A question on the minds of many Ohioans — and apparently answered in the affirmative by the October 2012 issue of Architectural Record magazine — is: Can we call Cleveland 'A Comeback City' yet? Can we retire the dated image of a stagnant rust-belt burg (seen above in decades past) for a more enticing and forward-thinking metropolis?
It would be easy to find many throughout the region who clearly believe so. After all, the recent recession helped to stem the continuing waves of exodus that had more than halved the city's population, and Cleveland is currently seeing levels of interesting and innovative development not glimpsed in a generation or more. Some of the signs of renewed urban vitality:
• The recent opening of the Horseshoe Casino at the city's center signaled the return of citizens and suburbanites alike to the heart of Cleveland. The gambling facility's gravitational pull, coupled to that of such core attractions as Tower City Center, Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena, insured continuing streams of patrons to populate city streets.
• The night spots, entertainment venues and fine dining establishments of East Fourth Street create a consistent and lively vibe for the increasing number of young professionals choosing to reside in the restored historic central neighborhoods.
• Cleveland Browns Stadium has joined the Great Lakes Science Center, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Voinovich Park, the Inner Harbor, lake and river sightseeing vessels, and the William G. Mather Steamship Museum to offer family entertainment for locals and visitors alike.
• Completion is nearing on both the new Cleveland Convention Center (with a unique ramped rooftop park) and its linked Medical Mart, which will jointly serve idea exchanges, trade shows and meetings for the region's vast and growing health care industry, as well as the larger business community.
• A new office tower rises on the east bank of the Flats, and will provide riverfront and lakefront vistas to the offices of Ernst & Young and many other tenants. Meanwhile, the Federal Office Building at East Ninth and Lakeside gets a new second skin, and many other office structure about town upgrade.
• New hotels continue to come on line, anticipating the increased demand of a vibrant city.
• The now-completed Euclid Corridor transportation project has spawned redevelopment and new construction along its entire length, from Public Square to University Circle, not least of which is new urban housing for both Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University.
• New structures continue to sprout at the sprawling East Side campuses of The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, adding even greater health care employment and cutting-edge facilities to the region.
• The chamfered black prism of the new Museum of Contemporary Art marks the intersection of Mayfield Road and Euclid Avenue, and serves as the nexus of still further development yet to arrive at University Circle.
• Yet one more nationality of European immigrants has added its cultural gardens to the dozens of others that punctuate Rockefeller Park, which winds along Doan Creek, linking the lakefront to University Circle. The park is but one segment Cleveland's famed 'Emerald Necklace' — a series of interconnected green spaces that weave through the city's neighborhoods, improving the quality of life for all residents.
Yes, it is clearly time to retire the staid black-and-white image of Cleveland for a much more colorful and dynamic vision of a Comeback City!