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Cleveland: Upper Chester

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E. Side lures Fla. developer

Finch Group’s success at Park Lane Villa leads to proposed mixed-use project in upper Chester area

 

By JAY MILLER

 

4:30 am, July 9, 2007

 

 

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This has been in the planning phases for about two years now. There are a lot of interesting little details that should be coming out regarding this project...

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Great news for University Circle for sure, but I'll be damned that Paul Volpe and City Architecture are involved...

 

They are doing the masterplanning (new streets, etc). They have not been retained to work on any individual structures.

 

As part of this project, the Cleveland Foundation is looking at interesting ways to improve the elementary-age school options for families who would settle in this neighborhood.

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As part of this project, the Cleveland Foundation is looking at interesting ways to improve the elementary-age school options for families who would settle in this neighborhood.

 

Now that's real interesting.

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True, they are only doing master planning as of right now, but if anyone has seen Volpe's proposal for Public Square a year or two ago, them working on any project in any manner is scary.

Unfortunately, any firm in the city that would get a job like this (City, KA, Bialosky, Dorsky, Forum, etc) would produce pretty much the same "traditional, neo classical" solution because they are top down dictatorships that generally don't allow younger, motivated, urban minded designers to have much input. 

And the firms with a decent design process/portfolio [Westlake Reed Leskosky, Fleicshman (hate the bastard)] wouldn't touch a developer commission with a ten foot pole.

 

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In all fairness, Volpe's plan for public square was not his. A group from Leadership Cleveland came up with the plan. That said, I would really like to have a few more architecture firms take prominent roles in the city. Whether you like Volpe or not, we need more diversity in our urban projects.

 

From what I'm hearing, the new Kent State School will be playing a more active role in the city. Hope that is a positive thing.

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in any case, progress on Upper Chester is a good thing.  Some may not view the gentrification of the area north of Chester as the way to repair the neighborhood, but I think this is the best way to do it.  No whole-sale buying up of all the property... no eminent domain... just infill by a developer who has done good work in this city (Finch) and has a good grasp on the market.  If the Clinic were left to push north of Chester, we'd have more parking lots paving over the beautiful housing stock. 

 

That said, I don't know that I'd prefer retail on Chester (very wide & fast) over retail on Euclid or Carnegie, but it looks like the Clinic wants nothing to do with building a neighborhood on-campus.  So, we don't have much of a choice.  Plus, when you consider Upper Chester with the plans for the West Quad and ties to Rockefeller Park, Univ. Circle and the remainder of Hough, this could be the type of push that this neighborhood needs to reclaim its role as a functional neighborhood for the city's working and middle class, not just for those with very few options.

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W28th, I checked out WRL and Fleischman's websites, but couldn't find any previous masterplans in their portfolios.  Can you point us in the direction of some of their previous work that would be relevant?

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Neither really do much "master planning," this is true because they don't take on developer work, which is usually what large scale urban developments are.  This is unfortunate because both have the designers (WRL more than RF in my opinion)to respond to the urban condition in a manner that would be more intriguing than the "Crocker Park in the city" vernacular that City, KA, Dorsky, etc spew out (i.e. The Avenue District).

Being the architect for a developer is more often than not a dangerous and excrutiating place to be if you have a problem straying from your ideals as a designer.

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As part of this project, the Cleveland Foundation is looking at interesting ways to improve the elementary-age school options for families who would settle in this neighborhood.

 

Now that's real interesting.

 

Just some thoughts / observations on this...

 

The powers that be have long reconized the need for quality education to go hand-in-hand along with revitaizing housing in the city, particularly near UC.  I believe this is the primary reason the beautifully restored John Hay HS (class of '97 - yea baby!) is now a very selective school housing three magnet programs.  The goal is that this school will become a regional school, attracting children from outside Cleveland who will pay to be in their programs.  The Clinic linked/sponsored bio-medical arts program was strong back in my day, before the rennovation, offering lab time and internships to students interested in medicine.  I hear it is even more intensive now.  Addionally, the future vision is a more integrated campus with the also selective, and highly regarded School of the Arts, which sits across a field/parking lot from Hay. 

 

As far as elementary education, Citizens' Academy, located in the Temple at E. 105 / Chester, is a very high performing K-5 elementary charter school (I know several familes there, as well as teachers and staff members), with achievement test scores well above many Cleveland schools, and some suburbs.  While it mainly serves neighborhood children, an awful lot of Clinic, UH, Case parents send their kids there as well, noting the test scores and close proximety to their jobs. 

 

www.citizensacademy.org

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It makes perfect sense that this hub of education, health care, art and innovation would apply to all levels of learning.  There may be a Montessori school on the way for UC as well.

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^^^I worked in Dick's office for a very short period of time and I must say it was the worst working experience ever.  A bad combination of me being fresh out of college (they don't teach much on the construction document side in college for better ot worse) and having an entire commission being thrown in my lap by a guy that starts yelling at employees and consultants from the time he walks in in the morning to when he leaves at night.

It wasn't pretty to say the least.

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I suppose this could go in either the Upper Chester or the broader University Circle thread.  Nothing new really - except maybe that Chester 82 is going to break ground next month. 

 

There's an image too in on cleveland.com but I can't post.  Maybe someone else can.

 

_________________________________________________________________________

 

Chester Avenue redevelopment signals good things for University Circle, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic

Friday, July 13, 2007

Henry J. Gomez

Plain Dealer Reporter

 

 

EDIT:  Article removed; no link; not on cleveland.com any longer.

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Glad to hear that Chester82 will soon break ground. It also looks like they have broken ground for the new Rite Aid. Once that is done, then the Clinic will begin work on the allee.

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It will be on the southwest corner of Chester and E.101st.  Before construction began, it was a surface lot.

 

Did u mention before an extended stay hotel would be incoporated, or was that on a seperate parcel?

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that's the boulevard that they are going to build that will connect the heart center with Chester. It will have some very fancy fountains in the middle, etc.

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Not sure if this falls under this topic, but does anyone know anything about MOCA Cleveland's relocation? I haven't seen any plans or anything detailing their new location, and I was wondering if anyone has?

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MOCA is going to be located on the SE corner of Euclid and Mayfield, as the western anchor of a mixed use development.  Renderings haven't been released.  Try browsing through the University Circle Construction thread for more info on it.

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^Yeah, it's going to be an interesting. 

Wish I could say more, and I'll reveal as much as I can when the time comes, but it's very hush hush.

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^Yeah, it's going to be an interesting. 

Wish I could say more, and I'll reveal as much as I can when the time comes, but it's very hush hush.

 

Can I ask what is your relationship to this project?  This way we might be able to understadn why its so "hush hush"

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