Today the New York Times ran an article that highlights our great City of Cleveland and all the exciting construction projects ahead. Most notably, the relocation of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) to University Circle, near Little Italy, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Museum of Art and University Hospitals. In addition, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) just won a $12.5million grant to relocate a Rapid Transit station near the new MOCA.

The Times article begins by acknowledging the population decrease since 1950, and most dramatically in the last decade. However, in recent years the city government and RTA have rallied the big name players in Cleveland to develop and rebuild the city in accordance with the new urban market trends of the 21st century: health care (Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals), higher education (Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University), entertainment (Playhouse Square District and Professional Sports), good food (E. 4th Street and the West End), new housing (University Circle and the Euclid Corridor) and expanded mass transit (RTA’s Rapid Transit and HealthLine).

The article specifically cites the revitalization of the Uptown area, where the $27million MOCA (designed by Farshid Moussavi) is being built. A pedestrian plaza designed by James Corner Field Operations (of the High Line elevated park in NYC) separates MOCA from two, four-story, mixed-use residential buildings under construction on the north and south sides of Euclid Avenue.

The south building will have 70 rental apartments, as well as restaurant and retail space. The north building will have 44 rental apartments, a bookstore and a grocery store, as well as additional retail space. The grocery store will be a much-needed amenity as one is not close by.

To get people to and from the arts district (that included Severance Hall, home of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra), the RTA plans to move two existing rail stops on the 19-mile Red Line, one of which is the aforementioned station near the new MOCA.

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In essence, the Uptown area will be a new downtown for the University Circle neighborhood. CASE, University Hospitals, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Clinic, Severance Hall and the Cleveland Orchestra, the Museum of Natural History and Little Italy are all within walking distance of this new downtown area.

These institutions form a distinct economic microclimate that has fostered the highest growth in job numbers, income and residents. “There are 5,000 more jobs here than in 2005,” said Chris Ronayne, and urban planner and president of University Circle, Inc. Further, by measure of civic energy and interest, Uptown looks to be a success. The one bedroom, one bath apartments will go on the market for $1,500/month in January.

Other new projects in the area include a planned $26million Marriott Hotel just down Euclid on Cornell Ave and a $30million addition to the Institute of Art.

This is no doubt exciting news for the City and we’re so proud to call Cleveland home. What are your thoughts on urban development and revitalization? Is it worth the investment? We certainly think it is, but we want to hear your thoughts. Discuss!