West Side Market Centennial in Cleveland Celebrates City Revitalization, Investment

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By: Rob Roe, Managing Director, Jones Lang LaSalle, Great Lakes Region

West Side Market

Courtesy of Edsel Little

Many cities are notorious for a particular landmark—an engineering marvel of a skyscraper, showcase of modern architecture, or iconic building that signifies a legacy of age-old tradition. But the impact of a local landmark goes beyond exterior benefits.

This post is the first in a series that will highlight landmarks, news or trends across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the corresponding impact on local real estate, with takeaways that can be applied in neighboring geographies. Jones Lang LaSalle decided to kick off the series with a tasty Cleveland landmark, in anticipation of the holiday season.

Many cities are notorious for a particular landmark—an engineering marvel of a skyscraper, showcase of modern architecture, or iconic building that signifies a legacy of age-old tradition.

For Cleveland, this landmark is not a stories-high clock tower or a reflective bean. Instead, it’s all about the local eats.

This year, Cleveland’s West Side Market has been celebrating its 100th birthday with everything from signage for its longstanding vendors, to street party festivals, to an upscale gala featuring some of the country’s most noted chefs.

During this centennial birthday year, the Market has received an abundance of media attention from publications including Cooking Light, The Washington Post, WKYC Channel 3 and Fox 8 Cleveland. And in 2010, it was named “Best Food Lovers’ Market” by the Food Network.

An Appetizing Investment

In a recent Smithsonian article, What Public Spaces Like Cleveland’s West Side Market Mean for Cities, author Sarah Rich (@sarahrich) explores the impact a long-standing, community-centered asset like the Market may have on urban development and investment potential.

By focusing on placemaking, “a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces … [that] capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, ultimately creating good public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being,” cities like Cleveland—and particularly its Ohio City neighborhood that houses the West Side Market—see strong corporate development and investment, building up their communities for individual citizens, local organizations, corporate investors and more.

For example, it’s largely thanks to the West Side Market, as well as some risk-taking early investors in the surrounding streets, that Ohio City is once again a thriving community, after several years of relative stagnation.

Per the neighborhood’s website, more than $32 million is either planned for investment or has been invested in the community since 2009. And, thanks to a $130,000 investment from Charter One, Ohio City is investing specifically in business incubation, neighborhood connectivity, and nutritionally focused initiatives for community members. (Source)

By capitalizing on the artisanal nature of the market and its vendors, as well as that of the existing, surrounding storefronts, the city has provided strong incentives to encourage other business leaders to invest. And as more take the plunge, the area becomes all the more attractive to additional organizations, building investors and more.

Investing in the Future

The West Side Market plans to perpetuate growth and build upon its long-standing legacy. According to Michelle Jarboe McFee (@mjarboe), in an article for The Plain Dealer, detailed property reports of the West Side Market show a need for continued investment to keep the facilities strong in its next 100 years. The total estimate for all desired updates—ranging from critical projects to enhancements—is around $8.6 million, which will aim to be addressed using a blend of private and public funds.

To date, the city has raised $2.1 million to cover the most crucial facilities issues, many of which are behind the scenes, with renovations planned to begin in 2013.

At the gala, Ohio City Inc. and the City of Cleveland expressed a desire to raise $2.6 million from private donors for use on high profile, public-facing projects. The event itself raised more than $175,000, as the community came together to invest in this much-loved landmark and gathering place.

Takeaways for Corporate Real Estate Investors

For the corporate real estate investor, the community surrounding your property of interest can either be a selling point, or a disadvantage. Before making an investment—either as a landlord or a tenant seeking to relocate your employees—look for key community-centric landmarks or events that continually draw people into the area and help ensure your investment’s stability into the future.

Never underestimate the power of culture. A city’s booming (or dwindling) community can impact your return on property investment, or happiness in a long-term lease.

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Rob Roe


As managing director, Rob’s responsibilities include real estate transaction representation and consulting services for Jones Lang LaSalle. View Rob’s full bio to read up on his experience and recent transactions, or connect with him on LinkedIn.