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  1. How about a new name for one of Cleveland's grandest public spaces? The first impression a visitor gets when a native Clevelander describes the area as Mall A, B, and C is that these are temporary names for a project currently under construction. When you tell them that the Mall was built over a 100 years ago, they look at you with disbelief. How about a "re-branding" of the Mall in conjunction with the current renovations? A new name would help accomplish this objective, highlight the function of the space, and provide a new geographic identifier that would help complement other downtown districts. New Name Suggestion: The Esplanade According to Wikipedia, "...an esplanade is a long, open, level area, typically beside the sea, along which people may walk for pleasure...". Seems like this name would fit the bill and help identify the ultimate objective of Daniel Burnham's Mall plan which was to link the center of downtown (Public Square) with Lake Erie. In addition, it would provide a unique identity complementing other downtown districts (e.g., Public Square, Playhouse Square, the Gateway, Warehouse District, and The Flats) and also provide some additional branding opportunities for existing business and developments in the area (e.g.,"..... the Drury Inn at the Esplanade, .....Marriot Key Center at the Esplanade, .....Health Innovation Center at the Esplanade...." , etc.).
  2. This is great news for the park and downtown Cleveland! It was especially encouraging to hear the news about the demolition of the Van Duzer Studio building along the river and the feasibility study for the redevelopment of old B&O station. The old railroad station is one of Cleveland’s long neglected architectural gems, along with the Whiskey Island Coast Guard station, both of which may be redeveloped as part of the Canal Basin Lake Link trail project. In previous discussions of the park, there were also plans for the following items: • Downtown Cleveland depot for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad at Tower City (…or my preferred alternative, in the B&O depot itself, which may or may not be economically feasible....) • Re-location and re-assembly of the two remaining Hulett Iron-Ore loaders, in storage on Whiskey Island for the past 15 years. Does anyone have any news on either of these aspects of Canal Basin Park development plans? In addition, the article is also relatively silent on the funding for the project. Other cities comparable in size to Cleveland have had great success "jump-starting" projects like these via public-private-corporate partnerships and sponsorships like the ones that have spurred development of the following: • Smale Riverfront Park along the Ohio River in Cincinnati, and • The Riverwalk biking/walking trails and parks along the Detroit River in downtown Detroit. Does Cleveland have any comparable organizations that could lead the "funding" mission and speed up progress toward meeting the targeted completion dates?
  3. Welcome cambsprings! Te cost of restoring Amtrak service to Tower City Center is prohibitive. The last study of this was done in 1996 and it estimated a capital construction cost for tracks, station facilities, and support facilities at $125 million. That cost will be higher today because a track bridge has to be built above Canal Road around the Stokes federal courthouse tower west of the station, and a GCRTA electrical substation on the east side of the station has to be moved. The $125 million estimate also did not include any intercity bus facilities. It's a shame that access connections for Amtrak were not maintained over the course of the various renovations of the Tower City complex over the past 20-30 years. The Tower City connection clearly has the most transformational potential. Did the previous studies include any of the following alternatives: Amtrak renovating or retrofitting the excess track space on the Red line bridge that they are currently considering for a walking-bike trail? Amtrak taking over the Red line bridge and re-routing The Red line down West 25th and into Tower City via the old streetcar right-of-way access on the lower level of the Detroit Superior bridge? Could either of these options trigger more funding if they were tied into redevelopment of the north end of Ohio City (west 25th, Detroit road, and a restored Franklin Circle) which has seen a lot of interest over the past couple of years? Thanks in advance for your input!
  4. The B&O station stands at the crossroads of a number of redevelopment projects, including the Towpath Trail, Canal Basin Park, Lake Links Trail to the Coast Guard Station, and potential downtown terminus for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. A restored/redeveloped station/trailhead could be the keystone that links them all together. All it needs is a bit of vision and a lot of funding. Could private and public resources be leveraged here for a legacy project that would serve as a catalyst for other developments? The increased involvement of the Cleveland Metroparks in downtown Cleveland in recent years could provide the spark that might make a project like this more feasible. In addition, a redeveloped historic landmark could provide some high profile and unique sponsorship opportunities. Other cities have had success leveraging public and private efforts in redeveloping parts of their cities. For example, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRC) has begun redeveloping a 5-mile stretch of the Detroit riverfront and has transformed a derelict, abandoned, and decaying strip of the riverfront into beautiful walking/bike trails, parks and other recreational areas. The DRC might provide a public-private model that Cleveland could emulate. Here is a link to other posts on the B&O station: http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,14774.msg241985.html#msg241985 Here is a link to the DRC: http://www.detroitriverfront.org/
  5. Attached is a link to a study on various central train stations in the US and Canada. There is a reference in the comments section in the series introduction to Tower City, however, it doesn’t look like the author is planning to include Cleveland in the initial phase of his study. Series Intro http://www.urbanophile.com/2013/09/22/north-americas-train-stations-what-makes-them-sustainable-or-not/ Philadelphia Center City http://www.urbanophile.com/2013/09/23/philadelphia-center-city-stations-by-robert-munson/ Chicago Union Station http://www.urbanophile.com/2013/10/01/chicago-union-station-by-robert-munson/ The analysis includes some very good insight which transportation advocates may be able to include in future plans to improve transportation links and connectivity in the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain metro area.
  6. Preserving the potential for a restoration of the “rights of way” (“ROW”) for rail (e.g., Amtrak, CVSRR, regional rail, and high speed rail) should be a primary consideration in any development plans and zoning approvals for Phase II of the casino operations. Preservation of the ROW’s is not mutually exclusive or incompatible with developing the site. This not an “either/or” proposition. The Van Swearingen’s original plans for the Terminal Tower complex envisioned further development of all of the “air rights” in the immediate area. Unfortunately, only a fraction of their plans were fully realized (e.g., Higbees, the Landmark Office complex, Post Office, and Stouffers Hotel). Two key sites (e.g., the corner of Huron Road and Ontario, and the triangular site at the corner of Superior and Huron) have awaited development for years. KJP has done some excellent research and numerous posts on the topic…… Gilbert has done some great work in Detroit and is one of the key leaders driving many of the development efforts, including the plans for a light rail rapid transit line on Woodward Avenue between downtown and Mid-town Cultural District and New Center areas. Maximizing the potential of all transportation links at Tower City (e.g., parking, rapid transit, direct rail link to the airport, potential Amtrak-regional rail hub, links to a National Park via the CVSRR, riverside docks, etc.) would be in the best interest of both the casino and the city. As I have indicated in previous posts, Tower City is one of Cleveland’s most underappreciated and underutilized assets. Let’s hope all of the key stakeholders can work together to make sure the ROW’s can be maintained and the development potential of downtown Cleveland can be finally realized. http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,26665.msg597584/topicseen.html#msg597584
  7. The Friends of Canal Basin Park just announced two meetings to discuss plans for Canal Basin Park. Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Here is the link for further details. http://www.warehousedistrict.org/news-events.aspx?newsid=45 In addition, attached is a link to a website that has a few renderings of some design proposals for the park. Looks like a very promising start, especially the incorporation of the Hulett oreloaders. http://a2so4.com/architecture-3/cleveland-canal-basin/ This park has the potential to be a transformational project that would finally provide downtown Cleveland with a link to both the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. Canal Basin Park would complement development efforts that are currently underway including the Towpath Trail link to downtown, the Lake Link Trail from the Flats to Wendy Park on Whiskey Island, and Rivergate Park that is being developed by the Cleveland Rowing Foundation. Imagine the potential of this park combined with other proposals that have been discussed for a number of years….. • Completion of the Flats East Bank development with new office, retail, enterntainment, and residental housing; • Completion of the Stonebridge development on the West Bank of the Flats; • Completion of the plans for Wendy Park and the redevelopment Old Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island; • Redevelopment of the old B&O station on Canal Road that as a cultural /historical museum and potential downtown terminal for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad; • Restoration of a regional rail network centralized at Tower City (e.g., the West Shore Commuter Rail and network with links to Akron, Youngstown and Pittsburgh). Cleveland has enormous potential just waiting to be tapped. The key is creating links that "regenerate" rather than "cannibalize" existing development efforts.
  8. I hope the casino will be a successful redevelopment effort for the city, but the ground rules have to be re-emphasized in order for the city to maximize its potential. This project was sold to the public as a way to spur redevelopment of downtown Cleveland, and sadly these goals are being ignored. In order for Cleveland to succeed it needs to complement new ideas with its existing strengths. Public transit is one of those strengths and the Tower City complex is one of the city’s most underappreciated and underutilized assets. The last thing downtown Cleveland needs is more surface parking. In order to understand, you really need to take a step back and look at the city from an outsider’s perspective. In less than a month, you will have a casino right in the center of downtown which is directly linked to a shopping mall (Tower City), 2 hotels (Renaissance & Ritz Carlton), Class A office space in both modern and architectural landmarks, and a train station with a direct rail access to a large regional airport. No other city in North America has this connectivity potential. Other cities can only dream of these kinds of development opportunities right here in the center of downtown!!! The danger with all casino developments is their tendency to “cannibalize” other development efforts. Dan Gilbert has certainly discussed the casino project complementing the rest of downtown, but these discussions need to be linked to more than just “talk”. Public transit needs to be part of the Casino’s development goals. Improved and more frequent rapid transit service, downtown trolley service (e.g., to the Warehouse District, Playhouse Square, Rock Hall, Medical Mart, Flats) and a downtown station for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) in Tower City or the old B&O station on Canal Road would be enormous assets for the city, casino, and the entire metropolitan area. Proposals have been discussed for more than a decade for the CVSR station, and a number of logistical, operational, and funding issues have been noted. However, the casino project has to potential to be one of the keys to getting this accomplished and would be an example of a commitment not only to the casino but also the city of Cleveland. This is too important of a development for the City of Cleveland and entire metropolitan area of Cleveland to ignore. The leadership of the city, casino, RTA, Tower City, and the CVSR need to work together to get this done. There are also discussions of this topic in the following posts.... Tower City Developments Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad Cleveland: B&O Terminal Building
  9. Does anyone have any information on the status of the hillside stabilization plans for the slopes of the Irishtown Bend? Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative sponsored a design competition back in 2007 which proposed an interesting plan: https://clevelanddesigncity.wordpress.com/2007-cleveland-design-competition-awards/ I just came across this link on Concordia University’s bluff stabilization plan in Mequon, Wisconsin. Although there are obvious differences (e.g, lake bluff erosion on Lake Michigan vs. river slope erosion on the Cuyahoga), the underlying design objectives appear comparable. In addition, the cost of the project ($10 million) seems significantly lower than the amounts that were estimated for the slope stabilization most recently in August 2011 ($50 - $80 million, per Plain Dealer article). Based on the portfolio of projects listed, it appears that this firm has experience with a number of urban redevelopment projects (e.g., the Detroit Riverfront redevelopment). http://www.jjr-us.com/index.aspx?id=1081&section=34
  10. KJP: Thanks for your insight and perspective on Tower City and the referral for further information!!!
  11. I just wrapped up a reading a great book on the history of Terminal Tower: “Cleveland’s Towering Treasure.” The book provided a great perspective on the development of Cleveland’s rapid transit system, downtown Cleveland and the unique role that the Terminal Tower and Tower City has in the city of Cleveland. The Van Sweringens effectively pioneered the concept of the “mixed use” and “transit-oriented” development and provided a development framework comparable to the Rockefeller Center in New York. Cleveland may be the only in North America where (a) the “primary” train station is in the center of its downtown, (b) the station has a direct rail link to the airport, and © the station is connected to office, retail, entertainment, and 2 hotels (and later this Spring, a casino). In addition, there are a number of development sites that have yet to be developed. Tower City has enormous potential that has yet to be realized, which is probably the biggest testimony to the vision and foresight of the original plan. Does anyone have any information on the following? • Railroad Track “Right of Way” The entire area fronting the Cuyahoga was filled with tracks for long distance rail connections, regional commuter rail, and local rapid transit. Most if not all of the tracks bordering the river were removed in the 1980-1990’s. Various plans have been discussed over the years to rejuvenate rail in Ohio and have been stalled by both political and economic factors. The most likely plans to eventually succeed relate to the development of a downtown station for the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad (e.g., at Tower City or the nearby abandoned Baltimore & Ohio Station) and the “West Shore” commuter rail. Regional rail links to the emerging “Techbelt” (i.e., Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh, CYP) and CCC (Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati) would also be great, but that is a topic for another post. Does anyone know if the railroad “right of ways” and/or “easements” remain in place to “restore” track for “transit related" purposes? Are future development plans (e.g., Phase II of the casino development) required to “maintain” access for these “right of ways/easements” as part of their development plans? • Build out of remaining development sites Two of the most interesting photos in the book related to plans in the 1990’s for an addition to the Renaissance Hotel at the triangular site at the corner of Superior and Huron and another plan for an office building at Huron and Ontario. Both of these development sites would seem to have significantly more transformational potential than other sites downtown that were developed over the past 30 years. What are the primary reasons these sites are still undeveloped after all of these years? • Future “Transit oriented” potential Cleveland has more potential for “transit-oriented” (TOD) development than any other city in the United States. Numerous sites could be developed downtown (e.g., Tower City, Settlers Landing, Flats East Bank), on the West Side (e.g., West 25th, West 65th, West Blvd, West 117th, West Park, etc.,), and the East Side (e.g., Shaker Square, Buckeye, Little Italy, etc., ). A number of these areas have developments currently underway (e.g., West 25th-West Side Market area and Little Italy ) which could be further leveraged to transform entire neighborhoods. TOD could be one of the few “win-win” opportunities for both downtown and local neighborhoods. Why hasn’t Cleveland’s business, developers, and political leadership supported more of this type of development? What types of incentives can be put in place to encourage the private sector to invest in more TOD?
  12. Does anyone have any information or update on the status of the development of Canal Basin Park and the Lake Link Trail through the Flats to the Coast Guard station on Whiskey Island? I know these projects are part of a larger plan to bring the Towpath Trail into downtown Cleveland from Steelyard Commons. The last links are very complex due to the routing of the trail through industrial sites and other areas that may require environmental remediation. The original timelines proposed completing the park and the lake link trail after the Towpath link was complete. However, it may make sense to consider revising the timeline and order of the project. For example, a completed lake link trail and Canal Basin Park would link a lot of the developments currently going on downtown (e.g., Flats East Bank, Stonegate complex on the west bank, convention center, casino, Rivergate Rowing Park, etc., ). In addition, these projects might also provide a catalyst to attract public and private funding to complete the remaining segments of the Towpath project and the long discussed plan to provide a downtown terminus for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR). Completion of this vision along with the redevelopment of the old B&O train station into a trail head – visitor center—train station for the CVSR would provide the city of Cleveland with a unique amenity for its citizens and a destination that would attract a significant amount of visitors and new residents to the city.
  13. Can you imagine the marketing potential of depot like this for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad? A picture perfect postcard image for the "new" and "old" Cleveland!!! A renovated B&O terminal would provide passengers with a “destination” station rather than the current “passenger loading" platform off Rockside Road. This would truly be unique one-of-kind asset for entire metropolitan region and the only National Park in the US with a direct transit link to 2 central business districts (i.e., Downtown Cleveland and Downtown Akron). This would open up an opportunity to significantly expand ridership in the metropolitan area as a downtown station would be much more accessible for city and suburban residents on the East and West sides of Cleveland. In addition, a downtown station could provide the opportunity to expand the current tour schedules. How about a sample of the following…. • Expanded Polar Express and Winter tours • Expanded Wine, Beer, and Whiskey Tasting tours • Expanded Fall Foliage, Halloween and Thanksgiving tours • Summer Tour: Cuyahoga Valley Baseball Double Header (Aeros in the afternoon, Indians in the evening) • Cleveland History Tours (nature, industrial, transportation, and architectural) • Fall Tour: Browns Town Sundays • Downtown Shopping tours linked with Tower City • Dinner Tours linked to the Casinos Hopefully the current obstacles can be overcome and a dream of a downtown station can become a reality in the near future.
  14. KJP: Thanks for the update and you have a done a great job in providing information on the various routes, obstacles, and cost estimates!!! It seems like the CSX route is the more reasonable alternative. However, I do think there would be significant spin-off benefits of extending the tracks to the B&O station. This location could provide the key link to all of the key projects currently underway including the Towpath, Canal Basin, Flats East Bank, Lake Link Trails, as well as a links to Tower City, Casinos, Warehouse District and Public Square. This would be a truly unique historic redevelopment project that would leverage benefits for multiple projects. Unfortunately, Cleveland has had a history of projects that "cannibalize" rather than “complement” existing projects. The Forest City Convention Center/Casino draft drawings appear to provide access for CVSR tracks further east near “Collision Bend”. Do you know if it would be possible to "move" the B&O station further east to this location? I know that several buildings were moved in Detroit to make way for Comerica Park and Ford Field (e.g., The Gem Theater). There are obviously some significant drawbacks with this alternative (e.g., cost of moving the building, leaving an "empty" site at the current location, etc.), but re-use of this station into a functioning railroad depot could provide Cleveland with a very significant redevelopment opportunity that has the potential to become one of Ohio’s top tourist attractions.
  15. I know several government agencies participated in a "Memo of Understanding" supporting the concept of a downtown terminus for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad ("CVSR"). One of the proposals from several years ago had the railroad following the north bank of the Cuyahoga river into downtown with either a depot in the Tower City complex or alternative location. The old B&O station further west along the riverbank past Sherwin Williams facilities would make a spectacular depot and would be a great way to link to the Towpath Trail, Lake Link, and other renovation efforts. Does anyone know how the current casino site plan behind Tower City would impact the plan to bring the CVSR into downtown Cleveland? Have they included the CVSR memo of understanding in the design plans?
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