University Circle Cancer Moving Down East Boulevard... Is there an Urban Planner in the House?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 10/05/2007 - 23:59.

The last two realneo headers are pans of a site I pass often, on my way between the East and West sides, which is bounded by East 105, Wade Park and East Boulevard, in one of the most important historic and cultural neighborhoods in America, where I was shocked to find a group of significant apartment buildings being demolished.

After East Boulevard demolition at Wade Park

Being on the edge of "University Circle" and next to the Veterans Administration hospital, and knowing the lust around there for parking, my immediate thought was "these MFing "NEO-planners" are demolishing more of our scarce historic fabric to build a garage... and I was right. In typical cloak of NEO stupidity and sell-out fashion, many historic buildings were demolished without any public input or outcry I know of, days before the Plain Dealer printed the NEO PR machine's gushing announcements of plans for the by-then vacant properties... see the bullshit here..

Gotta love the pathetic headline playing to the "Social Consciousness" bug in we morons who just allowed more important historic buildings to be destroyed and the fabric of our neighborhoods to be further demolished in the interest of sprawl and automobiles... er, sheltering homeless defenders of America and apple pie... "Veterans homeless shelter part of Wade Park project" God bless war and the Port Authority.

Of course, the great and powerful Port Authority has its fingers all over this one and surely has planned this demolition, as the PD reports: "A committee of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority recommended Tuesday that the port board approve issuing taxable bonds for the $125 million project". " The port will own the developed property." They have been planning this for a long, long, long time.

BTW... the demolition effort did not appear to recycle any material from the buildings as the picture below shows valuable windows and stone work - historically significant - just hours before reduction to land fill. So what is the environmental impact of this project and the over 2,000 cars that will park on this site in the future? Where is the TOD?

Your tax dollars, elected officials and community at work... demolishing this...

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Mars and Venus

  Mars and Venus colliding.  Norm--I get flamed for saying it.   Your anger is justified, but  you will not be personally attacked.  Men are allowed to be mad.  Women are supposed to fade into the background.  Everything you say is true here. 

Some of these people, who call themselves "planners" feel they are justified in their actions, because in their deluded minds, they have done their "tour of duty" and have lived in the city.  Their war mentality is to demolish, destroy, conquer and build another ego monument, or worse, just make a buck.   The healing mentality is to fix and cure the problem.  These "planners" will justify their actions as "helping the poor."  Tell me that this is not paternalistic and demeaning?  I am mad beyond words.

Trapping a Travesty

Thanks for alerting us to a clear violation of aforementioned pledges by civic leaders to value and preserve historically significant structures.  Where were the preservation committees on this one?  I am yet again frustrated by some of the underhanded ways things are done - and if not for savvy and astute work by socially conscious citizen bloggers like yourself, many such travesties would continue to transpire.  Cost consciousness versus social consciousness - we might better term this pathetic situation cost conscious, social UNconsciousness.  New Urbanism and Traditional Neighborhood Development are clearly the right pathways for our community but seem to be embrace by only a few and even then, only when convenient. 

If there is a paradigm shift called for here, it is the appropriate valuing of historical properties and diligent protection of them.  Since the inappropriate behaviors are shown to persist new behaviors must counter them.  Exposing the mistakes and clearly illustrating why they are that is critical. 


The likely new parking space is unlikely to be underground, built with devotion to energy efficiency and surfaced with above ground retail-and-living spaces.  But if there were a best practice to follow at this point, that would provide some saving grace.  Watching and working on the historic rennovation of the 1894 Roxbury site has helped me see how we can find a middle ground and fuse the best of new green, smart technology while protecting the beauty and antiquity of original design and building. 

Thanks for a great catch.

Cost conscious, social UNconsciousness

  I could not have said it better.

VA development already wasted 1,000,000s gallons of oil

Now that NEO has been better educated on the environmental considerations of buildings and construction, by world-expert on the subject Carl Stein, we can easily calculate the embodied energy of buildings on Northeast Ohio, as part of the analytic process to determine what future development projects are acceptable in our community.

For the so far despicable "Homeless VA Home" demolition on 105 and Wade, above, I do not know the exact square footage of the historic properties "they" (I suppose "we", as this is a Federally funded, Port Authority run project) demolished and hauled off to landfill, but it is safe to say it is over 200,000, which would have embodied energy of over 2,000,000 gallons of oil, not including the environmental harm of the demolition process, landfill, and runoff from the now vacant site... and whatever further environmental stupidity is to come... like parking for over 2,000 cars. Don't let "them" start talking about this as a green project, even if coated in solar cells, featuring a green roof with a wind lawn ornament on top... no making up for those millions of gallons of oil, or mature trees killed for no good reasons.

Or are there good reasons? Where are the plans for all this that justified the developer getting permits to cause all this environmental harm - who is in charge of planning and preventing such things? Is this part of Jackson's new green development strategy, as this is a disgrace.

Disrupt IT