When construction on the Inner Belt Bridge began five years ago, its completion seemed like a distant goal; as the bridge nears completion, commuters throughout the region are rejoicing and marveling at the finished product. While the opening of the bridge warrants a celebration, the Inner Belt Bridge is one of many significant development projects to come online over the last several years. To that end, since 2009, the region has seen nearly $24 billion made in capital investments, spurring the development of mixed-use entertainment complexes, hotels, corporate headquarters, infrastructure upgrades and more. As we applaud the completion of another major project, we wanted to take a look at the many investments being made across our region – investments that are transforming Northeast Ohio’s landscape for generations to come.
Inner Belt Bridge
Started in 2011, the Inner Belt Bridge project was initiated to replace the 1959 truss bridge that supported some 140,000 vehicles travelling across I-90 each day. The 3,918-foot-long bridge represents the largest bridge replacement effort in Ohio’s history, costing more than half a billion dollars. At the height of its construction, the project employed approximately 200 workers.
The first bridge, the westbound portion, was completed in November 2013. The second bridge, which re-opened to traffic in September, will be 100 percent complete by next spring. Finishing touches to the second bridge include painting and lighting as well as wrapping up construction on the Towpath trailhead, located under the eastbound bridge.
In preparation for the Republican National Convention, Northeast Ohio experienced a hotel boom, leading to more than $600 million in hotel-related investments since 2009. The largest of these projects was the $272 million Hilton Cleveland Downtown, completed just in advance of the RNC. The hotel, which connects to the Convention Center, features 600 rooms within a 32-story tower. On the 32nd floor sits Bar 32, a new restaurant that not only serves great food but also offers spectacular views of the city.
While Cleveland experienced the most significant uptick in hotel investments, cities across the region saw noticeable growth as well. In Akron, the $18 million Hilton Garden Inn opened its doors in 2014, just down the road from Goodyear’s new corporate headquarters. In addition, a new Marriott Springhill Suites opened in Canton near Belden Village while a Marriott Residence Inn opened in Niles close to Youngstown. This surge in new hotel development has helped position Northeast Ohio as a prime location for major conferences and events as well as a tourist destination. In fact, according to Destination Cleveland’s annual Metrics Report, more than 5 million hotel rooms were sold in 2015, up 5.2 percent over 2014. The spike in available hotel rooms is one factor contributing to this growth.
Mixed Use/Entertainment & Culture Investments
From entertainment venues to new apartments and retail centers, Northeast Ohio continues to see new development projects coming online unlike ever before. Across the region, nearly $5.8 billion has been invested in such projects since 2009.
The Flats East Bank is perhaps one of the best examples of a recently completed mixed use development project. Created as a partnership between The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties, the Flats East Bank project has transformed the East Bank of the Cuyahoga River, adding an 18-story office tower, an Aloft Hotel and a range of local restaurants. Phase II of the project was completed in the fall of 2015, bringing with it a 241-unit apartment complex, more restaurants and a riverfront boardwalk. To see this stunning project in motion, check out this time lapse video that highlights the development of Phase II: https://vimeo.com/152298783
In Canton, work is well underway on Hall of Fame Village, a $500 million project on the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus. There are eight main components to Hall of Fame Village:
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame Museum
- Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium/Sports & Entertainment Complex
- Four-star Hotel & Conference Center
- Legends Landing/Residential (Assisted living facility)
- State-of-the-Art Youth Sports Complex
- Center for Excellence (Coaches University; Academy of Corporate Excellence; Officiating Clinics; Safety, Health & Performance Center)
- Main Street Hall of Fame (restaurants, retail)
- HOF/NFL Family Experience (high-tech virtual reality experiences and rides)
While the project will be rolled out in phases, the majority is scheduled for completion in 2019 to coincide with the NFL’s centennial season.
As new development projects come online, our region continues to benefit from the major investments being made. From infrastructure upgrades like the Inner Belt Bridge, to the development of new hotels, to mixed use complexes, Northeast Ohio’s landscape has changed tremendously over the last several years. With more and more projects in the works, we’re likely to see a continued transformation over time.