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Cleveland: General Tower City Center Developments

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OK, why don't we have a Tower City development thread? The complex is still far from done, even though it started construction in the 1910s with Hotel Cleveland. There are still holes within the complex, such as at Huron and Ontario, and at Prospect and Superior, let alone these infills and adjustments such as with the Skylight buildings.

 

Sales of existing buildings and construction of new ones, except for the new casino project (a separate thread) will be discussed here. Some projects get into a gray area considering the substantial affect the casino project will have on Tower City Center, so let's just leave the Casino Phase I in the Higbee Building and any Phase II along Huron Road to the casino thread.

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"Losses narrow at Forest City; real estate company says it's giving up 250 Huron offices in Cleveland

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 4:24 PM    Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 6:00 PM

  By Michelle Jarboe McFee, The Plain Dealer

 

Forest City will let go of 120,000 square feet of office space at Tower City Center, according to a regulatory filing. The real estate company disclosed its plans Thursday, in documents related to its third-quarter financial results.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Forest City Enterprises Inc. lost $41.9 million during the third quarter - in part due to an accounting loss on the former Chase Financial Tower office space at Cleveland's Tower City Center.

 

The real estate company, based at Tower City, reported slimmer losses than a year before.

 

But the company lost 25 cents per share as Forest City accounted for leasing challenges at a Florida shopping center and the decision to let go of four floors of offices in downtown Cleveland."

 

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2011/12/losses_narrow_at_forest_city_r.html

 

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This is about the bottom five floors of the building, the Ritz starts on the 6th floor (I think?) because they felt views were somewhat blocked below. Too bad they can't expand UP but I suppose it's a bit late for that ;) also the twin tower opposite the Tower City atrium matches its height

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Certainly, or should I say likely, they will be expanding the Ritz.  I would think that would be a way of getting around the "no new casino hotel" rule. 

 

Agreed, but if my memory serves me correctly that tower was built to be added onto.  I know one of the new towers was built to added onto.

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Certainly, or should I say likely, they will be expanding the Ritz.  I would think that would be a way of getting around the "no new casino hotel" rule. 

 

Agreed, but if my memory serves me correctly that tower was built to be added onto.  I know one of the new towers was built to added onto.

 

 

That's what I recall, too.

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So since Rock Caesars is opening a casino in the Higbee building bought 250 Huron from Forest City, and I've heard they are trying to buy the Renaissance hotel is it to far out for me to assume the will but the Avenue from Forest City (the mall)? Doing this would make sense because it seems like Forest City is having a Tower City fire sale, they aren't trying to upgrade the stores (they just opened a tax service in the mall :x) so my thinking is Rock Caesars will buy the Avenue and put stores in that will appeal to the high rollers for the Casino (Barneys, Gucci, Banana Republic, basically the Tower City of the 90's) am I crazy to think this?

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This is about the bottom five floors of the building, the Ritz starts on the 6th floor (I think?) because they felt views were somewhat blocked below. Too bad they can't expand UP but I suppose it's a bit late for that ;) also the twin tower opposite the Tower City atrium matches its height

 

Why can't they expand up someone on here said that one of the towers is expandable

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Well I hate to break up this speculation party, but my girlfriend happens to work at the highest end retailer left at Tower City, I will let you guys figure out which one that is, and I can tell you that Gap/Banana Republic and J. Crew have both submitted requests to Tower City to for the malls financial statistics. I do not know much about retail, maybe MTS can jump on and help, but from what I understand this is standard operating procedure before a retailer commits to a lease. On top of that, there is also a 'mystery' tenant, who's name has not been released by the top brass at Tower City, who is interested in 7000/8000 sq ft, which would be one of the largest retail spaces in the mall.

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Makes perfect sense to me.

 

So do you think this will happen?

 

Yes.  The casino fills the anchor-tenant void, drawing enough general traffic to make smaller stores viable.

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Well I hate to break up this speculation party, but my girlfriend happens to work at the highest end retailer left at Tower City, I will let you guys figure out which one that is, and I can tell you that Gap/Banana Republic and J. Crew have both submitted requests to Tower City to for the malls financial statistics. I do not know much about retail, maybe MTS can jump on and help, but from what I understand this is standard operating procedure before a retailer commits to a lease. On top of that, there is also a 'mystery' tenant, who's name has not been released by the top brass at Tower City, who is interested in 7000/8000 sq ft, which would be one of the largest retail spaces in the mall.

 

See now you've got me excited  :-D  :clap: lol.....but I know for sure that the area by the shoe dept. and Revol has one HUGE space available which once was a barbershop not prime space but still pretty big, and also by the K-line store their is a pretty large space where the WB store once was....God I hope this is all true and those high end stores move in because Tower City needs it even middle range stores like American Eagle, and Ambrocrombie and Finch would be great better than corner stores, dollar store and the Rainbow.

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Well I hate to break up this speculation party, but my girlfriend happens to work at the highest end retailer left at Tower City, I will let you guys figure out which one that is, and I can tell you that Gap/Banana Republic and J. Crew have both submitted requests to Tower City to for the malls financial statistics. I do not know much about retail, maybe MTS can jump on and help, but from what I understand this is standard operating procedure before a retailer commits to a lease. On top of that, there is also a 'mystery' tenant, who's name has not been released by the top brass at Tower City, who is interested in 7000/8000 sq ft, which would be one of the largest retail spaces in the mall.

 

I'm gonna guess Rainbow  8-)

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Makes perfect sense to me.

 

So do you think this will happen?

 

Yes.  The casino fills the anchor-tenant void, drawing enough general traffic to make smaller stores viable.

 

Well Tower City needs to stop letting these low-end stores who takes up huge spaces (Dollar Store, Corner Store, K-Line Rainbow and Rainbow kids) re-sign leases and let the middle to high end retail step into these spaces so they can keep momentum going....

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^the middle to high left...that is why Forest City was left chasing these types of stores

 

Yes I know they left but since the Casino and medical mart is coming there should be renewed interest in this space because high rollers will be there so Forest City should be pushing high end retailers a lot and also could add the downtown residency boom as an incentive (which was missing in the 90's)

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^I don't have this Gucci view of the typical casino patron...more cargo short, baseball caps and little old ladies in Sears pant suits.

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^I don't have this Gucci view of the typical casino patron...more cargo short, baseball caps and little old ladies in Sears pant suits.

 

Honestly even though I said we need high end retail for Casino goers....downtown shopping ANYWHERE needs to be upscale for everybody it's just how it's supposed to be

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^I don't have this Gucci view of the typical casino patron...more cargo short, baseball caps and little old ladies in Sears pant suits.

 

That's a bit heavy on the stereotyping.  Have you been to a casino?  There's usually a sizable upscale contingent along with the little old ladies.  And retail attached to casinos is usually more upscale than what's at Tower City right now.

 

Honestly even though I said we need high end retail for Casino goers....downtown shopping ANYWHERE needs to be upscale

 

Ideally, yes.  That's why I'm not sure this "outlet" plan is really the way to go.  Downtown Cleveland should not be trying to emulate Lodi or Grove City.

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Well I hate to break up this speculation party, but my girlfriend happens to work at the highest end retailer left at Tower City, I will let you guys figure out which one that is, and I can tell you that Gap/Banana Republic and J. Crew have both submitted requests to Tower City to for the malls financial statistics. I do not know much about retail, maybe MTS can jump on and help, but from what I understand this is standard operating procedure before a retailer commits to a lease. On top of that, there is also a 'mystery' tenant, who's name has not been released by the top brass at Tower City, who is interested in 7000/8000 sq ft, which would be one of the largest retail spaces in the mall.

 

This is very exciting. I know there was an article not long ago in which the new president of Forest City said before, they were the ones calling new retailers and getting no response, but now because of the casino, THEY are the ones getting the calls. That was a few month ago so I've been wondering when something would happen. I was actually in Tower City this afternoon and it's really incredible how much potential is there...

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I think we'll see a good mix of stores settle into the mall, certainly no two-story Barneys or Calvin Klein or Fendi or Gucci from the days of yore, but even brands like J. Crew, Banana, A/X, Cole Haan, Talbots, etc. would be a big upgrade compared to the present mix of offerings.

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BTW, I was in Tower City with a couple of 50-something year old business people -- one from Chicago and the other from Washington DC. They wanted to see what the old Cleveland Union Terminal looked like, and where its various railroad facilities were located. While there, they both remarked at how beautiful the renovation was and how many stores there were.

 

I told them that many people in Greater Cleveland believe Tower City is another dead mall thanks to their lack of venturing downtown and due to misinformation from our beloved media. From where we stood, almost directly below Prospect, I asked them to count the number of vacant stores. From where we stood, we could not see any.

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BTW, I was in Tower City with a couple of 50-something year old business people -- one from Chicago and the other from Washington DC. They wanted to see what the old Cleveland Union Terminal looked like, and where its various railroad facilities were located. While there, they both remarked at how beautiful the renovation was and how many stores there were.

 

I told them that many people in Greater Cleveland believe Tower City is another dead mall thanks to their lack of venturing downtown and due to misinformation from our beloved media. From where we stood, almost directly below Prospect, I asked them to count the number of vacant stores. From where we stood, we could not see any.

 

The thing that is so funny is, the majority of people who claim we don't have upscale store, didn't shop at them anyway.

 

How many of those old enough to do so, shopped at TC on a regular basis, in the first 5 years of existence?  If TC, was to revamp, with a merchandise line better than Beachwood - think equivalent to Lenox Sq., in Atlanta; The Galleria in Houston; Aventura Mall in S. Florida; South Cost Plaza in Costa Mesa; Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu -  how many UO'ers would solely shop at TC on a regular basis??  Meaning, you're not a special occasion shopper or browser (counted as visitor), you're a top tier shopper at several stores boutiques. 

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Never. I do most of my shopping for clothes at Target and Kohl's -- or if I'm really hurting financially, I just wait for Christmas and birthdays for new duds.

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Never. I do most of my shopping for clothes at Target and Kohl's -- or if I'm really hurting financially, I just wait for Christmas and birthdays for new duds.

 

I'm not trying to call anyone out on their financial status, but it gets to my point, we're asking for stores/business in Downtown Cleveland/TC for what exact reason?  Just because some other city has them?  We all know that some cities are subsidizing retail outlets.  Just to say we have them?

 

I would love to have Prada, Gucci, YSL, Ungaro, Burbery, etc.  BUT.....Why have these stores, if people cannot afford or want to shop at them?  Its the same thing as certain OU crying for skyscrapers, knowing we don't the occupancy level to warrant new commercial towers nor people willing to pay an upmarket residential price point without the amenities in Downtown.

 

For those ripping TC for having not so special stores, talk!

 

If TC want to evolve with the rest of downtown, I firmly believe they will need a mall manager or at-least bring in a team of people that have previous mall management experience to solely run TC.

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I use to shop at Tower City for 50-60% of my purchases in the first 7-8 years it was open.  My Christmas shopping was always exclusively downtown at that time.  Currently, I would say it has been 7-8 years since I bought anything at Tower City (other than the food court) and that was probably a card at a card shop.

 

I do not have to see Fendi, Gucci or Calvin Kein reopening to shop their again.  Just some middle of the road stores that you find at Beachwood Place since I would rather shop downtown than in the burbs.  A handful of nice independents would be great since I tend to patronize local, but I don't see that happening.

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I use to shop at Tower City for 50-60% of my purchases in the first 7-8 years it was open.  My Christmas shopping was always exclusively downtown at that time.  Currently, I would say it has been 7-8 years since I bought anything at Tower City (other than the food court) and that was probably a card at a card shop.

 

I do not have to see Fendi, Gucci or Calvin Kein reopening to shop their again.  Just some middle of the road stores that you find at Beachwood Place since I would rather shop downtown than in the burbs.  A handful of nice independents would be great since I tend to patronize local, but I don't see that happening.

 

But in order to just "compete" with Beachwood, you need to have store that aren't located at Beachwood (or in Ohio) and "like" stores such as a Banana Republic must carry the "flagship" moniker.  That is the only way TC can compete.  There is still space for independents.

 

The one thing that is needed is a Anchor tenent, like Bloomingdales or Nordstroms.  I think it either would be a great fit downtown.  Bloomingdales more so as there is an Ohio tie-in.

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^the middle to high left...that is why Forest City was left chasing these types of stores

 

Yes I know they left but since the Casino and medical mart is coming there should be renewed interest in this space because high rollers will be there so Forest City should be pushing high end retailers a lot and also could add the downtown residency boom as an incentive (which was missing in the 90's)

 

Not poking at you personally...but this is the logic that amuses me..when people assume this casino is gong to attract some high end roller crowd.

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Tower City retail has a very low vacancy rate.  It's just the selection of stores doesn't compete with suburban malls.

 

People shop where they live unless the store they want is not where they live.  The number one thing that will help Tower City is increasing the number of downtown residents.

 

Now, that being said, having an attached casino, more people staying at attached hotels and more people working in the Tower City complex will help.  I don't know about high end stores, but hopefully a better selection than what is there now.  I'd rather see downtown versions of local retail such as Banyan Tree than a Gucci store anyway.

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BTW, I was in Tower City with a couple of 50-something year old business people -- one from Chicago and the other from Washington DC. They wanted to see what the old Cleveland Union Terminal looked like, and where its various railroad facilities were located. While there, they both remarked at how beautiful the renovation was and how many stores there were.

 

I told them that many people in Greater Cleveland believe Tower City is another dead mall thanks to their lack of venturing downtown and due to misinformation from our beloved media. From where we stood, almost directly below Prospect, I asked them to count the number of vacant stores. From where we stood, we could not see any.

 

Tower City is a special place… Because Clevelanders tend to default to the negative, very rarely have I heard anyone state what these out-of-towners noted: TC is a drop-dead beautiful space whose planners very tastefully incorporated the grandiose train-station elements of yore, such as the great chandeliers along with new nice touches like the sweeping granite staircase to the main atrium, or the outstanding Leap Frog fountain, ... just to name a few.... I wish I could send a few negative Cleveland types back in Sherman's Way Back Machine to the Terminal Tower pre Tower City mall area with it's honky-tonk jip joints and a cheesy Tower Records (not the nat'l chain) store in the middle built of plastic and steel... and did I mention the leaky roofs and the tennis courts in the back?  To hear some people trash Tower City, you'd think it was some giant flea market on the level of Randall Mall (that is, the incarnation just before it closed a few years ago).  Sometimes it's little wonder why more national retail chains lack interest in Cleveland-- since Cleveland folk are often so negative towards its major institutions, like Tower City ... and even downtown in general (which, thankfully, is changing), why should they bankroll big projects here.

 

And, yes, the fact that Tower City is directly on top of our Rapid rail hub is a huge plus, … not a negative, as I hear so many say (ie: too many gang-banger, hip-hop, thugs that prey on women, etc, etc… boy, people looking for negative can always find it, can’t they?)

 

AS FOR STORES: of course, Tower City still has uber high-end Brook's Brothers (bless 'em; I think I'll go buy one of their over-priced sweaters for the holiday as a way of saying: 'thanks for believing/hanging in there for downtown Cle -- now, w/ the coming casino, they're soon about to be rewarded for their patience). Beyond BB, you've got places that are pretty much mall standards that are, imho, a cut above middle-middle-of-the-road – places like Victoria's Secret (whatever your take on it's hot sex angle), Bath & Body Works, Jones New York, Caribou Coffee, among others.... despite the thinking the FYE is a hip-hop music joint, it is pretty standard at downtown & suburban malls of practically any stripe… 

 

And yeah, naysayers will go nuts over low end joints like Glitter, Payless Shoe Source (which I've noted sits prominently on Chicago's glitzy Magnificent Mile) and It's A Dollar.  At least, as noted, there are not a lot of empty slots as I've seen in many similar downtown Malls -- when I was in Milwaukee's Grand Ave Mall, it's only downtown mall, it seemed more like our Galleria than Tower City, in terms of vacancy rate.  Folks need to realize that Tower City is NOT Chicago’s Water Tower Place … and may never be.  Get over it.  That doesn’t mean that Tower City should not be given credit for all that it is (which is considerable), as well as being excited about its future, which appears to be bright given Rock Casino’s machinations, which will probably result in their buying the Avenue and upgrading it even further.

 

… and btw, for the record, just in case someone wants to hurl the absurd charge against me as someone here did a few years ago: no, I am not employed by FCE or related to anyone named Miller or Ratner…

 

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Some have mentioned TC needs a department store anchor but with the Higbees Space out of the question where would something like that even go? Is there room for a large additional space like that?

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No.  I don't think there are any department store spaces left downtown at all, though I'm sure we could have filled one with the money it took to build Steelyard Commons.

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^the middle to high left...that is why Forest City was left chasing these types of stores

 

Yes I know they left but since the Casino and medical mart is coming there should be renewed interest in this space because high rollers will be there so Forest City should be pushing high end retailers a lot and also could add the downtown residency boom as an incentive (which was missing in the 90's)

 

Not poking at you personally...but this is the logic that amuses me..when people assume this casino is gong to attract some high end roller crowd.

And what information or statics do you have that say other?  Shopping, dining, theater go hand in hand with a casino.  Is in New Orleans, the Casino is a draw for gamblers, and those that aren't big gamblers shop at Canal Place or Riverwalk and there are plenty of restaurants within a 10 min walk.  You know, similar to downtown Cleveland.

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