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from the PD

 

Site for convention center may be picked in a month

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Tom Breckenridge

Plain Dealer Reporter

The group charged with planning a downtown convention center wants to choose a site by early January and have major recommendations on financing, size and layout to the community by April 30. The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Authority will decide between two sites -- renovating the current, city-owned convention center on Lakeside Avenue or building anew behind Tower City, on land owned by Forest City Enterprises.

 

More at cleveland.com http://www.cleveland.com

 

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congrats to mayor jane for this one. i guess there is tremendous pressure from the business community for a new convention center and she is doing the right thing by favoring renovating the old one. the current conven cen is actually sweet in concept being partly underground under mall c. it just (badly) needs renovated, modernized and expanded. architects would have a field day with that project as its beyond cool potentially.

 

so "ef" the ratners, they are just going to blow town for nyc as soon as old man miller dies anyway. the last thing they need is "rewarded" for sitting on all that prime downtown land and letting it sit vacant all these years. they've been holding the city hostage with that land for how long now?

 

the previous ratner "deal" of adding some housing on the flats scranton peninsula, which would happen naturally anyway if they'd let it, is not enough to sweeten the pot in their favor in my mind.  i just hope the other politicians have the stones to stand up to them too. looks like we'll see soon!

 

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I remember the Forest City folks saying the river wall would have to be reconstructed as a first step to develop Scranton Peninsula.  And it would cost some ridiculous amount of money, like $500 million.

 

Does anyone know if this is just an excuse, or is there something to it?

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actually i remember there being a private developer wanting to buy the islands off of Forest City.  "Scaravelli Islands" he wanted to create out of it.  But he only was offering $50 million for it

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The Tower City site & accompanying Scranton Peninsula development seems like the better of the 2 choices, even if it means dealing with FCE.  It's also closer to the Warehouse District and Gateway District.

 

Seems that the current site could be used for other things.

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Forest City's updated plan...towpath yes, housing on scranton, no. 

 

Forest City pushes its river site

Convention center panel hears case for linking to Tower City

Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer, January 12, 2005

 

Forest City Enterprises Inc. pressed convention-center planners Tuesday to pick its site near Tower City, extolling the riverfront venue as an unsurpassed hub of transportation, retail and entertainment.

Forest City's William Voegele acknowledged the big-ticket convention center would likely boost the sagging fortunes of Tower City's retail strip, called The Avenue, and other assets of the prominent real estate company.

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Here is a rendering, I guess Huron Rd. becomes a tunnel, and the Hard Rock guitar becomes a memory? :wave:

 

While I am really upset at FCE  :evil: for keeping Scranton Rd. a wasted opportunity, and for all of the other crap they pull, I think now I am leaning toward it as the best place, just because it connects so many dots.  Euclid Ave, Gateway, Warehouse Dist, even the south end of the flats.  And if they ever get scranton rd developed :whip: it will connect downtown to tremont.

 

(lots of smileys)

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Tower city's property along the river is expansive, so probably next to the convention center.  Maybe in that gaping hole along Ontario between Prospect and Huron, next to the landmark office tower

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Below is what was proposed in 1990 to fill that hole along Ontario at Huron. And, the picture below that is self-explanatory (also from 1990).

 

KJP

 

Gateway%20at%20Landmark1.jpg

 

Tower%20City%20Riverview%20Masterplan%201990.jpg

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Wow indeed!

 

The old master plans from the eighties and early nineties made downtown Cleveland look like downtown Atlanta with numerous superscrapers placed all over downtown.

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A sign still stands for a project called "Ontario Point" at the intersection of Ontario and Huron.  Does anyone know anything about this.

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Pope, I think he's referring to the MK Fergurson Plaza, which used to the be the main post office until 1982. I still have a hard time thinking of it as anything other than "the old post office."

 

KJP

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A sign still stands for a project called "Ontario Point" at the intersection of Ontario and Huron. Does anyone know anything about this.

 

This was supposed to be built on that little sliver of land in the middle of Ontario, just before Carnegie, immediately west of Jacobs Field.  There used to be a Shell gas station there until the mid '90's.  Now it's just a grassy lot.  Ontario Point I think was/is supposed to be a little visitors center.

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"and the "circled" hotel portion, isnt that just an add on onto the post office down there?"

 

No, although I can see why you might think so. This would be across Huron Road from MK Ferguson/Old Post Office. It looks as though they'd build over or around the enclosed walkway to the Federal Courthouse tower.

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Here is what Litt thinks...

URBAN PLANNING

 

Convention center plans have pros, cons

Sunday, January 16, 2005

After a 17-month timeout for a civic agenda dominated by other is sues, Cleveland has resumed its agonizing debate over where to build the city's next convention center.

 

Should the Convention and Fa cilities Authority, or CFA, jointly created by the city and Cuyahoga County, rebuild the aging, outmoded exhibit hall underneath the downtown Mall, following a proposal favored by Mayor Jane Campbell?

 

Or should it build a new convention center behind Tower City Center on a site overlooking the Cuyahoga River, as desired by Forest City Enterprises, the giant real estate company with headquarters at Tower City?

 

......

 

Voegele pointed out last week that scouring out the existing convention center under the Mall and building a new foundation poses a risk of construction cost overruns from unforeseen soil conditions and underground streams. Those factors certainly must be weighed, along with many others.

 

But for now, it's clear that Forest City's proposal, while possibly workable, would inject an architectural gigantism along the riverfront that would be hard to camouflage and likely would end up looking very, very strange.

 

Litt is architecture critic of The Plain Dealer.

 

more at Cleveland.com

 

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If we were to use the riverfront site, what would become of the old convention center?  What would become of the County administration building when the County moves?  That's an awful lot to abandon like that.  The Mall site just dovetails too nicely with the County's plans for a new headquarters.

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Put the county offices in the old convention center! LOL

 

Actually, I'm part serious. It would be an interesting way to start an underground city like what's in Toronto or Atlanta.

 

KJP

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isn't montreals underground pretty significant too? i think i remember it cutting underground a lot of the old part of the city leaving the history in tact (i could be wrong)

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What if...the old convention center was sold/leased to the county for its offices? Or, better yet, sold to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for it to lease to the county as an anchor tenant. The rest of the old convention center would feature shops lining its corridors with future extensions south to the Old Arcade and Tower City (some of these old tunnels still exist) and north over the tracks and Shoreway to North Coast Harbor (could use federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality funds for walkways like these, just as Cleveland Clinic and RTA has done, with a new Amtrak station/North Coast Transportation Center).

 

The port authority could then use the revenues from the old convention center to fund a bond issue for the public-sector portion of building the convention center at Tower City. The end result would be an underground city linking Gund Arena, the Old Arcade, Tower City, a new convention center, BP Building, Key Tower/Marriott Hotel, Cuyahoga County offices/underground city, North Coast Transportation Center, Science Center and Rock Hall. Additional underground extensions could reach the Sheraton Hotel, The Galleria/Erieview, or in the opposite direction to the Colonial Arcade.

 

I'm done dreaming now.

 

KJP

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I'd be worried that with such a soft market for retail space downtown that all our remaining shops would just move down to this underground city and that what little pedestrian traffic we have would follow.

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Or, it could encourage more pedestrian traffic by sparing them from the elements, with new downtown housing, a new convention center, etc. They'd have to advertise it...

 

"Take your vacation in Cleveland in January, where the temperature is always a comfortable 70 degrees. Fly into Cleveland, take the train downtown, and enjoy all that Downtown Cleveland has to offer -- at room temperature.... The Cleveland Cavaliers at Gund Arena, shopping at Tower City Center, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center and a half-dozen hotels are all linked to the new Underground City with its own shopping, cafes and splashy fountains. You'll have a new appreciation of the city's great indoors. Just remember, when you depart Cleveland for home, put your coat back on."

 

How's that?

 

KJP

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Regardless of what the story is, FC is starting to look like a slumlord in their own hometown while they build megaprojects in other cities. If they can't figure out what to do with Tower City and the Scranton Peninsula, then perhaps they're not as smart as everybody thinks.

 

KJP

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Neiman-Marcus pulled out after they moved the Rock Hall (was proposed for behind Tower City) to the Lakefront.  Would have been interesting to see if having Neiman-Marcus at TC would have helped to retain Fendi, Gucci, Barney's and some of the other high-end stores.  I guess it's looking back at what was there (at TC) that makes it so painful to look at what it's turning into.

   

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I'd prefer that they do it on the current site as well.  I don't know how I feel about this exact plan, however.  I'd like to see more done with the Mall.  And I don't think we should trust "wait till they come up with a final rendering".  I think that we need to say that as up front as possible.  The Mall is a treasure.  Very few cities have a greenspace this large downtown.  I would hope that we can find a way to use this asset to its fullest.  I'd also want to know how the offices/meeting spaces/hotel above ground would interact with the streets around it.

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I think, the only way we would see a new center is if they pass casino gaming.  Everyone knows that the business is down everywhere.  I know Cincy's is down 47 percent, St Louis is down along with New Orleanes, Indy, Chicago and LA.  In DC, residents are paying 60 mill a year in lost convention business after investing $867 mill in a new center.  What makes Cleveland any different. 

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on the casinos note, detroit may have found its santa claus as the sands casino wants to build a casino/convention/hotel. There are a few hurdles in the way, but the fact that it could be done with nearly no public financing would be phenomenal.

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