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developer breaks ground on only for-sale residential project in university circle

The developers behind University Place Townhomes, a 19-unit project on E. 118th Street in University Circle, have broken ground on their new project. With two sales in hand, they're laying the foundation and intend to start vertical construction in the spring.

"The demographic is pretty much what we thought it would be," says Russell Lamb, a principal with Allegro Realty and partner in the project, which includes several Allegro principals. "The buyers are either people who work in the Circle, particularly medical institutions, people who want to move back to an urban environment who are downsizing, or young professionals."

"We're the only for-sale project in University Circle," he adds. "We're pretty comfortable with where we are right now." The developers hope to obtain several additional sales in the spring so they can start construction on additional units.

While much of the action these days is in the rental market, the for-sale market also is showing signs of renewed life, says Lamb. He believes University Circle is a particularly strong, underserved market, in part because there's so little developable land. The parcel on E. 118th was a rare vacant property within the district's boundaries that could be developed.

The units range in size from 1,100 square feet to just under 2,100 square feet, with prices starting at $250,000 and climbing to $450,000. Lamb describe the prices as "expensive for Cleveland, but not expensive for University Circle," an area that commands a premium.

The project design features five separate buildings around a central, European-style courtyard utilizing modern building techniques including cementitious exteriors. Dimit Architects designed the units. The interiors, while not extravagant in terms of square footage, are "modern, open and airy; there's a good use of space," Lamb says.

Uptown has been a particular "center of gravity" for the project, he adds, providing much-needed amenities that will attract the home-buying set.

What's needed to complete the Circle? "More people," Lamb says. "If any place in Cleveland has got it all, it's gotta be University Circle."


Source: Russell Lamb
Writer: Lee Chilcote

heinen's ceo divulges plans for new downtown grocery, acknowledges challenges

Although Heinen's is still mapping out the details of its planned grocery store in downtown Cleveland, co-owner Jeff Heinen recently shared with Fresh Water conceptual plans, while acknowledging that opening a 20,000-square-foot grocery downtown is anything but a slam dunk and will require fine tuning to reach the right market.

Last year, Heinen's announced plans to bring a long-sought-after, full-service grocery to downtown Cleveland. Later this year, that store will open at the historic Cleveland Trust rotunda at East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue, which first opened in 1908. The shopping experience promises to be unlike any other, with shoppers selecting produce beneath a glorious stained glass dome.

Heinen's is conducting plenty of research to ensure the store fits local market dynamics, Heinen explains. "We're taking a space that's not a traditional grocery store and creating a grocery store offering," he says. "We're spending time making sure that we're not bringing a suburban store to an urban location."

The downtown location will be about half the size of the typical Heinen's, which poses challenges. "There's a reason why grocery stores are diverse and carry 40,000 items. Our challenge is to find items that please the highest percentage of people."

Heinen also acknowledges that "based on traditional metrics, there are not enough downtown residents to open a grocery store." Yet he was convinced to plunge into the market to help settle the classic chicken-and-egg quandary ("Which comes first, residents or retail?") after witnessing soaring demand for downtown living.

"This is a unique location," he notes. "East 9th and Euclid used to be the center of downtown Cleveland. They don't make 'em like this anymore. If you add the residential living momentum happening downtown, this project makes sense."

He adds, "We're ahead of the curve, but hopefully not too far."

While Heinen's likely will lose money in its first few years -- every new store does -- the owner believes the concept will catch on and he'll be able to tap into the growing base of downtown residents and office workers living and working downtown.

"Even now, there's plenty of competition," he admits, citing Dave's, the West Side Market, Constantino's and others. "The vast majority of downtown residents have cars, so it's not like you have a captive audience. We'll have to earn our business."

Heinen's will do that by offering a customized product mix catered to urban residents, including the kind of organic, local and fresh produce it's known for.
 
The company also will try and make shopping downtown as convenient as possible, while acknowledging that shoppers will not enjoy suburban-style parking. A parking garage that will serve Heinen's and The 9 is located about a block away, though the store will have curbside pickup along Euclid for shoppers to have their groceries loaded. There will be valet parking as well. Heinen's also will sell and promote the old-school two-wheeled carts common at the West Side Market and urban grocery stores in other cities.

"The average suburban person wants to drive up close," Heinen says. "But we also know that people in urban environments get the fact that the parking won't be next door."

To be successful, however, the store must pull from surrounding neighborhoods and not just rely on downtown apartment dwellers, who now number close to 14,000. "If people won't drive here, we'll lose a lot of money," he says.

Of course, shoppers also can utilize public transportation, such as the RTA's free and popular downtown trolley service. Heinen plans to request a stop outside his front door.

For those who want to learn more about how the store will be configured and what it will offer, details will be released in a few months. "It will be very similar to shopping in our Hudson store," he says of that efficiently designed concept. "We'll make downtown as much of a full line store as we can make it. The reality is, it's half the size of most of our stores, so there will be trade-offs. We may not have a 24-pack of Charmin, because downtown dwellers don't want a 24-pack."

"We think people will be able to do a full week's shopping here," he adds. "We know who grows most of our product, and we know how it was grown. The woman with six kids and the single person -- we want to serve everyone."


Source: Jeff Heinen
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland announces plans to add 70 miles of bikeways by 2017, but more work remains

Despite huge improvements in the city's bike culture, miles of new bikeways, and more two-wheeled commuters than ever before, the City of Cleveland has been criticized for lagging behind peer cities like Memphis and Detroit in adding new bike infrastructure like bike lanes.
 
But the City is vowing to pick up the pace. At Bike Cleveland's annual meeting, Sustainability Chief Jenita McGowan announced an ambitious plan to add 70 new miles of bikeways by 2017. The improvements are included as part of the city's capital improvements plan, which gives advocates confidence that they'll actually get done.

"What I like about the plan is that it's ambitious and it's tied to the capital improvements plan," says Jacob Van Sickle, Executive Director of Bike Cleveland, an advocacy group that has gained considerable clout despite a small staff thanks to a cadre of noisy bike advocates. "Yet while the plan is exciting, it's still up to advocates to communicate that... we need bike lanes and protected bike lanes."

The devil's in the details, as they say. While the city has pledged to create new bikeways when it repaves or resurfaces streets or by restriping existing streets, it hasn't said what kind of bikeways it will create. Bike Cleveland advocates believe that "sharrows" -- street markings that remind drivers to share the road with cyclists -- are less effective at creating a safe cycling environment than bike lanes and protected bike lanes.

"My hope is that we're starting to make a shift -- with the city and in terms of public perception -- and they're realizing that sharrows don't cut it," says Van Sickle.

For its part, the city has said that the types of bikeways will be determined based partially on public input, and that community meetings will be announced.

Currently, Cleveland has 47.5 miles of bikeways. About 3.7 miles are streets with sharrows, 10.3 miles are bike lanes and 34.6 miles are off-road trails, often shared with pedestrians. By comparison, Detroit added nearly 80 miles of bike lanes in 2013 alone. Cleveland's bikeway system also has been criticized as being largely disconnected: For instance, cyclists can ride across the Lorain-Carnegie bridge on a protected bikeway, but it doesn't link to anything at either end of the bridge.

Some of the streets that are slated to obtain bike lanes in the next year include W. 41st Street, W. 44th Street, Triskett Road, Puritas Avenue and Denison Avenue. The city's bikeway network was developed in collaboration with Bike Cleveland and the Complete and Green Streets Task Force. The city plans to add about 45 miles of bikeways in the next two years, and 26 miles in 2016 and 2017. An additional 82 miles have been identified, but have no funding allocated to them.

The goal? McGowan says that within a few years, it should be possible to traverse much of the city using a system of interconnected bikeways. Now that's progress.

Van Sickle says that while he is excited about the city's ambitious new plans, "The work isn't done yet. We really need to make sure we're getting people out to public meetings in support of bikes." That's because capital improvement plans can shift, and Bike Cleveland wants to make sure that additional bike lanes are added.

Van Sickle claims that while some non-cyclists initially are skeptical of bike lanes, when they are educated on the benefits, many become supporters. He cited a recent public meeting to discuss adding bike lanes to Puritas Avenue in which cycling advocates converted a few more skeptics.
 
At Bike Cleveland's annual meeting, the organization also touted its "Ride Together" safety campaign, the awarding of three bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community awards to Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Cleveland, and a recently completed bike share feasibility study, among other accomplishments.


Source: Jacob Van Sickle
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland neighborhood progress makes key hire to lead citywide advocacy efforts

On the heels of a successful merger that brought together under one roof three nonprofit community development organizations, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) has made a key hire to lead its policy and advocacy efforts. Alesha Washington, a Glenville native who most recently served as Director of Executive Administration and Government Relations at the Centers for Family and Children, recently joined CNP as its Senior Director of Advocacy, Policy and Research. Washington will lead strategic policy initiatives at the city, county, state and federal levels and identify and use academic research to inform community development strategies.

"Trying to create a shared advocacy platform for the CDC community is what attracted me to the role," says Washington. "There's a need and a longing for a very coordinated and aligned system. The goal is to work together to improve Cleveland's neighborhoods for all people."

"It's about connecting the dots," adds Joel Ratner, President of CNP. "The needs we're identifying at the neighborhood level should be articulated clearly, strongly and strategically to officials who are setting policy and government budgets."

In recent years, Ratner says, no such coordinated effort has existed. Policy priorities might include strategies and funding to address vacant and abandoned properties, maintaining and enhancing tax credit programs that lend to neighborhood development, and influencing the state budget.


Source: Alesha Washington, Joel Ratner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

tipse treats will open production space in parma, scouts for downtown storefront

Tipse Treats founder Autumn Skoczen came up with the brilliant idea for a cupcake that contains a full shot of alcohol after visiting a bakery in another city, purchasing a booze-infused treat, and determining that all of the "good stuff" had burned off in the oven.

At the same time, she noticed cupcake shops on practically every other block. Along with bars, of course. So she hatched a plan to combine the two and create the cupcake equivalent of the Jell-o shot.

Now Tipse Treats, which has been rapidly gaining popularity in the two years since it launched, is opening a production facility in Parma to keep up with demand. Located at 5883 Broadview Road, the bakery will celebrate its grand opening with a party on Saturday, January 25th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cake and cupcake samples will be offered at the event, but you can also purchase your tipsy treats online or by calling them at 440-262-5531.

Co-owner Chelsea Scavnicky says Tipse Treats has found success with both commercial clients and individuals. Although she can't discuss the company's patent pending process in detail, she explains that the dessert is served "chilled, like a cocktail."

The Tipse Treats website touts the product as "the first ever cupcake shot." The company also offers alcohol-infused marshmallows, ice spheres and cubes, cocktail bubbles, popsicles and pudding pies. The "pint-sized playthings," say staffers, are perfect for functions ranging from bachelorette parties to adult sleepovers to corporate parties.

The production space in Parma will be used to sell non-alcoholic, prepackaged items, to hold events like cake tastings for weddings, and of course as the company's bakery.

The co-founders say they are searching for a retail space downtown, preferably in PlayhouseSquare. They even have their eye on a space, but it's too early to divulge any details. Co-owner Meghan Ciacchi will own and manage the downtown store.

"Everybody loves the idea," says Scavnicky of her company's growth. "When we go and present it, people are hooked."


Source: Chelsea Scavnicky
Writer: Lee Chilcote

duck island poised for redevelopment with completion of draft neighborhood plan

Duck Island, a pocket neighborhood between Ohio City and Tremont that has long been inexplicably walled off from the revitalization that surrounds it, might be poised to see a surge of development -- on its own terms -- if a new plan has anything to say about it.

Tremont West Development Corporation, with support from Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, hired the KSU Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative to conduct a community planning charrette last month. A draft plan is now complete. It will be presented at a community meeting in Tremont this month, and once finalized approval will be sought from the Cleveland Planning Commission.

With major development projects already in the works, the plan could potentially influence how these projects unfold, and could help shape the area as one of Cleveland's next hot neighborhoods.

"Although the Duck Island neighborhood has a relatively low profile compared with other Cleveland neighborhoods, it is well positioned to become one of the city's most walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods," states the plan, noting that at least three major housing developments currently are in the planning stages there.

This pocket neighborhood might be small, but its potential to influence development on the near west side is huge. That's because it has a big repository of vacant land, much of which is privately owned, that makes the area akin to Tremont in the 1980s, when the development boom there first started.

"We could potentially double the number of housing units that are in the area now," says Cory Riordan, Executive Director of Tremont West, citing capacity for 200-plus units. Most of these units would be located north of Lorain, with additional scattered sites and townhome units south of Lorain.

Duck Island is an area located near the intersection of Abbey Road and Lorain Avenue. It is surrounded on three sides by hillsides that slope down to the industrial Cuyahoga Valley. It is reputed to have earned its name because criminals would "duck" in here to escape the cops back in the day.

The new Duck Island plan calls for taking advantage of the area's close proximity to transit, urban amenities, trail linkages and stunning views of downtown. It proposes two main ideas: first, creating a "linked network of open space" that takes advantage of adjacent hillsides leading to the industrial Cuyahoga Valley, and second, developing Abbey Avenue as a "small-scale mixed-use corridor" that serves local residents and visitors and acts as a gateway to the community.

The plan calls for guiding new housing development so it's appropriately scaled, with denser projects on main streets and single-family projects on side streets; enhancing Abbey Park; maintaining public access to bluffs where views of downtown Cleveland are possible; creating a new streetscape with gateway treatments along Abbey; and taking advantage of hillsides to create walking trails and open space.

Some of the other innovative ideas in the plan include building steps so that slopes can be accessed, including railings that allow bikes to be rolled uphill; perennial plantings alongside the Abbey bridge; using plants to remediate pollution in formerly industrial land; and even possibly restoring a wetland.

Riordan says near term steps might include redeveloping Abbey Park, creating permanent public green space overlooking the city's skyline on W. 17th Street, and redeveloping Abbey Road with small-scale commercial space. The greening of the now-overgrown hillsides will likely take longer to come to fruition, he says.

Above all, residents here want to retain the off-the-beaten-path character that has defined Duck Island for decades. They do not want another W. 25th Street or Professor Avenue, however successful those streets might be. Instead, residents have opted to support new development, but to define it on their own terms.


Source: Tremont West Development Corporation
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland neighborhood progress awards funds for urban green space improvements

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress has awarded $340,000 to nine community development corporations for green space improvements in Cleveland neighborhoods. The funds, which stem from the WellsFargo CityLIFT program as part of a multimillion dollar national settlement, will be used to fund side yards, pocket parks, pathway parks and street-edge improvements across the city.

"We feel this is very impactful," says Joel Ratner, President of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. "Every day there are more vacant lots in Cleveland. The vast majority of them are scattered sites. How do we repurpose them in a way that supports neighborhoods? Urban agriculture is great, but you usually need larger pieces of land. This is a way of supporting the people that live on these streets."

Through a competitive process, CNP awarded funds to a pocket park adjacent to the E. 79th Street rapid station in Central, a pathway park in Tremont, and side yards in Stockyards, Brooklyn Centre and Clark-Fulton, among others.

The work will be completed on these lots in the spring and summer of 2014, with all improvements slated to be completed by November 2014.

"This is about the psychology of the neighborhood on some basic level," says Ratner. "It shows people their neighborhoods have not been forgotten. There may be many development opportunities in the medium or long-term future, but in the meantime, we want to keep the streets as strong as possible."

The grants were awarded as part of ReImagining Cleveland 3.0, a program whose earlier rounds fostered urban agriculture and greening projects across Cleveland.

Cleveland has been recognized nationally as a leader in urban agriculture and neighborhood greening as a response to population loss and the foreclosure crisis.


Source: Joel Ratner
Writer: Lee Chilcote

music settlement will open campus in former bop stop jazz club in ohio city

Yet another University Circle institution is opening in Ohio City in an effort to grab new audiences, bolster programming and join this revitalized neighborhood. This time it's The Music Settlement, a 101-year-old organization that bills itself as "the most beautiful place to learn music in Cleveland" and whose facility includes a historic 1910 mansion. TMS is opening a second campus in the former Bop Stop in Ohio City.

Last month, The Music Settlement President Charlie Lawrence received a letter from Anita Nonneman and Ron Busch, the owners of the state-of-the-art, custom-built Bop Stop jazz club, which closed a few years ago. They offered to donate the property to TMS. Lawrence says he was "stunned" by the heartfelt offer to donate the property, and after touring the facility, immediately agreed it was a fit.

"It's once in an organization's lifetime that you get a facility donated, and it's in pristine shape," says Lawrence. "We are a regional arts organization, and we're excited to have a footprint on the west side. This neighborhood embraces the arts and sees the arts as a way to move the community forward."

The Bop Stop facility will not only allow TMS to offer classes on the west side, but also fits other organizational needs. It was built as a performance space, something TMS currently lacks. Additionally, because the Bop Stop has near-perfect acoustics for music, TMS will also set up a recording facility here.

"We have a very strong jazz program, and the Bop Stop was built for jazz," says Lawrence, adding that the facility will initially be used for ensemble instruction and performances. At some point in the future, TMS also hopes to incorporate individual instruction, music therapy and preschool education -- all key components of the organization's mission -- into its new campus.

TMS also plans to lease the space for private events. With ample scholarship funding available, many programs can be offered for free or reduced cost to low-income families, Lawrence stresses. He adds that TMS views the Bop Stop as the "lead gift" in a fundraising campaign to revamp the organization's facilities.

Details are still being worked out, but Lawrence expects TMS will host at least one event in the facility before the end of March, with additional programming to follow. The Bop Stop is a 4,100 square foot, one-story building that seats about 120 people. A recent appraisal valued the property at about $800,000.

The Music Settlement joins the Cleveland Museum of Art, which partnered with Fred and Lawrence Bidwell to open the Transformer Station last year, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra, which has brought musical performances to the Happy Dog.

Ohio City Inc. Executive Director Eric Wobser says the new TMS campus is part of an ongoing exchange between University Circle and the near west side. "We're seeing cultural institutions, many based in University Circle, wanting to see impact beyond their traditional walls," he says. "They enjoy the youthfulness and participation of the near west side community. You're also seeing University Circle become redeveloped with businesses like ABC Tavern and the Happy Dog."

Wobser adds that Detroit Avenue is seeing a strong growth spurt, and that there's additional development opportunity all the way from Public Square to Lakewood.  The Bop Stop is located at 2920 Detroit, directly across from the Hingetown development and the Mariner's Watch apartments, which are under construction.

Former Bop Stop owners Anita Nonneman and Ron Busch say that the Music Settlement is the perfect fit for continuing the jazz club's mission, which was to build and celebrate Cleveland's music culture and to support budding musicians.

"We could have sold it, but I didn't want to drive by every day and see that the building wasn't being used as intended," says Busch, who previously tried to sell the building but says he was unable to find the right tenant to continue the Bop Stop's legacy as a performance space. "There's too much heart and soul in it."

"The Settlement is about helping people of all ages to realize their goals," says Nonneman. "For us to be able to further those goals, that's a real honor."


Source: Anita Nonneman, Ron Busch, Eric Wobser, Charlie Lawrence
Writer: Lee Chilcote

downtown dialogues sparks talk on retail and amenities needed to grow downtown

The biggest gripe of downtown Cleveland residents (and, really, downtown dwellers in most non-coastal cities) is that their city center lacks the retail and amenities they need. Being a downtown resident often means regular car trips to the 'burbs -- or somewhere that's not within walking distance -- for shopping.

Yet that's slowly beginning to change. As any commercial broker will tell you, retail follows rooftops. As downtown Cleveland gains thousands of new residents, retailers are finding a market here. The 5th Street Arcades are nearly 100 percent full, and Heinen's is planning to open a new grocery store downtown.

The topic of retail and amenities will be in the spotlight this week as Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) and the City Club of Cleveland kick off a new event series. "Civic Drinks: Downtown Dialogues" will bring together developers and nonprofit leaders to discuss what downtown Cleveland needs to thrive. The kickoff takes place on Wednesday, January 8th at 4 p.m. in the former Cleveland Trust Rotunda (future home of Heinen's Fine Foods) at East 9th and Euclid Ave.

The kickoff event will feature a panel discussion with DCA President and CEO Joe Marinucci, developer Fred Geis and Tom Heinen of Heinen's Fine Foods.

“Our Downtown Dialogue events are designed to give people who are invested in the future of downtown Cleveland an opportunity to discuss what’s next for our city," said Marinucci in a release. "Each talk will feature experts in a particular area that is crucial for moving downtown forward, and will offer opportunities for small group dialogue and sharing ideas.”

Future events will tackle green space and connectivity (April 4th), livability (July 2nd) and downtown's vision plan (September 3rd).


Source: Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Writer: Lee Chilcote

south euclid 'idea house' stimulates fresh thinking about inner ring burb

What's the big idea behind the South Euclid Idea House? Housing Manager Sally Martin says the goal of the energy-efficient, 1,800-square-foot home, which was completed this fall, is to stimulate new thinking about the future of this built-out, inner ring 'burb.

That future now includes seven new-construction homes scattered throughout the community, five community gardens and three pocket parks. These projects rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the foreclosure crisis -- South Euclid has now demolished 56 homes, with more to come. The city also has inspired at least one private builder, Weathervane Homes, to build homes in the community.

"We built the Idea House to show that you can live big on a small lot," says Martin. "The 'big idea' is that infill development is a great possibility for the private sector, and that houses can be built here in a modern way that modern buyers will like."

In the past, Martin says, many builders looked past South Euclid to the exurbs. The modest silver lining in the housing crisis, which resulted in many vacant homes, is that infill lots are beginning to open up. One South Euclid, a new community development group, now offers these lots for development.

The Idea House features an open floor plan, upscale finishes, first-floor master bedroom or den, and energy-efficient design. The house, which was built using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding, is under contract for $162,000.

Martin says the new homes, coupled with green space initiatives, aggressive code enforcement, nuisance abatement and offering of lots to private developers, have spurred the beginnings of a renaissance.
 
"We've planted the seeds, and it's taken off from there. We've seen a small increase in the housing market. There's hope."


Source: Sally Martin
Writer: Lee Chilcote

north collinwood residents launch effort to attract quality intergenerational school

UPDATE: The boards of The Intergenerational School and Near West Intergenerational School endorsed the Collinwood Intergenerational School project this week and voted to form a new board.

Brian Friedman is tired of watching families move out of North Collinwood in search of better schools. He's even witnessed one house north of Lakeshore Boulevard change hands three times in nine years -- each time, the story is the same. So Friedman, who is Executive Director of the Northeast Shores Community Development Corporation, decided to do something about it.

"Throughout the years we’ve had families that were 'double income no kids,' and they buy houses, move in, have kids, and when their kid comes of school age, they leave," he says. "They're either unaware of the options to have their kid attend a quality CMSD school or charter school in another neighborhood, or they choose not to participate in parochial education because it's not for everybody. They do the easy thing: pick up and move to a suburb with a safe, quality educational system."

To counter this trend, Friedman and a group of residents are organizing to attract a high-quality school to their neighborhood. Currently, they have their sights set on The Intergenerational School (TIS), which currently operates two schools in Cleveland and is considering opening a third location within North Collinwood.

Lyman Millard, Communications Director for Breakthrough Schools, a coalition of high-performing charter schools that includes TIS, says that a decision has not yet been made on whether to open a school in that neighborhood. Currently, TIS and Breakthrough are gauging community demand and searching for a suitable facility.

Friedman believes that demand exists. If all goes as planned, TIS could be on track to open a Collinwood location by the start of the 2014 school year. To rally resident support, Northeast Shores has hosted a schools fair at the Collinwood Recreation Center, and TIS developed an online survey being used to gauge resident interest.


Source: Brian Friedman
Writer: Lee Chilcote

historic euclid avenue church deconstructed, elements to be repurposed

Developer Rick Foran has made a career out of saving buildings, yet his latest project involves repurposing elements of one structure that was beyond repair.

Foran was hired by the Episcopal Diocese of Northeast Ohio two years ago to evaluate the condition of the long-vacant Emmanuel Church at 8614 Euclid. After discovering that the building needed structural repairs, the diocese marketed the property, but no buyers were willing to reinvest in it. When the Cleveland Clinic bought it, approval for demolition was granted with the condition that some parts be preserved.

Today, Foran's crew is carefully disassembling the stone facade, numbering, photographing and cataloguing each piece, and palletizing, shrink wrapping and storing them for later use. The goal is to reconstruct the narthex facade at another location to be determined. Additionally, the Skinner organ, woodwork, baptismal font, French floor tiles and historic light fixtures also are being salvaged.

"Nobody likes to tear down a landmark church, but if the decision has been made, I'm pleased that we can repurpose artifacts of the church and give them a new life," says Foran. "By the time the demo occurs, many of the more distinctive features will have been salvaged and relocated. There's also been an effort to keep them in a religious environment, or to keep them in the city of Cleveland."

The baptismal font, French floor tiles and stained glass window have been relocated to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Mentor. Light fixtures are being dispersed among various churches in Cleveland. The hand-carved lectern and bible stand are being added to the Cleveland Museum of Art's collection.

The Clinic plans to build a hotel on the site that will provide families a place to stay while a loved one is in the hospital. The Clinic's previous guest house was displaced by the new medical school building recently developed in partnership with Case Western Reserve University. Groundbreaking on the new hotel is expected to occur next year.


Source: Rick Foran
Writer: Lee Chilcote

holiday lighting display brightens public square with 375k energy-efficient bulbs

Public Square in downtown Cleveland will be even brighter and safer this holiday season thanks to new, energy-efficient lighting donated by GE Lighting and installed by the City of Cleveland.

The city has installed new lamp-top posts and LED lighting throughout Public Square. The new bulbs are twice as efficient as the old ones.

GE Lighting donated 372,000 long-lasting LED bulbs for the holiday display, and there are 56,000 individual lights on the holiday tree alone.

“With millions of people visiting Downtown Cleveland each year and thousands living and working in downtown, there are more feet on the street now than in decades,” noted Joe Marinucci, president and CEO of Downtown Cleveland Alliance, in a release. “With the new lighting, Public Square is now brighter and an even more inviting gateway to Downtown Cleveland.”

The new lighting was unveiled just in time for Winterfest last weekend.


Source: Downtown Cleveland Alliance
Writer: Lee Chilcote

girl's best trend boutique adds to madison ave's ongoing renaissance

Have you ever walked into a sweet li'l shop with a bevy of well-displayed merchandise and thought, Wouldn't it be fun to do something like this? That's exactly what artists Jen Buchanan and Colleen Bridegum always thought -- and they decided to act on it by launching Girl's Best Trend boutique this fall.

Girl's Best Trend, located at 17007 Madison Avenue, offers "art and accessories for you and your home," according to the tagline. The selection includes art, candles, glassware, pillows, clocks, frames, handbags, jewelry, scarves and perfume, all made by local artists and craftspeople.

"Colleen and I have known each other for 20 years, and we're both just really creative people," explains Buchanan. "We always thought on our own, 'Boy, I'd like to do something else.' We were talking one day, and both realized we were thinking about the same thing. Then we found the space, and boom, it all happened really quickly."

Buchanan works as an interior designer during the day, while Bridegum works as a home health care professional in the evenings, so they run split-shifts at the shop. Buchanan makes handbags and Bridegum is a painter. They hope to eventually offer interior design services out of the shop, as well.

Girl's Best Trend is about 600 square feet currently, but will expand to 1,200 square feet early next year when the space is fully renovated. Next door, a new pottery workshop is going in, and there are other galleries in the area.

"They're building up Madison now," says Buchanan of Lakewood's increased focus on that commercial strip. "There's a new Madison Arts District group that's going to start doing art walks in the summer."


Source: Jen Buchanan
Writer: Lee Chilcote

wolfs gallery on larchmere to relocate to historic building undergoing renovation

An east-side developer has purchased the historic streetcar power station on Larchmere Boulevard. Once home to the American Crafts Gallery, which is thought to be the oldest gallery of its kind in Cleveland and is now housed within the Dancing Sheep boutique down the road, the property has been vacant for years. Ilene Greenblatt, who has developed properties in Chicago before moving back to Cleveland to be near family, bought the building and expects to wrap up renovations by March.

"It's a very handsome building and I've always loved it," says Greenblatt. "When I saw it was for sale and the price was reasonable, I jumped in and bought it."

Renovating the building has not been quite as reasonable. Shortly after the purchase, the back wall caved in and the roof collapsed. Greenblatt soldiered on, fixing a leaky basement, cleaning out an old tunnel leading to the street that was stuffed with trash, and rebuilding a mezzanine that was too dangerous to stand on.

The property, which has soaring 30-foot ceilings, brick walls and large windows, will soon house Wolf's Gallery, a long-running fixture on the Cleveland art scene that opened a gallery on Larchmere a few years ago. Owner Michael Wolf plans to relocate to the 6,000-square-foot space in spring, a dramatic expansion from his current storefront.

"I love the people in the area, they're wonderful," says Greenblatt. "The building was neglected for so long, it needed a lot of money and a lot of work. But it will be here for at least another hundred years, easily."


Source: Ilene Greenblatt
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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