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Cleveland, Ohio - Shaker Square

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,807
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I don't lnow if I posted these before or note.

This is Shaker Square, the retail component to the Van Sweringen Brothers' Shaker Heights development. In the 1920s, no retail development was allowed in the City of Shaker Heights, so retail was placed just over the city line, in Cleveland. Click on the image to enlarge it.


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Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
It's a shame they do not have more parking, and if the buildings were not so small, you might see more national chain retailers instead of just local shops. Do all the sidewalks and landscaping hinder traffic flow?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
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29
Yeah, give me another Gap store over "Superfly II" any day :)

(Confession: I would be more likely to actually shop at Gap than Superfly II, but...:) )
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
Shaker Square

There actually is plenty of parking - located right behind the cineplex. Dan, did you hear that the owner wants to sell, and the civic leadership, including Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell (a Shaker Heights resident) have written petition/protest letters citing mismanagement and lack of interest in the project as a whole? SS has lost Wild Oats Market and the GAP, possibly others I'm not aware (I'm new to the area myself). What is sustaining it are the terrific restaurants and, I think, the entertainment components - Joseph-Beth Booksellers and the Shaker Square Cinemas.

Don't you find the pedestrian-friendly RTA crosscrosswalks and Michael's Diner just terrific examples of transit-oriented development?
 

MayDay

Member
Messages
19
Points
1
Shaker Square is tenanted to attract an upmarket clientele - that target demographic is mostly located in adjacent suburbs (and ex-urbs). However, with the adjacent suburbs offering every conceivable chain retailer and restaurant - there isn't much call for a chain presence in Shaker Square. For the record, Wild Oats closing wasn't a matter of the center's viability - it's that Wild Oats is a poor excuse of an upscale "food market". Had a Whole Foods or other well-run group opened shop, I'm sure that particular storefront would still be tenanted.

The perception of a lack of parking in the area is a regrettable by-product of our society's desensitizing to the seas of asphalt that are usually found near retail clusters. As oulevin pointed out, there is abundant parking in the area but (gasp!) it's not all in one spot. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the growing obesity rates in our country, people aren't always willing to park a block away and walk to the store entrance.

Another problem is that, as Dan mentioned - the complex lies within the city limits of Cleveland, near one of the shoddier areas (around St. Lukes Hospital). While the Shaker Square area doesn't see that much crime, the perception is that safety is a concern due to the proximity of the sketchy spots.

So you have the perceptions that 1. parking isn't available, and 2. crime is an issue - two things that scare Susie SoccerMom to death. Add all that to the well-deserved criticisms of the management - I truly hope they can get everything resolved as Shaker Square is a true gem for the region.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
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18,807
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BKM said:
Yeah, give me another Gap store over "Superfly II" any day :)

Superfly II really isn't in shaker Square; it's several miles away on Euclid Avenue. I just threw that in there to see if any of you would catch it.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
Dan, That is one classy little strip center. Almost sells you on the idea of the suburb as they thought of it in the Twenties: a haven for the moneyed from the travails of the city, a kind of soft-focus Arcadia just out of reach of the unwashed poor. It comes with pretty fantasy architecture.

Forest Hills in Queens is like that, and Chestnut Hill in Philly. Interesting that all three were from the start connected to the city by rail transport. One foot on this side of the fence, one foot on the other.

The sidewalk is a case in point. I love the way you find yourself seduced into the orbit of the shopping center. Hard to say when you are on private property and when in the private realm. The recent addition of plantings, in the usual bark-chip mode, push it toward the private, in keeping with present-day preferences.

The parking meters are a retro urban touch, though undoubtedly necessary. If they wanted to provide free parking for bona fide customers, they could rig the meters so the coins you put in them resided temporarily in a holding chamber, while the meter gave you a magnetized ticket. When you made a purchase at any store, the clerk could swipe the magnetized ticket; and when you got back to your car and swiped the ticket at the meter, out would tumble your coins like a jackpot in Vegas.

Shaker Square is really very nice—in fact exquisite because it is such a perfectly ambivalent blend of city and suburb; like the heroine of Jules and Jim, it loves them both!

Interesting and appropriate, also, that it lies right at the city limits; it is, after all, right at the limits of the city…

It might benefit from a miniature skyscraper.




Forest Hills, Queens
 
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