Can University Circle lure the rich back to Cleveland, acquire a skyline and share the wealth?
Posted March 25, 2013 in Articles
Author: Steven Litt
All trend lines are down, down, down in the recent Census Bureau update on eight Northeast Ohio counties, including Cuyahoga County.
The latest estimates show that Cuyahoga lost 4,872 people from 2011 to 2012, the second-biggest loss in the country after Detroit’s Wayne County.
Nevertheless, Cleveland’s University Circle, the city’s cultural, educational and medical mecca, is looking up. It’s one of the brightest islands of growth in the entire state, raising the possibility that shrinking Ohio cities that are rich in cultural, educational and medical resources can grow again — at least in discrete locations.
Located four miles east of downtown Cleveland, the square-mile district and the adjacent Cleveland Clinic today boast 43,200 workers, and are adding jobs at the rate of 1,000 a year. The year-round residential population, including the adjacent Little Italy neighborhood, is around 15,000 and growing, with an additional 13,000 students at Case Western Reserve University and other educational institutions. Eight hundred residential units have been built and or renovated in the district since 2005.
In fact, given the dwindling supply of high-quality parcels in University Circle and the rising demand for housing and other types of real estate, it’s possible to envision a serious skyline rising around Wade Lagoon, Rockefeller Park and Euclid Avenue.
Developers are filling in the remaining pieces of open land with new rental apartments, and institutions are building and expanding their territorial footprints. Philanthropists are plowing hundreds of millions of dollars into the area, effectively making a huge bet that Cleveland and University Circle have a long and bright future ahead.
All of that money — plus $200 million in federal, state and local funds invested in the Euclid Avenue bus rapid transit HealthLine — is paying big dividends.
As land values increase, it’s logical to assume that the height of new buildings will also increase. Sites along Euclid Avenue could gain buildings that rise above the 10- to 12-story height of the tallest structures that currently occupy the area, perhaps reaching 20 stories or more to grab views of Lake Erie, downtown and Wade Lagoon.
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