News & Articles

Model for Rejuvenated Retail

Our conclusion on the Colonial Marketplace was that it represented a large footprint, nearly 70,000 square feet in the heart of the city - essentially two streets under glass with many storefronts inside a beautiful historic structure.  We knew that, in order to be successful, it would need to be leased thematically with one entity focused on a brand and leasing so we pursued the concept of a Master Lease.  Ultimately, we orchestrated this lease with Dick Pace and Cumberland Development.  Since then the Colonial Arcade has been re-branded as the 5th Street Arcades with a theme of “local retail.”  5Th Street Arcades is well connected to all the surrounding assets and has become the model for rejuvenated retail in downtown Cleveland.  In addition, the solution for the arcades made their presence as a connection to the hotel, an amenity rather than a management challenge.  When the owners elected to sell the hotel, they were able to do so, in part, because this Master Lease was in place and the future of the arcades was resolved.

More Than Meets the Eye:

A Historic Structure in a New Light

Real Estate Services assumed management of the Colonial Marketplace on the first of March in what promises to be an intriguing assignment, one that is about more than just property management.  This historic structure is attached to the extremely successful Residence Inn. Long viewed as a classic urban arcade, the interior features a food court and small shops.  The property is surrounded by some of the city’s most recognized assets, including Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, East 4th Street, the new Horseshoe Casino, Rosetta and their 100+ employees and 668 Euclid (a 236 unit facility and a waiting list of over 300 people).
So what does the Colonial Marketplace have in common with all of these assets? Right now, just the location.  Our job is to find the thread of a relationship to the surroundings and make the connection.  We will be evaluating the highest and best use for the property in light of the significant changes in the area and in downtown Cleveland overall.  Real Estate Services will help the ownership to craft a strategy that will enable this key piece of real estate to become significant once again.


One of our most exciting endeavors this year involves an engagement with Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art.  As the museum’s new building nears completion, MOCA has selected the RES team to commission and manage the facility.  Real Estate Services will be acting in a transitional capacity as the project is handed off from construction management to property management.  We are using the time before the building opens to establish and incorporate various protocols, ensure the construction closeout is complete, and verify that all necessary warranties are in place.

One of the reasons this particular project has been so exciting for us is in large part due to its unique nature.  While PlayhouseSquare manages a diverse array of properties throughout Northeast Ohio, we have never managed a facility quite like this one.  In helping MOCA to set up the various services for their new building, we have learned that managing an art museum demands different and unusual things be taken into consideration. As we aid in the setup of this unique facility and determine how we will successfully manage it once it opens, we realize there aren’t many opportunities like this – in Cleveland and around the country.
We take pride in the fact that one of the reasons we were given this project is because we work very well in partnerships and we know how to bring development online.  We have an understanding of not only the general realm of property management, but also of the city of Cleveland.  Our organization boasts a unique and extensive group of resources for various services that will be helpful to MOCA.  It is our belief that this assignment will pave the way for other institutions with similar needs to look at Real Estate Services as the unconventional, but logical facility management alternative.  As they look at the steps we have taken and will continue to take while we help set up the MOCA facility, they will see the networks of partnerships that we are so proud of and will be able to leverage off of the goods, services and contracts that result from such strong relationships.

Dwellworks Design Fuses Trends with History

Construction for the new Dwellworks space is underway! Dwellworks, a residential real estate services provider, will be moving close to 40 employees from its office in Warrensville Heights. The company has leased the second floor of the building at 1317 Euclid Avenue, originally an F.W. Woolworth Company dime store, for its new corporate headquarters.  Megan Fleming, an interior designer and LEED AP at Vocon, explains that since the project is a rehabilitation (rather than a preservation), the group will have several key historical and architectural details they need to maintain, but that the group will have a great deal of flexibility with regards to the various design decisions they make throughout the process.

When asked about the specifics of the design, Fleming detailed several elements of the plan that her team is particularly excited about.  First, the reception area will feature a wall graphic with a picture of the original building and the Dwellworks logo. Next, the design team has created some high-functioning informal meeting spaces.  Vocon has gone beyond the concept for a traditional meeting space and provided Dwellworks with a variety of seating arrangements in unique locations throughout the space in an effort to reinvent the idea of a meeting room.  The team is proposing bench seating and small tablet coffee tables along a brick-exposed wall by the reception area.  Additionally, they have created a sectional and lounge seating arrangement overlooking Euclid Avenue to enhance informal collaboration.  In addition to these innovative meeting spaces, Vocon predicts the café, which will be on the back end of the space, will be very popular due to its large presence and the ceiling’s stylistically appealing combination of colors and lighting. “Workplace trends,” Fleming says, “along with the next generation coming out of college, have shown us that work takes place in a variety of settings, not just at a desk.  Great ideas don’t only originate at a large conference table.”
Fleming went on to say that the design for the conference room, which will be centrally located and surrounded by glass garage doors, is a neat and inexpensive way to create a large, transparent space - that can be used for private meetings or opened up to address the whole group - in a spot that naturally blends into the rest of the office area.  Entrances to offices throughout the space will be marked by sizable barn doors on sliding tracks. In terms of a color scheme for the office, the design team plans to distribute vibrant reds, blues, and other “berry” colors sparingly throughout the space to showcase the exposed brick and stained concrete from the building’s 1920s origins.
The project is very much a design-build effort, which has allowed the process a fair amount of flexibility.  “A design-build project,” says Fleming, “typically involves the general contractor coordinating the architectural, engineering efforts along with the trades. Essentially we are designing and constructing in an expedited fashion, whereas traditionally we would design the space and then it would be built out.  We’re making many decisions both collaboratively as a team and quickly in order to accelerate the process.”  The process has been a true partnership between PlayhouseSquare, Turner, Vocon and Dwellworks.  The various trades are constantly at onsite meetings, working as a team to create Dwellworks’ new home.  PlayhouseSquare hopes to have Dwellworks in the new space by mid-February 2012.

Update: Chagrin Highlands

Construction has begun at the site for the Eaton Corporation’s new world headquarters in Beachwood.  The 580,000 SF facility, situated on fifty-three acres, will house approximately seven hundred employees. According to Doug Miller, Vice President of Leasing at the Jacobs Group, the plan boasts several exciting features.  The new headquarters will be LEED Gold certified, utilizing systems developed by Eaton with the latest technology in energy conservation.  It will also feature a full cafeteria and fitness center for its employees, as well as jogging and walking trails winding throughout the scenic campus setting.  Miller also explained that the site is perched atop the second highest elevation in Cuyahoga County – so Eaton’s employees will have some of the best views around!  The project is scheduled to be completed by late 2012.

When discussing the history of Chagrin Highlands, Miller shared that the land was originally part of a 2,000-acre development purchased by former Mayor Tom L. Johnson in the early 1900s.  Johnson befriended local pastor Harris Cooley, and upon taking office as Mayor appointed Cooley as the Director of Charities and Corrections for the City of Cleveland.  The two shared the belief that some of the negative aspects of urban life worked in opposition to healthy lifestyles.  Cooley developed an idea for a rural campus where people could ‘recover’ or gain respite from the chaotic and destructive nature of life in the city. Thus, as part of a country retreat for people from the city of Cleveland, Johnson and Cooley began to acquire land in 1904.  Between 1904 and 1912, the city of Cleveland acquired twenty-five farms, and the complex eventually totaled 2,000 acres. As time went on, explained Miller, communities such as Beachwood, Orange, Highland Hills and Warrensville Heights were created around that land.
With regards to the remaining land in the Chagrin Highlands area, Miller says there are still over three hundred acres to develop.  The Jacobs Group continues to seek corporate users and supportive retail.

New Restaurant, Cowell & Hubbard, to Open This Fall

Restaurant owner and chef Zack Bruell will open his fifth restaurant in the fall. Cowell & Hubbard, named to honor its legacy, will feature a modern French-themed dining room, offering lunches and dinners ranging from $12 to $22. Situated in PlayhouseSquare, an area that attracts approximately 1 million patrons per year, the new restaurant will afford Bruell the opportunity to tap into a vast customer base. Lighting up one more storefront on Euclid Avenue, the restaurant will provide yet another link towards the creation of a cohesive neighborhood that stretches from Public Square to PlayhouseSquare and CSU’s campus.

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Euclid Corridor Project Wins Award for Excellence

The Euclid Corridor Transportation Project was recently chosen as a winner of the 2011 Urban Land Institute’s Award for Excellence. The Awards for Excellence program recognizes demonstrations of best practice in the effort to promote better land use and development. Describing the winning project, ULI remarks, “The $200 million Euclid Avenue Transportation Project brings bus rapid transit and an improved streetscape along 8.3 miles of Cleveland’s historic Euclid Avenue, connecting the central business district with major cultural, medical and education users—all at one-fourth the cost of light rail. The transit project has helped catalyze $4.7 billion in spin-off investment and 11.4 million square feet of new and planned development, offering a successful example of the economic leverage potential for bus rapid transit.”

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PlayhouseSquare Featured in the Wall Street Journal

In May, PlayhouseSquare Real Estate Services was featured in the WALL STREET JOURNAL in an article that described PlayhouseSquare as a “model of economic viability in the arts.” The article emphasized the uniqueness of the foundation, highlighting its key realization that a successful theater district could only work when coupled with an equally successful neighborhood.

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May Downtown Business News from DCA

The May issue of Downtown Cleveland Alliance's Downtown Business & Development Newsletter includes some of these headlines:

  • Parking discussions continue for new Valet Center
  • PlayhouseSquare Featured in Wall Street Journal
  • DCA Member Spotlight: Medical Mart
  • Global Cleveland Launch Party

>>Read the May 2011Downtown Business & Development Newsletter from Downtown Cleveland Alliance

Spotlight on Theater on Other Street

Just in time for the 2010/2011 PlayhouseSquare season to begin, the E. 14th Streetscape project began, extending the brick sidewalk to make E. 14th Street feel more like a pedestrian street than a rush hour street. The project coincided with an increase of programming at the Hanna Theatre and East 14th Street Theatre, both located on E. 14th Street.

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New Education Center Gets OK from CSU

Plans for the Middough Building on East 13th were finalized when Cleveland State University agreed to have the building will house a preschool through graduate arts education program. The building will be shared by PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland State’s undergraduate and graduate drama and dance department, the Cleveland Play House and Case Western Reserve’s graduate acting program.

(Photo credit )

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Playing to the Future

The Plain Dealer editorial board commends PlayhouseSquare Real Estate Services’ efforts in revitalizing downtown. With businesses and education both a part of what is primarily known as a theater district, the article declares: “Expect many more encores from this fertile district for years to come.”

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Real Estate Revival

The Plain Dealer featured a story about the history and future of PlayhouseSquare’s real estate properties. PlayhouseSquare’s investment in real estate properties has not just supplied needed revenue for arts and education programs, but positioned the area to be a true downtown destination.


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