? of the day: what should happen with East Bank of Flats?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 06/04/2006 - 15:46.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.
  1. Who is responsible for its demolition by neglect, bringing it to its current blight... who are community leaders and past and current property owners and landlords and business operators who drove the Flats to the current state of ruin?
  2. What may responsible property owners do with this neighborhood?

Consider the Flats East Bank, to be demolished by Wolstein, the City of Cleveland and the Port Authority, is only a few square blocks of parking lots speckled with historic buildings, so documenting its history and failure up to now, by lot, building, business and owner, should be an easy task.

Who demolished the historic buildings already gone, and owns the surface parking lots? Who owns and leases out the existing buildings, under what terms? Are there businesses that can thrive in the current Flats buildings, and can we develop around the historic infrastructure and buildings to maintain our cultural heritage? Do we care?

Whether we care about our historic infrastructure and buildings and culture or not, and whether we care that the Flats were an outstanding economic resource demolished by neglect, we should care what is built in the current parking lots and any and all lots formed by demolishing historic structures, and we should care about the look, feel and flow, not to mention purpose and function of whatever is built on our region's most valuable property, which has since the days of native Americans been a hub of community in these parts.

To allow all to consider what should be done about the East Bank of the Flats, take a look through the photos here of the current state - consider who made it bad like this, what good is left, and who should be trusted to make this better?

Consider whoever designed and planned these parking lots killed this community to develop something very different and ugly, just now entering a new phase of presence. What will be the form of the presence will be determined by who owns Cleveland. Is it Carney, Stark, Wolstein, Jacobs, Miller and Ratner, or you? What do you want to see happen here, now?

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

There are two issues to be resolved concerning the East Bank of the Flats.

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Reuse historic property and repopulate from bottom up

They say our economy depends on small businesses to survive - well, our city depends an small properties as well. WalMarting development here drives away small businesses, and hurts small property owners. Rather than using the government sanctioned but seemingly unregulated authority of the Port Authority to attempt eminent domain to compile property for a big box developer to demolish and then Crocker Park the Flats, let's keep all the historic buildings, even if heavily adapted over the last century. Maintain multiple property owners and a diversity of local businesses, including office, retail, and service, as well as residential. Enforce building codes on property owners, so their property does not blight the community. Map all the owners of property, the state of their property, the current and highest and best use, ecological footprint and future plans and financial expectations - sale and lease rates and conditions - and develop a path to bring new owners and businesses into current facilities as plans develop for new facilities. There is an all or nothing mentality to development here - the current paradigm is use eminent domain to compile other people's property for clearcut into large parcels for large developers or demolish by neglect... that seems to be Cleveland development these days. Why not put back into productive use the resources we have and build from there? Let's get people into the buildings we have on the East Bank. For the vacant land and parking lots to be redeveloped, we need to build walkable neighborhoods around public transportation, which will require reaching out globally to creative urban planners and architects who have done that before in other cities and are capable of moving this region to a new paradigm of planning and design.

no public access

I don't like and never liked that you had to pay a cover or buy a drink or listen to some distasteful (to me) music to see the Cuyahoga when the Flats were open in their current configuration. I also don't like that the new plan by Forum Architects offers only a small footpath along the river dominated by the condo high rise. I think those pricey condos will rise just high enough to give some disenfranchised youths with a good arm a pricey to replace glass target. What sort of thing is this to teach our children – don’t share, take all you can get and then take more? If you can’t fight your own good fight, hire a bully? How does the Port not resemble a gang in the current picture? Get your outreach together port and developers! You may be planning to save the day, but the people in Cleveland don’t seem to have a clue how magnanimous you are – at least not outside Landerhaven and the Shoreby Club.

what should happen with East Bank of Flats? REPRISE

Well we might have known this was coming...

Flats East Bank project put on hold

probably good news for now. How about a public park - riverfront access while we wait for the depression to end? It could be a longterm pop-up city.

leap night pop-up city

Terry and CUDC collaborators - get ready for some extended pop-up city stuff that can transform into emerging city projects, eh? 

These pictures are important

One thing I have really focused on, when taking pictures for the headers of REALNEO, is to capture important times and places in our region now, at this moment in our lifetimes, and over time, as a record as of our community for all time. Knowing the Flats was about to be destroyed, I took 1,000s of pictures in the pre-demo zone, which is now even more blighted than before - with the developer header toward insolvency.

I'll be getting the same views of this mess now at its worse - and look forward to documenting farms here, within six months. 

Disrupt IT

Nurse's Dormitory

  Norm--did you happen to take photos of the Nurse's Dormitory, before it was torn down recently?  I just have to resign myself to the fact that we are surrounded by senseless idiots out to destroy our built heritage and replace it with architectonic schlock and parking, more parking. There is a sign on the fence outside the demolition, which states "Mr. Excavator." I expect we will hear more about this contractor...

I spent the day sight-seeing today and rode the "Health Line" to University Circle.  The steely clouds made for a dramatic backdrop to the changing foliage.  Nathan Carterette was magnificent.  I took photos today, but I will be surprised if they turn out.  It was a dark and moody day.