The countdown has begun. When the clock strikes midnight Jan. 1, there will be only a year and a half to finish several projects before more than 50,000 visitors take Cleveland by storm for the Republican National Convention. The city says it'll be ready. "There won't be orange barrels around in June of 2016," says Ed Rybka, the city's chief of regional development. Here's an update on those time-sensitive projects.
Public Square Revamp
The details ž» The $32 million redesign will feature a grassy hill, outdoor cafe and a fountain. The timeline ž» The new design, while announced before the RNC selected Cleveland, was pitched for completion by June 2016. The update ž» As of press time, there is no construction equipment to be seen. Group Plan Commission executive director Jeremy Paris says the project is on track and shovels will be in the ground this winter and spring. While the design has been approved, logistics such as choosing trees are still being worked out. "Now it's working with our design-build team and our owner's representative to map out a smart schedule for construction," he says.
Mall to Lakefront Bridge
The details ž» A bicycle and pedestrian bridge, designed by Boston architect Miguel Rosales, will connect Mall C to the lakefront. The timeline ž» Rosales presented three concepts at a November public meeting with a completion goal of June 2016. The update ž» Group Plan Commission's Jeremy Paris is hoping for a May 2015 construction date. Engineers have begun determining how to build the 900-foot bridge over active railroad tracks and a highway, yet questions remain about ownership between the city and the county. "I'm not overly concerned about any of those things," he says. "We're actually still on track in terms of the timeline."
Convention Center Hotel
The details ž» The 32-story hotel, managed by Hilton Worldwide, will change the city's skyline and house 600 rooms, ballrooms, a restaurant and a rooftop bar. The timeline ž» The Cuyahoga County-owned hotel broke ground in April with a scheduled opening for June 2016. The update ž» As of press time, the 90-foot-tall bottom podium is taking shape. "The steel is topped out, and the floors are being poured," says project manager Jeff Appelbaum. The concrete tower is rising by roughly a floor per week, he says.
North Coast Harbor Development
The details ž» The lakefront development plan includes 1,000 apartments, offices, a school and retail space. The timeline ž» Originally introduced as three phases, the project was split into four in November. Construction for Phase I, which includes concession stands at Voinovich Bicentennial Park, a restaurant and possible bike rental spot, is expected to start in late summer 2015 and be completed by June 2016. The update ž» The designs of Phase I's three building sites are in the works. "Fourth of July , we'll be taking really pretty pictures of all this stuff," says Dick Pace, CEO of Cumberland Development, "with fireworks in the background."