Cleveland Officials Hope If They Plan It, Builders Will Come To The Waterfront

A rendering of what Cleveland's waterfront could look like, if the plan approved yesterday is successful. Credit: City of Cleveland

Yesterday, the Cleveland city council approved three new ordinances that should clear the way for an ambitious new downtown waterfront plan.

The plan was initiated by mayor Frank Jackson, and it covers 90 acres, including the existing Cleveland Browns football stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It calls for new pedestrian walkways, a marina, tree-lined boulevards and up to two million square feet for retail, restaurant and hotel development. And it opens up more of the lakefront to the public.

The mayor’s chief of regional development told the Cleveland Plain Dealer last year that total private investment in the project could reach $2 billion by the time it’s done.

If you’re waiting for the catch, here it comes: None of that $2 billion in investment has been locked-in yet. One port official told the Plain Dealer, “There’s significant interest” among developers. But he didn’t offer anything specific. Some officials say it could take 25 years for the plan to be complete. But if the project manages to succeed, it will be a win of historic proportions for Cleveland. Grand plans for remaking the city’s waterfront have come and gone, dating back as far as 1959. Let’s hope this one works out.

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