CLEVELAND — Plans to revitalize and re-develop Shaker Square are now being put on pause. The popular shopping center was recently taken off the market after merchants and residents expressed concern about closing the lanes of Shaker Boulevard that run through the square.
Now, work begins on a compromise as the current owner says he’s taking a step back so everyone’s voice can be heard.
If you ask around Shaker Square no two answers are exactly the same.
“I’m excited about the development,” Monica Daniely-Green, owner of H2 Beauty & Barber Academy, said.
“There's a lot of passion around it. If you see the side streets, if you go on the side streets, there are probably 20, save Shaker Square signs,” Brandon Chrostowski, owner of EDWINS restaurant, said.
Those signs have been popping up over the last several months. It’s a community response to a proposal aiming to redevelop the square and add more green space – by removing two lanes of shaker boulevard.
The possible traffic and safety impacts are a concern for some residents and business owners.
“We're very much against it. We're very open to compromise,” Chrostowski said.
Monica Daniely-Green – the owner of H2 Beauty & Barber Academy – says the square needs a new vision.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to grow and expand to catch up to the trends and be inclusive I think is a powerful thing.”
Chrostowski says he and other merchants who share his viewpoint aren’t against redevelopment altogether – they just think the plan needs work. They also feel they were ignored by developers after they spoke up.
“They held multiple events, when we would speak out about the closure of the boulevard to reconsider to think about a different way to plan this. Again, we were silenced,” Chrostowski said.
That unrest was the driving factor behind the square’s owner – Coral Company – taking the shopping center off the market about a month ago. News 5 spoke to president Peter Rubin over the phone Thursday.
He says Coral Company has owned the square since 2004 and always planned to sell it once redevelopment plans were on track – but that all changed when so many concerns were raised.
“It was clear that there wasn’t a sufficient consensus to move forward. There were a lot of people who were unhappy or uncertain that it was the right plan. So we put a stop to it,” Rubin said.
Both business owners agree – that’s for the best.
“I’m actually very excited. I was super sad actually when I heard he was selling it,” Daniely-Green said.
“I'm very excited that he took it back off the market until this is all worked out,” Chrostowski said.
Next year, Rubin says the planning process could be re-opened and re-worked — which would take six to twelve months – or developers will come up with an entirely new plan to satisfy everyone.