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Cleveland helping lead a retail revolution with less stuff, more lifestyle experiences

Posted at 4:36 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 17:40:25-04

CLEVELAND — A retail revolution is underway as developers look to slow the pace of shuttered storefronts in the face of growing online sales.

The secret to reducing those vacancies, and making our community a better land, might already be in our own backyard.

Pinecrest in the eastern suburbs is one example of how Cleveland is adapting to the ever-changing consumer landscape.

"Ten years ago, a shopping center would be built, and it would have an anchor tenant and a bunch of junior anchor tenants and small tenants that sold stuff," said Greg Guyuron.

The 58-acre mixed-use district in Orange Village sells less stuff.

Guyuron, with Anchor Cleveland, a retail real estate service, said that's part of the secret to its success in its first year.

"When you walk around here you see what consumers value. These projects are being catered towards what people want today," said Guyuron.

For millennials and Generation Z, it's all about experiences in a walkable, urban environment. It's one of the reasons downtowns are seeing a resurgence.

"This is kind of representation of a downtown. You see people walking around, people walking their dogs. They live here, they work here, they play here," said Guyuron.

While there's 400,000 sq. feet of retail and restaurant space, Guyuron said it only makes up 10-20% of the project. The rest of the space centers around health and beauty.

"You see yoga, you see pilates, you see spas," said Guyuron.

Guyuron believes the $230-million-dollar project is an excellent microcosm of the retail evolution that's currently sweeping through the U.S.

"It's a great representation of what can be successful in the market today in a midsize city like Cleveland," said Guyuron.

While Guyuron admits e-commerce continues to chip away at stores, he said its impact is often exaggerated.

"Counter to popular opinion, retail brick and mortar sales are still 90% of overall sales. Online are only 10%," said Guyuron.

Overall, Guyuron said the retail market in Cleveland is strong right now.

Although it can be a tall task to attract big names like REI and Silverspot Cinema to Cleveland, there is growing confidence, and several other developers are landing the businesses they need to be successful.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.