2001 to Today: A Perspective on Cleveland’s Inner-Ring Development

The following is an excerpt of an interview of Mark Jablonski for regarding a 10-year retrospective of urban redevelopment in Northeast Ohio.

The Topic: Cleveland’s Ring Bearers: The Inner-Ring Suburbs Battle to Rebuild the Urban Core

What We Said Then: With no room left to expand, inner-ring suburbs such as Euclid, Shaker Heights and Lakewood were faced with the daunting prospect of redeveloping existing retail space. “[In America] we are so good at building brand-new real estate on a farm — converting a farm into a shopping mall or anything,” said Tom Bier, director of the Housing Policy Research Program at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. “We throw that stuff up overnight. But when it comes to maintaining and redevelopment, we are in the Dark Ages.”

What We’re Saying Now: Communities during the past eight years have done a decent job at “in-fill” development, or repurposing, for example, an industrial building for retail, says Mark Jablonski, president of retail development and consulting firm CenterMark Development in Cleveland. But the paralyzed credit market brought a temporary halt to that activity. “Unfortunately, because capital has been hard to come by and certain sectors are not expanding, these types of projects are stalling out.”

What’s Next: Jablonski does not expect in-fill development to be permanently stalled. As the credit market thaws, inner-ring redevelopment in places such as South Euclid, which is redeveloping the northern end of the Cedar Center shopping strip, should continue. “You’re going to see it rev up again and take off,” he says.


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