Questioning Mr. Wolstein's urban design forte

Submitted by johnmcgovern on Mon, 07/17/2006 - 14:54.

This flats east bank boondoggle  is going to be a most interesting court case.  a shame really that these big buck well monied folks cant just get along; it'd certainly bode well for the city if they dropped their egos.

From a planning and community perspective, it's frustrating and frighteningly humorous that none of these developers realizes the entire east bank is sitting on a light rail line.  a situation of which many cities would be envious. 

Now if only that light rail line went a bit beyond that orange abomination on the lakefront.  CSU, midtown, and little asia, for example, beg for connection to the lakefront.

Regardless, these excerpts are particularly frustrating while being quite telling of mr. wolstein's urban design acumen.  thanks to norm for initially pointing out this gentleman as captain sprawl.

From the July 13, Brooklyn Sun Journal

"(Victor) Shaia said he had his own questions about Wolstein's desire to acquire his parking lot, especially when Wolstein isn't seeking to build anything on it. Furthermore, a station on the light-rail Waterfront Line already exists next to the site.
Why would you take a parking lot to keep it a parking lot? Shaia asked. It boggles my mind. I think they want the land more than they need the land. Hopefully the court system will see things as any rational person would."
"I think the city needs to put the brakes on this (Flats East Bank project ) and wait, said Khouri, president of Westlake-based Carnegie Management & Development Co. Khouri said he and Wolstein have been friends for 20 years. I don't understand why he won't return my calls. How they can take that much money from the county (for the Flats parking deck) and give it to a developer to build 300 housing units?"


 From a community based perspective,  consider that in the early 1950's, there were nearly 500 million annual riders on Cleveland's trains and trolleys.  Today?  Less than 60 million.


Development in NEO is very depressing

Thanks for posting that, John, as I don't get the Sun Press. I've been vocal about the sad state of planning here, and I see the PD stepping up to at least raise the stakes... Litt is really challenging the community and Ken Prendergast of Sun Press does great work. But what I see missing to transform the community is a community at the planning tables, being activist and vocal against what they don't like or want, and promoting better ideas... like the alternative bridge... and not just dozens of people but 1,000s.

Steven Litt once told me the reason we are going to get a bad bridge and trench outcome is because the people of NEO never stood up and took a stand, and I think he is right. Blame it on sprawl - so much of our community is spread so far from downtown that most people really don't care.

So the entire East Bank of the Flats will be 300 $ million condos for sports stars, lawyers and big businessmen, sitting on top of a few chain restaurants with river views - Burke will continue to be our lakefront, dedicated to a few 100 charter and private business plane and helicopter flights a week - public transportation will be neglected - but who is fighting for anything else, and willing to do so right in the face of the the CDCs, Port/Carney, Wolstein, Stark and Wolstein/Port/CDC/City Council spokeswoman Nancy Lesic?

Disrupt IT


     In all earnestness, the only way to save the situation is to exit the establishment, and put each of the Ingenuity Fest participants into the position.  Test me, I’m serious.

Make a list of who must go... who to establish

I agree - and I don't doubt the Ingenuity cast and crew are a great place to start, but we need critical mass so more people than that. Make a list - each of us must make a list of who we know who are willing to step up and help lead a coup... that is the only qualification I can think of... being willing to step up!

Disrupt IT

coup coming

I think Peter Chakerian was reading this suggestion Jeff.

Ingenuity could save the Tower. Would the old guard listen to reason? James Levin for County Commission? Could we get him to run for office opposite Jimmy? He is a lawyer after all. He can talk the talk and I much prefer the walk he walks...

Get your plans ready and show these guys what real innovation and ingenuity could do for our cash strapped region. Arts and Culture money -- I'm smoking as fast as I can to support the Breuer Tower being turned into an arts and culture haven/heaven for collaboration, inspiration, innovation, vision and ingenuity. Wouldn't Marcel be pleased to know that his tower was home to migrant artists? How to bring economic vitality and fecundity to a dying area of a city -- bring in the artists!

Have the county commissioners been paying attention to the neighborhoods revived by the arts in the region? Have they been to Tremont art walks, SPACES on the Superior Viaduct, Josaphat Arts Hall, or maybe even long ago arts gentrified West 6th Street in the Warehouse district recently?

Let the arts revitalize the economic crossroads of our region if that is indeed what East Ninth and Euclid is. The arts stand a much better chance of returning vitality and economic development to the area than a government building. Hey!

Call to architects for Breuer remake

New Economy hostel downtown

One proposal I support for really igniting our new economy is a Hostel downtown - a big vibrant slacker, hippie, free-wheeling, international 24x7 one, connected in with the international hostel networks. That is one important way to put Cleveland on an important global map and start pulling young international people through here and changing our culture in a unique way.

While you think about that, take a look at my posting on Leftist Environmental Groups and consider that our new economy will come through "rewriting our propagandist "history" to be true through today, and teaching and learning from that, ruthlessly defending our "environment", celebrating progressive "politics",  restructuring "education" to truly focus on social responsibility, inspiring "innovation" through creative people and management practices,  promoting "finance" for progressive businesses and practices, embracing "spirituality" found in liberal religions and non-Western thought, and recruiting and building "critical mass" of like minded people who embrace all of that." We need to do all of this... how are we doing at making that happen, toward critical mass. Get more Hostel, for one thing.

Disrupt IT

Better public transportation would lead to better development

I think your idea of connecting the Lake Front line to CSU, China Town, Midtown is great. What could we do to actually get public transportation to work here? It's so frustrating how virtually everything here requires driving. Ideally, Cleveland should have no surface lots; if its not a building it should be green space.

We need real TOD with what we have - add more rail

First, profile and get rid of all the politicians and spokespeople and planners and developers who have failed to leverage public transportation and especially rail here for decades. Then, we need to optimize what we have here already - definitely need to base Transic Oriented Development (TOD) around the rail lines we have - like Shaker at the turn of the past century. RTA/UCI want to move the Red Line stop at E120th to Mayfield, to better serve UCI, which steals a stop from East Cleveland, so I'm proposing a new stop where there used to be one at Lakeview, right by the Star Complex/Hough Bakery, and all development for blocks around that must be Transit Oriented Development (TOD) - and at the same time the zoning must encourage that, with less parking requirement in particular. More on that plan will be posting over the next few days. The Triangle development should be TOD (with enforcement against cars)... there needs to be a new stop at E55th where it will anchor TOD in Slavic Village... I've been pitching a new stop on all lines in the Flats right below the Gilotta Building - and we need to move that dame bridge to open up the valley there as another TOD zone - a big one. All this must be as off the grid and affordable as possible - Euro - none of the current developers in tawn should be involved at all, but we do need to bring in alternative developers from everywhere else on Earth.  All this is 7GEN planning - more to come.

Disrupt IT

a coup or a particapatory democracy

Norm Said " Steven Litt once told me the reason we are going to get a bad bridge and trench outcome is because the people of NEO never stood up and took a stand, and I think he is right. Blame it on sprawl - so much of our community is spread so far from downtown that most people really don't care."

Blame it on sprawl or blame it on 50+ years of decline, which is both a symptom and factor of sprawl.  Blame it on low expectations which is certainly a symptom of 50+ years of decline.
Blame it on free markets and materialism.  People have no interest in civic activism.  And those that do move to "vibrant" cities and end up succumbing to materialism.

A coup sounds like fun.
An engaged citizenry sounds like a chore.
What to do?  How do we leverage the power of the internet to further the cause of the people of this once great city?  Disprupt IT?  I like that. I like that a lot.  But how do we do it?

more transit in neo


as for how we go about getting more mass transit in the city, it's an uphill battle, BUT when this city had it's heyday, there were 10 times as many transit riders as there are now. So in legal terms, we definitely have the precedent!

I recommend we talk with ryan mckenzie who is currently starting the car sharing service, City Wheels.  A while back, he actually worked on a proposal to extend the waterfront line back through town.
you can check it out on > transportation > rail > concept for westshore trolley

again tough battle, but certainly not insurmountable.

how to encourage civic activism

I am so encouraged when I read your comments on and We need more readers and more writers. The MSM here doesn't get it, but the viral thing can be powerful.
I suggested to Norm that he do a sort of invitation to different communities by sending posts and forums and comments to the various institutions and agencies in the area that are being mentioned here. Just let them know someone cares, someone is having this discussion. I was pleased to see Sarah Morrison reply to Jeff. How did she know someone was posting here about her? Jeff? Sarah? Can you fill me in?
We need to promote realneo as a place to have these discussions and even to launch flash mob activism. For example, who knows about the lead rally tomorrow better than realneo readers? An ad on the blog ad network might be a good idea, but basically we need to have more people involved in the discussion. The 10 or so people who blog and comment here need to build momentum. Who can you invite? We need to broaden our sphere of discussion and influence. Use IT to disrupt. realneo is a place to come together to discuss the issues. That's why I am here. We can't do it alone. And I agree with Norm about learning. I certainly need to learn more about using this technology.