Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is East Fourth Street The Pulse of Cleveland Again?

I had a gentleman walk into my office a week or so ago. He moved here from Kansas City and worked in a western suburb. He'd only been here a few days, but could already tell he really wanted to live in Cleveland. He wants to rent so we set out to explore a few things; our first efforts did not work out and this week I found myself down on East Fourth Street looking for rental possibilities. I trekked over there when the Corner Alley bowling/martini bar opened because it sounded exciting (it was). It was even more exciting to see it and everything else all decked out for summer, neon-blazing and streets closed to cars (not in the way Euclid Avenue is's a pedestrian delight on East Fourth). It really felt, for the first time, like a NYC street in Cleveland.

Now today even better news! A terrific article in the PD written by Bill Lubinger who was positively glowing about the vibrancy of the Street --a shout out to Bill because this was a positive article on Cleveland City! It is definitely worth a read.

Two points over and above the synergy part of the story (new restaurants, etc) struck me the most. The first is a comment by Michael Symon of Lola (and others) fame who hit it on the head: he wants Lola to succeed on East Fourth but not " the expense of Ohio City and Tremont...." He knows that one street isn't going to carry the load (just like LeBron couldn't be expected to do all the work last week, but I digress).

Back to the apartments. I knew they existed; Bill Lubinger tells me there are 160 apartments now, above the entertainment/retail establishments and that more are coming. I know I found myself down there on Monday because of the affordability of one of the buildings. The point is that mixed use development is what is really going to create the synergy we need in all areas of Cleveland, be it Chinatown, the Euclid Avenue Corridor, The 'west of Ohio City' portions of Lorain Road that extend all the way to Fairview.

I was on E. 185th in the Historic Shopping District there last weekend and it made me feel alive to be there and see all the people at the coffee shop, stores, etc, enjoying their neighborhood and supporting the businesses. The Warehouse District already proves that housing adds to the after hours life of an area. Anyway, thanks again to Bill Lubinger - It's a great time of year to check out East Fourth Street and put a smile on your face. Happy Summer everyone ! Peace Out-3C