Many people probably would look at the half-empty retail spaces inside downtown's Colonial and Euclid Arcades and see small, dated spaces from another era. When developer Dick Pace
looks at them, however, he sees nothing but unmet potential.
"We don't hit the formulas of the national brands, but instead of wringing our hands and giving up, we can take a different approach," he says. "This could be a unique place to shop where you can get local brands. This is a chance to provide the kind of product that you just can't get at Crocker Park."
Pace recently signed a master lease to manage 70,000 square feet of retail space at the two arcades. He will also move his offices there. He envisions a future in which food vendors, merchandise retailers and services exist side by side.
"We have some good food vendors in Sushi 86
and others, but what's missing is the merchandising side -- clothes, books, gifts," he says. "We're also looking at services such as concierge dry cleaning, shoe repair and tailoring."
Pace generated original concepts for the shops with the aid of downtown residents at a recent party. Ideas included a fresh fruit market, an extended gift shop for Cleveland institutions like the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a collective shop for Cleveland fashion designers, a gallery filled with work by local artists, and a showcase for Cleveland Institute of Art students.
Pace already has recruited two new tenants -- the downtown farmer's market
, which needed a winter home, and the Collective Upcycle
pop-up shop. He also has rebranded the complex as the "Fifth Street Arcades," thus retaining the historic name while highlighting its position between E. 4th and PlayhouseSquare.
Pace is not worried about the recent closure of Dredger's Union
on E. 4th. "It was the only merchandise on a street filled with restaurants, and it was a higher price point than most residents were looking for," he says of the venture, which lasted one year. "The feedback was, 'If we want to go to Saks or Nordstrom, we know where to go.' We're looking at cost-effective local retail, not jeans for $120."
Allen Wiant of PlayhouseSquare Real Estate Services
, who helped broker the deal, believes that Pace will be successful. "This is a prime location close to rich capital assets, yet it had no relationship with those assets," he says. "I believe that it can be repositioned if you look at doing something thematic in nature."
The Colonial and Euclid Arcades, now known as the Colonial Marketplace, sit below a 175-room Residence Inn Hotel -- but there has never been an attentive focus on repositioning these retail assets. That's something Pace aims to change.
Source: Dick Pace, Allen Wiant
Writer: Lee Chilcote