What’s There to Do in the Gordon Square Arts District?

by | Jun 16, 2015 | Arts & Culture, Dining, Nightlife, Shopping, Events & Festivals, Family Friendly Stuff

Battery Park - photo courtesy Gordon Square Arts District

Photo Courtesy Gordon Square Arts District

Gordon Square is living proof that the arts can become an economic engine for a neighborhood! Located in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland (just like Hingetown in the Ohio City neighborhood), this area was once primarily a blue-collar neighborhood as it was close enough to the manufacturing jobs at companies like Baker Cars, Westinghouse, and Union Carbide for the residents to walk to work. When those companies left, the neighborhood struggled. But, in the late 1990s, a group of residents and a large volunteer contingent helped reshape this area just two blocks from Lake Erie, and now blue-collar workers live on the same streets as newly relocated corporate transplants who took one look at the housing prices and 10 minute ride into downtown Cleveland on side streets and realized that the brand new townhomes in this walkable neighborhood was a great winning combo.
By taking advantage of low-income housing tax credits and leveraging the arts as an economic engine, Gordon Square Arts District has turned into a destination not only for nearby residents of Ohio City, Tremont, Edgewater Park, and Detroit-Shoreway but also for people from all over the region who come for shows at these anchors near the corner of W. 65th & Detroit.
Cleveland Public Theater – Cleveland Public Theater, run by Executive Artistic Director, Raymond Bobgan, is the oldest standing theater in NE Ohio (built in 1911). It has 5 performance spaces and produces more new plays than all other theaters in CLE combined (usually half of the 12-14 plays they put on each year are world premieres), and they
Photo Courtesy Gordon Square Arts District

Photo Courtesy Gordon Square Arts District

work hard to be inclusive with programs like Brick City Theater (works with 400 kids from two separate public housing complexes to introduce them to live theater); Y-Haven Theater Project (works with men in transitional housing as they escape homelessness), and  STEP (Student Theater Enrichment Program) which hires 40+ high school students from low-income families to write and produce a show every year.
Capitol Theater – A three screen complex that not only shows popular first run movies but also documentaries, independent, and art films as well. This beautiful old building was completely renovated and opened in 2009.
Near West Theater – Led by Executive Director Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, this all volunteer, intergenerational community theater welcomes anyone over the age of 7 to its open casting calls for the several shows a year it performs. The theater seats 250 in a built from scratch building in a brand new facility and offers 2-3 shows a year.
78th Street Studios – Although down the street about a dozen blocks and around the corner, this giant building (a former American Greetings Corp. warehouse) is now home to more than 50 artist studios with every medium imaginable represented. Third Fridays of every month they open to the public with live music, food, and drinks. It’s a lively scene!
And once visitors began streaming in to patronize the movie house and theaters, restaurants and bars moved in making this one of the hottest restaurant districts in Cleveland. Our  favorites:

  • Spice Kitchen & Bar – One of our favorites!
    Ben Bebenroth photo

    Photo courtesy Spice Kitchen + Bar

  • Happy Dog – What’s not to love about a menu that is JUST hot dogs, tater tots, and 50 different toppings & sauces? Also the starting point for the annual Dyngus Day Festival, one of Cleveland’s fastest growing festivals (held the Monday after Easter and featuring all things Polish).
  • Luxe Kitchen & Lounge – A Mediterranean bistro.
  • Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop – The name says it all, sweet tooths are in HEAVEN.
  • Toast Wine Bar – Small plates and classic cocktails make it a great happy hour stop.
  • Latitude 41°n – Great food, affordable prices, casual feel with eclectic clientele.
  • Minh Ahn – Arguably one of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Cleveland.
  • The Harp – Every neighborhood has to have an Irish pub, right? This one has a great outdoor patio and good pub food!
  • Cha Pizza & Spirits – In the place of the former Battery Park Wine Bar known as Y.O.L.O – casual eatery, lots of high tops.
  • Stone Mad – Great pub, bocce ball tournaments every day.
  • Reddstone – Best patio in Gordon Square.
  • Gypsy Beans & Baking Co – Nicole is a master baker, and this is the neighborhood hang out in the AM hours.
  • Parkview Nite Club – This is old school, inexpensive beers and bar food – a classic.

Battery Park - photo courtesy Gordon Square Arts District

Battery Park – Photo Courtesy Gordon Square Arts District

And when the restaurants and bars came in, so did residential real estate developers who saw the unmet need for new housing stock in this neighborhood for millennials and empty nesters flocking to live in walkable urban areas.

  • Battery Park, the largest new housing influx, is a 12 acre site from W. 73rd – 78th, south of the West Shoreway. The former site of an Everready Battery plant, it offers single family, townhome, and lofts from $200K – $500K+.
  • Breakwater Bluffs – On Breakwater Avenue between W. 58th & W. 65th at the tunnel to Edgewater.
  • Shoreway Lofts – Fully leased apartment building in Battery Park.

Exciting things continue to develop around this neighborhood, including the dedicated bike lane on Detroit Avenue that makes is safer and easier for those who like to commute on two wheels to get to jobs and entertainment options downtown and elsewhere. And the Ohio Dept. of Transportation is slowly transforming Route 2 (also known by locals as The West Shoreway) between downtown and its terminus at Lake/Clifton/Baltic into a 35 mph boulevard versus the 50 MPH freeway it currently is. This will help with walkability and access to the lake as well.
For more insights on how Executive Arrangements can share very useful info like this with your job candidates and new hires relocating to NE Ohio, please call us at 216.231.9311 or visit us at www.ExecutiveArrangements.com.