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Bedrock’s Tower City starting its marketplace revitalization with the announcement of 3 new leases

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 19:54:32-04

CLEVELAND — Bedrock, the company that owns Tower City, announced three new leases with Cleveland-owned businesses as part of its effort to revitalize the historic city and retail center.

Jaxon’s Closet, a boy's clothing store, MiAmour, a women’s boutique, and Peach Fuzz, a Lakewood beauty and grooming service business, will all move into Tower City in the fall of 2021. All three businesses are owned by women and News 5 was able to confirm that at least two of the three women are women of color.

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Peach Fuzz has a Lakewood location already. It's unclear what will happen to that spot when it opens a location in Tower City as well.

“We’ve been able to find at least three African American-owned businesses that are Cleveland’s that we are happy to work with and they’ll be coming into Tower City and there are about 10 other leases that will be coming in,” said Bedrock CEO Kofi Bonner while talking about the new effort on September 15.

It’s part of the company’s effort to make sure that as the city center is revitalized, it lifts up all the people who live nearby.

“That lets me know that they care about the people, they’re invested in the people, but they want to see the growth of the city just like we do,” said UJerk Caribbean Eatery Co-Owner Jeremiah Perkins. “It’s good to have somebody else in the fight, to be honest with you.”

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Tower City's food court is largely empty.

Bedrock said earlier this summer that it envisions the future of Tower City to be a “hub for shopping, pop-up retail experiences, dining, and entertainment, while also bringing an influx of local small- and minority-owned businesses to one of downtown Cleveland’s more highly-trafficked areas,” according to a press release.

Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative Director Terry Schwarz says she’s wondering if there will be a large anchor tenant announced soon, especially after Tower City Cinemas announced it was closing permanently in August 2020.

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The retail section of Tower City was designed around shopping habits that many people don't have anymore. Bedrock's marketplace approach tries to adapt to new preferences.

“I think that the old model of having the movie theater, the three department stores that make up the classic shopping malls, maybe that’s not what happens here,” said Schwarz. “Maybe there’s a grocery store that happens there.”

It’s an interesting possibility at the same time that the most recent Downtown Cleveland Alliance report says there are officially 20,000 downtown residents, and large projects like The Centennial plans to bring many more apartments and residents into the city center.

“It’s not just what the most affluent downtown residents need,” said Schwarz. “There’s a lot of people who live downtown and so what’s the range of searches and products that serves that population. It could really be a vibrant place. It’s an experiment for sure. I don’t know a model quite like this one.”

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