Photo credit: Rosales + Partners

Some encouraging words from Steve Litt:

The bridges also reflect changing attitudes toward public space in Cleveland. For decades, developers, nonprofit institutions and public agencies have concentrated on building isolated attractions, from museums to sporting venues, while investing little in the spaces around them.
Now, a new civic ethos is emerging in favor of beautifying parks and streetscapes, and making it easier and more enjoyable to explore the city by bike or on foot.

A trio of pedestrian bridges proposed by Boston architect Miguel Rosales could change the face of Cleveland

Since the mid-White Administration, Cleveland’s real estate developers have run roughshod over the business leadership. The result: A string of projects that have been heavily subsidized with public money and plenty of money to grease corrupt local officials. The Browns Stadium deal set the template.

This system all started to blow apart when the the County Commission — Hagan and Dimora — turned their back on Forest City and located the Med Mart and convention center on the Mall. The process got truly weird.

Forest City (one of the chief architects of all this distortion) declared “We’re disgusted“, when a rigged game did not locate the convention center/Med Mart at Tower City. They had been shut out of the negotiations.

Tempers flared, and politics got ugly.

Forest City’s rival Scott Wolstein stuck a fork into the Tower City site for a convention center with a pithy quote: “”I’m not sure the back-ass of Tower City is the center of the urban core.”

Forest City sputtered as Hagan and Dimora rammed through a decision to locate the Med Mart and convention center on the Mall. A month later, a proposal to reform county government emerged to eliminate the Commission.

Soon thereafter, the Feds indicted Dimora. Pressure mounting, Dimora pulled the covers off the relationship between the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the PD. (Recall at one point the PD, under prior leadership even promoted a Forest City blog. Check Dimora’s rant at the end of this video).

With the support of the business leadership, the County Commission was dismantled in favor of a County Executive. Forest City’s Tower City problem finally got solved by Ohio voters, as Forest City joined other gambling interests to convert the Ohio constitution into a zoning ordinance. (That creates some other problems, but Tower City — the failed project that dominated Cleveland’s behind the screen development politics for more than a decade — has finally been solved. They are converting Public Square into a Pottersville, but no matter. Forest City profits, finally.)

We may be seeing the glimmer of a new civic development dynamic in Cleveland.

Now, maybe, the business community in Cleveland can begin to focus on what can make Cleveland’s downtown more competitive. For some lessons on what works, check out what we did in Oklahoma City:

How Oklahoma City officials turned downtown from dying to vibrant

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2 Responses to “Cleveland’s new development dynamic?”

  1. George Nemeth Says:

    Like all glimmers of newness in CLE+ I expect this one to be crushed too

  2. John Polk Says:

    Is there any way to substantiate Dimora’s claim re: GCP and the PD, other than Dimora himself (who is obviously not the most credible source)?…If so, it would be a VERY interesting story…