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Downtown Cleveland News Archive

The former Cuyahoga County Administration Building in downtown Cleveland has been razed. A 600-room convention center hotel will be built on the site, and the new County headquarters building at the former Ameritrust complex is scheduled to open in July. County offices formerly in the building relocated to temporary locations last fall. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt has written extensively about the plans for the new 30-story hotel (PDF).

Four projects in Cleveland and one in Chagrin Falls received awards in the 10th round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. In Cleveland, the Fairmont Creamery redevelopment received a $3.12 million tax credit; the final phase of the St. Luke's Hospital redevelopment received a $506,600 tax credit; and residential conversions of two adjacent buildings on Huron Avenue in downtown Cleveland, the Starr Gennett Building and 1220 Huron, received tax credits of $422,001 and $3.55 million, respectively. The Spillway project in Chagrin Falls received a $1.65 million tax credit.

Developers have resumed the $50 million renovation of downtown Cleveland's Schofield Building. The 14-story building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue will become a 122-room Kimpton hotel and 55 luxury apartments. They expect to complete the project by the end of 2014.

Local officials celebrated the ribbon-cutting for the new Cleveland Convention Center in mid-June. Shortly after opening, it hosted the 2013 National Senior Games. The attached Global Center for Health Innovation (formerly known as the Medical Mart) is scheduled to open in October. Steven Litt said that the two buildings "project an image of Cleveland as a city able to complete large projects in a timely, efficient manner." Project managers discussed the development on WCPN's The Sound of Ideas.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced that they would work together to implement plans for downtown Cleveland development. The $350 million investment includes a 600-to-700-room hotel on the site of the County Administration Building at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street. The $260 million hotel would be attached to the new convention center. The action plan also includes implementation of plans for Public Square and the Malls, plus the construction of a lakefront connector bridge and a parking garage.

Seventeen architecture firms responded to Cuyahoga County's request for qualifications, and a committee recommended that Cooper Carry of Atlanta should design the hotel. Representatives of the firm were in Cleveland on August 8, where they gathered input from residents at a public forum.

Steven Litt said that "Cleveland finally seems to be getting the message" about the importance of vital public spaces, and said that the City should establish a set of urban design guidelines to preserve and enhance downtown views. He also said that the hotel represents "one of the most important design challenges in Cleveland in many years." In Crain's Cleveland Business, Jay Miller said that the partnership's success "will depend on continuing cooperation between city and county government," Stan Bullard compiled reactions from hotel operators, and Brian Tucker said that the new hotel must be more than "another lifeless rectangular box in our skyline." A Plain Dealer editorial praised the plans, while Roldo Bartimole denounced them.

The Greater Cleveland RTA resumed weekday Waterfront Line service on May 30. It had been eliminated in the agency's 2008 cutbacks, but the opening of the Flats east bank development prompted the service expansion. RTA also refreshed two of the Waterfront Line stations.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed investing $7 million from the County's Casino Revenue Development Fund to support three downtown Cleveland projects. He recommended supplying $4 million for planned Playhouse Square improvements, $1.5 million for the second phase of the Flats east bank project, and $1.5 million for the residential conversion of the East Ohio Building. County council approved the two latter proposals.

With the completion of the Ernst & Young Tower at the Flats east bank project, Crain's Cleveland Business looked at the potential for more office tower construction in downtown Cleveland.

Residential project roundup:

Update: a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Clifton Pointe II on July 24.

A $175,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation enabled the the Cleveland 2030 District to hire architect Jon Reidy as its executive director (PDF). He's working to increase membership of the green building organization.

While skeptics have questioned whether the phase two casino in downtown Cleveland will ever be built, City officials are confident it will proceed. Casino owner Dan Gilbert dismissed critics in a series of tweets and at a Positively Cleveland meeting. He said that it's currently in the design stage, but wouldn't reveal details.

The latest draft of Public Square redesign concept aims to unify the square. It calls for closing the section of Ontario Street that currently bisects the square, adding trees and grass, and creating new attractions. Landscape architect James Corner's Field Operations will continue to refine the plans. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the ideas, and Channel 5's Leon Bibb said he's "a fan of the proposal."

Update: The Architect's Newspaper described the proposal.

Update 2: WKSU aired a report on the Public Square plans.

Work on the new Cuyahoga County headquarters building in downtown Cleveland began in early April with the start of demolition of the former P&H buildings at East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. Demolition is scheduled to be finished by late June and the new building is slated to open by July 2014. The project's architect is striving for a subdued modernist design. The project is supported by $75.5 million in bonds from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Playhouse Square leaders unveiled a plan for $16 million in streetscape, signage, and lighting improvements. The plan's centerpiece is a 20-foot-tall LED chandelier that will hang over the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 14th Street. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a bold and logical next step in the establishment of a vibrant theater district downtown."

Update: Steven Litt said that adding the chandelier "might turn out to be a brilliant move." Next City also wrote about the plan.

The Cleveland Foundation's most recent round of grants included $5 million to Neighborhood Progress Inc., $1 million to the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, and $300,000 to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (all recipients (PDF)).

Construction of the new convention center in downtown Cleveland is ahead of schedule and about $10 million under budget. Officials anticipate that work will be completed by June 1. Crain's Cleveland Business published a series of articles about the project.

Update: a June 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned.

Plans for skywalks in downtown Cleveland remain controversial. Rock Ohio Caesars may purchase the Higbee Building in an effort to advance its plans to build a skywalk connecting the casino to its parking structure. Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County leaders plan to renovate an existing skywalk that would link the County's new headquarters building to a parking garage. A group of young professionals is urging County Council to demolish the skywalk and the City to reject the casino's plan. They a released video showing the negative impacts of skywalks in Detroit. A Plain Dealer editorial also encouraged County officials to remove the skywalk. The Atlantic Cities looked at the debate, and said that "it seems like a step backward in time."

Update: Rock Ohio Caesars will buy the Higbee Building for $79 million.

Update 2: on appeal, the National Park Service upheld its earlier rejection of the casino skywalk plans.

The Gund Foundation's most recent round of grants included $3.75 million for Neighborhood Progress Inc., $250,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, $180,000 for the Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy, and $150,000 for the Nature Conservancy.

At a March 7 auction, Drury Hotels was the high bidder for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District headquarters building in downtown Cleveland. The $4.83 million bid was well below the anticipated $8.5 million price, but the school board voted 5-3 to accept the bid. The new hotel will offer about 180 rooms when it opens in 2015, and is one of a number of proposed downtown hotels. The School District may move its offices into the former Eaton headquarters building on Superior Avenue.

Five buildings in Cleveland and three historic districts in Cuyahoga County were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The new listings include the East Ohio Building, the Globe Machine and Stamping Company on West 76th Street, the Kendel Building at 210 Prospect Avenue, the former Record Rendezvous building at 300 Prospect Avenue, and the Herold Building at 310 Prospect Avenue. The new historic districts are the Baldwin-Wallace College North Campus Historic District in Berea, the John Carroll University North Quad Historic District in University Heights, and the West 25th Street-Detroit Avenue Historic District in Ohio City.

Eaton Corp. moved about 700 employees into its new 53-acre campus in the Beachwood portion of the Chagrin Highlands. Its 600,000-square-foot building cost an estimated $170 million and replaces the company's former headquarters in downtown Cleveland. The City of Beachwood expects to gain $600,000 to $850,000 in annual payroll tax revenue.

A local developer and a New York investor intend to redevelop the Cleveland Athletic Club building as a 194-room Crowne Plaza hotel, apartments, and a fitness center. They hope to purchase the 15-story downtown building in April or May.

The Columbus Dispatch looked at the recent surges in downtown development seen by Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. Meanwhile, Next City examined how the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland (subscription required) is affecting downtown Cleveland.

At its January 22 meeting, Cuyahoga County Council unanimously voted to sell the Ameritrust complex to the Geis Cos. and to lease a to-be-constructed headquarters building from the company. The Geis Cos. formally took control of the property this week. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "county officials must provide thorough oversight" of the project. Council members pledged to closely monitor spending on the new building, and issued an RFQ for a consultant to oversee construction. The County's decision may force Optima Ventures to reconsider its plans for the Huntington Building.

Eight projects in Cuyahoga County were among the 23 recipients of tax credits (PDF) in the ninth round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. The awards included $5 million for the former East Ohio Building in downtown Cleveland, credits for six projects on Cleveland's near west side, and $3 million for the Beech Street Residence Halls Project in Berea.

Update: Cleveland's Department of Economic Development posted more details about the seven projects in Cleveland.

Citing the building as a safety hazard, the City of Cleveland razed the historic Stanley Block in downtown Cleveland. The City filed an emergency demolition declaration on December 18 and began demolition on December 22. A building contractor attempted to halt the demolition and the Cleveland Restoration Society asked the City to reconsider its decision, but their efforts to save the building were unsuccessful.

In December, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald recommended a proposal from the Geis Cos. for the Ameritrust complex and new county offices in downtown Cleveland. Under the proposal, Geis would purchase the buildings for $27 million and construct a new eight-story county administration building at the corner of East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. Geis intends to redevelop the the 28-story tower as high-end apartments, the Cleveland Trust rotunda as retail or another public use, and the Swetland Building as apartments and offices.

Cuyahoga County Council heard presentations and discussed the proposal at meetings on December 11, January 2, January 8, and January 15. The recommended agreement would allow the County to own its offices at the end of a 26-year lease, and received the highest score of the nine submitted proposals. Optima Ventures challenged the scoring calculations and offered a revised offer, while the County's real estate consultant said that Optima's numbers were in error.

Michelle Jarboe McFee of The Plain Dealer said that the agreement "could revive a stricken downtown Cleveland intersection," while Stan Bullard and Jay Miller of Crain's Cleveland Business noted that its "impact on the office market, statistically speaking, would be nil at best." Editorials in The Plain Dealer said that the deal has "many appealing elements" and urged County Council to "start asking tough questions about the proposed deal."

Update: Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey asked four questions about the agreement.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District headquarters building will be offered for sale at a public auction on March 7. The school board set an undisclosed reserve price for the landmark building on the Mall in downtown Cleveland. The school district also reopened its search for new downtown office space. CBRE's David Browning described the auction process to WTAM, while Roldo Bartimole called it an example of "smelly cesspool politics."

Cleveland State University razed Viking Hall and the Wolfe Music Building on Euclid Avenue to make way for the planned Center for Innovation in Health Professions. On Chester Avenue, The Langston saw its first tenants move in this past fall. The market-rate apartment project is scheduled to be completed in June. The University is also proceeding with plans to convert Mather Mansion to a boutique hotel, and reached a development agreement with the Chesler Group.

The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area awarded $121,000 in grants to eight projects through its Strategic Initiatives program. The awards included $23,000 to University Circle Inc. for development of its planned CircleWalk and $15,000 to LAND Studio for Lake Link Trail design and engineering work.

Local officials and bicyclists celebrated the opening of the Lorain-Carnegie Bikeway in Cleveland. The 14.5-foot wide multi-use path on the historic Lorain-Carnegie Bridge opened to the public on December 10. Painting and lighting improvements are scheduled to be finished this spring. Bike Cleveland, GreenCityBlueLake, NOACA, and ODOT posted photo galleries at Facebook.

The Gund Foundation's November grant awards included $5 million for the Cleveland Museum of Art's expansion, $500,000 for Land Studio to continue its downtown Cleveland greenspace and trail planning, and $75,000 for Bike Cleveland.

After reaching a compromise with City officials and historic preservationists, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved Cleveland State University's plans to demolish the Wolfe Music Building and Viking Hall. The mitigation agreement calls for the University to salvage elements of the Wolfe Music Building and establish a historic preservation certificate program. CSU and NEOMED plan to build the $45 million Center for Innovation in Health Professions on the site, and three competing architecture firms recently presented concepts for the new building. Steven Litt said that the institutions' design process is not likely to lead to an iconic structure.

Local residential projects in the news:

Update: Solon City Council approved the preliminary plat for the Neptune Oval Estates subdivision.

Mayor Jackson of Cleveland proposed selecting a single development team to implement the City's lakefront development plan. He intends to work with a seven-member advisory committee to draft a request for proposals and review the responses. A Plain Dealer editorial said it "could mark a turning point in Cleveland's relationship with its greatest natural treasure, Lake Erie." Meanwhile, Cleveland City Council authorized Geis Companies to begin planning a 20-acre waterfront office park.

RTA introduced three new routes for its free trolley-like buses in downtown Cleveland and expanded their operating hours to include evenings and weekends. The C-Line trolley is intended to serve planning for casinos in USA visitors, the L-Line provides connections to lakefront destinations, and the NineTwelve Line links office workers to large parking facilities. RTA raised $720,000 from local sponsors as a match for $2.88 million in federal funding to operate the expanded service for three years.

At a late-August press conference, Governor Kasich announced plans to employ a public-private partnership to build the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Transportation will seek an engineering, construction, and financing team for the $332 million project. The financing option has been used in 29 other states, but it's the first time Ohio has used it. The second bridge is now scheduled to built between 2014 and 2016, the project's original timeline. In January, ODOT said it work would not begin until 2023, and in June changed it to 2016. A Plain Dealer editorial called it promising news.

Preservation Ohio's annual list of the state's most endangered properties includes two in Cuyahoga County: the Stanley Block in downtown Cleveland and the Warner & Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland. Both buildings also appeared on last year's list.

The Architect's Newspaper looked at downtown redevelopment in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, and asked if it marked "the beginning of a Rust Belt rebound."

Cleveland leaders are considering a development agreement with Geis Companies for a proposed waterfront office park near Burke Lakefront Airport. The company would receive a one-year lease on the 20-acre site. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "significant and exciting" news that "could be the start of something truly grand," while Alec Pacella of SB Equities listed six things to consider about the plan.

Update: City officials said that the nearby USS Cod will continue to have a place on the lakefront.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt praised downtown Cleveland's redesigned Perk Park, calling it "a powerful demonstration of why it's essential to make more places like it throughout the city's heart." Channel 3 also reported from the park on a Walnut Wednesday.

Cuyahoga County officially launched its property consolidation effort, offering 13 properties for sale and requesting proposals for new office and storage space. The buildings for sale include the County Administration Building, the Ameritrust complex, and the former Juvenile Justice Center. They are being presented to potential purchasers at a series of open houses. The County is seeking 225,000 square feet of downtown office space and 200,000 square feet of storage space. County officials intend to discuss the proposals in private, but County Executive FitzGerald pledged to make public all proposals before presenting them to County Council. County leaders are also considering a real-estate consulting contract.

Erick Trickey of Cleveland Magazine wrote about the lack of transparency and compared the process to old county government practices. A Plain Dealer called it "a huge opportunity for the county to secure its own bottom line and to boost downtown."

Update WKSU's Kevin Niedermier explored how the building sales could affect downtown Cleveland.

Greater Cleveland residential projects in the news:

Update: a West Shore Sun editorial says that "things are looking up" for Rockport Shopping Center in Rocky River.

Update 2: Cleveland Heights Patch has more information about the plans for the Meadowbrook-Lee development.

The Ohio Department of Transportation shared design concepts for amenities that would accompany the planned second Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The designs show public art and greenspace elements (PDF) at the downtown and Tremont ends of the bridge. A Plain Dealer editorial cited it as evidence of a "kinder, gentler ODOT," while Steven Litt said that "the new public spaces planned around the bridges will compensate -- slightly -- for the urban damage ODOT will cause with its overall design."

Cuyahoga County officials announced that construction of the new convention center in downtown Cleveland is two months ahead of schedule, and will now open on July 1, 2013. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation added 28 days to the construction schedule for the new Innerbelt Bridge. An October 28, 2013 opening is now planned.

Update: Jim Bennett of MMPI talked about the convention center and Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $35.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 18 recipients. Two of the projects are in downtown Cleveland: a $1.6 million for a partial residential conversion of Rosetta Center (the former National City building at 629 Euclid Avenue), and $1.8 million for a mixed-use redevelopment of the vacant Truman Building at 1030 Euclid Avenue.

Fundraising for the two planned additional trolley-like bus routes in Cleveland is moving more slowly than RTA and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance hoped, but the organizations are confident that they will reach their goal.

In the fourth round of the federal TIGER program, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a total of nearly $500 million to 47 transportation projects. Although local officials applied for funding, construction of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland was not selected for funding.

Consultants for the City of Cleveland released the results of their transportation study of downtown Cleveland's Public Square. The study (PDF) conducted by Nelson Nygaard recommends closing the portion of Ontario Street that runs through the square and retaining the stretch of Superior Avenue. Steven Litt said that the "study has taken Cleveland one step closer to a better downtown," and RTA said it "will continue to work closely with the consultants and other involved stakeholders regarding any changes to Public Square."

NPR's Morning Edition aired a report about downtown Cleveland and the way it is attracting new residents and businesses, and downtown residents later shared their stories on WCPN's Sound of Ideas. Meanwhile, Rob Pitingolo examined some metropolitan area migration trends for Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

The future of downtown Cleveland's Stanley Block may be determined by the courts. Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court issued $15,000 in daily fines on its owners, and one of the attorneys was arrested for failing to appear at a hearing in May. Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell put the property in receivership. Businessman Tony George wants to redevelop the historic building as a restaurant, conference center, and meeting space.

Ohio's Transportation Review and Advisory Council approved an updated schedule for major new transportation projects (PDF). The Ohio Department of Transportation added $400 million to its construction budget, allowing some delays to be reduced, including the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Early this year the TRAC changed the start date from 2014 to 2023, but recently said work should begin in 2016. ODOT is exploring public-private partnerships as a way of expediting the project, a concept that a Plain Dealer editorial said is worth exploring. The agency faces projected decreases in gas tax revenues and is continuing to advance plans for commercial development at state-owned non-interstate rest areas. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial described the proposal as "an economic shell game."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said the "latest timetable for the Inner Belt Bridge represents a big step in the right direction."

With the opening of the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, local leaders hope it will generate new jobs and new tax revenues. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "if all goes as planned, the casino will give downtown a jolt of jobs, energy and excitement," while WCPN's Around Noon examined the casino from historical and urban planning perspectives. Owner Dan Gilbert said that the casino's planned second phase behind Tower City Center "is definitely happening."

Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County leaders discussed priorities for the County's share of the tax revenues at a recent work session. County Executive FitzGerald has proposed using the funds to support downtown Cleveland development, while some members of County Council would prefer to spread the investments over a broader area. A Plain Dealer editorial supported the County Executive's approach.

Construction of bikeway improvements to Cleveland's Lorain-Carnegie Bridge will begin soon. The $4.5 million project is intended to make the bridge more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians. Some Tremont residents are frustrated by the amount of road construction.

Update: the Plain Dealer shared more details.

The recently-launched Cleveland 2030 District aims to create a high-performance building district in downtown Cleveland. The project's organizers set goals for reducing energy usage, water usage, and carbon emissions in new and existing buildings and infrastructure.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that "it makes sense to explore" a proposed sale and possible hotel conversion of the Cleveland Board of Education Building, and that the building is a good candidate for adaptive reuse.

While parking lot operators in downtown Cleveland are raising prices because of expected increases in demand, they don't anticipate a shortage of parking. Ken Silliman, Mayor Jackson's chief of staff, said that "a significant part of the new demand can be met by existing garage and lots" and that the administration is "building the city around the movement of people more than the movement of cars." Jason Russell of the Civic Commons called for taking "a more pragmatic approach to parking."

Judge Pianka of Cleveland Housing Court ordered Macron Investment Co., the partnership that owns the Stanley Block in downtown Cleveland, to either repair or demolish the historic building. In a related decision, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge ruled in March that the ownership is evenly divided between the Maloof and Anter families and casino developer Rock Ohio Caesars.

The lakefront plan recently adopted by the City of Cleveland includes a floating office harbor west of Burke Lakefront Airport. Planners hope it can attract innovative companies and talent.

Update: WKSU reported on LeanDog's floating office in the former Hornblower's restaurant.

Through its Pop Up Rockwell event underway this week, the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative has created a temporary complete and green street along five blocks in downtown Cleveland. It includes a two-way cycle track, and Marc Lefkowitz said that the project provides "the kind of creative spark Cleveland needs to see." In Old Brooklyn, the second annual Pop UP Pearl event will take place on May 19. It will include a DIY Urbanism Competition.

Update: West Life described the Pop Up Rockwell project.

Cuyahoga County selected CBRE Group Inc. to market up to 22 buildings, evaluate potential new office space, and negotiate sales or leases. The process may begin next month.

RTA ridership figures continue to rise, increasing by 5.3% between March 2011 and March 2012, and the agency is working to attract discretionary transit users. In Cleveland Heights and University Circle, consultants are developing plans for improving non-automobile transportation options and are conducting a survey. Marc Lefkowitz said that they face challenges and opportunities.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District leaders are still considering plans to sell the District's administration building on East 6th Street in downtown Cleveland. Roldo Bartimole strongly opposes the proposal.

Delaying the construction of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland will create more expenses for the Ohio Department of Transportation. Repairs to extend the lifespan of the existing Innerbelt Bridge by five years will cost $65 million, and extending it by ten years will cost $89 million.

On Thursday, Jeff Finkle, Lee Fisher, and Joe Marinucci participated in a panel discussion, the annual State of Downtown forum at the City Club (MP3, 54.0 MB). They expressed optimism about the future of downtown Cleveland. That morning on WCPN's Sound of Ideas, Joe Calabrese of RTA and Bob Pfaff of Akron METRO talked about public transit in Greater Cleveland.

Update: video of the State of Downtown forum is now online.

The wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was delivered and erected this month. The 265-foot turbine will begin generating electricity in a few weeks. At Cleveland's Progressive Field, workers installed a corkscrew-shaped turbine designed by a Cleveland State University professor.

Update: the turbine at the fairgrounds was officially dedicated, and WKSU reported on local wind energy initiatives.

The K&D Group of Willoughby recently signed a contract to buy the vacant 1717 East 9th Building and its 550-space parking garage from Sovereign Partners. K&D plans to convert the former East Ohio Building into a 223-unit apartment building. The company has one year to complete its purchase of the downtown office tower.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the plans.

On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved the lakefront redevelopment plan introduced by Mayor Jackson in November. The plan covers the waterfront between the Port of Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that recent decisions "will make it easier to move ahead" with the plans.

The historic Stanley Block, one of downtown Cleveland's oldest buildings, remains under threat of demolition. Its fate may be determined at a Cleveland Housing Court trial on April 5.

Developers Adam Fishman and Ari Maron and the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt talked about downtown Cleveland construction projects on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program.

Richey Piiparinen of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at CWRU researched the demographic trends of downtown Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods, and found promising signs. Geographer Jim Russell concurred with his conclusions.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the figures.

The YMCA of Greater Cleveland plans to move its downtown branch from the Central YMCA building on Prospect Avenue into the Galleria at Erieview. Cleveland State purchased the Central YMCA building in 2009.

RTA is working with downtown Cleveland businesses to raise $720,000 to help fund two new trolleybus routes, the planned C-Line and Rock Line routes. The agency also hopes to launch a third new line, the Nine-Twelve Trolley.

Work continues on the Horseshoe Casino in the Higbee Building on Public Square. When it opens on May 14, it will be the first casino in Ohio. The owner of the nearby May Company Building recently proposed converting about half of the landmark building into a parking deck. The Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee voted to table the proposal, and the Cleveland City Planning Commission rejected the plans. Meanwhile, the historic Stanley Block remains in a state of disrepair and faces possible demolition.

Cleveland City Council approved a $1 million loan for the redevelopment of downtown's former Crowne Plaza hotel as a Westin hotel, and is considering a proposed walkway across East 6th Street to Public Auditorium. The Cleveland Restoration Society has "major concerns" about the proposal, because it would "obstruct the grand vista to Cleveland City Hall." Meanwhile, the developers renovating downtown's Schofield Building selected Kimpton Hotels for the hotel/residential project.

Local leaders and citizens celebrated the grand opening of the Global Cleveland Welcome Center last week. Located in 200 Public Square, it's intended to serve as a first stop for all newcomers to the region. Staff at the hub will provide advice, connections to communities, and resources for entrepreneurs. Ken Kovach shared some background information.

Cleveland residents asked questions about the City's new lakefront plans at a public meeting last week. Meanwhile, Lute Harmon of Inside Business advocated for following Chicago's example and reserving the waterfront for public uses.

A real estate study conducted for Cuyahoga County leaders provided recommendations for each property in the county portfolio, and divided them into opportunities for investment, holding, or divestment. The study (PowerPoint) recommended the sale of the Ameritrust complex, the County Administration Building, and the former Juvenile Justice Center, among other structures. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "upshot of all this is that the county may soon become an important player in the local real estate market."

The opening date of the Cleveland casino will be pushed back from late March to May or June. The state Casino Control Commission needs more time to conduct required background checks. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial concludes that the Commission "is providing the necessary counterweight by insisting on transparency and accountability."

Cleveland Magazine briefly considered arguments for and against the possible reconfiguration of downtown's Public Square.

The Playhouse Square Foundation agreed to sell the Hanna Building Annex on East 14th Street to the K&D Group of Willoughby. The company plans to convert the office building to 102 apartments. Work may begin in June.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $14.9 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for 13 rehabilitation projects. Eight of the projects are in Northeast Ohio, and four are in Cleveland. The Victory Building at Euclid Avenue and East 71st Street received a $4.38 million credit, the Park and Southworth Buildings on Public Square received a $1.98 million credit, the Rialto Theater on West 25th Street received a $484,108 credit, and the Gifford House on Prospect Avenue received a $108,914 credit. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial supports the tax credit program.

Cleveland State University's landmark Mather Mansion on Euclid Avenue could be converted to a boutique hotel. The university is seeking proposals from developers interested in renovating and operating the property.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission designated Fenn Tower, Howe Mansion, and the Stager-Beckwith Mansion as Cleveland landmarks. The Commission will continue to discuss the proposed designation of the Wolfe's Music Store building.

Insurance company AmTrust Financial Services announced that it will bring its offices to downtown Cleveland. The company plans to relocate 245 jobs from Seven Hills and create up to 800 new jobs over three years. AmTrust will make at least $20 million in upgrades to the Key Center tower at Superior Avenue and East 9th Street. It purchased the building in July for $7.1 million.

Cleveland State University intends to mothball most of its Rhodes Tower because of the high cost of renovations. A study estimated that it would cost about $37 million to renovate and upgrade the tower.

In the downtown Cleveland apartment market, demand is up and vacancy rates are down. Rent levels have remained stable. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is encouraging developers to focus on housing.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that downtown's "draw is dynamic."

State officials awarded more than $27.5 million in Clean Ohio Fund grants for 15 brownfield cleanup initiatives, including two local projects. Cuyahoga County received $2 million for demolition and remediation of Cleveland State University's Viking Hall and Wolfe's Music Store building. The university now plans to build a health and life sciences building on the site. The City of Cleveland received $2.99 million for infrastructure, demolition, and remediation in the Miceli Dairy expansion. The project broke ground in October.

Update: Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson wants to save the Wolfe's Music Store building.

Local officials celebrated the opening of downtown Cleveland's rebuilt Perk Park on Monday.

Mayor Jackson unveiled his plans for the downtown Cleveland waterfront. Prepared by EE&K Architects of New York and Van Auken Akins Architects of Cleveland, it complements lakefront planning efforts by the Port Authority and Cleveland Browns, and calls for Burke Lakefront Airport and the Port of Cleveland to remain in place. The plan seeks to balance recreation and entertainment with port and airport operations, while strengthening connections to downtown. Steven Litt described the plan as a "collection of the most logical and sensible concepts for the downtown portion of the lakefront that have surfaced in earlier plans." A Plan Dealer editorial supports the concepts.

Update: Scene's Michael Roberts was more skeptical about the ideas.

RTA continues to develop plans for its West Side Transit Center in the Warehouse District, and will hold a public meeting on Wednesday evening.

Update: RTA posted the presentation (PDF) from the meeting. The agency intends to complete the plans early next year.

Cleveland State University held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $50 million mixed-use Campus Village development today. Construction of phase one is scheduled to end in fall 2012 and phase two in fall 2013.

Update: Channel 5 has more information.

Mayor Jackson's vision for Public Square includes the unification of its quadrants by closing the portions of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street that run through the square. A traffic study is scheduled to be completed in February, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has set aside funding for landscape architect James Corner to develop a second set of design concepts. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey considered the political implications.

The National Park Service endorsed the Ohio Historic Preservation Office's recommendation and said that a proposed elevated walkway to the casino in the Higbee Building would be "inconsistent with the historic character of the building." Rock Gaming said that it is evaluating its options.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz considered what may come next.

Update 2: Rock Ohio Caesars is appealing the decision.

Rust Wire's Richey Piiparinen said that the success of the casino coming to Cleveland could depend on its authenticity. Casino General Manager Marcus Glover spoke about the project on the Sound of Ideas.

The City of Cleveland will vacate portions of several streets for the planned Campus Village project at Cleveland State. Developers hope to break ground in the next few weeks.

Images of the winning entries in this year's Cleveland Design Competition are now online. More selections are posted at Facebook.

Real estate advisers told the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that it could save $18 million (PDF) over the next 10 years by moving from its existing building to rented offices downtown.

Developers of the downtown Cleveland casino say that it will help support existing downtown businesses. Others have doubts. The phase one casino in the Higbee Building is scheduled to open in March.

Cuyahoga County Council discussed Medical Mart and convention center construction at a work session on Tuesday. They learned that the service drive off of West 3rd Street will require rebuilding, an estimated $1.6 million expense. This week's issue of Scene looked at how MMPI's concept for the project has evolved.

Update: the Plain Dealer examined the changing Medical Mart plans, while WCPN looked at the county's economic development priorities. A Plain Dealer editorial urges MMPI to keep stakeholders apprised of the changes.

Update 2: MedCity News analyzed the shift in strategy.

Last Wednesday, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority voted to adopt its new strategic (PDF) action plan, despite a late objection from developers of the Flats east bank project.

Last week, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office recommended against approval of a skywalk between the phase one casino in the Higbee Building and the casino parking facility currently under construction. Developers can build the skywalk if their request is denied, but could have to repay federal historic preservation tax credits.

Crain's Cleveland Business looked at how conditions along lower Euclid Avenue in Cleveland have improved since the mid-1990s.

Brent Larkin of the Plain Dealer says that a quality redesign of downtown Cleveland's Public Square should be a priority.

The public response was positive at a Wednesday meeting on the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's draft strategic plan. The Port Authority board may vote to adopt the plan at its September 21 meeting.

The 92 participants in this year's Cleveland Design Competition offered concepts for a future home for the Campus International School near Cleveland State University. The winners were revealed at an event on August 19. Images of the submissions will be displayed at the Ingenuity Festival and at the Colonial Marketplace Arcade, and will be posted online in October. Steven Litt said that the "takeaway from this year's entries is that the competition didn't elicit a single, powerful solution capable of rallying a strong push to get it built."

Steven Litt looked at the recent history of Dock 20 at the Port of Cleveland, the site of the Essroc cement facility.

The new bicycle station in downtown Cleveland opened to the public on Friday. The Bike Rack at the Gateway North Garage provides indoor parking for up to 50 bicycles, plus showers, lockers, and a bike-repair shop. A bicycle rental service will also be available.

At a special joint meeting of the Cleveland City Planning Commission, Landmarks Commission, and Downtown Design Review Committee on Friday, members voted to approve plans for a casino welcome center and parking garage. The designs include a diagonal skywalk across the intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue. Steven Litt remained critical of the process, and said that "it was another confirmation of how Cleveland differs from cities that insist on better planning and urban design."

Renovations of the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square are nearing completion. The theater is scheduled to reopen in one month.

The City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and MMPI each intend to contribute $200,000 for preliminary engineering and design work for the Mall in downtown Cleveland. It will cover planning for infrastructure to support potential amenities at the Mall.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority released (PDF) a draft of its strategic action plan. Its recommendations include ways to "deliver on community ambitions for waterfront renewal, job creation, and economic vitality." If adopted, it would replace the earlier port relocation plan. Steven Litt said that its suggestion to concurrently plan for the future of the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River waterfronts "is embarrassingly close to a head-slapping moment of blinding clarity." The public can provide feedback through a survey and at the Civic Commons. The Port Authority also announced that it will relocate its offices to a building on West 9th Street and the hiring of Jim White (PDF) as its first director of sustainable infrastructure programs.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the plan "actually makes sense for the port and the region," but that implementing it may be a challenge.

Update 2: WKSU's Kabir Bhatia spoke with Port Authority President William Friedman.

Cleveland State University intends to demolish its 13-story Viking Hall and the adjacent Walker and Weeks-designed Wolfe's Music Store building on Euclid Avenue. Cuyahoga County is applying for a $2 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant (PDF) for asbestos remediation and demolition, and will hold a public meeting (PDF) on September 8.

Update: the Plain Dealer described the proposal.

Preservation Ohio released its annual list of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites. The 13 sites include the previously-revealed Columbia Building and Stanley Block in downtown Cleveland, as well as the Warner & Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland.

Update: demolition of the Columbia Building is underway.

The Cleveland Municipal School District continues to consider the possibility of auctioning off the Board of Education Building in downtown Cleveland and leasing office space elsewhere. The District is working with Weston Development to evaluate its options.

NOACA posted the Gateway District Streetscape and Transportation Plan (PDF, 32 MB) a November 2010 document intended to "provide a vision for the streets that will create a memorable downtown neighborhood." GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz wrote about the plan and the Ohio City Market District Plan, currently in progress. Both plans were funded through NOACA's Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for expanding bicycle and pedestrian access on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. The plans call for widening the multi-use path on the bridge's north side by nine feet, among other changes. Marc Lefkowitz's said that "the bridge could still use a road diet."

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $27 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grants for 17 brownfield cleanup projects. Cleveland received two awards, $3 million for asbestos remediation of the John Hartness Brown Building on Euclid Avenue and $1 million for remediation and demolition for a mixed-use project on East 66th Street.

Update: WKSU has more details.

The Ohio Department of Transportation hired Richland Engineering Limited of Mansfield to design the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Michael Baker Jr., Inc. will be a subconsultant.

ParkWorks posted the report from Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission. It presents a vision for "a central district woven throughout with dynamic places teeming with energy and people."

The State of Ohio and Rock Ohio Caesars reached an agreement covering taxes and fees for the casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Rock Ohio Caesars will pay an additional $110 million in fees over the next 10 years, and the state agreed to drop its proposal to apply the Commercial Activity Tax against total betting. The agreement (PDF) also says that the phase one and phase two casinos in Cleveland will be considered one casino, and authorizes slot machines at racetracks. Construction is expected to resume soon.

A Plain Dealer editorial said the agreement "appears to be a true win-win for Ohioans", while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said it "must be seen as a limited victory over gambling interests." An anti-gambling group said that it will challenge the deal in court. Steven Litt reflected on the recent Cleveland Landmarks Commission decision, and said that Rock Gaming needs to improve its casino planning efforts.

The City of Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission reviewed and approved the latest designs for the Medical Mart and new convention center. They include concepts for incorporating the current site of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building into future phases. Marc Lefkowitz has concerns about the plans for Malls B and C.

Architect Miguel Rosales is continuing to refine designs for three pedestrian bridges in Cleveland. The City of Cleveland plans to begin construction of a bridge at North Coast Harbor next summer, Cuyahoga County officials started evaluating three options for a bridge to Whiskey Island, and Case Western Reserve University made public a proposal for a bridge that would link the Cleveland Museum of Art to the Temple Tifereth Israel.

On Thursday, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission voted 4-3 to allow the demolition of the landmark Columbia Building in downtown Cleveland, despite organized opposition to the proposal. Rock Ohio Caesars intends to use its site as part of a casino welcome center and parking garage. The Landmarks Commission will not authorize razing the Columbia Building until the casino developers resolve their dispute with state officials. Richey Piiparinen of Rust Wire railed against the decision, while Marc Lefkowitz of GreenCityBlueLake placed it in a historical context.

Prior to the meeting, Cleveland City Council approved the sale of the Gateway North Garage to Rock Ohio Caesars. The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented its case for retaining the Columbia Building, Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer criticized the handling of an alternative concept, and Erick Trickey of Cleveland Magazine looked at the surrounding political circumstances. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the demolition is necessary.

The U.S. EPA's research vessel Mudpuppy will return to Northeast Ohio in July to conduct tests on Cuyahoga River sediment behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park and in the old channel of the Cuyahoga River near its mouth in Cleveland.

Cleveland State University's trustees approved plans for the 6.8-acre Campus Village development along Chester Avenue between East 21st and East 24th streets. The $50 million mixed-use development will include 308 housing units in nine three- and four-story buildings. The university owns the property, and will lease it to developer Polaris Real Estate Equities of Gates Mills for at least 50 years. Construction is scheduled to begin early this summer.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the decision.

A disagreement between the Ohio Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway over land for the new Innerbelt Bridge threatens to delay and add costs to the construction project.

Update: ODOT will purchase 50 acres from Norfolk Southern for $29.8 million. It's more land than the agency needs and more money than it wanted to spend.

The Plain Dealer provided updates on the experimental wind turbine initiative at Cleveland State University and the status of trail planning for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

At its meeting on Thursday morning, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission tabled the proposed demolition of the Columbia Building until its next meeting on June 9. Rock Ohio Caesars' proposal for a casino welcome center and parking garage includes the site of the Columbia Building.

Preservation Ohio will release its annual list of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites in June, but because of deliberations underway in Cleveland, revealed that downtown's Columbia Building and Stanley Block are on the list. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposed demolition of the Columbia Building on Thursday. Cleveland Area History shared more information about the history of the Columbia Building, Bill Barrow considered a historical parallel, and Ashley Shaw called the parking garage plans an "effort to cater to auto-centric suburban visitors rather than the residents of Cleveland."

Update: Marc Lefkowitz also criticized the proposal, and the Cleveland Coalition urged the Landmarks Commission to postpone demolition approval.

At its meeting on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for a casino parking garage and welcome center. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on Thursday. Steven Litt was disappointed by the plans, calling them "the kind of actions that can erode a city's visual integrity and sense of place."

The Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to pay an additional $650,000 to resolve a ramp design dispute for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland.

Citing "recent legislative action and discussion proposing significantly higher taxes and fees", Rock Ohio Caesars suspended construction of its casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Matt Cullen of Rock Gaming said that there is too much economic uncertainty for construction to proceed. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the casino developers' stance.

Meanwhile, representatives of Rock Ohio Caesars presented the company's plans for a parking garage and welcome center to the Cleveland Landmarks Commission on Thursday. Their plans include the demolition of the landmark Columbia Building on Prospect Avenue. The neighboring Stanley Block was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, and Heritage Ohio included the building in its annual Top Opportunities List.

Supporters of the plans to remake the Mall in downtown Cleveland have about two months to raise $500,000 for preliminary engineering and design work.

The latest designs from Rock Ohio Caesars for a parking garage and welcome center near the planned downtown Cleveland casino call for building around the Stanley Block and demolishing the Columbia Building. The company is also interested in purchasing the Gateway North Parking Garage from the City of Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland's plans for Burke Lakefront Airport include increasing hangar space (possibly on the site of the former Aviation High School), building a new terminal, and adding a runway. Lute Harmon of Inside Business is among those who think that it would be better to close the airport.

Participants in the 2011 Cleveland Design Competition will offer concepts for a new K-12 public school on a site north of Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland. Organizers expect to receive at least 100 entries from around the world.

Members of Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission and students from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University discussed downtown Cleveland design issues (MP3, 53.8 MB) at the City Club last Thursday.

The Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to have consultants prepare an economic impact study as part of its Innerbelt reconstruction plans. Businesses in Midtown are challenging ODOT's plans to close the ramps at Prospect and Carnegie avenues.

The Cleveland Coalition published a report on the planned Cleveland casino. It builds upon two events held last year, and includes a variety of suggestions for integrating the casino into the city.

The May issue of Cleveland Magazine includes a profile of Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Stan Austin and a piece by Michael Roberts on the history of downtown Cleveland planning problems.

Construction of the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland began earlier this month, and new items have been added to the design-build process. The Ohio Department of Transportation added an $850,000 catwalk to the bridge, and contractor Walsh Construction says that an additional $1.3 million is needed for an Ontario Street ramp.

The Cleveland Browns unveiled a redevelopment concept for 20 acres north of Cleveland Browns Stadium in downtown Cleveland. The team intends to act as a catalyst for the mixed-use lakefront development, and its initial vision for what it is calling the Lakefront District includes mixed-use structures, athletic facilities, additional parking, a covered walkway, and possibly a sports medicine center. Steven Litt encouraged the Browns to set high design standards, consultants said that the project could be successful, but Roldo Bartimole described it as a case of corporate welfare. The Browns posted video and a transcript of the Wednesday press conference.

Update: editorials in the Plain Dealer and Morning Journal found the premise enticing. Michael Roberts, on the other hand, called it "curious and alarming news."

Uncertainty about state policies could delay planned casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Governor Kasich has not finalized casino taxes and fees, and developer Rock Gaming says that his indecision is making it difficult for them to obtain financing.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Governor "Kasich is being an uncharacteristic drag on private investment," while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial concludes that he is "pursuing the evaluation that should have been conducted in the first place." On Wednesday, Governor Kasich indicated that he may ask casino developers for additional up-front payments.

Update 2: Governor Kasich said that Ohio "got a bad deal" and that casino developers were "crying wolf". State officials selected two firms as advisors on gambling-related issues.

This May, Global Cleveland plans to open the Cleveland International Welcome Center in a Euclid Avenue storefront of 200 Public Square, the former BP Building. It will serve as an information and resource center for immigrants and as the headquarters for recruitment efforts. The organization has raised more than $1 million to support the initiative, including $500,000 from Huntington Bank.

The 472-room Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Cleveland will be renovated as a four-star hotel. Its new owners are exploring ways to connect the hotel to the nearby Medical Mart and convention center project.

Joe Marinucci of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, David Feehan of Civitas Consultants, and Michael Edwards, formerly of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership spoke at the second annual state of downtown forum at the City Club (MP3, 52.3 MB). They stressed the importance of connectivity within downtown and discussed other elements of successful downtown revitalizations.

Update: the City Club posted video of the panel discussion.

The Gund Foundation awarded nearly $3.5 million in grants at its March meeting. They include awards of up to $250,000 to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, $180,000 over two years to the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, $100,000 to the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, and $60,000 to the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation.

In addition to proposing school closings and layoffs, Cleveland Metropolitan School District officials are considering placing the Board of Education Building in downtown Cleveland up for sale. Developer John Ferchill sought to redevelop the building as a hotel in the mid-1980s. Roldo Bartimole strongly opposes selling the building.

Update: the Cleveland Board of Education voted to close seven schools and lay off 643 teachers. Interim CEO Peter Raskind said that "there are no easy answers to the District's budget woes" and that "cuts in personnel and related expenses are unavoidable."

The City of Cleveland will build a 53-slip marina at North Coast Harbor. The $2 million facility at the southwest corner of the East 9th Street Pier will likely open in spring 2012.

Steven Litt says that traffic studies for the proposed Public Square redesign and the forthcoming Cleveland casino "could determine the character of downtown for decades to come." They have the potential to decide the balance between a downtown that is pedestrian-friendly and one that is automobile-oriented. A Plain Dealer editorial on the casino parking proposal says that the challenge of downtown development "is to balance the needs of new development against the existing architectural and visual elements that make downtown interesting and desirable."

The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin wrote about problems with high office vacancy rates along downtown Cleveland's East 9th Street corridor.

Cool Cleveland posted video tours of downtown Cleveland's three arcades and the Tyler Village complex in Cleveland.

Ohio Department of Transportation contractors are demolishing the Broadway Mills Building and the Marathon gas station located at the edge of the old Central Viaduct in downtown Cleveland. The buildings, deemed eligible but not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are being razed for the new Innerbelt Bridge.

While the City of Cleveland and other older industrial cities experienced population decreases between 2000 and 2010, they also saw substantial population growth in their downtowns. On March 23, the City Club will host a forum on the state of downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland casino developer Rock Ohio Caesars intends to place a valet parking center and a parking garage on the downtown block bounded by Ontario Street, Prospect Avenue, High Street, and East 2nd Street. Parking lot owner Lou Frangos acquired the properties for the casino. The plans may include the demolition of the historic Columbia Building on Prospect and the Stanley Block on Ontario. On Thursday, the Cleveland Landmarks Commission unanimously recommended designating the Stanley Block as a Cleveland landmark.

The $30 million renovation of the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland is about halfway finished. Work is scheduled to be completed in August.

Parking lot owner Lou Frangos wants to demolish the Stanley Block, one of the oldest buildings in downtown Cleveland. In a series of recent acquisitions, companies linked to Frangos purchased the entire block at the southeast corner of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue, with the exception of the Stanley Block, of which he acquired partial ownership. The City of Cleveland condemned the building last year, and the Cleveland Landmarks Commission will hold a public hearing about the building on Thursday.

Update: at the hearing, preservationists said that the building should be saved. The Landmarks Commission is scheduled to vote on a landmark designation at its March 10 meeting.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Transportation will permanently close University Road between West 14th Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks in Tremont, and will begin demolition of the Cleveland Cold Storage Building. Soon after that, the East 21st Street ramp to I-77 southbound will be closed for at least six years. The work is in preparation for the construction of the new Innerbelt Bridge.

Forest City Enterprises and Rock Ohio Caesars signed a five-year lease agreement for the phase one casino at the Higbee Building in downtown Cleveland. The lease covers about 303,000 square feet on four floors and includes extension options. Its long-term prospects depend on its performance once the phase two casino opens in 2013.

The Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin design-build team, one of the two unsuccessful finalists in the Innerbelt Bridge project, dropped its lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Cool Cleveland looked at how Cleveland State University is refashioning its campus to make it more attractive to students.

Update: Channel 19 also reported on CSU's plans.

The Planning and Urban Design Working Group of the City of Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission presented its recommendations (PDF) on Thursday. Its set of recommendations for the Mall and Public Square suggest ways to improve downtown's connectivity and to shift from an automobile-focused pattern to a more human-oriented scale. The estimated cost of the investments is $87.6-89.6 million.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Cleveland can't afford to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine its center".

The Ohio Department of Transportation committed $6 million for improving bicycle and pedestrian access on Cleveland's Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. Construction is tentatively scheduled for next year. Marc Lefkowitz called it a victory for the Access for All campaign.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will soon begin searching for a designer for the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. ODOT officials say that the second bridge, which will replace the existing span, will appear similar but not identical to the first new bridge.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is preparing to demolish the first three buildings in the Innerbelt Bridge project. Long-term lane closures will follow later this month and next.

The General Services Administration unveiled the design of the new facade for the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland. The new aluminum and glass skin, designed by architect Charles Young of Interactive Design Eight Architects in Chicago, is expected to reduce the building's annual energy costs by 17%. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the "project could be a bellwether for skylines across the country, especially for skyscrapers that fall somewhere below the level of landmarks worthy of preservation in pristine condition." Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune said that the "building stands to be transformed from a muscle-bound but middling work of mid-20th Century modernism into something delicate, diaphanous and endearing to the passerby."

Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee approved the latest plans for the Medical Mart. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the designs need more refinement.

Update: committee members want more information about the Mall designs before approving that portion of the plans.

Update 2: the Cleveland City Planning Commission also approved the Medical Mart and convention center plans, but not the plans for the Mall.

On Wednesday, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority approved plans to expand rail service at the Port of Cleveland. The work should be completed this year (PDF).

Local, state, and MMPI officials participated in today's ceremonial groundbreaking for the Medical Mart and convention center in downtown Cleveland. They announced the Medical Mart's first 57 tenants and 31 conferences, conventions, and trade shows. The lists include many local companies. Construction at the site started on January 3, and the facilities are scheduled to open in fall 2013. Positively Cleveland posted video and photographs of the event, and MMPI has a live construction webcam.

Update: Cleveland Magazine and the Plain Dealer scrutinized the list of tenants, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that the groundbreaking was "a milestone to celebrate."

The General Services Administration plans to replace the roof of the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland and to wrap the entire building with a new glass facade. Steven Litt described the work as "a fascinating case in which government is trying to balance two positive goals: historic preservation and energy conservation." The $121 million project is being funded by the federal stimulus program.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved lighting, colors, surface textures, and other aesthetic details for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. The presentation is available online (PDF). Last month Steven Litt called it "a depressing coda to a 10-year design process in which ODOT wasted numerous opportunities, ran down the clock and ended up with a mediocre concept for a bridge".

Update: ODOT issued a press release.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County closed on the sale of the City's convention center, and the County will begin construction of the new convention center and Medical Mart next month. City officials are examining their options for Public Auditorium, which will be separated from the convention center.

Update: construction began on January 3, 2011.

At its final meeting of the year (PDF), the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority agreed to accept a loan for a proposed rail project, approved three financing agreements, and discussed the future of the port. Board member John Carney will vacate his seat when his term expires at the end of the year.

Architects from GGN and LMN presented more ideas for remaking Cleveland's downtown Malls and surrounding areas to the City's new Group Plan Commission on Friday. They reviewed current conditions and made a variety of suggestions for making the area more connected, attractive, lively, and sustainable. The presentations by Mark Hinshaw of LMN (PDF, 30.8 MB) and Shannon Nichol of GGN (PDF, 44.1 MB) are posted at Cleveland.com.

The Ohio Department of Transportation paid a $1 million stipend to one of the two losing design-build finalists in the Innerbelt Bridge project. The Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin joint venture is continuing its lawsuit against the department. ODOT ruled that the team of Lane-Brayman, the other unselected finalist, was ineligible to receive the stipend.

Cleveland State University's trustees voted to proceed with plans for the Middough Building at Playhouse Square. The university's theater and visual arts departments will occupy several floors in the building, which the Playhouse Square Foundation will purchase from Middough. The company will remain in the building.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland on January 14. Construction is scheduled to begin on January 3.

The Ohio Department of Transportation continues to refine plans for bicycle and pedestrian improvements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in Cleveland. Officials with the incoming Kasich administration would not comment on the plans.

In an article about the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland, Bloomberg looked at the project's background, status, and outlook. Medical Mart officials issued a statement in response.

Cuyahoga County the City of Cleveland finalized their agreement for the construction of the Medical Mart and new convention center in downtown Cleveland. Among other provisions, it calls for the County to pay the City $20 million for the existing convention center, describes the separation and renovation of Public Auditorium, and sets minimum standards for the designs of Malls B and C.

Participants at Tuesday's design charrette suggested a variety of ideas for improving downtown Cleveland, focusing on concepts around the major planned developments.

A video prepared for Rock Ventures shows preliminary massings and site plans for the downtown Cleveland casino. It was shared at a recent meeting about the proposal to narrow the Cuyahoga River for the casino and was not intended for public release, which Steven Litt says raises "questions about whether Rock Ventures should be more transparent in the early stages of its thinking about the casino."

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard broke ground for a new 24,500-square-foot building at North Coast Harbor in Cleveland. When completed in fall 2012, it will replace several smaller World War II-era buildings.

Cleveland leaders are seeking public input on ideas for the downtown Malls at Your Changing Cleveland. The new Cleveland Group Plan Commission will hold a design charette on November 30.

Update: Steven Litt described the process.

On Thursday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a series of agreements for the planned Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. They include purchase agreements for the properties, a construction agreement, and a lease with MMPI. Steven Litt said that the project has "switched from imagination to reality" and that "the real impact of the project won't be evident until several years after its completion in 2013."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the actions.

A group of out-of-state investors plans to convert the vacant John Hartness Brown Building and an adjacent building into a hotel. The $55 million project on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland would add more than 200 hotel rooms, enclosed parking, and 12,000-13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The state awarded $5.8 million in historic preservation tax credits for the building in 2007.

At a Thursday meeting, ODOT staffers and local transportation advocates discussed proposed pedestrian and bicycle enhancements to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, a possible alternative to including a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge.

Medical Mart Executive Director Dennis Madden and Public Relations Director Dave Johnson discussed the project on WDOK's Cleveland Connection show.

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures proposed narrowing the Cuyahoga River at Collision Bend behind Tower City Center in order to create additional room for parking and to provide a buffer for the planned downtown Cleveland casino. Alterations to the federal navigation channel require an act of Congress. Rock Ventures intends to break ground for the casino next year.

Downtown Cleveland stakeholders are developing a concept for rebranding and promoting downtown's financial district, possibly under the NineTwelve District moniker.

Update: a Plain Dealer article explores the concept in more depth.

Monday's Plain Dealer looked at how the Playhouse Square Foundation uses its real estate holdings to support its performing arts mission. The nonprofit owns about 1 million square feet of real estate, and manages other buildings across the region. Managers plan to add the former Woolworth store at 1317 Euclid and the Middough Building to their portfolio.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that "such promising ventures carry the sweet smell of success for downtown Cleveland and the foundation."

Update 2: the Plain Dealer's Tony Brown described the plans for the Middough Building.

Cuyahoga County officials now expect to break ground in early January for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland. The County Commissioners had hoped to begin construction in late October.

The unsuccessful Innerbelt Bridge design-build team of Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin refiled its lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Transportation. There was disagreement within ODOT over whether the selected proposal met the agency's design requirements.

Work on the downtown Cleveland bike station is underway. The facility at the Gateway North Garage is scheduled to open in the spring, and will include public art by Scott Stibich and Mark A. Reigelman II.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is expected to accept a $3 million state loan to improve rail access to the Port of Cleveland. The loan could become a grant if the Port Authority meets several conditions.

Update: the loan could be approved in December.

A new Warehouse District steering committee and set of working groups are preparing to gather and review ideas for improving the downtown neighborhood.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial encourages people to submit recommendations or volunteer.

At a public forum sponsored by Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission, architect Mark Hinshaw of LMN Architects and landscape architect Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol presented observations and ideas for the future of public space in downtown Cleveland.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt reviewed the two newest buildings at Cleveland State University, the Student Center and Julka Hall (the College of Education and Human Services building). He said that "both are well-designed; both make strong connections between their interiors and the surrounding city; both are flooded with daylight; and both do a lot to improve the appearance of Euclid Avenue."

LMN Architects released the latest design concept for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. The renderings show a concrete and glass building at the corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue. Members of the Cleveland Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission were generally positive about the designs, and granted them conceptual approval. LMN and landscape architects Gustafston Guthrie Nichol continue to prepare designs for Malls B and C, and want to create a space that can be enjoyed in all seasons.

RTA will celebrate the grand opening of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center on October 19. The facility at the corner of East 21st Street and Prospect Avenue is RTA's first downtown Cleveland bus hub.

Update: Channel 5 and Channel 3 reported from the event, and WTAM has pictures of the new facility.

A Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by one of the losing design-build teams on the Innerbelt Bridge project. The two losing teams are each seeking stipends of up to $1 million offered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Plans for Malls B and C in downtown Cleveland identify a set of guiding principles for open spaces, gardens, promenades, and an urban edge. Mayor Jackson recently extended the new Group Plan Commission's deadline for recommendations, and the Commission will continue to work with architects GGN and LMN.

Plans for the Bike Rack in downtown Cleveland were delayed, and the bicycle station at the Gateway North Garage is currently expected to open early next year.

The Plain Dealer looked to Beale Street in Memphis for lessons that could be applied to Cleveland's Warehouse District. On its editorial pages, Jim Peters of the Responsible Hospitality Institute laid out recommendations he made for the area in 2006, and a group of business owners and residents describe the district as a diverse neighborhood that is more than a collection of bars.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve the revised plans for the new convention center in downtown Cleveland.

Officials in Northeast Ohio and Ontario continue to discuss plans for a Lake Erie ferry. Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO William Friedman is interested, as are leaders in Lake County and Ashtabula.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial backs the idea.

Update 2: the London Free Press presents a Canadian perspective.

Sunday's Plain Dealer explored whether Cleveland's Warehouse District is "poised to grow into a national-class entertainment center, one that could anchor Cleveland's casino age, or if it is slouching toward something lesser."

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, John Vacha looked to the Great Lakes Exposition of 1936-1937 for inspiration about current plans for the Mall in downtown Cleveland.

One of the teams not chosen to design and build the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland is suing the Ohio Department of Transportation. They claim that the selected proposal does not meet the state's design criteria.

Structural limitations of the planned Cleveland convention center under Malls B and C may preclude the installation of heavy items above the facility, such as large sculptures or fountains. The new Group Plan Commission is scheduled to submit its suggestions by late December or early January, and will meet next on October 7.

Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative completed its move to the Cowell and Hubbard Building at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. A private grand opening reception was held yesterday.

Update: The Record-Courier has more details. Kent State posted video highlights of the event.

The Ohio Department of Transportation intends to award the design-build contract for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland to the team of HNTB and Walsh Construction. Their design, earlier known as "Bridge A", features a series of arched steel beams atop concrete piers. The team's proposal calls for opening the bridge a year ahead of plans and came in $163 million below expectations. Marc Lefkowitz said that some of the savings should be used to provide a multipurpose lane.

Update: ODOT posted more renderings of the winning design (PDF).

Update 2: ODOT officially awarded the contract to Walsh and HNTB.

Cleveland State University's new Student Center is complete, and the university will celebrate its grand opening on Wednesday. The 138,000-square-foot building on Euclid Avenue was designed by the late Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.

Update: Channel 8 looked at the changes to CSU's campus.

Information about some planned demolitions in Greater Cleveland:

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Kevin Cronin describes what bicycle and pedestrian advocates have learned in the debate over plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. He concludes that "it's not about a bridge, it's about a process, it's about livability and it's about people being counted."

The Cleveland City Planning Commission today approved preliminary plans for the new downtown Cleveland convention center under Malls B and C. Members have not voted on plans for the adjoining Medical Mart.

Forest City Enterprises and Rock Gaming reached agreements regarding sites for the planned downtown Cleveland casino. Rock Gaming will purchase 16 acres and air rights behind Tower City Center, and the two parties agreed to a multiyear lease of space in the Higbee Building. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A Plain Dealer editorial criticizes the quality of the proposed designs for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, saying that "all three proposals from prospective design-build teams are in keeping with the department's narrow vision of what can and should be accomplished here." Meanwhile, Mandy Metcalf detailed her concerns about ODOT's plans for the east end of the West Shoreway reconfiguration in Ohio City.

The Ohio Department of Transportation revealed renderings of the three proposals for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Each of the designs developed by the competing design-build teams calls for a steel girder bridge supported by concrete piers. ODOT is accepting public comments through August 15. Steven Litt was critical of the designs and the planning process, and said that "ODOT has come up with several profoundly ho-hum options for one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the state's history."

In the latest vision for the new Cleveland convention center, Mall B would become a grassy slope above the convention space. The plans developed by LMN Architects call for a gradual slope, starting at St. Clair Avenue and culminating in a 27-foot-high viewing platform at Lakeside Avenue. Cuyahoga County's Jeff Appelbaum said (PDF) that the project is on schedule and on budget, and Steven Litt said that the concept shows great promise. Cleveland's Design Review Committee approved the designs, but the Cleveland City Planning Commission postponed its scheduled vote.

The planned October groundbreaking for the Medical Mart and convention center in Cleveland may be pushed back to December. Developer MMPI missed two deadlines in June.

Update: a citizens group wants the County Commissioners to postpone the groundbreaking in order to further study the project.

WKSU took a quick look at the connections between the major investments planned for downtown Cleveland. WTAM aired a week-long series that examined five downtown Cleveland developments.

Participants on Monday's Sound of Ideas program discussed Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission and the process for developing a new vision for the Mall.

The first Cleveland Furniture and Millwork Fair, held last week, featured designs from Amish manufacturers, small Cleveland-area designers, and Cleveland Institute of Art students. The two-day event was organized as part of the proposed Cleveland District of Design.

In addition to the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center under construction near Cleveland State University, RTA would like to build a west side transit center in the Warehouse District. The agency recently issued an RFP for a consultant to prepare a development plan. The project would be part of a transit-oriented development in a portion of the area where developer Bob Stark had earlier proposed to build.

Cleveland City Council last week voted to renew the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District for a second five-year period. Assessments from the SID fund the Clean and Safe program, among other initiatives. The SID was established in 2005, and the reauthorization covers 2011 to 2015.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial applauds the decision.

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland hired Kauser Razvi to develop plans for the proposed Cleveland International Welcome Center in downtown Cleveland.

The historic East Ohio Gas Building on East 6th Street in downtown Cleveland will be renovated as offices for the Calfee, Halter & Griswold law firm. The $30 million project includes the construction of a 190-space parking garage on the surface lot behind the 1916 building. The building was purchased at auction for $1.3 million in 2009. Earlier proposals for the building called for redeveloping it as condominiums or a hotel.

The current issues of the Cleveland Stater includes a series of articles about the evolution of CSU's campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. University President Ronald Berkman also discussed his vision for the campus.

As Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission prepares to meet for the first time, Steven Litt looked at the opportunities and challenges facing the panel.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges commission members to "think big."

The inaugural Cleveland Furniture and Millwork Fair will take place on Wednesday and Thursday at the Halle Building. Organizers hope that it will lead to a permanent presence in the proposed Cleveland District of Design.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to gather input about the proposed Innerbelt Bridge multipurpose lane from the competing design-build teams instead of outright rejecting the concept.

A real estate broker proposed redeveloping the former Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland for use as Cuyahoga County government offices. The County Commissioners said that the idea is impractical and intend to continue with plans to sell the buildings.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial encourages the commissioners to leave the decision to the new county government that will take office in January.

As anticipated, the Ohio Department of Transportation told Governor Strickland that including a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland would not be feasible. The agency instead proposed (PDF) replacing the bicycle lanes and sidewalks on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge with barrier-separated multipurpose lanes.

Update: Governor Strickland and Jackson agree with ODOT's conclusions, while backers of the multipurpose lane are continuing their advocacy campaign.

On Tuesday, Frank Jackson announced the 15 members of the new Group Plan Commission. They will hold their first public meeting on July 15.

In the fourth round of the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, 13 projects were awarded $28.3 million in tax credits. Three Cuyahoga County properties were among the recipients: the Union Building in Cleveland, the former Berea Congregational United Church of Christ, and the Schofield Building in downtown Cleveland. It will be converted to a 140-room boutique hotel and 24 luxury apartments. While the program has been praised, this could be its final round. It's up for renewal, and could end if a new funding source is not identified.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials defended the agency's plans to award up to $1 million in stipends to each of the two teams not selected to build the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, but did establish new guidelines for distributing the money. A News-Herald editorial questions "whether paying the losing bidders as much as $2 million is the best use of that money."

The City of Cleveland plans to build an intermodal transportation center north of Mall C in downtown Cleveland. The center would serve Amtrak, RTA's Waterfront Line, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. It could open in five to 10 years.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority today voted to hire a team of four consultants (PDF) to "review a wide array of pressing issues and questions that will help define the port's future." The board also decided to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look beyond the proposed East 55th Street site for a new confined disposal facility.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

The Ohio Department of Transportation again rejected a proposal to include a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Marc Lefkowitz wrote that while the campaign for the lane may not succeed, it has increased local awareness of the complete streets movement.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that ODOT reached the wrong conclusion, and the subject was among those discussed on Friday's Sound of Ideas program.

LMN Architects' latest designs for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland call for a glassy four-story building at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street. It will be connected to the planned new L-shaped convention center.

Frank Jackson is forming a new Group Plan Commission that will recommend ways to revitalize the Mall and Public Square greenspaces in downtown Cleveland. It will have 10 to 15 members and will be chaired by City Planning Commission Chairman Anthony Coyne. The panel is expected to deliver its final report by the end of the year. Funding sources for the improvements have yet to be identified.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the process.

WCPN looked at two creative reuses of underutilized space in Cleveland, Ray's MTB Indoor Park in Midtown and the Gardens Under Glass at the Galleria.

Cleveland City Council is expected to approve the sale of the convention center under Malls B and C to Cuyahoga County for the Medical Mart project.

Update: City Council approved the agreement. The vote was unanimous.

The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown examined the planned renovations and additions to the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. The Cleveland Play House and Cleveland State University plan to convert the former movie palace to eight smaller theaters with work beginning in September and finishing in fall 2011.

Update: Tony Brown addressed several concerns about the plans.

Ohio lawmakers approved casino authorization legislation early Friday morning. The bill includes a provision that will permit the Cleveland casino to open in phases and another that grants a property tax exemption to the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland.

Update: Governor Strickland signed the bill.

A reopening ceremony was held on Saturday morning for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square, marking the completion of a two-year, $2 million restoration of its interior. The project included re-colorization, restoration of the sculptures and stained glass, new lighting and HVAC systems, and improved handicapped access. The gardens around the monument were also restored. Admission is free, and it is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Maltz Family Foundation donated $50,000 to the effort to establish an international welcome center in Cleveland. It's the first foundation support for the initiative.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial cheered the announcement.

Dan Gilbert would like to build the downtown Cleveland casino in two phases. The first phase, which would open next year, would occupy the first floors of the Higbee Building on Public Square. The second phase would include the construction of a contemporary building along Huron Road near Tower City. It would be finished in mid-2013. The plan to build in phases needs approval from state legislators.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation that includes a permanent 100% property tax abatement for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. The Ohio Senate has not voted on the proposal.

Cleveland State University selected Polaris Real Estate Equities of Cleveland to develop the first phase of its North Campus Neighborhood. The 6.8-acre residential and retail project will include 275 to 300 market-rate apartments along the north side of Chester Avenue, between East 21st and East 24th streets. They may open in summer 2012.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the announcement is "very good news not only for the school, but for anyone who cares about the future of downtown Cleveland."

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the sale of the Cleveland convention center to Cuyahoga County and the conceptual designs for the new convention center. City Council still must vote on the agreement. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "city and county officials need to keep momentum going" on the Medical Mart and other major downtown projects.

Cuyahoga County reached an agreement to purchase the Sportsman restaurant in Cleveland, the last property needed for the Medical Mart and convention center project. The County and MMPI also announced the selection of Turner Construction Co. as construction manager and URS Corp. as the architect of record. Preliminary renderings by LMN Architects show that views of Lake Erie will be preserved. Project Manager Jeff Appelbaum presented a progress update (PDF) to the County Commissioners.

This week is Cleveland Bicycle Week, and a variety of events are being held across Greater Cleveland. The Plain Dealer reported on the City of Cleveland's bicycle parking requirements and the plans for the downtown Cleveland bicycle station.

Northeast Ohio furniture makers will hold the the first Cleveland Furniture and Millwork Fair at the Halle Building in July. It will serve as a test of the Cleveland District of Design concept.

Downtown Cleveland businesses are working together to compost their food waste, and hope to establish a downtown compost pickup route.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a forward-looking initiative Clevelanders can celebrate."

The National Trust for Historic Preservation interviewed architect Paul Westlake about the restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Cleveland.

Update: the National Trust also described the monument and the restoration process.

Rock Ventures is investigating the possibility of using the Higbee Building on Public Square in Cleveland for a "phase one" casino. The space is currently occupied by the Greater Cleveland Partnership and Positively Cleveland, which have started looking for new office space.

Update: the Plain Dealer likes the idea.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners tentatively approved a purchase agreement for the Cleveland Convention Center. As part of the Medical Mart project, they agreed to pay the City of Cleveland $20 million for the building below Malls B and C and to pay for severing the facility from Public Auditorium. The City will retain ownership of Public Auditorium. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey analyzed the agreement.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the Canal Basin District Plan. The plan identifies three trail loops that would connect the planned Canal Basin Park to downtown and other neighborhoods.

At the public forum on the redesign of Malls B and C, architect Mark Reddington of LMN Architects and landscape architect Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol shared their research and visions for the Mall. More than 100 people attended the event at the Cleveland Public Library.

Update: Doug Bardwell also summarized the forum.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI hired Seattle landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for the Medical Mart project in downtown Cleveland. They also named 10 local companies to the design team, plus Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks. The firms join LMN Architects, the conceptual architects.

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures has pushed back the opening date of the planned Cleveland casino, and now predicts its completion in mid-2013. The company portrayed the land acquisition process as complex, but cordial.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the delay is understandable, while Dan Gilbert characterized the report as misleading.

The State of Ohio approved $30 million in stimulus bonds for the Medical Mart and convention center project in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County will use the bonds to reduce its borrowing costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Steven Litt believes that the Ohio Department of Transportation's process for designing the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland will likely lead to an uninspired bridge, saying that "the prospects for outstanding design are looking downright slim."

A free public forum on the future of Cleveland's historic Mall will be held on May 6 at the Louis Stokes Wing of the CPL's Main Library.

The Ohio Inspector General's Office has "serious concerns about the payment of the $1 million stipends (PDF) to unsuccessful bidders on the Inner Belt Bridge project," and said that the "stipends would constitute an unjustified expenditure of public funds." Ohio Department of Transportation officials said that the agency will follow the recommendations for future projects.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

In a letter to Governor Strickland, a top administrator with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that his office will be forced to stop dredging the Port of Cleveland and Cuyahoga River in five years unless a new confined disposal facility is built. Also available is the final report (PDF) from the dredging summit held in February. The Cleveland Dredge Task Force will hold its next meeting on May 5.

Update: Save Our Shore posted a copy of the letter.

On Friday, the Cleveland Coalition will hold the second event in its series on the planned Cleveland casino, a charrette at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. The event is free and open to the public, but participants should register and review an information packet.

At its meeting on Monday, Cleveland City Council approved a resolution urging the Ohio Department of Transportation to include a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. However, that attitude is not shared by all local politicians, as Steven LaTourette ridiculed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's recent announcement that we have reached "the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."

Meanwhile, ODOT announced the finalists to design and build the new bridge. The three competing teams will submit technical and price proposals in August, and ODOT will choose the winner in September. GreenCityBlueLake considered what may come next.

Local birders would like downtown Cleveland property owners to dim their building lights during the spring and fall to reduce collisions with migrating songbirds.

Update: columnist Connie Schultz likes the idea.

Work on the first phase of the Perk Park renovations began last year, and should be completed this fall. The Plain Dealer published details about the redesign and the plans for a second phase.

The Cleveland Coalition posted video of the speakers at the March 5 casino forum at the City Club. The presentations by Len Komoroski, Christopher Diehl, David Schwarz, and Tom Chema are now available.

Governor Strickland told the Ohio Department of Transportation to re-evaluate the feasibility of including a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. A Plain Dealer editorial notes that "for Strickland's call to make a real difference, ODOT planners need to bring open minds to a review they have staunchly resisted."

Now that they have reached purchase agreements for most of the properties for the planned Medical Mart, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners are expected to reject proposals for relocating the county offices. The new county government will decide whether or not to leave the County Administration Building on Lakeside Avenue.

At Friday's public forum on the planned Cleveland casino, panelists discussed the goals of the development and the challenges posed by each of the four potential sites. Rock Ventures still plans to break ground as soon as this fall, but now anticipates opening the casino in early 2013.

Update: Scene's Anastasia Pantsios also attended the event.

Brent Larkin believes that Cleveland needs to close Burke Lakefront Airport and turn it into "a world-class development that could transform downtown." An editorial in the Sun Messenger encourages Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials to coordinate their positions on the region's airports.

Four teams of designers and contractors hope to build the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, and submitted their qualifications to the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT will select three of the teams to prepare technical and price proposals and will announce the finalists on March 23. Greenlight Zine highlighted some of GreenCityBlueLake's questions about the project.

The Cleveland Coalition organized a panel discussion about integrating the planned Cleveland casino into the existing urban fabric. It will be held at 5:00 on Friday at the City Club, and the speakers will be David M. Schwarz, Len Komoroski, Tom Chema, and Christopher Diehl. Admission is free, but registration is requested.

While other Great Lakes ports received millions of dollars in federal stimulus grants, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority did not receive funding. The Port Authority applied for a TIGER grant, but was not one of the selected projects. It was the only application that the Port submitted. The Port Authority also dropped its plans to fill a slip and build a warehouse. Interim President Peter Raskind said, "The bottom line is we do not believe it's a good use of public money."

Vicky Poole and Jack Hamilton have begun operating Gardens Under Glass, a hydroponic garden in the Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. The project is funded by a $30,000 start-up grant from the Civic Innovation Lab. Meanwhile, panelists on NEOtropolis discussed food policy and access to fresh foods.

Update: Fast Company also reported on the Galleria.

Cuyahoga County and MMPI selected LMN Architects of Seattle to develop conceptual designs for the planned Medical Mart and new convention center in Cleveland. The company will create schematic and design development drawings, but will not be the project's architect of record. LMN will also oversee the construction manager to ensure quality and avoid cost overruns. Concurrently, a citizens group raised questions about the project's financing.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge voided the sheriff's sale of the Cleveland Cold Storage building. The Ohio Department of Transportation still intends to demolish the building to make way for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge, but now may have to pay a higher price in its eminent domain acquisition.

A Public Square redesign proposal from Neil Mohney of Forest City calls for closing the portions of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue in the square. He hopes to expand the dialogue to include ideas beyond the three concepts prepared by Field Operations.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to consider a multipurpose lane on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge, calling the department's responses "bureaucratic runaround."

Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials are willing to discuss a possible merger of Burke Lakefront Airport and Cuyahoga County Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration wants both airports to remain open. Meanwhile, County Airport staff is considering alternatives to the airport's master plan.

Update: Cuyahoga County Economic Development Director Paul Oyaski does not support closing Cuyahoga County Airport.

Downtown Cleveland property owners voted to renew the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District for a second five-year period. Cleveland City Council must also pass reauthorization legislation to extend the SID through 2015.

The restoration of Cleveland's Playhouse Square began 40 years ago today when Ray Shepardson first visited the State Theatre.

Contributors to Virgina Tech's Shrinking Cities weblog have been considering potential uses for the lower deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge. Austin Watkins shared his thoughts last month, and yesterday, Michael Hill added his opinions.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation says that the "thread" concept for Cleveland's Public Square is both picturesque and modern, and that it demonstrates "a shared value design ethic".

(via ClevelandDesignCity)

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a $15.2 million option for the purchase of the 113 St. Clair office building and Justice Center Parking Garage. Negotiations are ongoing for the purchase of the Sportsman deli, which would be the last property acquisition for the planned Medical Mart. The Commissioners also announced that they will use the County's entire $64.1 million Recovery Zone Facility Bond allocation for the project.

Cleveland Director of Port Control Ricky Smith proposed closing Cuyahoga County Airport and consolidating service at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport. Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones said he'd consider the idea.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a two-day Cleveland Harbor dredging summit (PDF) earlier this week.

The Medical Mart and convention center project in Cleveland will include severing Public Auditorium from the complex. The City of Cleveland will invest $5 million in upgrades to Public Auditorium, and Cuyahoga County will demolish a 1964 addition, restore its west face, and remove the ramp on the east side of the Mall. MMPI is still targeting an October groundbreaking.

The winners of the 2009 Cleveland Design Competition were announced on Friday. First prize went to Mario Caceres and Christian Canonico of Montrouge, France; second prize went to Pepijn van Voorst of The Hague; and third prize went to Russell Collin of London.

The discussion on this morning's Sound of Ideas program was about ODOT's plans for the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The guests were Cleveland City Planning Director Bob Brown, Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer, ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen, and CPC Director Paul Alsenas.

Last Friday, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John O'Donnell held a hearing on the Cleveland Cold Storage building ownership dispute. ODOT intends to demolish the building for the new Innerbelt Bridge. Also on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved a resolution of support for bicycle and pedestrian access on the new bridge.

Update: on Feagler & Friends, Dan Moulthrop spoke with ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen about the bridge plans.

Participants in the third annual Cleveland Design Competition devised plans for a multi-modal transportation center for the north end of the Mall in downtown Cleveland. The submissions were recently judged, and the winners will be announced on Friday. Steven Litt provides an advanced look at a couple of the entries.

More than 100 people attended a Levin College Forum on Thursday to learn more about the Public Square redesign concepts. Jeremy Borger summarized the event and shared his thoughts.

The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland and Cleveland State University continue to pursue plans to create an immigrant welcome center in downtown Cleveland.

On Thursday, Ned Hill of Cleveland State University, Joe Marinucci of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and Cleve Ricksecker of Capital Crossroads Columbus discussed the state of downtown Cleveland at the City Club (MP3, 53.1 MB). It was the fourth event in the Downtown Quarterly Series.

Participants on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program discussed investments in public spaces, focusing on the concepts for redesigning Cleveland's Public Square. The page also includes an interview with architect Peter van Dijk about the restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials recently presented (PDF) the scope and criteria for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge to potential contractors, engineers, and designers. The agency is seeking a simple girder or box design, and will select three design-build teams in March. ODOT will provide a $1 million stipend to each of the two non-winning finalists.

At a Levin College Forum on January 21, landscape architect James Corner will present the three conceptual designs for Cleveland's Public Square. Also on the 21st, the City Club will host a panel discussion about the state of downtown Cleveland. On January 29, a Levin College Forum will discuss the 2010 Census.

Last Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved public art and signage designs for the Bike Rack, the planned bicycle station at the Gateway North parking garage.

Plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland have shifted back to the original site, away from the proposal to build at Mall C. The latest plans call for building the medical products showcase at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street, on the site of the privately-owned Justice Center Parking Garage, Sportsman deli, and 113 St. Clair office building, as well as the county-owned Chicago Title Building and Administration Building Annex. The County will not purchase Public Auditorium from the City, but a portion of the $20 million from the convention center purchase will be used for upgrades of Public Auditorium. Steven Litt said that the Mall is at risk of becoming an afterthought, and that it should be "rebuilt according to the highest possible standards."

In addition, the County reached a construction administration agreement with developer MMPI. The agreement provides new protections for taxpayers and sets rules for construction contracting. An October groundbreaking is possible. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey summarized the recent events. In New York City, developers of the competing World Product Centre accelerated their timetable by announcing plans to withdraw from a proposed 60-story skyscraper and lease up to 350,000 square feet of existing space.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a good way to start the year."

Mandy Metcalf believes that the best solutions for redesigning Cleveland's Public Square involve the closing of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue in the square.

A largely-South Asian community of international students is emerging around East 12th Street in downtown Cleveland. About 90% of the residents of the Chesterfield apartments are from India.

Cuyahoga County officials reopened talks with the owners of buildings on the west side of Mall B, and may sign an option to purchase the properties. It would allow MMPI to drop its controversial proposal to build the Medical Mart at Mall C.

Last week, a team led by James Corner of Field Operations presented three concepts for a redesign of Cleveland's Public Square to a steering committee from ParkWorks and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Each of the scenarios offers a framework for unifying Public Square's four quadrants: one would frame the square with a trellis, a second would forest the square and close Ontario Street, and the third would thread the square with a man-made hill connecting the quadrants. The thread concept has received the most positive responses.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial enthusiastically supports further pursuit of the ideas.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officially approved the the master plan for the redevelopment of the current port facilities. The Port Authority posted the presentation (PDF) and agenda (PDF) from the meeting. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Port Authority needs to keep its options open.

Update: William Yankow of the Cleveland Freight Association says that implementing the plan "will leave us with too few acres to expand for port logistics use."

Commissioner Hagan said that the Medical Mart project is proceeding and that he's confident it will open before competing projects in other cities.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced that three City of Cleveland staffers will participate in the design-build process for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge.

Update: the Plain Dealer has additional information.

A Plain Dealer editorial said that ODOT's unwillingness to consider bicycle and pedestrian access on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge reflects "an all-too-familiar lack of imagination." NOACA published 40 pages of public comments (PDF) about the proposed bike lanes.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the planned Medical Mart should proceed, and that "making this work -- in a way that benefits the city, the region and the developer -- needs to be a clear community priority for 2010."

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $23.7 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 12 projects across the state. The only recipient in Cuyahoga County was the Cowell & Hubbard Building in downtown Cleveland. The Playhouse Square Foundation purchased the building in 2007.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's real estate and development finance committee approved the port redevelopment plan. The Cleveland City Planning Commission recently approved the same plan, and the full Port Authority board is expected to consider it on Friday.

Update: Virginia Tech's Shrinking Cities weblog says that the market study "reaches many conclusions that the city should be excited to hear."

More than 100 people attended a rally in Tremont on Sunday for bicycle and pedestrian access on the planned new Innerbelt Bridge. They were joined by Dennis Kucinich, who wrote a letter to Governor Strickland in their support. Groups of attendees followed ODOT's proposed alternate routes in an effort to highlight their flaws.

The Plain Dealer looked at four major downtown Cleveland development projects and whether they could serve as catalysts for future residential development.

The renovated portion of the University Lofts development is finished and will soon have residents. The apartment/condominium project on Euclid Avenue near Cleveland State also includes new construction, which should be completed early next year.

By a vote of 5-2, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the first two phases of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's plan for the redevelopment of its current downtown location.

Update: Steven Litt supports the Planning Commission's decision.

Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman helped to organize four public meetings about the Medical Mart for early 2010. Roldo Bartimole interpreted them as a political maneuver. Mayor Jackson spoke about the Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines and defended Public Auditorium on Channel 5. Commissioner Jones thinks that Cleveland should reduce its asking price for the property MMPI desires for its revised Medical Mart plans. The Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects opposes the new plans, and Steven Litt considered the aesthetic costs of building on Mall C.

Meanwhile, the developers of the proposed Nashville Medical Trade Center announced the site for the 2 million-square-foot complex, increasing pressure on MMPI to demonstrate progress in Cleveland. Developers of both projects have stressed the importance of being the first to open.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is proceeding with property acquisition for its planned new Innerbelt Bridge, including the purchase of three historic buildings that it intends to demolish. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011, and will cause traffic disruptions until work in completed in 2017. Local cyclists continue to advocate for the inclusion of a bicycle and pedestrian lane. They will hold a rally in Tremont on Sunday.

Update: Renovating the Rust Belt has more details about the proposal for pedestrian and cyclist access. Steven Litt also described the efforts of bicycle advocates.

The Plain Dealer toured the historic Cleveland Trust rotunda at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. Cuyahoga County leaders intend to accept bids for the building and the rest of the Ameritrust complex this winter.

Frank Jackson, displeased with what he views as a lack of communication from MMPI, yesterday sent the company a list of questions (PDF) about the the proposed changes in the design of the Medical Mart. He also said that the City will hire a consultant to independently assess the condition of Public Auditorium. Steven Litt reviewed MMPI's revised plan and is dubious of its merits.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Ohio Department of Transportation to incorporate more local input into the design process for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. It notes ODOT's dismissive attitude, saying that "the agency consistently has treated Cleveland like a stepchild who should be glad she's getting anything for Christmas."

Details about the upheaval at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority continue to trickle in:

On the most recent Feagler & Friends program, architect Peter van Dijk, Levin College Dean Ned Hill, and the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt discussed the changing plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the project should move forward. The paper also posted MMPI's photographs of Public Auditorium's obsolete utilities.

Update: the Plain Dealer shared more details of MMPI's presentation on the issues with Public Auditorium.

Members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board revealed today that they are reconsidering plans to relocate to new facilities north of East 55th Street and efforts to attract container shipping. They also indicated that the Port Authority faces a budget shortfall this year and reflected on recent events. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Port Authority that failure to establish a new confined disposal facility by 2015 could halt dredging of the Cuyahoga River and the Port of Cleveland.

The owners of the Quay 55 apartments asserted that board member John Carney has conflicts of interest and called for his removal. Longtime port staffer Rose Ann DeLeon resigned on Wednesday, becoming the third official to leave in the last six weeks.

The Plain Dealer and Channel 3 have more details about the dispute between the Ohio Department of Transportation and Fred Finley, owner of the Cleveland Cold Storage building.

Update: a judge returned control of the building to Finley pending a January hearing.

Steven Litt has questions about MMPI's revised concept for the Medical Mart in Cleveland, and participants on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program raised more questions. Cleveland City Council members demanded answers from MMPI representatives at a meeting yesterday. MMPI officials gave their reasons for rejecting Public Auditorium and presented alternate configurations they considered before concluding that Mall C would be the best site. Scene remained unimpressed, as was Roldo Bartimole.

While 20 companies are interested in leasing space at the Medical Mart, none of them have signed agreements. If negotiations bog down, Cuyahoga County leaders could suspend monthly payments to MMPI.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority again declined to share the reasons for CEO Adam Wasserman's recent exit, and the Plain Dealer repeated its call for better communication and transparency from the Port Authority. An article in this week's Scene tells the story of Wasserman's two-year tenure.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority board today delayed the port's planned move to a new dike near East 55th Street. The Port Authority also admitted that it cannot meet the deadline to supply the $158 million local match for the construction of the dike.

The owner of the Cleveland Cold Storage building says that he has been treated unfairly by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Also known as the Distribution Terminal Warehouse, it is one of several historic buildings that ODOT intends to demolish for the planned new Innerbelt Bridge.

MMPI's announcement that they now intend to build the Medical Mart at the northern edge of Mall C surprised Cleveland leaders, and they are concerned about the proposed changes. Steven Litt considered the architectural and urban design implications of the new site and how Public Auditorium would fit in. Commissioner Hagan defended MMPI, while Mayor Jackson still wants the company to renovate Public Auditorium.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the recent events underscore the need for better communication. MedCity News compared the project's timetable with those of competing developments in Nashville and New York City.

Steven Litt suggests that advocates of a bike lane for the new Innerbelt Bridge should hire an independent engineer to draft plans for a bridge that would include the bike lane.

Citing higher than anticipated costs, MMPI dropped its plans to renovate Public Auditorium and to use it and neighboring properties as the site of the planned Medical Mart. MMPI officials say they are considering multiple alternatives, but are focusing on building it on Mall C, also known as Strawbridge Plaza.

Update: the changes could also delay the project.

The Cleveland Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee approved changes to the design of the planned new Innerbelt Bridge on Thursday, and the Cleveland City Planning Commission discussed the plans today. Cyclists are not pleased with ODOT's treatment of bicycle lane issues.

Update: the Planning Commission criticized the plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge, but praised the designs for the pedestrian bridge at North Coast Harbor. GreenCityBlueLake continues to advocate for accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

Now that Ohio voters have passed Issue 3, Dan Gilbert says that work on a downtown Cleveland casino could begin in fall 2010 and that it could open in 2012. He shared conceptual renderings of the casino in September. A Plain Dealer editorial makes suggestions for ways it could be leveraged to improve downtown.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority recently posted two planning documents about the proposed redevelopment of the existing downtown port faculties. The Master Planning & Development for Cleveland's Downtown Lakefront (PDF, 46.6 MB) draft was led by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, and the Cleveland Waterfront Market Demand and Development Options (PDF, 4.2 MB) report was led by the PA Consulting Group.

A Plain Dealer editorial supports the proposed renewal of the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District.

Brent Larkin thinks that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority needs to provide better leadership and accelerate the timetable of its planned move. Cleveland leaders expressed mixed reactions.

The planned construction of the Medical Mart and new convention center will provide "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pump new life into the Mall," says Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer. However, he cautions that "the question, as always, is whether the city will rise to the occasion or settle for mediocrity as it often has in the past when it comes to public spaces."

The Great Lakes Science Center will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony this evening to celebrate the completion of the walkway between the Science Center and the Steamship William G. Mather Museum.

Update: WTAM has pictures of the new connector.

Sunday's Plain Dealer included several opinion pieces on the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's proposed relocation. Former Cleveland Planning Director Hunter Morrison said that the planning efforts "should look beyond the corporate limits of Cleveland and include all of the region's industrial port assets—including the ports of Lorain, Grand River, Ashtabula and Conneaut". Adam Wasserman and Steven Williams of the Port Authority said that the facts support the planned move, and released a draft of the Port's five-year maritime business plan (PDF). Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and mayoral candidate Bill Patmon also weighed in.

Downtown Cleveland property owners continue to discuss the proposed reauthorization of the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District for a second five-year period.

This week's Scene took a skeptical look at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's relocation plans.

Consultants for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority said that the Port Authority could take in $1 billion over 20 years through the planned redevelopment of its current downtown facilities.

Cleveland City Council approved a financial package for the first phase of the Flats east bank development. The incentives include a $30 million loan, a revised TIF agreement, more bonds, and changes to earlier loan agreements.

The third annual Cleveland Design Competition launched today. This year's competition focuses on the downtown Amtrak station and "challenges entrants to propose designs for a Multi-Modal Transportation Center in Downtown Cleveland at the north end of the historic Mall." The registration deadline is December 1.

Ohio Department of Transportation representatives presented a portion of their plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday. Planning Commission members asked ODOT to consider making changes to the design.

Cleveland City Council approved a $2 million loan to the developers of the proposed aquarium at the Powerhouse in the Flats. Councilman Cummins cast the sole dissenting vote.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the aquarium plans are interesting.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority approved modifications of the current downtown port facilities. The $10.3 million project includes filling in a slip, building a warehouse and a road, and purchasing a mobile crane. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Port Authority officials must operate with more transparency.

MMPI is working behind the scenes on the engineering, design, and marketing of the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland. Construction is scheduled to begin late next year.

On Friday, the Federal Highway Administration issued its approval (PDF) of the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to rebuilt the Innerbelt freeway in Cleveland. ODOT is now free to begin implementing its plans.

A $16 million gift from the Mandel family will fund the move of the Jewish Community Federation from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood.

State and local governments committed $54 million in new public loans and grants for the stalled Flats east bank project, which may enable developers (PDF) to resume construction of a downsized first phase next spring. Formerly a $500 million project, the $270 million development now includes a 450,000-square-foot office tower, a 150-room hotel, a 3-acre riverfront beach, and 14 acres of greenspace.

Update: two Plain Dealer reporters discussed the announcement, and an editorial said it "seems like a win-win".

The City of Cleveland will soon begin the renovation of Perk Plaza at Chester Avenue and East 12th Street in downtown Cleveland.

Work on the renovated plaza at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building is nearly complete. The $15 million downtown project includes 27,000 new plants and trees and public art by Pae White.

The lower deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge will host the Bridge Project on September 25 and 26. The Pop-Up City festival will feature several events, including the fifth Cleveland Pecha Kucha Night and a student design charette. Kent State University and Villa Angela-St. Joseph students have prepared concepts for new uses for the bridge's lower level.

Update: Cool Cleveland's Thomas Mulready interviewed Terry Schwartz about the project.

RTA broke ground today for the new Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center in downtown Cleveland. The $6.4 million project is entirely federally funded, and 87% of its construction costs were covered by stimulus dollars.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is no longer pursuing a proposed Lake Erie ferry from North Coast Harbor to Port Stanley, Ontario, at least partly due to issues on the Canadian side. However, planning continues for the initiation of ferry service between Lake County and Port Burwell, Ontario. Port Authority officials instead want to proceed with modifications to the Port of Cleveland and the development of cargo container shipping. The Port Authority will apply for federal stimulus funds to establish a containerized shipping line between Cleveland and Montreal.

The Levin College Forum will continue its Building Our Future Beyond Foreclosure series with an event titled "Feeding Cleveland: Creating a Sustainable Local Food System" on September 16. It will feature Penn State professor Clare Hinrich, and registration is free.

Architect Miguel Rosales has developed six concepts for the planned pedestrian bridge at Cleveland's North Coast Harbor. The City plans to select a design this fall, begin design work next year, and start construction in 2012. Steven Litt said that the project could "set a new standard of excellence for public infrastructure in Cleveland, if not the entire state." The City is conducting a poll where people can vote for their favorite design.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the dormitories under construction at Cleveland State University may enable it to "shed for good its cold commuter-school image and remake itself as an attractive, lively campus."

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is hosting more public forums today and tomorrow about the potential renewal of the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District.

Update: Jeremy Borger shared more details.

Cuyahoga County received six proposals for relocating its offices. The potential move is a fallback plan, in the event that negotiations for the preferred site for the Medical Mart fall through.

Work is scheduled to begin this week on new Cleveland State University dormitories at Euclid Avenue and East 24th Street. The first phase (PDF) consists of three four-story buildings with room for 380 students, plus a 300-space parking garage. They should be completed by fall 2010. The $65 million project will eventually include five residence halls.

On Thursday, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO Adam Wasserman and architect Stanton Eckstut described the downtown Cleveland port redevelopment plan at the City Club (MP3, 55.8 MB). On Friday, they presented the plan to the Cleveland City Planning Commission, where members had many questions about the concept. Adam Wasserman and the Port's Luke Frazier outlined the plan on Channel 3. Also on Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave its tentative approval to the Port's relocation plan, issuing a 241-page draft of its Cleveland Harbor Dredged Material Management Plan & Environmental Impact Statement (PDF, 8.4 MB). A Plain Dealer editorial says that the relocation and redevelopment plans need "a good deal more attention to detail". The Port Authority is preparing My Cleveland Waterfront, a website about the plans.

Update: Port Authority Chairman Steven Williams disputed several items in a Plain Dealer story.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority representatives will present their latest port redevelopment plans to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday. The plan (PDF, 1.6 MB) and presentation (PDF, 15.8 MB) are available for review.

At a public meeting yesterday, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials and consultants again presented their preliminary plans for redeveloping their current downtown Cleveland lakefront property. The plans call for a four-phase redevelopment to be carried out over 25 years. The plans will also be the subject of a City Club talk on August 20.

The Jewish Community Federation building on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland could house an international welcome center. The Federation is moving its headquarters to Beachwood.

In a strongly-worded editorial, the Plain Dealer accuses the Ohio Department of Transportation of misleading the public about its Innerbelt reconstruction plans and its willingness to retain ramps at Carnegie and Prospect avenues.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will hold a public meeting (PDF) about the plans to redevelop its current facilities on Thursday at St. Ignatius High School. Dru McKeown shared his thoughts on the plans.

The retention of the Innerbelt ramp at Carnegie Avenue may be tied to the future of the nearby Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court building, which the County will vacate when its new Juvenile Justice Center in Fairfax is completed. It is not listed in the National Register of Historic Places, but was determined to be eligible for inclusion.

The Cleveland Stater explored the new Student Center under construction at CSU's downtown campus. It's scheduled to open in May 2010.

Cleveland State University is demolishing the landmark Corlett Building on Euclid Avenue. Its site will be used for parking, greenspace, and possibly for a farmers market. An arts center has also been proposed for the site. Urban Ohio has a picture of the demolition.

(via Cleveland Design City)

Plain Dealer theater critic Tony Brown said that the Cleveland Play House's plan to move from Fairfax to Playhouse Square "looks like the best deal under the circumstances."

The first apartments at the Residences at Six Six Eight are scheduled to open on August 15. The redevelopment of the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland may be completed by April.

Cuyahoga County officials say that negotiations for the purchase of the office building at 113 St. Clair have stalled. The County wants the downtown property for the planned Medical Mart. If an agreement isn't reached next month, the County will instead utilize the site of its current administration building at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street. The County recently began a formal search for new office space.

As the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority continues planning for its relocation to a site north of East 55th Street and for the redevelopment of its current downtown facilities, the Plain Dealer's Joe Frolik considered ways to enliven nearby Voinovich Park.

The Ohio Department of Transportation now plans to build a new five-lane westbound Innerbelt Bridge that would open September 2013, and in 2015, open a five-lane replacement for the existing Innerbelt Bridge. The agency dropped its plans for a signature bridge and is now considering box and girder bridges and a design-build process. ODOT officials presented their most recent plans at an Aesthetics Subcommittee meeting late last month and at a Cleveland City Planning Commission meeting last week (PDFs).

A streetscape improvement project is underway along one block of West 6th Street in the Warehouse District. Construction began last week and is scheduled to end this week. Officials hope to replicate the work around the neighborhood.

Update: the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has more details.

The multi-year renovation of the Terminal Tower is nearing completion, and the Plain Dealer published a large infographic about the history and restoration of the skyscraper, plus current and historic photographs. The building will turn 80 next year.

Stanton Eckstut of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects recently presented conceptual designs for redeveloping the 100 acres of Cleveland's downtown lakefront currently used by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. He envisions a dense, mixed use area with public parks and a lakefront promenade. There would be three overlapping districts: the harbor, the piers, and the park river district. He said that development should begin in three to five years. The presentation is available online (PDF, 14.6 MB). Some of the participants in the planning process discussed the concepts on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

Developer Lou Frangos said he can revive the suspended redevelopment of the Ameritrust complex. He owns a stake in a property below a building in the downtown Cleveland complex.

The New York Times visited Cleveland's East 4th Street, and attributed its vitality to "15 years of work by the Maron family to turn a worn thoroughfare and its old buildings into a prime example of 21st-century urban redevelopment in the Midwest."

On September 10, RTA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center at East 21st Street and Prospect Avenue. The $9.6 million facility near Cleveland State University is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010. It will include public art (PDF) and design elements to honor the late congresswoman.

Toby Cosgrove, Tim Hagan, and Chris Kennedy talked about the Medical Mart at the City Club yesterday. MMPI President Chris Kennedy said that the four- or five-story structure will be built at the northeast corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue. He also said that the renovation of Public Auditorium will begin late this year and finish next year. Audio of the forum is available (MP3, 50.9 MB) from the City Club.

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance launched the City Bikes program today. The bicycle rental program begins with 17 bicycles and will operate seven days a week. It's based on East 4th Street, but next year could move to the planned bike station at the Gateway North parking garage.

ParkWorks issued an RFQ (PDF) for a "design team to address the scale, accessibility, connectivity and feel of Public Square." It's intended to "translate the ongoing dialogue about opportunities to reconfigure or reprogram Public Square into a schematic design and budget estimate that can transform the Square into a healthy anchor for downtown."

The K&D Group dropped its plans to redevelop the Ameritrust complex, citing issues with prospective tenants. Last fall, Cuyahoga County extended the developer's deadline for completing the purchase, but K&D was unable to make the project work. The County intends to put the buildings at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue on the market later this year or next year.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority unanimously voted to issue up to $150 million in bonds to enable the move of Eaton Corp. from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood.

Cleveland State University's Board of Trustees appointed Ned Hill as Dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs today. He has served as Interim Dean of the College since October 2007.

The City Club of Cleveland will host a panel discussion titled "Building Sustainability in our City" on July 16. The event is part of the Downtown Quarterly Series.

GreenCityBlueLake reports that the Downtown Cleveland Alliance plans to launch a bike rental program by the end of this month. The Plain Dealer has more details about the organization's efforts to renew the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District for a second five-year term.

Mark Falanga of MMPI said that the company has cleared most of the challenges to building the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland, and that it soon will begin marketing the project to medical suppliers.

Neighborhood Progress, Inc. will hold six public workshops about the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative in June and July. The City of Cleveland set aside $500,000 of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds for the Re-Imagining Cleveland Grant Program, and applications are due by July 31 (PDF). Meanwhile, the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District, established in 2006, is up for renewal next year. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is holding a series of forums and conducting a survey to gather feedback.

The owners of two office towers on East 9th Street plan to renovate the downtown buildings. The investor group that owns the Schofield Building (also known as the Euclid Ninth Tower) intends to remove the building's 1960s facade and reveal its original face. They hope to obtain historic preservation tax credits and restore it as a boutique hotel and apartments. Meanwhile, Sovereign Partners LLC of New York plans to completely renovate the East Ohio Building at East 9th Street and Superior Avenue. Sovereign purchased the skyscraper in 2006.

Cleveland City Council passed several ordinances prior to adjourning for the summer, including the allocation of $2.5 million from the Cleveland Convention Center sale for additional improvements to downtown's Perk Plaza.

Inside Business explored the potential and reservations surrounding the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland, describing it as "a significant risk on a promising concept."

Cuyahoga County officials opened negotiations for the purchase of three buildings that occupy a portion of the site of the planned Medical Mart. The buildings at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street are the Justice Center Parking Garage, the Sportsman deli, and 113 St. Clair, an office building. If they are unable to reach an agreement, the County will vacate its nearby Administration Building for the project.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $3.2 million loan to the City of Cleveland for environmental cleanup and and public improvements at the Flats east bank site. Work on the project could resume later this year.

Update: developer Scott Wolstein hopes to restart construction within 60 days.

A proposed 1.5 million-square foot medical trade center in Nashville could provide competition for the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland. Dallas-based Market Center Management Co. has not yet identified a site for the project. Market Center Management and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. executives both say that opening a facility first is critical. A similar development also has been proposed for New York City.

The Plain Dealer examined the formula that has made downtown Cleveland's East 4th Street a success, calling it "the jewel of Cleveland's entertainment district, boasting a diverse mix of apartments, restaurants and clubs that star top-shelf performers, chefs and themes."

Sisters of Charity Health System hope to embark on a $75 million upgrade of the St. Vincent Charity Hospital campus in Cleveland. They are also interested in developing a neighborhood plan with Quadrangle neighbors Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College.

The board of the the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officially notified the Army Corps of Engineers that they are interested in moving to new facilities north of East 55th Street.

The plans to build the Medical Mart along downtown Cleveland's Mall B may include the site currently occupied by the Cuyahoga County Administration Building. If the property is not included in the initial plans, it could be part of a subsequent development. However, County leaders estimate that a decision will not be made until 2012 at the earliest.

On Monday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners and Mayor Jackson of Cleveland signed a letter of intent for the transfer of Public Auditorium and the existing convention center. The County agreed to purchase the downtown facilities from the City for $20 million, $2.5 million more than the Commissioners offered last week. They suggested that the additional dollars should be used to improve downtown's Perk Park. The agreement must be formally approved by the County Commissioners and Cleveland City Council. WTAM posted audio of the press conference, and Erick Trickey of Cleveland Magazine provided some analysis plus an interview of Commissioner Hagan.

Update: the County Commissioners unanimously approved the agreement.

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force released the final Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Feasibility Study (PDF, 14.2 MB) on Friday. The report prepared by juwi GmbH of Germany recommends building three to eight wind turbines in Lake Erie about three miles from shore. The demonstration wind farm would cost between $78 million and $93 million. NewEnergyNews describes the report as "a tour de force of the technical, environmental, regulatory and financial issues pertaining to offshore wind development."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the "mix of 'green' industrial innovation with a broad public-private research partnership should set Cleveland apart and make the city a go-to destination for wind-energy manufacturers and innovators." Bill Callahan is decidedly less enthusiastic.

On Thursday, a number of waterfront planning experts from around the world participated in two sessions about redesigning the downtown lakefront land currently occupied by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. The Port Authority plans to begin relocating to new facilities north of East 55th Street in about 10 years.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake also has a recap of the presentations.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners issued a Friday deadline for reaching an agreement with the City of Cleveland on the purchase price for the existing convention center, which would be used in the development of the planned Medical Mart. The Commissioners "will consider other sites" if they cannot reach a deal. The City and County are about $7.5 million apart in their offers.

Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman spoke with WTAM's Ted Klopp about the upcoming renovation of Perk Plaza in downtown Cleveland.

This week's episode of Feagler & Friends looked at the debate surrounding the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans to rebuild the Cleveland Innerbelt. The guests were three critics of ODOT's plans and process: Tom Bier of Cleveland State University, James Haviland of Midtown Cleveland Incorporated, and Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer.

The Ohio EPA yesterday announced plans to invest $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds and low-interest state loans in water and sewer infrastructure projects. Approximately $46 million will go to projects in Northeast Ohio, including $5 million for two NEORSD sewer projects. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled plans for $750 million in stimulus funds, of which the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will receive about $7.8 million. The award will fund five projects in the Park. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the dollars (PDF) will help address the Park's maintenance backlog. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced that it will reallocate $115 million of the $200 million in stimulus funds it recently assigned to the Innerbelt Bridge project in Cleveland to 52 other projects across the state. ODOT officials say that the funding will be replaced with other state and federal dollars.

About 150 people attended yesterday's public hearing about the Ohio Department of Transportation's plans for rebuilding the Innerbelt. Businesses in Midtown continue to object to the planned closure of exit ramps at Carnegie and Prospect Avenues. WTAM's Ted Klopp spoke with ODOT Project Manager Craig Hebebrand about the plans.

Update: ODOT posted PDFs of a handout and a presentation from the hearing.

Cleveland City Council is preparing to proceed with a scaled-back renovation of downtown's Perk Plaza. Councilman Cimperman said that "the goal is to break ground in May or June or as soon as we can."

Update: City Council's Finance Committee approved the work.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials say that the $465 million planned new westbound Innerbelt Bridge will be a straightforward girder bridge with a signature design. ODOT will accept comments about its Innerbelt plans at a public hearing tomorrow.

Steven Litt spoke with Boston architect Miguel Rosales about the pedestrian bridge he will be designing for North Coast Harbor in Cleveland.

The first residents have moved into condominiums in the Park Building on Public Square, as the residential conversion of the historic building continues.

Zaremba Homes spoke with Paul Volpe of City Architecture about the status of the East 12th Street streetscape project in downtown Cleveland.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners today unanimously voted to adopt a development agreement with developer Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the construction and operation of the planned new convention center and Medical Mart. A series of four additional agreements will eventually replace the development agreement, and could take a year to finalize. The next step will be to decide on a location for the new facilities. The Commissioners posted the final development agreement (PDF), and WTAM has audio from the meeting.

Several aspects of Cuyahoga County's convention center and Medical Mart plans have recently appeared in the news:

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners yesterday released a draft of the development agreement (PDF) between Cuyahoga County and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the construction and operation of the planned Medical Mart and new convention center. MMPI is expected to sign the agreement shortly, and the Commissioners may approve the document next week. The 62-page document expands upon last year's tentative agreement.

The Commissioners also released detailed construction requirements (PDFs) that were prepared by consultants Conventional Wisdom Corp. In addition, they hired law firm Bricker & Eckler to help negotiate property acquisitions for the new facilities.

The Cleveland Play House has entered into talks to join Cleveland State University's drama program in a move to the Allen Theater (PDF) at Playhouse Square. Reconfiguring and expanding the Allen Theater would cost an estimated $30 million, and the Play House's longtime home in Midtown is for sale. The Cleveland Clinic is believed to be interested in the 12-acre site, which abuts its main campus. Steven Litt notes that the future of the existing Play House complex is now uncertain. The complex includes two historic 1926 theaters and a notable 1983 postmodern addition designed by Philip Johnson, and is not protected by any landmark ordinances.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial enthusiastically supports the concept.

A Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority committee selected the New York firm of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects to develop a master plan for the redevelopment of the Port's current downtown Cleveland facilities. The firm has worldwide experience in urban waterfront planning, including an award-winning master plan for Battery Park in New York City. PA Consulting Group of London was picked to prepare a market analysis of the site. Port Authority committees also learned that the Port should receive $15 million in stimulus funds, which is less than the $26.5 million it was seeking.

The Cauldron has more information about planned construction across Cleveland State University's campus, including the North Campus Neighborhood Project.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Tom Bier alleges that the Ohio Department of Transportation operated with a predetermined conclusion when developing its Innerbelt reconstruction plans, saying that the "public meetings and associated discussions were essentially sham events." He feels that ODOT put traffic engineering ahead of other considerations, calling it "an empire that simply does what it wants to do."

In preparation for the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau will open its first Cleveland office on Wednesday. The downtown Cleveland field office will be in the US Bank Centre at Playhouse Square.

Update: census takers will face new challenges when they begin work next year.

In an editorial published on Sunday, the Plain Dealer expressed its desire for more information about Cuyahoga County's development agreement with Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the planned Medical Mart and convention center. Yesterday, the paper announced that it had reached a deal with the Cuyahoga County Commissioners. The County will release the tentative agreement at least one week prior to finalizing the document.

The Federal Highway Administration approved the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Ohio Department of Transportation's Innerbelt reconstruction plan. Project Manager Craig Hebebrand said that the study includes no surprises. ODOT will hold a public hearing about the plan on April 21, and will accept public comments (PDF) through May 21.

Construction of several residential developments in Cleveland will soon be underway. Work on the Circle 118 townhouses in University Circle began last week, and a ceremonial groundbreaking for the nearby 27 Coltman condominiums in Little Italy will be held on Friday. Construction of the University Lofts condominiums near Cleveland State has also started.

The retail consultant who last year proposed a retail strategy for Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland has refined his suggestion to include a collection of upscale outlet stores. Reactions to the concept have been generally favorable.

The Asher family's Weston Inc. will partner with Gilbane Development Co. of Providence to redevelop a one-block area of the Warehouse District. Their plans for the seven-acre site include building 700,000 square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, 250 condominiums, 150 apartments, a 150-room hotel, and parking garages with 2,400 spaces. The area was previously part of Bob Stark's proposed redevelopment.

The restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square is continuing. The work is scheduled to be completed this fall.

Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish is urging ODOT to assign $200 million in federal stimulus funds for repairs to the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland.

Forest City Enterprises executives advanced a two-pronged strategy for the Medical Mart and convention center, presenting refined plans for a new riverfront facility at Tower City Center, while challenging the suitability of the Mall site. Simultaneously, the Plain Dealer began questioning Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.'s projections for the number of conventions the Medical Mart will attract and its financial benefits to the area. MMPI responded to the newspaper (PDF), Forest City (PDF), and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners (PDF). The company endorsed the Mall site and rejected the Tower City site, saying that a number of concerns made the location a "non-starter". Today, Cuyahoga County and MMPI reached an agreement in principle for the financing of the convention center and Medical Mart. A final site selection is expected in a few weeks.

Update: Forest City is not giving up. The company stated its position in letters to MMPI and the County Commissioners and launched a special website.

Cleveland State University envisions redeveloping about 25 acres at the northern part of its downtown campus. The North Campus Neighborhood Project would add approximately 800 beds, a baseball stadium, parking structures, and a small amount of commercial development. The University issued an RFP (PDF) yesterday.

Backers of the Canal Basin Park District Plan say that the greenspace and trail network would be a transformational green project. The City of Cleveland is seeking federal stimulus funds for its implementation. A complementary proposal, Flats Connections Plan, calls for converting old infrastructure into more trails and greenways in the Flats. GreenCityBlueLake has a virtual tour of the plans.

The designers selected in 2007 have begun working on the planned pedestrian bridge for North Coast Harbor in Cleveland. Their first goal is to create around five conceptual alternatives for review. The project is scheduled to break ground in 2011.

Now that an engineering study has verified that the foundation of the Cleveland Convention Center is strong enough to support the proposed new convention center, Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland have begun discussing the purchase of the existing facilities. County leaders want the City to donate the site for the project, but Mayor Jackson feels that the City should be compensated. Officials said that a deal will be reached this month.

Meanwhile, Forest City Enterprises executives were in Chicago yesterday to promote their revised proposal for the Tower City site. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. representatives were not convinced that Forest City's construction estimates were accurate. Positively Cleveland's Dennis Roche encourages leaders to pick a site and build the Medical Mart.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Tom Bier writes that Greater Cleveland suburbanites and Cleveland politicians need to do more to support downtown Cleveland: "Downtown must, absolutely must, become lively and attractive, and all possible resources must be poured into achieving that. "

As predicted, Osborn Engineering today told the Cuyahoga County Commissioners that the foundation of the existing Cleveland Convention Center is sound and that it would be feasible to reuse it for a new facility. The presentation is available online (PPT). On Monday, Cleveland City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling the Mall site the "most advantageous" location for the Medical Mart and new convention center. Meanwhile, Steven Litt examined Forest City Enterprises' revised proposal for a convention center at Tower City, and is concerned that the site may be too small. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Forest City concept deserves to be considered.

Update: Osborn's Convention Center Foundation System Study (PDF, 13.3 MB) is also available.

The final public meeting about plans for the Canal Basin Park District in Cleveland will be held on March 11. The open house will be held at the Bridgeview Apartments from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Forest City Enterprises yesterday presented simplified plans for building the Medical Mart and convention center at Tower City. Forest City estimates its plans will cost $398 million, $27 million less than than the current estimates for construction at the Mall site. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials said the plans were unworkable, but the two companies will meet on March 10. Steven Litt described the process as "a tug-of-war like the early 20th-century battle over whether to put the city's main train station at the Mall or Tower City."

Beachwood City Council, Eaton Corp., and two school districts agreed to a 30-year tax increment financing package for the company's planned new headquarters in the Chagrin Highlands. The State of Ohio has already committed $71 million in tax breaks and loans to facilitate the company's move from downtown Cleveland.

Update: The Plain Dealer reports that the combined incentives are worth more than $90 million.

The recent shootings at Perk Plaza in downtown Cleveland illustrate how urban design can contribute to the creation of unsafe environments. First proposed in I.M. Pei's 1960 Erieview urban renewal plan, the park was completed in 1972. A 2003 plan for redesigning the plaza was not implemented due to a lack of funding. The City of Cleveland plans to proceed with a more modest renovation this year.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's $26.5 million request for stimulus funds would enable it to convert dock and warehouse facilities for use as a wind turbine manufacturing plant. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners also requested stimulus dollars for the proposed demonstration wind farm in Lake Erie. Meanwhile, the Port Authority anticipates a $661,000 drop in revenue due to cutbacks at ArcelorMittal's Cleveland plant.

Reactions to last week's presentation about plans for the Medical Mart and convention center were varied:

Yesterday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of the Ohio Department of Transportation's Innerbelt plans. ODOT also posted the presentation that officials made (PDF) to Cleveland City Council last week.

Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials yesterday presented their planning studies for the Medical Mart and new convention center, first to Cleveland City Council and later at a public meeting attended by over 300 people. The presentations answered many of Steven Litt's questions about the proposal, but left other questions unanswered. Forest City Enterprises used the public meeting to urge officials to reconsider the eliminated Tower City site. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey liveblogged the proceedings and provided other insights.

The Plain Dealer examined the unusual ownership arrangement described in the memorandum of understanding (PDF) between Cuyahoga County and MMPI, and County Administrator Jim McCafferty differed with the paper's portrayal (PDF) of the agreement.

ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen updated a Cleveland City Council committee on the status of plans for a new Innerbelt Bridge. The agency had been considering a single-bridge option that would have required closing the bridge, but abandoned the concept after Mayor Jackson objected and a study concluded that other arterial roads would be unable to absorb the traffic. The two-bridge plan is again the preferred design. ODOT is considering whether to repair the existing bridge and then build a second parallel bridge, or whether to build the second bridge and then repair or replace the existing one. The agency also intends to spend $10 million on repairs to the old bridge this year, and says that the closed lanes and entrance ramps will reopen this year.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial applauds the announcement and ODOT issued a press release about the upcoming repairs.

At the public meeting on Thursday, Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials are expected to explain that the Mall site is the only option for the planned Medical Mart and convention center. Cuyahoga County Administrator James McCafferty issued a statement (PDF) saying that the Flats site is not a backup, and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority issued a statement saying that Port land in the Flats is unavailable for the development.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. said that they would consider the Flats east bank site as a fallback if building the planned convention center and Medical Mart at the Mall is impractical. The Plain Dealer answered questions about the project.

Update: WCPN and WKSU offer more information about next week's public hearing.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners hired Osborn Engineering to analyze whether the Cleveland Convention Center's foundation can be reused. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. representatives say that they will present their research and proposals on February 12.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer repeats its appeal for openness in the planning process for the Medical Mart and convention center.

Steven Litt considers the available information about the plans to build the new convention center and Medical Mart at Mall B. He identifies the advantages of the site as well as some concerns about the proposal.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Don Iannone says that "Cleveland leaders and citizens cannot afford to lose hope in downtown Cleveland" and urges local leaders to move quickly on the Medical Mart and convention center project.

When the Cuyahoga County Commissioners made the preliminary selection of the Mall site for the planned Medical Mart and new convention center last week, the estimated costs were a major factor. Developer Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. calculated that construction costs at the Mall could be substantially reduced by reusing the foundation of the existing Cleveland Convention Center. Cuyahoga County may hire Osborn Engineering to evaluate the concept.

Reactions to the announcement were varied. Frank Jackson supported the proposal, but took a cautious approach. The Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association endorsed Mayor Jackson's approach (PDF). On the other hand, Forest City Enterprises and the Greater Cleveland Partnership called for further public review of the decision, and a Plain Dealer editorial asked for increased transparency. Meeting planners simply want a new convention center. Participants in the selection process discussed the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas earlier this week.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Dominic LoGalbo questions the need for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to move to proposed new facilities and the process used to reach the proposal. Meanwhile, a Plain Dealer editorial encourages the Port Authority to be less secretive.

Following hours of private meetings yesterday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners announced that the new convention center and Medical Mart will be built at the Mall in downtown Cleveland. The facility will be built on the site of the existing convention center and three other buildings, and will incorporate a renovated Public Auditorium into its design. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. estimated that the project will cost $425 million. Construction could begin by the end of the year.

The Mall location was selected over the Tower City site and a site in the Flats. MMPI estimated that construction behind Tower City would cost an additional $108 million, contradicting an earlier study by the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Developer Scott Wolstein offered a last-minute proposal to build the facility north of a scaled-back version of his stalled Flats east bank project. He continues to advocate for the Flats site.

Meeting planner Bruce Harris told the Plain Dealer that he thinks the Tower City site is the best location for the planned new convention center and Medical Mart. The Plain Dealer also published editorials about the siting decision on Saturday and on Tuesday. Roldo Bartimole objects to the way the newspaper is handling the subject.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District may spend an extra $5 million to complete a sewer project in the Flats east bank. The District's board of trustees postponed a decision on the proposal.

Frank Jackson traveled to Chicago on Tuesday for a meeting with Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. officials about plans for the new convention center and Medical Mart. The meeting alleviated the mayor's concerns about the project, and he declared that he was impressed by MMPI's thoroughness. Scene Editor Frank Lewis, on the other hand, remains unimpressed.

MMPI continues to evaluate the Tower City and Mall sites, and company executives are scheduled to share their analysis with Cuyahoga County leaders next week. Commissioner Jones discussed the project's status on Channel 3 yesterday.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is considering a plan to replace the deteriorating Innerbelt Bridge with a basic concrete or steel girder bridge instead of building a planned signature bridge. Construction could begin as early as late 2010. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Mark Filippell urges ODOT to quickly replace the bridge. Meanwhile, Cleveland firefighters want ODOT to to indicate which zones on the existing bridge are safe for parking emergency vehicles.

Kent State University's Urban Design Collaborative will become the first tenant in the Cleveland District of Design in July when it moves from its current home in the Pointe At Gateway to the Cowell & Hubbard Building at Playhouse Square.

The Flats Connections Plan, a new proposal from ParkWorks, Cleveland Public Art, and Building Cleveland by Design, shows how a greenway could link the Towpath Trail to the west bank of the Flats and Whiskey Island.

The January issue of Urban Land includes a look at redevelopment efforts in warehouse districts across the nation (PDF), including Cleveland's Warehouse District.

(via Downtown Clips)

Mark Falanga of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. said that the company will not be rushed into a decision on the location of the planned Medical Mart. He added that the company is "getting close" to completing its evaluation. Meanwhile, Vornado Realty Trust, MMPI's parent company, is seeking federal bailout funds.

The Dike 14 Preservation Committee opposes the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's plans to relocate their facilities to a new site north of East 55th Street. The group says that the move threatens the East 55th Street Marina, Gordon Park, and Dike 14.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners extended their self-imposed January 15 site selection deadline for the planned Medical Mart and convention center by one month. Mayor Jackson was not pleased about the delay, but still supports the project.

Update: the Plain Dealer examined Frank Jackson's role in the Medical Mart negotiations, and in an editorial, urged the County Commissioners to make a decision.

Forest City executives complain about the lack of communication regarding negotiations for the planned Medical Mart in Cleveland. Cuyahoga County officials still intend to select a site by January 15.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, outgoing Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Chairman Michael Wager says that "the relocation of the port and creation of new port land is an opportunity to change not only the size and scope of the port's operations and to create the new trade district, but also an opportunity to remake the city's downtown lakefront and replace its aging infrastructure."

Steven Litt feels that the Innerbelt Bridge and Opportunity Corridor projects should be "viewed as part of a comprehensive system that could boost the city's economy for decades to come." He says that the planning of the two projects has been slowed by mediocre work by ODOT and a lack of advocacy from local leaders. He also encourages ODOT to reconsider the proposed southern alignment for a new Innerbelt Bridge.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority staffers are ready to solicit for consultants to develop a plan for redeveloping the current port site. The port's board hopes to select firms by late February and have a completed plan in September 2009.

Editorials in the Plain Dealer express optimism about the movement in the Medical Mart talks and about the continued reinvestment in University Circle. Another editorial follows up on the newspaper's recent feature on Pittsburgh, and says that Cleveland's leaders can learn much from Pittsburgh. However, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Colin McNickle feels that "the Plain Dealer story might go down in history as the most uninformed look at Pittsburgh ever written."

(via Callahan's Cleveland Diary and Blog 5)

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Chairman Michael Wager told a City Club audience yesterday that state and local leaders should support the Port's planned move to new facilities.

Cutbacks by banks and financial firms could increase the vacancy rate for downtown Cleveland offices and eliminate the market for proposed new office towers.

Cuyahoga County hired Conventional Wisdom of Orlando to assist in the design of the convention center portion of the Medical Mart project. The County hopes to name a site for the development by January 15.

Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone proposed renaming the Whiskey Island access road in memory of the late Ed Hauser.

The Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission approved $1 million to the Great Lakes Science Center for the walkway that will connect the museum and the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. Construction of the 400-foot walkway will cost an estimated $3.4 million.

Today's Plain Dealer examined the Innerbelt Bridge's weakest beam and the problems it has created. The bridge was also the subject of yesterday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN, where panelists discussed the future of the span. Starting tomorrow, trucks and buses will be banned from the bridge, and alternate routes are already seeing increased congestion.

The Ohio Department of Transportation may drop its proposed two-bridge plan for carrying I-90 over the Cuyahoga River valley due to the rapid decay of the Innerbelt Bridge. One proposal calls for building a steel girder bridge under the existing truss bridge, which would require closing the bridge for two years. Meanwhile, a group of Tremont residents protested the continued closure of the West 14th Street entrance ramp to the bridge.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that shutting down the bridge "would be disastrous for Cleveland."

Advertising agency Wyse will be the anchor tenant in the K&D Group's redevelopment of the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland. The company signed a 10-year lease for 25,000 square feet on the building's ground floor. The K&D Group is also pursuing nontraditional financing for its planned redevelopment of the nearby Ameritrust complex, including investments from labor union pension funds.

Developer Bob Stark abandoned his plans to redevelop large portions of Cleveland's Warehouse District after the property owners declined to extend his options to buy the properties. The Asher family, owners of much of the land, may attempt to proceed with similar plans through Weston Inc., their commercial real estate company.

The planned Medical Mart in Cleveland faces potential competition from World Product Centre, a proposed $1 billion New York City skyscraper targeted at the healthcare industry. The project was first announced last year, and late last month, developers unveiled designs for a 60-story, 1.5 million square foot tower designed by Kohn Pederson Fox. They hope to open the tower in 2013.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland's political and civic leaders must select a site for the Medical Mart.

A Plain Dealer review of ODOT internal e-mails and news releases revealed that the agency had begun to consider lane closures on the Innerbelt Bridge as early as February. ODOT officials are considering reopening a third lane of traffic in each direction and closing the bridge to truck traffic.

Update: starting November 19, ODOT will ban trucks and buses from the bridge and will reopen one lane in each direction.

WCPN's Eric Wellman spoke with Cleveland Chief of Regional Development Chris Warren about the suspension of work on the Flats east bank project.

Construction of the Flats east bank project was suspended today, because the credit crunch has created difficulties in securing private financing for the mixed-use development. The developers said that "they still intend to move forward with the project" (PDF), but did not identify a timeline for resuming work.

Update: WKSU, WCPN, and WTAM supply more details.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square will be closed for the next eight to nine months while its interior undergoes restoration.

Plain Dealer critics Steven Litt and Tony Brown compared notes about the renovated Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.

While it was still considering a Flats east bank site for its new headquarters, Eaton requested a list of changes to neighboring properties, some of which would have impacted port activities. Crain's Cleveland Business noted that it's unclear whether the requests were make-or-break issues or whether Eaton was simply trying to get as much as possible.

Marc Lefkowitz liveblogged last Friday's Bioneers Conference at CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Cleveland State University held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Student Center. It is scheduled to be completed in 2010, and is being built on the site of the former University Center. The University has a webcam that shows construction progress.

The nationwide credit crunch has the potential to raise the price of the planned Cleveland Medical Mart and convention center by millions of dollars.

The Ohio Department of Transportation decided that the four outer lanes of the Innerbelt Bridge will remain closed indefinitely. Last week's stress test confirmed that two of the bridge's connectors are severely deteriorated. ODOT has not yet identified a long-term strategy for the bridge.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office recommended awarding federal tax credits for the planned renovation of the Cleveland Trust Tower in downtown Cleveland. The tax credits could be worth $8-$10 million for the $133 million project.

Next week, the Ohio Department of Transportation will present the results of the Innerbelt Bridge stress test and its plans for the future of the bridge. It is possible that it will be beyond repair.

Attendance was sparse at the fourth public forum about the planned Medical Mart and convention center in Cleveland.

The Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland continues to deteriorate more quickly than expected, and this week the Ohio Department of Transportation first closed two lanes and later closed four lanes of the eight lane bridge. It will be completely closed for more tests one night next week. ODOT's Innerbelt plans call for rehabilitating the bridge, but the increased corrosion could force a change.

Zaremba, Inc. announced plans to build ten additional townhouses at the southeastern edge of its Avenue District development in downtown Cleveland.

The Great Lakes Science Center broke ground on a connector that will link the museum to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum.

This week's Scene summarizes the most recent events in the convention center saga and questions decisions in the site selection process.

The second Great Lakes Bioneers - Cleveland conference will be held at the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs on October 17-19. It will be one of 18 locations participating in the Beaming Bioneers program. On October 20-21, Baldwin-Wallace College will host a Sustainability Symposium that will feature Stuart Hart as its keynote speaker.

Eaton is reluctant to move to the Flats because the nine acre site on the east bank is too small for the campus the company intends to build. Mayor Jackson said that the City did all it could to keep the company's headquarters in downtown Cleveland, but a Plain Dealer analysis notes that Jackson's emphasis on regionalism left him with little room to protest a move to Beachwood. The City and Port Authority are looking at other development options for the Waterfront loop property.

In a statement (PDF) released today, Eaton Corp. revealed that a location in the Chagrin Highlands is the leading candidate for the company's new headquarters. A site in the Flats east bank development was previously thought to be the most likely location. Mayor Jackson said that while he is disappointed, he respects the decision.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland leaders must attempt to keep the company downtown. WKSU's Kevin Niedermier spoke with Frank Jackson about the news.

Great Lakes Theater Festival's renovation of the Hanna Theatre is finished. Tony Brown of the Plain Dealer is amazed that the company has "managed to accomplish this stunning project in the fairly short span of nine months." A grand reopening gala will be held on September 20.

At the request of Cuyahoga County leaders, Merchandise Mart Properties will lead negotiations on the price of the site for the planned new downtown convention center.

Update: Jay Miller of Crain's Cleveland Business provides some insight into the decision.

Channel 8 compared the current proposal for building a convention center at Tower City Center to Forest City Enterprises' 2003 proposal, which included the redevelopment of Scranton Peninsula.

The Jewish Community Federation's Building Committee will recommend moving the agency's headquarters from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood, while maintaining an undefined presence in downtown Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial says the the headquarters should remain downtown. The full board is scheduled to vote on the move this afternoon.

Update: the board of trustees voted to move the offices to Beachwood.

While the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's relocation plans include moving the East 55th Street Marina, the Dike 14 Nature Preserve Committee is concerned it will lead to a loss of open space at Gordon Park.

On September 25, the Levin College Forum at CSU will host the first event in its Beyond Foreclosure series, a panel discussion titled "Small Scale Strategies that Work". It will "focus on small scale housing strategies and projects that are new, creative, environmentally sustainable and invigorating to the marketplace."

Concerned taxpayers questioned leaders about the Medical Mart and convention center plans at a public forum in Cleveland Heights yesterday. A second forum will be held on Thursday in Middleburg Heights.

Update: Roldo Bartimole was not impressed by the event. Also, the start time of the Thursday forum has been changed to 5:30.

Zaremba Homes has started offering a rent-to-own program intended to make their properties (including the Avenue District in downtown Cleveland) more attractive to buyers.

Leaders of the Jewish Community Federation appear to favor moving its headquarters to Beachwood, despite advocacy for the existing downtown Cleveland location.

Commissioner Jones scheduled two public forums to discuss the Medical Mart and convention center plans. The first will be held on September 2 at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, and the second will be on September 4 at the Middleburg Heights Community Center.

Demolition of the former bank building adjacent to the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland is now underway.

The City of Cleveland closed the Columbus Road Lift Bridge in the Flats for at least two months for repairs. In the long term, rebuilding or replacing the bridge could cost more than $31 million. The Cuyahoga County Engineer's office will hold an open house Wednesday at St. Malachi Church in Cleveland to hear opinions from the public.

Supporters of a downtown headquarters for the Jewish Community Federation proposed an expansion its downtown offices into a campus as an alternative to the proposal to move the headquarters to Beachwood.

RTA's Joe Calabrese will speak at the City Club on August 29 about "the many challenges facing the public transit industry during a climate of increased ridership, both locally and nationally."

Forest City Enterprises executives indicated that they do not intend to drastically drop their $40 million asking price for land at Tower City Center for the planned new convention center. Cuyahoga County leaders deemed the price unacceptable, but hope to reach a compromise.

Cleveland State University broke ground today for its new College of Education and Human Services building on Euclid Avenue. The 97,000 square foot building is scheduled to open in 2010.

Update: WTAM has more details.

A local development group is trying to revive interest in plans for the Courthouse Plaza high-rise in downtown Cleveland. The tower was first proposed in 1999, but there has been little news since backer Larry Dolan pulled out in 2001.

CityProwl has been updated with new audio walking tours of the Warehouse District, downtown Cleveland's bank lobbies, and Public Square.

WKYC describes the early phases of the Flats east bank construction process.

The Plain Dealer breaks down the new projected $536 million price tag for building the Medical Mart and convention center, while Roldo Bartimole says that it will cost closer to $1 billion. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the Greater Cleveland Partnership's selection of the Tower City site, but Steven Litt has several concerns about the plans and process. Meanwhile, Positively Cleveland leaders are unhappy about the proposal to divert the bureau's funding for the construction.

While many are upset over RTA's plans to increase fares and reduce bus service, its plans to cut service hours on the Waterfont Line have generated few complaints. RTA officials will revisit its schedule when parts of the Flats east bank development are finished.

As expected, the Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee yesterday recommended locating the planned new convention center and Medical Mart on a riverfront site at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland. The committee estimated that construction costs at the Tower City site would be $536 million and that the costs at the Mall site would be $583 million. Because the expense would be in excess of the County's $400 million budget, the committee offered suggestions for covering the funding gap. They predicted that the County's sales tax increase will bring in $90 million more than initially projected, and also suggested raising or redirecting the county bed tax. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners hope to make a decision this fall.

A pair of Downtown Dialogues were held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings about "the future of Jewish life downtown" and the "priorities for reaching that vision." The Jewish Community Federation is contemplating a move from its downtown Cleveland headquarters to Beachwood, an option opposed by an ad hoc group of Jewish citizens. Steven Litt also feels that its headquarters should remain downtown.

Channel 3 and Channel 8 both report that the Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee is expected to recommend that Tower City should be the site of the Medical Mart and new convention center.

Update: the Plain Dealer also reported on the rumors.

Renewable Energy World summarizes wind power initiatives in Greater Cleveland, including the Great Lakes Science Center's wind turbine and the potential for an offshore wind farm.

The Politician: A Toy sculpture at Chester Avenue and East 66th Street in Cleveland will move to a new home at Chester Avenue and East 18th Street on the campus of Cleveland State University. The relocation should be completed by the end October.

A public meeting about the Canal Basin District Plan will be held this evening at KA's design studio on West 9th Street in Cleveland. Planners are looking for ways to connect the Towpath Trail and planned Canal Basin Park to nearby neighborhoods and Lake Erie.

With the expectation that construction costs for the Medical Mart and convention center at either the Mall or Tower City sites will exceed $400 million, two Cuyahoga County Commissioners asserted that the budget must either be supplemented by outside sources or a different site should be selected.

Forest City Enterprises presented a revised proposal for a new convention center at Tower City Center in an effort to reduce construction expenses. Instead of selling the air rights, the company now wants to sell the property to Cuyahoga County while retaining the right to build above about a third of the structure.

Plain Dealer theater critic Tony Brown provides more photographs of the ongoing renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

Steven Litt approves of the in-progress renovations (PDF) of the Main Classroom at Cleveland State University, saying that "one the ugliest things in Cleveland is now among the most-improved."

Developer Nathan Zaremba remains upbeat about the prospects of his company's Avenue District condominiums in downtown Cleveland.

Westlake Reed Leskosky unveiled designs for a 13 story office building at the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland. The glassy tower would sit directly south of the Cleveland Trust Tower. The K&D Group is trying to have the Marcel Breuer-designed tower added to the National Register of Historic Places, and is seeking federal and state historic tax credits.

Euclid Avenue reopened to two-way traffic between East 9th Street to East 14th Street today, and the segment between Public Square and East 9th Street will reopen by July 31. At that point, the only remaining Euclid Corridor roadwork will be in the University Circle area.

At a Medical Mart forum on Wednesday, Cuyahoga County and MMPI officials urged patience in the site selection process. They still hope to name a site this month, and may seek outside funding sources if construction costs are too high. A Plain Dealer editorial encourages leaders to "assign the Medical Mart a much higher level of disclosure than the normal development deal."

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission is scheduled to discuss Stark Enterprises' Warehouse District plans tomorrow, among other topics. Images of the proposed development are available on the Commission's agenda.

(via Urban Ohio)

The Federal Highway Administration awarded $767,193 to the City of Cleveland for road construction at the Flats east bank development. The funds will be used to relocate Front Street and Old River Road and to build a new street and a trail.

If the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland moves its headquarters to the suburbs from downtown Cleveland, Cleveland State University has expressed an interest in using the existing building for offices. It was built in 1965 and designed by noted modernist architect Edward Durell Stone.

Steven Litt considers how outgoing CSU President Michael Schwartz has improved the campus through better master planning. He says that Schwartz's retirement announcement provides an opportunity to "reflect on just how much the city owes him, not just for raising academic standards over the past seven years, but for scrapping the university's old plan and coming up with something far better."

The Kresge Foundation awarded a $1 million challenge grant to Great Lakes Theater Festival for the renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

The historic May Company building on Public Square in Cleveland will be redeveloped as retail and residential space. The ground floor is slated to house a restaurant and a nightclub, and the upper stories will be renovated as residences and possibly a small hotel. An earlier renovation attempt called for converting it into the Public Square Tech Center.

Cleveland Magazine took a quick look at the redesign of the plaza surrounding the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building at East 9th Street and Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland. It will include a decorative screen by Los Angeles artist Pae White.

The Blade published a series on the downtowns of Ohio's major cities and how they have changed. It included an article about downtown Cleveland.

(via Economic News from Ohio's Regions)

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee for the Medical Mart and new convention center again delayed making a recommendation. Chairman Fred Nance said that construction estimates for the Mall and Tower City sites are "are way over budget." The group now intends to make a recommendation to the Cuyahoga County Commissioners by late July.

Steven Litt shares some thoughts about the proposed Public Square tower, the plans for the Ameritrust complex, and the Medical Mart. Roldo Bartimole speculates about the lack of recent Medical Mart news.

Cleveland City Living reports that the conversion of several Euclid Avenue buildings to the University Lofts condominiums will begin next month.

In this week's Free Times, Ted Schwarz writes about living in downtown Cleveland.

A recently-demolished building at the Cleveland Technology Center on Rockwell Avenue will temporarily be replaced by a surface parking lot. Matrix Realty Group plans to build a 180,000 square foot building on the site, and must complete construction by 2009 in order to receive the full amount of a 2006 grant from the Job Ready Sites Program.

South Euclid officials say that demolition of the north side of Cedar Center may begin in August. At Cleveland State, exterior demolition of University Center started this morning.

InterContinental Hotels Group announced plans to open a Hotel Indigo in the Cleveland Trust Tower. The 140 room boutique hotel will occupy the tower's first 12 floors, and is scheduled to open in spring 2010. The K&D Group plans to convert the upper floors into 165 to 180 apartments.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's Medical Mart site selection committee pushed back its plans to make a recommendation by several weeks.

Repairs of corroded steel parts on the Innerbelt Bridge are expected to cost roughly $10 million, not the $4 million anticipated last month. The work is scheduled to start in late July or early August and to end about a year later.

The K&D Group completed its purchase of the 668 Euclid building on Friday. The conversion of the building to about 240 apartments and 65,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space could be finished by early 2010.

Yesterday's Plain Dealer included a rundown of the downtown Cleveland development projects that have a retail component. The article examined Bob Stark's Warehouse District plans, ideas for the redevelopment of Euclid Avenue, the Avenue District, and the Flats east bank development.

Preliminary testing indicates the presence of some unstable soil at downtown Cleveland's malls, potentially increasing the cost of convention center and Medical Mart construction at the site.

The Jacobs Group and Hines Interests of Houston yesterday announced plans for a 21 story office tower on the parking lot facing the west side of Public Square. Public Square Tower is a $180 million project that would feature 500,000 square feet of office space. Construction could start next year. Improvising Schema is critical of Gensler's design for the tower, calling it "another impersonal glass box".

Developer Bob Stark has refocused his plans for a Warehouse District Development. Instead of building around a large office tower on a single block, the project's first phase will now concentrate on filling gaps in the neighborhood that are currently occupied by surface parking. Phase one includes about 215,000 square feet of retail below roughly 350 residential units and 166,000 square feet of office space. He plans to complete the $400 million phase by 2011.

Plans for a new convention center and Medical Mart at the Tower City and Mall sites were presented at yesterday's Medical Mart Site Selection Forum. About 100 people attended the meeting, and most who spoke favored the Mall site. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners still intend to select a location in July.

Update: Jeremy Borger shared his thoughts about the forum.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has made $2 million in emergency repairs to corroded gusset plates on the Innerbelt Bridge this year, and expects to spend an additional $4 million on repairs this summer.

The June issue of Cleveland Magazine includes an extensive look at the decisions surrounding Cuyahoga County's purchase and eventual sale of the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland.

Citing concerns that construction costs may be too high for the new convention center and Medical Mart at the two leading sites (the Mall and Tower City), Commissioner Hagan asked the Greater Cleveland Partnership's site selection committee to consider a fifth potential location at East 55th Street and Chester Avenue in Midtown.

The City of Cleveland will spend an extra $208,000 to complete its share of Euclid Corridor construction ahead of schedule.

A pair of architecture firms have devised plans that call for putting a new convention center under the Mall and building the Medical Mart on its west side. It would replace two buildings and a parking garage, but the Cuyahoga County Administration Building would be retained. Public Auditorium would be repurposed as a ballroom.

Developers of the Flats east bank project revealed plans for a $48 million hotel and condominium building. It will include about 50 luxury condominiums and about 150 rooms in a five-star 1 Hotel & Residences hotel. It's scheduled to open in 2011.

The U.S. General Services Administration posted a video about the history and the award-winning renovation of the Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse on Public Square.

This week's Scene asks questions about the benefits of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's planned move from downtown to a new site north of East 55th Street.

Channel 3's Tim White interviewed Christopher Kennedy of MMPI about the company's plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland.

Christopher Leinberger, the featured speaker at today's Historic Downtown Cleveland Luncheon Forum, writes about Cleveland and his recent study of walkable urban areas. He predicts that if Greater Cleveland follows national trends, the region should have "12 to 14 regionally significant walkable urban places over the next 20 years". At the luncheon, he urged local developers to build walkable neighborhoods. Steven Litt feels that downtown Cleveland has great potential, although it currently lacks pedestrian activity.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that more talk is needed about ODOT's plans to rebuild the Innerbelt, and that it is "shaping up as an example of how American cities are losing the ability to manage large infrastructure projects for maximum positive impact." He also describes how the plan calls for two opposing design concepts to occupy the same physical space by routing the Carnegie Avenue exit ramp through a capped section of the highway.

Ernst & Young confirmed that it will move to a new office tower in the Flats east bank development. The 21 story building will be known as Ernst & Young Tower. A Plain Dealer editorial says that this "means that the mammoth task of revitalizing the Flats" east bank "is really going to happen." Developers also unveiled new conceptual images of the planned mixed-use project, and announced that they secured $4 million from HUD for an unidentified supermarket in the development. Half of the award is a grant, and the other half is a loan.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership hired three construction and engineering companies to evaluate the four locations that have been identified as potential sites for a new convention center and Medical Mart. The GCP's site selection committee plans to recommend a location by early June.

The Chicago Tribune looked at how the Medical Mart could pose a challenge to Chicago's McCormick Place and other popular sites for medical conventions.

With the ongoing renovation of the Terminal Tower at its halfway point, the Plain Dealer reported on the work and highlighted a 1928 movie of its construction that was acquired by Cleveland State University in 2004 and added to the Cleveland Union Terminal Collection.

Accounting firm Ernst & Young plans to move its downtown Cleveland office from the Huntington Building to a new office tower in the Flats east bank development. The company's 1,200 employees could occupy over 150,000 square feet in the planned 20 to 21 story building. In February, law firm Tucker Ellis & West announced plans to move to the same tower.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's Regional Economic Advancement Committee tabled a decision on altering the project's development agreement so that members would have time to study the requested changes. One of the proposed changes is lowering the prevailing-wage requirements.

Demolition of the remaining structures on the Flats east bank began today.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners revealed that they are now considering a fourth potential location for the planned new convention center and Medical Mart. In addition to the Tower City, Mall, and lakefront sites, they are also looking at a mostly-vacant part of the Warehouse District north of Tower City and west of Public Square. It was one of several sites considered for a new convention center in 2003. Bob Stark also included the area in his proposed Warehouse District development. The Commissioners will hold a public hearing about the four sites on May 22.

This year's Richard Shatten Public Policy Case Competition looked at the future of the former Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island. Cleveland officials have been discussing the possibility of turning the station into an environmental history interpretive center with a small restaurant.

Cleveland State University and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority will share the costs of restoring three WPA murals that were salvaged from the former Valleyview Homes in Tremont. Two of the murals will be installed in the University's new student center once it is built. Another piece of art from the complex will be installed in a community center at Tremont Pointe.

Cleveland State University's Cauldron looked at the construction history of the Euclid Corridor project.

Last week, developers Doug Price, Scott Wolstein, and Nathan Zaremba spoke (MP3, 55.0 MB) at a City Club panel discussion titled "Cleveland Plus: Turning the Corner in Downtown Cleveland". It was the first talk in the four-part "Cleveland Plus: Turning the Corner" series. The next event will be a panel discussion about University Circle developments on July 23.

The Plain Dealer's Tony Brown narrated an audio slideshow about the ongoing renovation of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square.

Christopher Leinberger, a self-described land use strategist and developer, will be the featured speaker at this years's Historic Downtown Cleveland Luncheon Forum . His May 13 talk is titled "Why the Downtown Turnaround is Essential to Metro Cleveland's Future".

Cleveland City Council is expected to approve the sale of the King-Otis Cleveland Mounted Police Stables on East 38th Street to the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT intends to lease the building back to the City until it is ready to begin its planned Innerbelt realignment, at which point the stables will be demolished.

The Trust for Public Land purchased the future site of Canal Basin Park and transferred the land to the City of Cleveland. The 1.43 acre property at Merwin and West Streets in the Flats is currently a parking lot.

The Plain Dealer profiled five archetypal downtown residents and mapped downtown apartments and condominiums.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners were expected to approve the K&D Group's bid to purchase the Ameritrust complex at their meeting this morning.

Update: the Commissioners accepted the bid.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority may have reached an agreement to sell 8.8 acres in the Flats to developer Scott Wolstein for $11.44 million. A spokesperson for Wolstein, however, cautioned that the negotiations remain complicated. Eaton Corporation is interested in developing the site in the planned Flats east bank development for its headquarters.

Update: the Plain Dealer finds the news encouraging.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Kelly Ferjutz profiles Ed Hauser and imagines how Cleveland's lakefront might appear in 2020.

Yesterday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of the of the Euclid Corridor project and its anticipated economic impacts.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded a $1 million grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for public road improvements in the Flats east bank development.

For the second time, the K&D Group was the sole bidder for the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland. The bid was for the $35 million minimum set by Cuyahoga County. The developer's plans are similar to its earlier proposal, with a mix of hotel, residential, and office uses in renovated and new space. The company hired the firm of Westlake Reed Leskosky to design the proposed new office tower at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street. Channel 3 has images of the proposal.

In order to make the Cleveland Trust Tower more attractive to prospective developers, Cuyahoga County will invest up to $4 million in additional asbestos abatement.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission viewed revised plans for the enlarged Flats east bank development. Office space in the project has roughly doubled to 975,000 square feet, and the number of residential units has increased from 300 to about 430.

With the Great Lakes Theater Festival poised to move to the Hanna Theatre when renovations are complete, the Plain Dealer looks back at the history of its current home, the Ohio Theatre.

Steven Litt says that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's planned move "is the kind of big, farsighted planning initiative that could dramatically change the city's future for the better." The Port Authority has begun planning for an international trade district surrounding the new port facilites, and the move also creates the opportunity for redeveloping the Port's existing facilities. He warns, however, that "an Oklahoma-style land rush on the lakefront could bleed the core business district of vital energy". The Port Authority launched a new website with information about the plans.

In a talk at the City Club on Friday, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones spoke about the reopening of bids for the purchase of the County-owned Ameritrust complex and about the recent Medical Mart agreement. He revealed that the Commissioners are considering a third potential location for the Medical Mart and convention center, a lakefront site west of Cleveland Browns Stadium. Download the speech (MP3, 55.3 MB).

Local economic development experts are upbeat about the recent Medical Mart agreement.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the agreement looks promising.

A memorandum of understanding between Cuyahoga County and Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. calls for the County to pay MMPI $103 million over 20 years to manage the planned new Cleveland convention center. The company could earn more if it meets performance standards. Cuyahoga County plans to sell the naming rights for the facility, and will retain all proceeds of the sale.

Update: the County Commissioners approved the MOU this morning.

Forest City Enterprises proposed housing the Medical Mart in the Higbee Building and connecting it to a new riverfront convention center built on air rights purchased from the company. The Plain Dealer compared the advantages and disadvantages of the riverfront and mall sites.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the public needs more information about last week's Medical Mart agreement. Bill Callahan also has questions.

Cuyahoga County and Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. reached a tentative agreement to develop a Medical Mart in Cleveland. Full details were not revealed, but MMPI will contribute $20 million and operate the Medical Mart and new convention center. The complex should open in about three years.

The Medical Mart and convention center will be located in downtown Cleveland, and the County Commissioners will select a location in a month or two. The existing Convention Center and Tower City Center are considered the front-runners. The Greater Cleveland Partnership will hire a convention center expert to assist with site selection. Steven Litt says that the process should have public input and oversight.

Officials from Merchandise Mart Properties were in Cleveland yesterday to update the company's proposal to operate the proposed Medical Mart in Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "it is imperative that both sides work hard to resolve their remaining differences". The Thursday deadline remains in place.

Today the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the demolition of the remaining buildings on the site of the planned Flats east bank development, and also approved the relocation of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to a new site north of East 55th Street. Steven Litt suggests that the Port's move "could create immediate pressure on the city and the port to allow downtown corporations to abandon the business core for sites on the waterfront."

Update: Bradley Fink of the Design Rag has similar concerns.

The deadline set by the Cuyahoga County Commissioners for reaching an agreement with Merchandise Mart Properties regarding the proposed Medical Mart passed earlier this week, but the company requested and received a one week extension. The Commissioners now expect to have an answer by March 13. A pair of Cleveland councilmen, meanwhile, want the Commissioners to rescind last year's sales tax increase.

The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals purchased the naming rights for RTA's Euclid Corridor BRT line, which will be known as the HealthLine. It was previously called the Silver Line.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners officially rejected the K&D Group's bid to purchase the Ameritrust complex today. A Plain Dealer editorial said they had no choice but to reject the offer. The K&D Group may submit a second attempt when bidding is reopened.

Cuyahoga County's self-imposed deadline for reaching an agreement with Merchandise Mart Properties is approaching. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners set a 60-day deadline in early January for completing negotiations to manage the proposed Medical Mart. They expect to know if a deal has been reached in about a week.

A Plain Dealer editorial about the Port Authority's proposed move concludes that "people who care about Cleveland's future must insist on a plan that allows the city to make the most of its priceless proximity to Lake Erie."

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners are expected to reject the K&D Group's bid to purchase the Ameritrust Complex, because the company proposed financing the deal through a $15 million loan from the County. The Commissioners will reopen bidding for the property.

Update: WCPN has more details.

University Center at Cleveland State University will permanently close on March 17, and it will be demolished this spring. The replacement Student Center is scheduled to open on the site in spring 2010.

At a public meeting yesterday, prominent Cleveland municipal and business leaders backed the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's proposed move to new facilities.

Roldo Bartimole shares his thoughts about the sale of the Ameritrust complex, Medical Mart negotiations, and Euclid Corridor reinvestment figures.

Reminder: at a public meeting this evening, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will present plans to relocate the port from downtown Cleveland to a man-made site north of East 55th Street. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Philip Neri Community Center.

Townhomes and lofts at the Avenue District in downtown Cleveland are selling well. The number of units planned for the development has risen from 426 to about 650. Developer Nathan Zaremba feels that nearby parking lots hold the potential for an additional 1,500 homes.

The K&D Group proposed privately financing $20 million of the $35 million it bid to purchase the Ameritrust complex from Cuyahoga County, and asked the county for a mortgage on the remaining $15 million. County Commissioners are considering the request.

Roldo Bartimole objects to the public subsidization of private downtown developments, using the incentives earmarked for the rehabilitation the 668 Euclid complex as an example.

Law firm Tucker Ellis & West yesterday became the first office tenants to announce a move to the planned Flats east bank development. The firm reached an agreement to lease 100,000 square feet of a 525,000 square foot tower to be built on a parking lot at West 10th Street and Main Avenue.

In addition to running the proposed Medical Mart in Cleveland, Merchandise Mart, Inc. wants to operate the proposed new convention center. The existing Convention Center is managed by the City of Cleveland.

An estimated $4.3 billion in new construction has been or will be built along Euclid Avenue between Public Square and University Circle. RTA's $200 million Euclid Corridor project is serving as a catalyst for investments by developers and nonprofit organizations, and may lead to a rebirth of Cleveland's main street.

On February 19, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority will hold a public meeting about the Port's proposed move to a new facility north of East 55th Street.

Yesterday, the Plain Dealer confirmed that Eaton Corporation is interested in building a new corporate campus on 8.5 acres in the Flats along the Waterfront Line loop. The property is owned by the Port Authority, and Scott Wolstein owns an option to purchase the land for his planned Flats east bank development.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Eaton's move to the Flats would be good for Cleveland.

Cleveland officials proposed offering $5.1 million in loans to the K&D Group for the redevelopment of the 668 Euclid complex, in addition to other incentives. Cleveland City Council may vote on the proposal as early as Monday.

Update: City Council unanimously approved the loan.

Doug Price of The K&D Group said that the rendering of a proposed office tower at the Ameritrust complex in downtown Cleveland was "a quick concept to get something in the paper". He added that the building will not resemble the rendering, and that he would like a local architect to design the structure.

Update: the news was a surprise to architect Robert Corna.

Channel 8 reports on the construction of the Avenue District development in downtown Cleveland.

(via The Avenue District)

Ernst & Young and Eaton are both thinking about building new offices in Scott Wolstein's Flats east bank development. This angered Bob Stark, who is planning a large Warehouse District development. Stark asserts that a shift of office tenants to the Flats project would damage downtown.

Update: Stark is reassessing his Warehouse District plans.

The Great Lakes Theater Festival has raised 75% of the $19.2 million it needs for planned renovations of the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square. Architecture firm Westlake Reed Leskosky will unveil its designs for the Theatre today.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the fundraising drive and proposed renovations "deserve a standing ovation from Northeast Ohio theatergoers."

On this morning's Weekly Business Roundup on WCPN, Scott Roulston talked about the K&D Group's bid to purchase the Ameritrust complex in Cleveland.

If Cuyahoga County officials are unable to reach an agreement with Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for the development of the planned Medical Mart, the County Commissioners say that they will consider other potential partners.

Cuyahoga County officials unsealed bids today for the Ameritrust complex at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. Although they were expecting several bids (PDF), the only package was a $35 million bid from the K&D Group of Willoughby. The company's plans call for converting the Cleveland Trust Tower to a 170 room hotel and 200 residential units. They also want to construct a new 200,000 square foot office tower at Prospect Avenue and East 9th Street and build additional parking and residential space.

Update: the Plain Dealer also reported on the bid and reactions to the news.

On Friday, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners set a 60-day deadline for Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. to agree to a location for the planned Medical Mart and to commit to a specific investment. A Plain Dealer editorial says the deadline is "more than fair."

A press release from the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority says that the Port's planned move to an East 55th Street site should result in "expanded maritime capacity, a dynamic and accessible waterfront, and the potential redevelopment of more than 500 acres of underutilized inner-city land".

The K&D Group's plans for renovating the former Atrium Office Plaza on lower Euclid Avenue include the demolition of the adjacent former Continental Savings headquarters building.

This morning, the board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority unanimously designated a site in Lake Erie north of East 55th Street as the port's future home. Creation of the proposed 200 acre peninsula cannot proceed without approval from the City of Cleveland. Neighbors of the proposed site were not pleased by the announcement.

Because the Innerbelt Bridge is deteriorating faster than anticipated, the Ohio Department of Transportation has revised its construction plans. Instead of building a parallel bridge and then repairing the existing bridge, ODOT officials want to reverse the order. Rehabilitation of the bridge is scheduled to begin in March 2010.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $21.2 million in grants, including $3.6 million to Case Western Reserve University for the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation, $4 million to the Fund for Our Economic Future, $525,000 to ShoreBank Enterprise Group Cleveland, and $750,000 to the Great Lakes Theater Festival for the Hanna Theatre renovations.

The redevelopment of downtown Cleveland's East 4th Street was the subject of a talk at the City Club yesterday. The speakers were Deb Janik of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Mary Lessick of The Corner Alley, and Ari Maron of MRN Ltd.

Update: the discussion is now available as a podcast (MP3, 26.7 MB).

Dennis Roche and Tamera Brown of Positively Cleveland were guests on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN, where they discussed Cleveland's planned new convention center and Medical Mart.

Plans for a ferry between Cleveland and Port Stanley, Ontario remain on the drawing board, despite several years of planning and nearly $1 million spent. Officials with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority attribute the slow progress to complications on the Canadian side.

Cuyahoga County officials expect to receive as many as five bids on the Cleveland Trust Tower by their January 16 deadline. The County has spent $5.9 million on asbestos removal and architectural design for the tower.

Yesterday, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's maritime committee unanimously recommended moving the Port's facilities to a new 200 acre site north of East 55th Street in Cleveland. The Port's Board of Directors is scheduled to discuss the proposal on December 21.

Beavers have recently made a home at Whiskey Island near downtown Cleveland, a sign that environmental restoration efforts are showing progress.

Developer Bob Stark's ambitious plans for a $1.5 billion Warehouse District development will require significant public investment, and he wants to explore non-traditional public financing options. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that Stark's big idea "ought to get a full and fair hearing". Mayor Jackson likes the development proposal, and is keeping an open mind about Stark's financing ideas.

This month's issue of Inside Business looks at the revival of East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland.

The Plain Dealer reports that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority narrowed its list of potential relocation sites to two: a man-made island north of Whiskey Island and a man-made site north of East 55th Street, and they appear to favor the East 55th Street site.

The K&D Group has filed for $1.1 million in loans from Cuyahoga County for the redevelopment of the 668 Euclid building in downtown Cleveland, which also recently received $16.4 million in state tax credits. The company does not yet own the building, but the sale could close in January. They want to redevelop the vacant structure as 47,000 square feet of retail and 215 apartments.

Positively Cleveland published Characteristics of a Successful Convention Center (PDF), a compilation of "the most current information on the elements of successful centers." It includes suggestions about hotel space, siting, size and expandability, and green building.

WKYC's Tom Beres interviewed attorney Fred Nance about his negotiations with Merchandise Mart Properties on the planned Cleveland Medical Mart. Nance is Cuyahoga County's chief negotiator in the talks.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $30 million in historic tax credits to five downtown Cleveland renovation projects. The largest credit, valued at $16.4 million, went to the 668 Euclid building.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial is very positive about the program.)

Cuyahoga County is preparing to accept bids on the Ameritrust complex at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. The County Commissioners will sell the property if they are able to recoup their $35 million investment. Last week, architect Jane Weinzapfel spoke in favor of preserving the Breuer Tower, and yesterday, Steven Litt mentioned that "the tower has been damaged irreparably" by workers performing asbestos abatement.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for the University Lofts project, a renovation of 2010 and 2020 Euclid Avenue and a new building at 2030 Euclid Avenue. The construction is part of the collegetown redevelopment.

Steven Litt critiqued the designs for the Center for Creative Arts, which is under construction at Tri-C's Metro Campus. He called it "repressed and dull, hard and utilitarian" and "one of the weaker efforts" he's seen in his 16 years in Cleveland.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the new convention center and the Medical Mart belongs in downtown Cleveland, and not near University Circle.

The Urban Landscape Ecology Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is hosting an Ecological Landscaping Conference this week at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland.

Plans for the Flats east bank development continue to evolve. Demolition of the area's remaining structures is slated to begin in the winter or spring, and developer Scott Wolstein hopes to see much of the project completed by 2010.

As in 2005, local leaders are focusing their plans for a new convention center on two downtown Cleveland locations, a site near Tower City Center and the existing Convention Center. Officials with Merchandise Mart Properties are interested in exploring University Circle as a site for the convention center and Medical Mart.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that "a broad consensus of political, civic and business leaders now agrees that the exit ramp to Carnegie Avenue from Interstate 90 should remain open" and that Greater Cleveland Partnership "is preparing a case to take to the Federal Highway Administration."

Yesterday was the groundbreaking for the Center for Creative Arts building at Cuyahoga County Community College's Metro Campus. The 75,000 square foot building is a joint project of Tri-C and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's scheduled to open in spring 2009.

Financial concerns and competing priorities have led the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to reconsider their plans for a new county administration building at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. If they can break even, they may sell the former Ameritrust complex to a private developer. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently asked the Commissioners to investigate the sale of the Cleveland Trust Tower to "a preservation-sensitive developer".

The relocation study being conducted for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority identified a short list of three preferred sites for a possible move of the Port of Cleveland: a site along the west breakwall, a site at the northeast end of Burke Lakefront Airport, and a site site north of the East 55th Street marina. The new facility could be built on land created with Cuyahoga River dredge material.

Developers of the planned Flats east bank development have enlarged the project because of the high level of interest. It's now slated to include 800,000 square feet of offices, 280,000 square feet of retail, between 500 and 600 housing units, a 150 room hotel, a movie theater, a marina, and a park.

Sunday's Plain Dealer included a look at the changes in retail at Tower City Center since the mall opened in 1990 and an examination of what the future may hold for the mixed-use downtown landmark.

The federal General Services Administration announced that it was not interested in using a proposed office building in the planned Flats east bank development, saying that it would be cheaper to retrofit the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building on East 9th Street.

A consultant told Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials that the port has "some potential" to handle container shipping. Most container traffic is handled by ports on the East and West Coasts, but those facilities are nearing capacity.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the proposed collegetown development "would solidify Cleveland State University's neighborhood".

Ned Hill will serve as interim dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State, succeeding Mark Rosentraub, who stepped down last week.

Steven Litt describes the latest designs for the new CSU College of Education and Human Services building at Euclid Avenue and East 25th Street as a building that "will be a supporting player, not a star."

Mark Rosentraub is stepping down as dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, but will remain on the college's faculty. An interim dean could be named as early as the middle of next week.

Several developers are quietly working to build a "collegetown" on Euclid Avenue across from Cleveland State University. They plan to eventually build 300 housing units and 100,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

With the Hanna Theatre scheduled to close in December for renovations, the Plain Dealer looks back at the theater's history and presents a photo gallery.

The Cleveland Section of the Ohio Planning Conference continues its sponsorship of American Planning Association web conferences with a program on LEED for neighborhoods on October 3 at NOACA. It is free for OPC members and guests. Information about additional web conferences can be found on the OPC events calendar.

Cleveland will host a satellite Bioneers conference at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University on October 19-21. The event, which focuses on sustainability, will feature satellite feeds of speakers and several tours of local environmental highlights.

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will speak to the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance on October 1 at 1:30 p.m. at US Bank Center on Euclid Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

The Plain Dealer suggested that Cleveland's decision to keep Burke Lakefront Airport open was influenced by the City's desire to please Continental Airlines. Cleveland Director of Port Control Ricky Smith appeared on Monday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN to discuss airport issues.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved a development plan for the Warehouse District on Friday. The plan establishes design concepts for streets, sidewalks, and nearby land. It calls for adding greenspace, enhancing the neighborhood's sense of place, and improving its pedestrian friendliness.

With the Euclid Corridor project scheduled for completion next year, reinvestment in Euclid Avenue buildings is underway. The Victory Building at East 71st Street will be converted to loft apartments with ground floor retail, and Cuyahoga County provided an $800,000 construction loan for University Lofts, 30 apartments on the upper floors of two buildings at 2010 and 2020 Euclid.

The Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square will undergo a $20 million renovation. Work could begin as soon as December and be completed by next fall.

Frank Jackson announced yesterday that Burke Lakefront Airport will remain open indefinitely. A master plan for the airport should be completed next month. Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer says that keeping the airport open will channel residential development into downtown Cleveland.

Mayor Jackson also wants to develop the area around Cleveland Hopkins Airport as an "aerotropolis" of aviation-related businesses. Channel 3's Tom Beres interviewed Ricky Smith, Director of the Cleveland Department of Port Control.

Channel 3 reports that one of the sites being considered for the Cleveland Medical Mart is the Cleveland Trust Tower in downtown Cleveland. It could replace the plans to demolish the tower for a new Cuyahoga County administration building.

Four new developments in the Greater Cleveland area will become pilot projects for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Neighborhood Development program to build sustainable neighborhoods. These projects are:

(Via Tech Futures)

A $36 million building for the College of Education and Human Services is being designed to fulfill part of the Cleveland State University campus master plan. The facility will open by Spring 2010.

Adam Wasserman of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority appeared on Sunday's Between the Lines on Channel 3 to talk about the Port's new strategic plan.

With downtown Cleveland's Class-A office vacancy rate (PDF) down to 11%, at least five large companies may be interested in building new downtown office buildings. One of the developers competing for tenants is Bob Stark, who is expanding the footprint of his planned Warehouse District development and expects to submit a preliminary development plan in the first quarter of 2008. He anticipates it will include 1.2 to 1.5 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail, 1 million square feet of residential space, and 1 to 2 million square feet in parking structures.

About 80 people attended a public hearing on the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's proposed strategic plan last night. The plan has received a generally favorable response, but watchdogs continue to encourage the Port Authority to operate with increased transparency. The Port Authority will accept public comments on the plan until September 14.

Developer Scott Wolstein agreed to purchase a two acre parking lot on Front Avenue from James Kassouf for $2.9 million. It was the last property Wolstein needed for his Flats east bank development. He hopes to begin demolition and site preparation in the coming months.

The City of Cleveland selected a team led by the Cleveland office of Wilbur Smith Associates to design a new pedestrian bridge at North Coast Harbor. The bridge will connect Voinovich Park to the finger pier north of the Great Lakes Science Center.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's new strategic plan provides "a worthy goal for an organization whose board and former leader were defending themselves, just a year ago, against charges that the Port Authority was too secretive and unaccountable."

Because the Ferchill Group scrapped its plans to build Riverside Landing, a proposed $22 million residential development on the Scranton Peninsula, Cuyahoga County rescinded a $1 million brownfields cleanup loan for the project.

With a new baseball stadium under construction in Washington, D.C., Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher used Jacobs Field as an example of a stadium that did not catalyze development in the area surrounding it.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority released a draft of a new strategic plan (PDF) yesterday. Among other objectives, it calls for the port to expand from its existing 130 acres to at least 200 acres. A public hearing on the plan will be held on August 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Tri-C's Unified Technologies Center on Woodland Avenue in Cleveland.

Last week, the Cleveland City Planning Commission and the Design Review Committee approved the demolition of Don Hisaka's 1974 University Center at Cleveland State, and approved Charles Gwathmey's preliminary designs for its replacement.

The Ohio Department of Transportation intends to proceed with plans for the Innerbelt redesign that do not include the exit at Carnegie Avenue desired by Cleveland businesses. ODOT will submit a plan to federal highway officials in about a week.