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Apartments mixed with retail help liven up Prospect Avenue as Cleveland waits for retailers

Posted at 9:08 AM, Sep 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-26 09:18:28-04

CLEVELAND — If Public Square is at the heart of Cleveland, and the center of its history, then the May Company building has had a front row seat, while playing a major role itself.

The building has been around since the early 1900’s, adding floors, but holding steady as a recognizable facade along the center of the city.

The May Company building from Public Square in 1924 before additional floors were added to the top of the building.

“It served as the hub of the retail environment in Cleveland for decades so we thought we had the responsibility to restore it to its former grandeur to the extent that we could,” said Bedrock Vice President of Development Ken Till.

The May Company was the largest department store in Ohio by 1931, according to Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

Shoppers in the May Company building in 1965.

Today, the upper floors of the massive retail space are outfitted with more than 300 apartments and amenities to go along with them, including an outdoor atrium six stories up.

Rooftop areas for residents and a planned entertainment area offer views of Public Square in one direction and Progressive Field, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and the Cuyahoga River in the other direction.

On the street level, much of the 70,000 square feet of retail space livens up a half block of previously unused space along Prospect Avenue between East 4th Street and the Jack Casino.

“I think Prospect is almost as prominent as Euclid is,” said Till. “Obviously you don’t have the Public Square frontage you do on the Euclid side, but from our perspective, they’re almost equally prominent and equally important.”

The new apartments help Downtown Cleveland in its march towards 20,000 residents at which point experts say retailers could start to consider opening up a location in Downtown Cleveland.

“There’s not a soft goods, a major soft goods retailers downtown and we’d love to have the opportunity to potentially fill a niche that isn’t currently being served in the downtown retail market,” said Till.

Irishtown Bend gets City of Cleveland support

Cleveland’s City Council authorized spending $1 million for its part to recreate Irishtown Bend.

The city’s funding will be combined with state and federal money to stabilize the hillside, design a new public space, and build it between 2021 and 2023.

Irishtown bend.png
Renderings show what Irishtown Bend could look like in a few years when the hillside is stable and landscaping creates public space.

It’s the most recent development in a long list of projects happening along the Cuyahoga River, including the push to create a new neighborhood, Flats South.

Have you ever noticed something interesting in Northeast Ohio and wondered, “Hey…what’s going on there?”

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