Bedrock, city announce plans for new riverfront neighborhood downtown

Renewed Cuyahoga Riverfront. Courtesy of Bedrock.

Renewed Cuyahoga Riverfront. Courtesy of Bedrock.

At a joint press conference, Bedrock and the city of Cleveland announced plans to create a new neighborhood along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland featuring thousands of new housing units and millions of square feet of office and retail.

The long-range plan hinges on a public-private partnership between the city and Bedrock which has not yet been released, the groups involved stated. Bedrock is owned by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The project involves 130 acres of riverfront land owned by a variety of owners, and conforms to the newly minted Vision for the Valley plan. Bedrocks owns about 30 percent of the property and will work with adjacent property owners to develop the rest.

Revitalized Canal Road. Courtesy of Bedrock.

Revitalized Canal Road. Courtesy of Bedrock.

The online press event seemed timed to coincide with the completion of the mayoral election primary and the advancement of two candidates, Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley, to the general election on Nov. 2. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson seems determined to cement his legacy by having the terms of the deal wrapped up before he retires as mayor.

Revitalized Collision Bend. Courtesy of Bedrock.

Revitalized Collision Bend. Courtesy of Bedrock.

Vision for the Valley aims to encourage more sustainable development of the city’s riverfront, which is mostly occupied by industrial uses and parking lots. In recent years, new developments such as Rivergate Park have given Clevelanders greater access, and the river has become a hub for recreation, with rowers, kayakers and paddleboarders taking to the water.

However, Clevelanders shouldn’t expect the project to break ground anytime soon, and when it does, much of the work will be messy underground work. “The initial efforts will focus on replacing aging infrastructure with sustainable and resilient systems, providing for a more walkable, bikeable and transit friendly downtown,” Bedrock CEO Kofi Bonner said in the release.

The partners said the project is well positioned to take advantage of federal funding opportunities and will bring more jobs and residents downtown. The central business district has gained 9,400 new jobs in the past decade, and there are now nearly 20,000 residents living there. The goal of Downtown Cleveland Alliance and the city is to reach 30,000 residents by 2030.

Bonner and others pledged to work with Cleveland to create a plan for equitable and inclusive development. “This can be a node of strength,” said Laura Granneman, vice president of strategic investments at Rocket Community Fund, Rocket Mortgage Company’s philanthropic arm. “It’s a vibrant space that can be used to help other neighborhoods grow as well.”

They cited the project as a job generator that would bring new economic development to Cleveland, citing upcoming plans to revitalize Tower City as an example. Bedrock recently signed leases with three Black-owned, local businesses that will occupy spaces there in the fall, and 10 more are in the works, Bonner said.

At the press conference, Jackson reiterated what has become the central theme of his 16 years as mayor: Cleveland needs development that benefits the whole city, not just one area. Ultimately, the success of these efforts will be measured not only by what happens downtown, but also in neighborhoods like Clark-Fulton, Glenville and Fairfax that are part of the mayor’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI).

“To me this project is a tool,” he said. “It’s not just another bricks and mortar project. It can be used to address the underlying issues of systemic racism and social and economic inequity.”

To view the proposed plans for the Cuyahoga Riverfront, visit

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Lee Chilcote is editor of The Land.

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