A good Cleveland Arts District Hustles and Rebounds

Now, that vacant land is being filled with new residential structure. The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Company (DSCDO), a nonprofit network advocacy group that has helped preserve most of the area’s historic buildings since its founding in 1973, reports that about 1,000 new residential condominiums and flats are under construction below.


If Clevelanders are time for the neighborhood, the DSCDO and area artistic nonprofits helped forge the magnet. Collectively they raised $30 million between 2006 and 2014 to fund new streetscaping in Gordon Square, including planting trees, and buy the Capitol Theater, a 20s-era silent movie house, making it a three-screen complex exhibiting a variety of blockbuster and art movies with children’s development on summer mornings.

The campaign helped the Cleveland General public Theater, a champion of new and native plays, turn a Romanian Orthodox church right into a rehearsal and classroom space. It also constructed the Near West Theater, a network theater, adding to Gordon Square’s status as an entertainment district.

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When the producers of “Cleveland Hustles” came knocking, Gordon Square was already humming with the brand new Superelectric Pinball Parlor, home to a lot more than 20 vintage pinball games; a poutine-focused restaurant and beverage shop known as Banter; and longtime tenants like Happy Dog, a bar that looks unchanged because the 1940s and is definitely renowned because of its myriad hot dog types and occasional polka celebrations.


“The neighborhood was going to be there with or without the show,” said Jonathon Sawyer, the chef and owner of the Greenhouse Tavern and various other restaurants in Cleveland who appeared on “Cleveland Hustles” as a mentor to 1 team of entrepreneurs. “It had been moving in that direction, is going in that direction and buildings are still affordable.”

As a mentor, Mr. Sawyer was paired with the husband and wife crew Phillip and Jackie Wachter, who produce fashionable Italian leather bags engineered and sewn in metropolis beneath the label Fount. The truth show helped them open a storefront with a modern residential feel now filled with full-grain household leather totes, slender clutches and durable backpacks.

Not absolutely all of the “Cleveland Hustles” winners were commercially successful: The owners of Cleveland-made Old City Soda, a soft drink provider, competed and won financial backing to open a cocktail lounge, Old City Libations. The partners closed the bar this fall to focus on their original business.


Since the one-season “Cleveland Hustles” aired, Theater Ninjas, a performing arts company, City Breaks Cleveland, a hip-hop dance studio, and Astoria Café & Market, a Mediterranean restaurant and grocer, have opened in the neighborhood. More businesses have opened up this fall including a jewelry retail store, Océanne Studio & Boutique, and Brewnuts, a restaurant that pairs craft beer and doughnuts. A spate of murals also has gone up, brightening the facades of native buildings.

According to Mr. Bebenroth of Spice Kitchen & Bar, patrons of the arts in the neighborhood include helped support his sustainably centered restaurant, which is supplied with make from his farm located 20 miles south.

“Aligning with the arts attracts an educated, introspective demographic with disposable income who understand what we’re trying to accomplish,” he explained. “And the theater plan is something we are able to bet on.”

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