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Cleveland: Westown-Jefferson: Development and News

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long time lurker, first time poster.  I was driving into work today and heard a mention of the renovation of the Variety Theater on Lorain Ave, just down from 117th.  it is, unbeknownst to me and possibly a lot of people, a cleveland landmark.   

 

http://westparkhistory.com/spotlight/variety.htm

 

mentioned in the article are the Westown Community Development Corp, but their website is just a list of emails.

 

http://www.westowncdc.org/

 

anyone have tangible leads on this?

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Welcome to the board, Math.

 

The City Planner for the Westown CDC is Michael Bosak [(216) 664-3802]. I know he has specifically worked on that theater - and the area in general. You might be able to get some information from Cudell Improvement, Inc. [(216) 228-4383], also since theyt are more likely to have information the Westown CDC does not have.

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After thinking about this a little, I was sure I had stored some photos somewhere - and I found them.

I am 95% sure these are of the Variety. Somebody will likely correct me if I am wrong.

 

This is a map of the proposed Variety Theater District from a few years ago.

It is still in the works the last I heard.

Call Mike for more details.

333958169_5448fee09f.jpg

 

333955945_ac4b8aa25c.jpg

 

333956436_667cc67326.jpg

 

333957815_3885ac70de.jpg

 

 

You can view the whole set here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/muscatello/sets/72157594439368601/

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I don't think that's the Variety theater and neither do several people in my office. One of them said the Variety was in terrible shape the last time she was in there a few years ago. I don't remember them making any improvements to the theater since -- and certainly not to that extent!

 

The interior actually looks like the Agora, and even a little like the Cedar-Lee. But what's the stylish "P" emblems above the doors? It's not the Palace Theater downtown. What is it?


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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After thinking about this a little, I was sure I had stored some photos somewhere - and I found them.

I am 95% sure these are of the Variety. Somebody will likely correct me if I am wrong.

 

Ok, now I am only 5% sure it is the Variety. I did not take the pictures, but was given the file when I interned in the planning office. The title on the folder said Variety Theater and included the map.

The last time I was actually in the theater was in the 80's to see the Dead Kennedy's play.

Needless to say, everything was pretty dark in there when I last visited.

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I'm pretty sure that's the Lorain Palace Theater (as in, in the city of Lorain, not on Lorain Ave. in Cleveland.) 

 

Edit:  After looking at the other pictures in the set, I'm actually almost positive that's what it is.  I've been there numerous times, and the lack of a balcony or mezzanine always struck me as odd.

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Palace Theater in Lorain = That makes sense.

 

Ha, Dead Kennedy's! Was a big fan back in the 80s, too. Still have one of their albums.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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indeed, those are from the lorain palace theater not the variety. it has a great old wurlitzer organ and is a great community restoration project in its own right. here's the website with lot's 'o info:

 

http://www.lorainpalace.org/hist2.asp

 

restoration pic

after.jpg

 

the "no balcony" interior:

hist2.jpg

 

stage

interior.jpg

 

chandelier

chand.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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I love it when I'm wrong - it makes other people look smarter.

I stand corrected and will change the title of photo  set on Flickr.

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forget it, its not like that happens often with you...besides, it gave us a chance to highlight two theater renovation projects instead of just one!

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Got to see a little bit about the Variety project Septemberish. Westown CDC is looking to renovate this theatre as the anchor for a larger neighborhood plan along Lorain Avenue. They were still in the early planning stages but were interested in pushing this as a venue for performing arts groups (particularly small Cleveland-based dance groups, as well as for a cinema. The building was in really bad shape when I saw it a couple months back, but you could tell that it was at one time pretty stunning (and that it still had potential to be stunning again).

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it would be nice for a second element to upgrade that area.  it already has a number of great places to eat, with luchitas, mi pueblo, as well as several middle eastern establishments all within several blocks of the intersection.  though it seems to both suffer and benefit from being the easiest passage between 90 and 71.  I used to take 117th to lorain to 130th to drive to the airport. 

 

if memory serves, I believe the bank building across the street was also recently renovated. 

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They started to renovate the bank building across the street, but stopped for some reason. It's been sitting with boarded-up windows for at least a year now.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I am writing on behalf of the Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre. We are in the process of restoring the theatre and are in need of obtaining photographic documentation on the theatre between 1927 and 1950.  We are offering $20 to anyone who submits a photo.  One of our board members suggested contacting CSU to see if any of the professors had students who would be interested in possibly making some money for doing research. The address of the theatre is 11815 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44111. It is a City of Cleveland Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Please feel free to pass this info on to anyone you think may be interested.

I'm including the attached flyer with more information.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

 

<<...>>

Gretchen Moore

Commercial Program Director

Westown Community Development Corporation

216-941-9262

 

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Councilwoman Dona Brady said Westown CDC is particularly interested in getting color photos of the theater's marquee before it was damaged by a tornado in the 1950s (1953?). The post-storm reconstruction gave the theater its current marquee. They want the original marquee restored, including its original colors.

 

I wasn't able to get a blurb about this into the West Side Sun News for today. But I hope to get it in next week's edition.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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My dad would tell a story of being in a movie theater when a tornado rumbled just outside.  I bet that is the one.  He said they stopped the picture and told everyone to sit tight, but that there was a tornado outside.

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Seriously?!?

WOW

 

That is crazy. One of the major many reasons why I will never move out of the city of Cleveland is because of our lack of natural disasters.

 

 

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We probably get as many man-made disasters here as natural ones. That same year (1953) was the infamous sewer explosion along West 117th from Lake Road to Berea Road. The nearly one-mile section of street was blown up, tossing large slabs of concrete against buses and cars. One person died. See http://www.lkwdpl.org/lore/lore13.htm for more info.

 

I wasn't able to find much about the 1953 tornado. But I did find this blurb...

 

https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/5495/1/V69N06_343.pdf

 

June 8, 1953. Many Ohioans remember the devastating tornado that rampaged through Wood, Sandusky, Erie, Lorain, and Cuyahoga Counties between 7 and 10 PM on this day. The twister left 17 dead and approximately 400 injured in its path. Numerous reports of hail up to one and one-half inches in diameter were received. The storm resulted in $3,410,000 in crop damage and $19,320,000 in property damage. Major property damage was in the Cleveland area.

_____________________

 

Also, here is some information from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration about the overall storm system that spawned the west-side Cleveland tornado....

 

...(An) F5 monster ripped through portions of greater Flint, Mich., on June 8, killing 116 people and injuring 844 along a 27-mile path. Named the Flint-Beecher tornado, it is memorable for being the last tornado in the United States (as of this writing in 2003) to claim more than 100 fatalities. The Flint-Beecher tornado is rated as the ninth deadliest twister ever recorded in the United States.

 

This tornado was one of ten that hit southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio that afternoon and evening. The others caused a total of 26 deaths and 449 injuries with damage stretching from Alpena, Mich., on the western shore of Lake Huron, to Cleveland, Ohio.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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volcanoes - no

tsunami - no

earthquake - hardly

mountain slide - barely

hurricanes - nope

tornado - occasionally

rain/snow storms - yup

floods - mostly because people live in stupid places

 

 

I'm good.

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The Variety Theater article should run in this week's West Side Sun News. Or, at least I made it available for this paper -- space constraints make its appearance uncertain.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Great photos! This was one of the aspects of the 'dog and pony' show the planning commission did through the neighborhoods that I really applauded. When you look at the entire area, zones of commercial are going to be established and mixed use in other places. Much more reasonable since our population can't support all of Lorain Avenue down to Fairview being commercial anymore. This is one thing I think can work; and the Variety, I pass it every day at least once - it needs some love and I can't wait for it to happen lol

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ADD SOME VARIETY

Posted by Frank Lewis on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 9:12 AM

 

 

Buildings like the Capitol Theater on Detroit Avenue are giving neighborhoods something to brag about again. And as the Northeast Shores Development Corp. tries to turn around others, like the old LaSalle on East 185th in North Collinwood, the Westown Community Development Corp. is closer. The group will soon buy the decrepit Variety Theater at 11815 Lorain Avenue for a complete makeover into a renovated theater, seven storefronts and 13 apartments upstairs.

 

Ward 19 councilwoman Dona Brady was successful on Monday in convincing Cleveland City Council’s finance committee to pitch in $211,000 in redevelopment funding toward the 80-year-old building’s purchase. A group, Friends of the Variety Theater, has already raised the remainder of the $1 million asking price through loan promises, and has purchased a new marquee — currently in storage — to return the tired-looking block to an earlier, prouder time.

 

More at http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2009/04/30/add-some-variety

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Hi All,

 

Here is an Article that appeared in the Sun. The next post is photos I took of the new developments in the area. The area has a lot of interesting things happening lately.

 

 

Variety Theater is at heart of revitalization area in Cleveland

 

Published: Friday, April 27, 2012, 10:43 AM

 

By Ken Prendergast, Sun News

 

CLEVELAND Lorain Avenue, between West 110th and West 130th streets, has a number of pieces of the revitalization puzzle that are starting to fall into place at the same time.

 

At the geographic heart of this commercial district is the 85-year-old Variety Theater, 11815 Lorain, which is undergoing a slow renovation due to limited funds. The 1,900-seat theater closed about 25 years ago, after having served as a vaudeville house, movie theater and stage for rock concerts. It is owned by the Friends Of The Historic Variety Theater Inc.

 

A dozen apartments on the theater’s second-floor were renovated, and now two new stores have come to the theater’s 10 storefronts.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.cleveland.com/sunpostherald/index.ssf/2012/04/variety_theater_is_at_heart_of.html

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Justine, while I appreciate you posting my article, you cannot post any article (including mine) in its entirety -- including the copyright info at the bottom of the article! :-o Copyright and UO posting rules regarding articles require all forumers to limit sharing of only the headline, date, author, a couple of paragraphs of the article, and a link to view the rest of the article. UO ran into some very serious legal complaints from Ohio's eight largest newspapers a few years ago about this, and we had to go back and clean up thousands of messages to comply with copyrights. Many threads still have not been cleaned and sit in a section of the site where forumers can't see it. So see above for how to post articles. Thanks!


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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No problem. You mentioned you have some pictures to post too? I'd love to see them! :)


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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IMG_3778.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

A photo of the storefronts of the Variety Theater as they appear today. Westown-CDC on facebook now has a photo of the interior of Variety Theater

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City Planning Commission

Agenda for October 4, 2013

 

Lorain Avenue Pedestrian Plan 

NOACA Transportation for Liveable Communities (TLCI) Plan

Presenters: Alex Pesta, City Architecture

Melissa Miller, Bellaire-Puritas Dev. Corp.

 

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/designreview/drcagenda/2013/10032013/index.php

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_01.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_03.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_04.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_06.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_29.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_30.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_31.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_23.jpg

 

Lorain_Ave_Bridge_24.jpg

 

Many more images at the above link......


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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It's been a while since we've heard anything on the Variety Village...

 

once-dazzling variety theatre set for rebirth as new lorain avenue anchor

 

"Current construction plans, which were put together about a year ago, call for extensive plumbing work and renovation. The apartments are to remain as such and the 300-seat balcony is slated to become a venue for a large-screen theatre. Specific plans for the orchestra pit, main stage and theatre space are pending. The characterization of the reborn Variety, however, will be one friendly to original musicians and grassroots music production."

 

http://freshwatercleveland.com/devnews/varietytheater030415.aspx

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Another article on the Variety Theater, this time from New York City.....

 

Artist and activist Seph Lawless shares pics of abandoned and dilapidated Cleveland theater slated for big renovation

BY TOBIAS SALINGER  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, March 30, 2015, 1:54 AM

 

These pictures raise the curtain on a long-closed vaudeville theater.

 

Artist and activist photographer Seph Lawless shot Cleveland’s abandoned Variety Theatre earlier this month to help raise funds for a preservationist group that’s bringing the one-time Warner Brothers playhouse back to life, Lawless told the Daily News.

 

The Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre, an organization that owns the sprawling 1927 building at W. 118th St. and Lorain Ave. and is developing it in partnership with the Westown Community Development Corporation, brought in the locally based photog known for his images of economic decline.

 

The theater also served as a movie house and live music venue before the city closed it in 1986, the pseudonymous Lawless said.

 

MORE:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/seph-lawless-shares-pics-abandoned-cleveland-theater-article-1.2166773


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Why is Detroit-Shoreway's name on this? Did the Westown CDC get merged into it??

 

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/landmark/agenda/2015/05282015/index.php

 

Cleveland Landmarks Commission

AGENDA - May 28, 2015

 

Lorain Variety Historic District: Case: 15-041

Variety Theatre 11815-37 Lorain Avenue

Marquee and blade sign

 

Variety_Theatre_01.jpg

 

Variety_Theatre_02.jpg

 

Variety_Theatre_03.jpg

 

Variety_Theatre_04.jpg

 

Variety_Theatre_05.jpg

 

Variety_Theatre_06.jpg

 

Variety_Theatre_07.jpg


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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When did "Jefferson" get added to the neighborhood name?

 

Because West Park is so big, the City splits it into four parts for planning purposes.  Jefferson is the portion of West Park generally east of Kamm's Corners, and it's named for Jefferson Park on Lorain Ave.  As far as I know, the current SPAs have been in use since at least 2000.

 

ETA- The Westown CDC's service area covers all of Ward 11, which includes a small part of "Jefferson," so that's probably why this thread exists as it does.  The Variety sits in that overlap area.

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When did "Jefferson" get added to the neighborhood name?

 

Because West Park is so big, the City splits it into four parts for planning purposes.  Jefferson is the portion of West Park generally east of Kamm's Corners, and it's named for Jefferson Park on Lorain Ave.  As far as I know, the current SPAs have been in use since at least 2000.

 

ETA- The Westown CDC's service area covers all of Ward 11, which includes a small part of "Jefferson," so that's probably why this thread exists as it does.  The Variety sits in that overlap area.

 

Interesting, I guess you learn something new every day.  My niece could almost fire a bottle rocket from her front porch into Jefferson Park and I never heard this name before.

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Not sure about the exact geometry, but the neigborhood of Jefferson consists the area roughly west of 117th, east of the Red Line tracks, south of the Lakewood border, and north of Puritas Avenue.

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Not sure about the exact geometry, but the neigborhood of Jefferson consists the area roughly west of 117th, east of the Red Line tracks, south of the Lakewood border, and north of Puritas Avenue.

 

Yes, actually north of I-71 and west of West 117th. See the outline of Cleveland SPA's here:

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/gis/cpc.html


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Getting serious about good design!

 

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/designreview/drcagenda/2015/08072015/index.php

 

City Planning Commission

Agenda for August 7, 2015

 

ZONING MAP AMENDMENTS

Ordinance No. 849-15(Ward 11/Councilmember Brady): Establishing the Variety Design Review District along the south side of Lorain Avenue between West 123rd Street and West 129th Street.

Ordinance No. 850-15(Ward 11/Councilmember Brady): Establishing an Urban Form Overlay District along the south side of Lorain Avenue between West 123rd Street and West 129th Street.

Ordinance No. 932-15(Ward 11/Councilmember Brady): Changing the Use, Area and Height Districts of lands located on the east side of West 117th Street north of Lorain Avenue to Local Retail, a 'C' Area District, and a '1' Height District.

Ordinance No. 851-15(Ward 16/Councilmember Kazy): Establishing an Urban Form Overlay District on the north side of Lorain Avenue between West 123rd Street and West 136th Street and the south side of Lorain Avenue between West 129th Street and West 136th Street.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Noticed the listing shows an outlot for the Giant Eagle/Target strip center on West 117th at I-90 as having a three-space retail block featuring Starbucks and Chipotle, with the third as-yet unidentified. Does that mean this will be built soon? Saw nothing on Planning Commission unless this was pre-approved when the retail complex was originally developed...

 

http://www.loopnet.com/xNet/MainSite/Listing/Profile/Profile.aspx?LID=19311886&SRID=6129508263&StepID=101

 

Starbucks Anchored Strip Center - New

3038 W 117th Street, Cleveland, OH 44111

 

1d07378d68ae4e3492d9b342165e015a.jpg


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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This thread really shows you how long these things can take. I posted the first thing in this thread about the Variety renovation nine years ago!

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^Nice looking development.  Lorain is loaded with many old-style walkable pockets.  It's good to see many are getting a fresh look.  While I don't like losing older buildings, like the one in the middle (which appears to be about 100 years old), you often have to give something to get something.

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Wow I would have thought that was a historic rehab.  That two story building has a great design to fit in with the retail with walk up office/apartment above style architecture that lines Lorain Ave an many other main streets in Cleveland.

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