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 Shaping University Circle

Shaping University Circle
Corporate Club at Landerhaven - June 9, 2010

"What's good for University Circle is good for all of the Cleveland area." says Chris Ronayne, Executive Director of University Circle, Inc. In fact he says that could be expanded to include the entire state of Ohio, not just Cleveland.

"I've been giving roof top tours. Stand on top of the building and it looks like crane city there is so much construction going on."

So began the Corporate Club at Landerhaven panel discussion on "Shaping University Circle." With more than two billion dollars worth of construction going on right now in the University Circle area, this is not an area of if-come or hope-to-see. It is a vibrant growing part of what-is in Cleveland.

Connie Dieken, Chris Ronanyne and John Wheeler

Connie Dieken, Chris Ronanyne and John Wheeler

University Circle is already famous for "Eds, Meds and Arts" (Education, Medicine and Art) but Ronayne and the panel see a trend that would include residential in the existing trilogy, giving University Circle what it needs to become a neighborhood.

Also on the panel was the man behind the tremendous entertainment complex known as Fourth Street, Ari Maron. With world-class restaurants and entertainment Ari took his vision of what could be and made it, what is.

Ari Maron

Ari Maron

Jill Snyder, Executive Director of the Modern Art Museum (MOCA) believes their move from the Sears building on Carnegie to the corner of the triangle at Mayfield and Euclid gives MOCA a position as an anchor tenant and is excited about all of the activity and improvements in the Circle.

Jill Snyder, Ari Maron and Chris Ronayne

Jill Snyder, Ari Maron and Chris Ronayne

Currently, 40% of the footprint of University Circle is made up of Case Western Reserve Campuses. John Wheeler of CWRU says the capital improvement budget from 2004 through 2014 is $600 million dollars. The entire budget for CWRU is $900 million dollars, with $400 million devoted to research of one kind or another. He says people often ask him about how long it takes to make some of the capital improvements to which he replies "we have been here since 1826. We are in no hurry. When we do something, we want to do it right."

According to Maron, two words really matter "Collaboration and connectivity". He describes the projects he is involved with and the University Circle projects as "Vibrant Connective Tissue" to the city, its residents and even the suburbs.

They all agreed that the economy is halting some investment projects, but not in the urban areas. Suburban shopping, strip malls and the like are not being funded but city collaborative efforts are.

Connie Dieken and Charles Michener

Connie Dieken and Charles Michener

Moderator Connie Dieken asked the group to comment on the negative press by Forbes Magazine. Ronayne would invite these people to The Parade the Circle or some of the other outstanding events. He said they come to Cleveland for 24 hours and the spend time in the wrong places.

Maron and Snyder both have had multiple experiences of national and international guests coming to Cleveland and being shocked at what Cleveland has to offer. Having believed the bad press, people are always pleasantly surprised at all of the activity.

Joanne Brown and Bridget Flowers of CWRU

Joanne Brown and Bridget Flowers of CWRU

There are currently about 10,000 people living downtown. The goal is to have 20,000 within the next ten years.

As always, Corporate Club at Landerhaven offered qualified, professional people to discuss issues of great importance to us all.

Sergio Abramof of Sergio's

Sergio Abramof of Sergio's

The next event will be on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 with Ronald Berkman, President of Cleveland State University. This one-on-one discussion will be led by Bill Martin of Fox 8 News. For more information call 440-449-0700.

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