CLEVELAND — The City of Cleveland wants to make sure you’ve got a place to go downtown to watch the NFL Draft so they’ve created three Rock the Clock End Zones where people can gather safely outside to watch the Draft on big-screen TVs while having a bite to eat.
“We’re going to give people an opportunity to come enjoy themselves in a family-friendly environment,” said Joe Marinucci, President and CEO of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “A safe environment to view the draft.”
It will also give Cleveland a chance to show off three of its great turnaround stories as the End Zones will be in the Flats East Bank, Mall C, and Playhouse Square.
Cleveland sports fans may remember the 2014 NFL Draft for the selection of Johnny Manziel by the Browns but they may forget the weekend before thousands gathered in Playhouse Square for the unveiling of the world’s largest outdoor chandelier. It was an event that showed the promise of the renovated space to function as a second outdoor living room downtown for large events like the Draft.
The Flats East Bank was down to dirt in 2008 as construction was halted in the economic collapse. It would become a few years later one of the first privately financed projects in the country to move forward coming out of the recession while the old Convention Center and the Malls above were in the process of being ripped out and totally rebuilt a decade ago.
“This is exactly what we were hoping with those types of investments,” Marinucci said. “If you think back again to I think almost $16 million worth of investments at Playhouse Square it took to animate their neighborhood. Now we’re going to leverage that by animating the street and the plaza in terms of this particular opportunity.
“Mall C as you know was fully renovated when we did the Convention Center this gives us another opportunity again to maximize that space,” he said. “And of course the Flats East Bank has already turned into one of our premier entertainment districts and we’re going to provide again some additional outdoor capacity to augment some of the restaurant strength that we already have in that neighborhood.”
The Flats East Bank and the Playhouse Square’s End Zone will be open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday of the Draft. Mall C will be open Thursday and Friday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and again on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.