Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 14:26.

The drums are beating loudly and often about East 4th Street. Even the New York Times had an extensive piece about the lively street that’s become an open air bazaar of restaurants.


It’s a small economic oasis in a virtual desert of inactivity. But not much more.


Go directly north across the street. Lively it ain’t. There sits the grandest of Cleveland’s buildings – The Arcade. Built in 1890. “It has no peer in the United States…” says Eric Johannesen’s “Cleveland Architecture 1876-1976”


And it’s dying. Economically, that is.


Just a few steps from East 4th Street.


As full as East 4th street might be on any July noon that’s as empty The Arcade will be at the exact same time.


Into each project has flowed millions of public dollars. Chris Warren, the city’s economic development major domo, says $10 million has gone into East 4th Street. Well, that’s high subsidies for such a short street.


I expect with tax relief and other subsidies it’s more than $10 million.


At The Arcade, more than $10 million of public money has been given.


It had a $6.26 million historic tax credit; a TIF (form of tax abatement) worth $6,454,000; a $1 million, 30 year city loan at zero interest rate for 26 years and 2 percent on the remainder; another $3 million loan for 20 years at 6 percent and another $2 million, 20-year loan via the County at 2.5 percent. Foundations also made contributions.


As bad as that is, The Arcade was seeking a $15 million property tax reduction in its value, a cut of more than half of what it was on the tax duplicate.


Look at The Arcade. It will depress you. The grand building lacks even the pretense of commerce.


So why the cheering for East 4th Street?


Just a few steps away from East 4th, the city gave $3.3 million in low interest loans to the Colonial/Euclid Arcades and diverted property taxes to help these two arcades. Both seem in economic decline. Very depressing.


So where is the percentage in the city dishing out free money? Does one subsidized street simply rob commerce from three arcades?  Does anyone but the developer make money?


Indeed, all around the Great East Fourth Street Miracle – as seen by the Plain Dealer and New York Times – economic failures abound.


And don’t forget the $200 million RTA fix-up of Euclid Avenue, a pretend urban transit investment that rides right through this E. 4th and Arcade site.


If you go to East 4th street from any side, you’ll hit protesters. They’re handing out flyers that complain about the East 4th Street developer, MRN. Calls the developer “rats.”


“MRN, Ltd. wants to keep all the cheese for themselves. Tell them they have to share,” says the flyer from the Regional Council of Carpenters.


So despite heavy public subsidization, MRN won’t use union carpenters on their development, which includes housing.


By the way, the protesters have been out there for weeks. Have you read anything in the Pee Dee about this?




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next project -

- the United Building - across from the westside market

MRN now owns the United and the commercial strip south on west 25th and west on Lorain..

Ohio City Development Corp

CDCs....same old...same old... 

As for the Marons

at W 25th and Lorain, my understanding is their plans at one time included (if they still don't) the eviction of Club Envy, one of the bars neighbors in the area have been eager to see close.

Asset Class

  Doesn't make it right, Henry.  Thanks, though...

Wasn't trying to justify it

Just adding what I know.

oh, what the hell, lets beat it to death...

 and I should add they (the Marons) hired a lawyer to handle the eviction. They did not make a decision to evict until AFter they spoke with our neighborhood groups. They attended our meetings (after contacting US) to hear what our complaints were and then they decided Envy Lounge was not a good neighbor.

Maybe they are just jealous

Maybe they are just jealous of the clubs name? 

i know

 they're nOt jealous of the clientele...  :O

maron's aren't the problem

god bless them for overhauling the bank building after sitting there slowly collapsing over the past 15 years. they've already cleaned up the front facade and we're seeing the original gold top trim for the first time in --how many years???

envy's gang has been hauled into court over and over for liquor violations and license issues for the past two years. their deejay/dance permit problem was probably a silly one to nail them on as Touch didn't have one around the corner either. so they won that battle.

but overall, they won't be missed.

just waiting for Cimperman to take over this part of the ward. 

do NOT want to live through that Cintron/Santiago high school battle crap anymore.


however, we aRE missing Roldo's point...

 there was a lOt of public assistance given to MRN for East 4th. Can it rEAlly be said the money benefits the general public? 

I also heard snippets of info about people getting screwed by MRN over on East 4th, but I have to say I didn't dig up all the details.

I know the unions have been picketing MRN at the United Building because they refuse to hire union labor. I find that reprehensible. UnAmerican. 

But then, if money is your god... that all makes sense. Thats my hood over there (hi Mike!) and given their responsible and respectable handling of the Envy situation, I've taken a wait and see attitude. I'm interested to hear what others think...

I liked the old E4th Street

Back in the day, when friends came in from out of town, I used to like to take them to Otto Moser's on E4th. Nothing there now, nor the new Moser's, compare.

And the Arcade was so cool... I even thought of setting up office there, before it became a hotel.

I miss the authenticity of the real Cleveland, before the "development" of the past half-decade made such a mess of downtown.


Disrupt IT


 my hairdresser used to keep shop in the Colonial, so i was down there often. It was the coolest corner in town. I used to go around to 4th to shop for sexy time clothes at the rainbow - some of the funnest stuff!

And the street life was great. I was so pissed when they "rehabbed" it.

late 60’s


Look… Moser and Woolworth were fallout shelters.

That photo must have been taken in at least the late 60’s, see the duck and take cover signs over the doors.

Now we have terror drills…practice for the dirty bomb…what would Confucius say?