to transfer technology research into startup companies and enterprises, improving the economy of the area and stimulating downtown life in the Quadrangle.[63] As part of CSU, the Wolstein Center, formerly the CSU Convocation Center, is located in the Campus District, and serves as the home of CSU Men's Basketball and various concerts and special events throughout the year.[64]

Flats district

Main article: The Flats

The Cuyahoga River splits The Flats in half where the two sides are referred to appropriately as the East Bank of the Flats and the West Bank of the Flats. While the East Bank of the Flats was once the popular nightlife district in Ohio, its demise in the early 2000s spurred a complete redevelopment where a majority of the existing buildings were demolished. In its place, an 8-story Aloft Hotel and a 21-story office tower were built. Restaurants, apartments, and a riverside promenade are planned for Phase II of this mixed-use project.[65] The West Bank of the Flats contains the majority of the district's residential population, primary stemming from a set of apartments and condos known as Stonebridge. The areas also boasts bars, restaurants, jet ski rental, strip clubs, and, most recently, the home of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

Historically significant, the Flats were the place Moses Cleaveland first landed when he founded the city. It was also the location of some of the earliest populations of Cleveland. Throughout much of Cleveland history, it became almost entirely industrial. By the 1980s, it had become the famous nightlife area that lasted until the early 2000s. The current state of the Flats is in mixed-use redevelopment.

The Flats

New developments and projects

Euclid Corridor

Cleveland's Main Street, Euclid Avenue, after reconstruction

The $197 million Euclid Corridor Transportation Project connected downtown, Midtown, and University Circle by introducing bus rapid transit (BRT) to the city in the form of the HealthLine.[66] The project involved a total reconstruction of Euclid Avenue from Public Square to beyond University Circle (located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) east of downtown), and included bus-only lanes with center-median station boarding, priority signaling, and fast commute times. In addition to transit and road improvements, the transportation project also invested heavily in the Euclid Avenue streetscape, rebuilding the street from storefront to storefront, removing old vaults and streetcar tracks, and building new sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping.[67]

The project included a large public arts component, with different areas of the Euclid Corridor route being addressed by local and national artists.[68] The project is expected to spur investments in residential, retail, office, and mixed-use redevelopments, including over 4,000 residential units along the corridor. In addition to the BRT line, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance funded a study on retail feasibility on the avenue, focusing on the area between CSU and Public Square.[69]

Global Center for Health Innovation and Cleveland Convention Center

Global Center for Health Innovation under construction in 2012. The window shape is meant to mimic DNA structure
The Memorial Fountain located on the malls in Downtown Cleveland.

A $465 million Global Center for Health Innovation, previously known as the Medical Mart, and Cleveland Convention Center opened in the summer of 2013. The 1.1-million-square-foot campus consists of a 235,000-square-foot Global Center for Health Innovation and a 750,000-square-foot Convention Center. The LEED Silver-certified Convention Center includes a 225,928-square-foot exhibit hall divisible into three halls, as well as 46,166 square feet of total ballroom space, made up of three grand ballrooms totaling 32,193 square feet and two junior ballrooms totaling 10,937 square feet. Views of Lake Erie from a 9,520-square-foot patio completes the northern border of the complex.[70] The project was funded by a 0.25 percent increase in Cuyahoga County sales tax. Permanent tenants include Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Philips Healthcare, GE Healthcare, Johnson Controls, the Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals.[71]

Flats East Bank

A multiphase, $500 million mixed-use redevelopment along the East Bank of the Flats is being developed and financed by the Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties.

Phase I

Opening in June 2013, the $275 million first phase included a 23-story office tower, 8-story Aloft hotel, restaurants, and a 16,000 sq. ft. health club, The office tower has been named the "Ernst and Young building." The two anchor tenants include the law firm Tucker Ellis and West, and the largest tenant, Ernst and Young. The 450,000 sq. ft. office tower is all Class A office space and features a green, open-air rooftop terrace.[72] The initial opening restaurants and bars included Ken Stewart's, Lago, Flip Side and Wileyville.

Two Waterfront Line Rapid stations, Settlers Landing station and Main Avenue station received $375,000 upgrades. Work at both stations includes replacing brick and concrete pavers, repairing the glass shelters, and demolishing ticket booths. At Settlers Landing, crews will restore eight etched glass panels that act as wind screens. The artwork depicts scenes of Cleveland's settlement and the evolution of transportation.[73]

Phase II

Several Restaurants (Alley Cat, Crop East Bank), bars (Beerheads, Punch Bowl Social), 1200-foot boardwalk, and 243 Apartments opened as a part of Phase 2 in 2015.

West Bank of the Flats

A $33 million Greater Cleveland Aquarium opened on Jan 21, 2012, located at the FirstEnergy Powerhouse as the only freestanding aquarium in the state of Ohio. The aquarium takes up 70,000 square feet in the powerhouse's basement and contains over a million gallons of water in 42 tanks. The main feature of the aquarium is Marinescape’s Seatube®, an 145-foot-long clear tunnel, known as a Seatube The attraction was constructed around the building's architectural characteristics—including its smokestacks, columns and narrow hallways. Developers were not allowed to modify the structure or paint some walls because the old complex is on the National Register of Historic Places.[74] The Greater Cleveland Aquarium was the first in the United States by New Zealand-based developer Marinescape NZ Ltd., who has built more than 20 aquariums in Europe, Asia, and Australia.[75]

Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica is a 5000-seat outdoor amphitheater. In 2012, it underwent in $1 million upgrade that included a new entrance constructed 200 feet north of the old one, creating space for an expanded riverfront plaza. Other upgrades included new brick pavement for the plaza and new fencing.[76]

In the fall of 2010, the Trust for Public Land and the Cleveland Rowing Foundation successfully purchased seven acres of commercial riverfront land for $3.2 million. The partnership is converting the vacant concrete-covered site into Rivergate Park, a new recreational center in the Flats. Officially opened in May 2011, the park preserves public access to the Cuyahoga River for access to activities including kayaking, canoeing, rowing and dragon boating. Long term plans include a canoe/kayak launch facility, concessions, and public restrooms. Cleveland Metroparks will replace the concrete and gravel on their land and replace it with grass, trees and other park amenities.[77]

Cleveland’s Crooked River Skate Park will be built on 15,000 square feet of city owned land. It is located along the river and adjacent to the Cleveland Metroparks new Rivergate Park. The total cost is projected to be $758,000. Groundbreaking will occur in 2013.[78]

Cleveland State University expansion

Cleveland State University campus continues to undergo a $500 million expansion. Recently completed projects include a new Student Center ($55 million),[79] Euclid Commons Dorms (5 buildings costing $60 million),[80] "College Town" (373 new residential units),[81] Middough Building ($20 million)[82] and College of Education and Human Services Building ($37 million),[83]

Upcoming projects include converting the Mather Mansion into a boutique hotel[84] and the construction of a $45 million Center for Innovation in Health Professions.[85]

One block north of campus along Chester Ave, the privately developed Langston Apartments will add over 300 apartments units. The $54 million project opened Phase I in 2012, with Phase II opening in 2013.[86]

Cuyahoga County Headquarters and Ameritrust Complex

The corner of Euclid Ave and East Ninth Street shows the Cleveland Trust Company Building, 1010 Euclid Ave, and the base the Ameritrust Tower

Relocation of the Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters, being developed by Geis Company, is spurring a $200 million mixed-use development at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street. The properties involved include the 29-story Ameritrust Tower, the attached 1010 Euclid Avenue building, the historic Cleveland Trust Company Building, and the so-called “P and H” buildings, located on the Prospect Avenue side of the complex. Additionally, two parking garages on the south side of Prospect Ave along East Ninth Street will anchor the parking aspect.

The P and H buildings will be razed and the site will become the home of a new, eight-story Cuyahoga County headquarters building, in which the county will lease for 26 years. Building size is expected to be 220,000 square feet.

The plan calls for creating 210 high-end apartments in the former office tower and part of the building at 1010 Euclid, although portions of the building will be retained as office space in case the county needs to expand in the future.[87] A proposed hotel on the lower floors of the 29-story tower is being considered.[88] The Cleveland Trust Company Rotunda and 1010 Euclid Ave ground floor will house a full-service Heinen's grocery store set to open Fall 2014.[89]

Residential Conversions and New Construction

The Avenue District in June 2010

Downtown Cleveland had the largest percent population growth in the 2010 Census for the entire city of Cleveland. Conversion of old office space into residential is causing the population to continue to climb, along with some new construction.

Added in 2012 were the Avenue District Luxury Apartments (59 apartments)[90]

Completed for 2013 included the Langston Apartments (318 apartments),[91] Rosetta Center Building (85 apartments),[92] Hanna Annex Apartments (102 apartments),[93] Embassy Suites hotel into residential at Reserve Square (232 apartments),[94] and 1120 Chester Ave (36 apartments)[95]—totaling 725 new units.

Under construction and in the pipeline for 2014-2016 are the Truman Building at 1030 Euclid (26 apartments),[92] Park Building and Southworth Building (34 apartments),[96] Schofield Building (55 apartments),[97] 28-story Ameritrust Tower (215 apartments),[98] Flats East Bank Phase II Residential (243 apartments),[99] East Ohio Gas Building at 1717 East Ninth St (223 apartments),[100] 1224 Huron Rd (9 apartments),[101] and 1220 Huron Rd (80 apartments),[102] May Company Building (350 apartments),[103] MT Silver (39 apartments),[104] 1750 Euclid Ave (217 apartments),[105] Lincoln Building (17 apartments),[106] Garfield Building (170 apartments),[107] and the Worthington Company Warehouse (70 apartments, 13 condominiums),[103] —totaling over 1500 additional new units.


Located in the east bank of the Flats, the 150-room Aloft Hotel by Starwood Properties opened in the summer 2013. The hotel is part of a $500 million mixed-used project known as the Flats East Bank. A $64 million renovation and new branding of the 484-room Westin Hotel was completed Spring 2014.[108]

32-story Cleveland Convention Center Hilton Hotel under construction in 2015

The 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown Hotel convention center hotel opened in June 2016. A $272 million project, the new construction of a 28-story tower atop a 4-story podium sits along the Mall next door to the Global Center for Health Innovation.[109] Marriott is incorporating a 156-room Autograph Collection brand into the Ameritrust complex mixed-use design with an expected completion of 2015.[110] Also expected to open 2015 and 2016 are the Schofield Building into a 122-room Kimpton hotel[111] and the John Hartness Brown Building into a 206-room Le Meridien[112]

The old Cleveland Municipal School District headquarters, built in the 1930s by Cleveland architectural firm Walker and Weeks, is being converted into a 175 to 180-room hotel by Drury Southwest Incorporated. The expected brand name is to be Drury Plaza with a projected 2016 completion date.[113] Without a given timeframe, proposed is the Cleveland Athletic Club building conversion into a Crowne Plaza hotel.[114]


Downtown Cleveland in 2006

The lakefront continually sees city proposals for expansion and construction, but no major construction has occurred since the late 1990s, besides the $17 million Coast Guard administrative building that opened in 2012.[115]

Two projects set to begin in 2013 or early 2014 include a 53-ship marina along the East Ninth Street pier[116] and a $5.5 million Miguel Rosales-designed pedestrian bridge.[117] Geis Cos. is proposing an office park on 20 acres of city-owned property south and west of Burke Lakefront Airport. In the public-private partnership, Geis has a one-year lease on the land that expires September 2013 as the deadline to solidify plans.[118] Building code height restrictions are in place due to the close proximity to an airport.

Cleveland's most recent Downtown Cleveland Lakefront Plan, released April 2012, is a mixed-use development between West 3rd and East 18th streets defining focus on three geographic areas. North Coast Harbor infill development proposes new commercial development along arcades and walkways connecting Cleveland Browns Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Global Center for Health Innovation and Convention Center. Harbor West is to be a new mixed-use development between Erieside Avenue and the water’s edge north of Cleveland Browns Stadium, known as First Energy Stadium, and the Great Lakes Science Center. Burke Development District proposes a self-contained office campus between East 9th and East 18th Streets south and west of Burke Lakefront Airport.


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