NFL Draft site in downtown Cleveland: What’s next?

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Things are moving very quickly as Cleveland prepares for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Crews have roughly 20 days to get the stage built, set up and ready to go.

The site which used to be a group of closed warehouses will be the city’s new front porch on the night of the draft. It offers stunning views of the lakefront, the city and all things Cleveland.

“We really believe that the site where we’re holding the draft and the NFL was so unique to Cleveland.”

Cleveland Sports Commission President David Gilbert says that lakefront view looking back at the city is a postcard that says Cleveland is ready for any event.

Fifty million people are expected to watch the draft over those three days. Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit the city even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But once this big event is over, the stage comes down and the cameras go dark, what then? You now have acres of land on the waterfront, next to the stadium, and the area’s top tourist attractions ready for something good.

At this point, Gilbert says the future for that site could hold anything.

“It will be a great spot to be used for tremendous events. Some people may not remember a couple of years ago having the tall ships event. That could come back and there could be others. Now that those warehouses are down what a premier site we have for events.” Gilbert said.

At this point though, the land is a blank canvas. Anything could go there from a commercial development to a party porch for Browns games.

“Part of what makes Cleveland stand out, even from our competitive cities, is this great lake and other cities can’t claim that. We need to utilize it even more and more and more and take further advantage of it. Having that area cleared and having the world see what an incredible spot it is and having our locals see what an incredible spot it is can only be good for us,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert says they’re encouraging people who live in the region to come downtown at any point during the draft, take part in some of the festivities, and give themselves a chance to reacquaint themselves with the city.

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