CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic’s announcement of a $1.3 billion overall project is bound to change the landscape of the properties that surround where the new construction will stand. We found the good and not-so-good impact that people will feel as the project goes up.
“It is growth for the area and we welcome it,” said AJ Kazmi. He co-owns Rumi’s Market and Grill that will be within eyeshot of the Clinic’s project.
“I think it will be awesome for the business, especially during the daytime business,” said Kazmi.
His store is located at the corner of East 83rd Street and Carnegie Avenue. The market offers a ton of delicacies from various countries that AJ told us serves the diverse staff and patients of Cleveland Clinic.
There are other businesses in the area that stand to benefit, too. Kazmi’s grill fires up hot meals and plenty of options for hungry customers. “Depending on the day, it specializes in that particular cuisine. Like today is Persian Day,” said Kazmi.
Clearly, businesses in that area are happy about the potential for more customers, but not everyone is pleased about the idea of this project including the people who’ve wanted to save the old Cleveland Play House building for quite some time now. The Clinic’s plan includes its demolition.
“There’s so many things about the Cleveland Play House,” said Bridget Enggasser in a recent News 5 interview. She lives in Virginia now but grew up in Cleveland. She has fond memories of the building. “It’s cool to see all of the development and new things that are being built, but I would just hope that some of the past can also be preserved,” she told us.
So much so, that she started an online petition that, as of this afternoon, had nearly 3,800 signatures from people who want to save the aging entertainment place that was built in 1927. Enggasser said people on the petition are folks who worked there, performed, there, and more. “People who just care about the history of the neighborhood and how it’s changing,” she said.
According to Ohio’s State Historic Preservation Office, in 2019 it received an inquiry about whether the old Play House would qualify for the National Register of Historic Places, but no nomination has come in. But even if the property was placed on that list, it said that wouldn’t make the building immune to demolition. Only the Cleveland Landmarks Commission can step in to save it. We called that commission and it said it has no comment.
The Cleveland Clinic told us it will break ground on the Project involving the old Cleveland Play House area as early as the end of this year. It also said it is in discussions with the Cleveland Play House team to memorialize the building in some way to recognize the past it represents.
So, for now, Kazmi is looking forward to when the construction is complete. “We’re excited about the project and it is great for this part of Cleveland,” he told us.