CLEVELAND (WJW) – A new vision for downtown Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Riverfront is the focus of a long-term development plan unveiled on Wednesday by the city of Cleveland and Bedrock, a commercial real estate firm owned by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
“Given the scale, we position it as a 25 to 30-year plan. Ultimately, we are talking about several thousand housing units, millions of square feet of office development, with an associated amount of retail amenities and hospitality options, and bringing more entertainment back Downtown,” said Bedrock CEO Kofi Bonner.
Bedrock Cleveland owns about 30 percent of the land that will be re-developed in the initial phase, but portions of the plan will be contingent on reaching agreements with other property owners.
The project includes the re-development of Tower City and under-utilized areas along the riverfront, including Collision Bend.
Among the questions asked about the project during a webinar on Zoom: why is the city pursuing such a grand plan when so much of the economy is in a state of flux?
“The market will drive things, and as this becomes successful and Cleveland comes more in demand not only for office space, but for entertainment, residential, recreational activities, you will see things begin to change,” said Mayor Frank Jackson. “We’re not looking at what things are now, we’re looking at this in terms of where we want to position Cleveland for the future.”
A major component of the plan calls for the improvement of the infrastructure along the river, and funding for the new vision of the riverfront would be paid for through a combination of public and private sources.
Some Clevelanders are asking why more money is being poured into the downtown area, while many neighborhoods and the school system continue to struggle.
Jackson said the hope is that “a rising tide lifts all boats” in a new and improved Cuyahoga River Valley.
“It is a tool that we can demonstrate ‘this is how you do business when you come to Cleveland’ and that all have to participate in that prosperity, all have to participate in a way that their quality of life is uplifted, no matter where they live,” he said.
Supporters of the long-term plan say a series of public meetings will be held to get feedback from the community.