Toss developer Robert Stark's plan for a massive mixed-use project near downtown Cleveland's Public Square into the graveyard.
However, Mr. Stark's plan envisioned heading beyond the super block west as far as West Ninth Street. That approach would have added more scale, but greater development costs, to the project.
Mr. Stark issued a statement saying he is dropping the project because of the real estate credit crunch and the “retail expansion freeze.” Because the Ashers and other landowners were unwilling to continue extending options, Mr. Stark said his company “cannot continue our efforts.”
For four years, Mr. Stark, CEO of Cleveland-based Stark Enterprises, has discussed the importance of redeveloping downtown Cleveland for the region's future vitality. He acquired a building on the super block and moved his own headquarters downtown last year.
Stark had talked about this project in a story we ran in May.
On the horizon for Stark is a far more ambitious and grand-scale element of that legacy. Stark Enterprises is planning to revitalize downtown Cleveland with a massive redevelopment of its warehouse district. The project's total size will range from three million to five million square feet, featuring a roughly even mix of office, retail, residential and hotel space. The Warehouse District will cost $1.5 billion, but that doesn't include future potential expansions. The first phase will cost $450 million.
Stark calls it the “SoHo of the Midwest,” except he hopes it will surpass SoHo by presenting a greater mix of uses in a denser footprint. The area will feature the community core's typical short blocks and walkable streets, while holding on to some of the old warehouses that suggest the city's history. Buildings in the interior of the development will average eight stories in height, but some structures on the perimeter will reach 25 stories to help establish the district's boundaries.