In this 2005 interview, Thomas Yablonsky, executive director of both the Warehouse District and the Historic Gateway District. Mr. Yablonski discussed his involvement with downtown Cleveland, first as a high school and college student in the 1970s, and then later in the 1980s as a volunteer and ultimately the executor director of two of the historic districts of Cleveland. Mr. Yablonski has worked the last 20 years in downtown Cleveland in the area of historic preservation and redevelopment. Mr. Yablonski discusses the history of Euclid Avenue; talks about a number of the historic buildings along Euclid Avenue; and talks about the historic preservation efforts that have been made along Euclid Avenue since the 1990s, spurred by the building of the two sports arenas in the old Central Market area. He also discusses the conversion of office space along Euclid into residential places, and the hopes of his organization that bringing residents back to Cleveland will bring a limited shopping district back to downtown Cleveland.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:00:19] Okay. I'm a native Clevelander. I was born in the West Park area of Cleveland, but predominantly at a very early age moved to Parma and grew up in Parma. Then went to high school in Cleveland near downtown at Saint Ignatius and worked downtown in high school and went to college downtown at Cleveland State University for undergraduate. So I spent a lot of time downtown.
Mike O'Toole [00:00:38] Yeah, you're definitely a Clevelander. And now what are your memories of downtown?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:00:44] Well, when I was growing up, the department stores that people remember were still... Three of them actually were still in existence when I was in college. But even back when I was younger growing up, it was a big, big thing to take a trip downtown. And we spent a lot of time both at Higbee's and Halle's and Sterling-Lindner-Davis with the Christmas tree and also the May Company. So those are a big part of holidays downtown. And Euclid Avenue was certainly the key shopping point downtown when I was younger. I remember those... I remember those areas very well.
Mike O'Toole [00:01:18] Yeah, that's...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:01:18] Also came to eat downtown. There were a couple of cafeterias. Mills Cafeteria, which was on lower Euclid, was very well known. And there was an ice cream parlor up near Playhouse Square that—Boucair's—that was well known.
Mike O'Toole [00:01:33] Didn't know about the Mills and the ice cream parlor. And now when you did come down, did you go... Did you take the bus down the Euclid corridor or did you drive?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:01:42] Well, there used to be a bus... Most people... A lot of people took the bus downtown. In college at Cleveland State at that time, very few people drove like today. So a lot of people entered at the Square and there was a loop system and the loop used to be used to be jokingly referred to more as a cattle car. And Cleveland State students used to pile on that. I tended to walk the whole street if it wasn't bad weather and there were still a lot of stores and shops and restaurants in the seventies. So my memory is a lot of record stores, for example, were still... Especially in the, again, lower Euclid Avenue between Ninth and the Square.
Mike O'Toole [00:02:15] All right. And now what was CSU like back then?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:02:18] Well, I'll just, let's see, I got to CSU my sophomore year in 1974. The University Center building, I think, just opened that year. A lot of what's here today wasn't here then, and I think it was just emerging and, you know, had some pretty strong departments in hindsight. There was not an urban affairs department, which is my work emphasis now, but I was a political science major.
Mike O'Toole [00:02:44] Oh, okay. And now on to your actual work...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:02:49] Correct.
Mike O'Toole [00:02:50] What is the Historic Gateway Neighborhood organization?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:02:52] Historic Gateway Neighborhood is what's called a local development corporation. Cleveland is very well known nationally for setting up local development corporations to solve issues at a neighborhood level. Many people know they exist in neighborhoods. There's a couple of very strong ones in the downtown also. Two of the most notable would be the Historic Warehouse District in then Historic Gateway Neighborhood, which was kind of built off the earlier model of the Warehouse District. We actually have a staff that serves both those organizations, but I'm the executive director of both Historic Gateway Neighborhood and the Historic Warehouse District.
Mike O'Toole [00:03:24] And so you did work on the... You worked on the Warehouse District.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:03:27] For most of my professional life, for over 20 years.
Mike O'Toole [00:03:32] And how did you come to be involved with Historic Gateway?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:03:35] Well historic... Oh, more out of personal interest. Actually, I moved back to Cleveland in 1983, was a volunteer in the Warehouse District, and one of the key board members of the Warehouse District was head of another civic undertaking that I did some assistance toward. And when the Warehouse District job was open in mid-1985, he encouraged me to apply. So out of that, that gentleman's name was Jerry McClain. He worked for Society Bank then. Now it's Key Bank. Jerry's now deceased, but he was a very significant part of Cleveland's civic efforts in that era.
Mike O'Toole [00:04:09] And now. What area does the Historic Gateway...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:04:13] Historic Gateway Neighborhood is really a response to the building of Jacobs Field and Gund Arena. So it predominates... It's bounded by the Square and Ontario Street on the west, Superior Avenue on the north, and then the sports facilities on the south. And then, depending on how far east you go, when you're north of Euclid, the boundary's Ninth Street, when you're south of Euclid, the boundary's 12th and 14th. So it's boot shaped. But for the purposes of the Euclid Corridor, we work on the Euclid Avenue Historic District, which the historic district itself runs from Public Square to East 21st Street. The area between the Square and East 12th Street is in, is in the historic Gateway service area.
Mike O'Toole [00:04:50] Okay. And so Euclid Avenue also has a historic district?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:04:53] Euclid Avenue as of 1999 has a National Register Historic District. Historic Gateway actually is an umbrella name. We work with three different National Register Historic Districts, East Fourth Street Historic District, the Lower Prospect–Huron Historic District, which was set up when Gund Arena and Jacobs field opened as a development response to that, and then as a response to the Euclid Corridor Project, the master planning for Euclid helped create the idea of doing a National Register Historic District. And why that's important is that that historic district status can help raise and set the table for a lot of physical redevelopment with raising of historic tax equity tools, which is really our organization's expertise.
Mike O'Toole [00:05:36] And now going with the historic renovations, they used all in like in the Gateway?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:05:43] For the Historic Gateway Neighbor... What that means for for the lower Euclid Avenue area and it's some very current recent projects is the, is the Arcade Hyatt restoration at Fourth and Euclid, the Holiday Inn Express at the old 1895 Guardian building into a, again, a Holiday Inn suite hotel, the Colonial Marketplace, which is a mixed-use project, renovating the Colonial and Euclid Arcades and also the upper floors into the Marriott Residence Inn, and then the loft apartment developments with the W.T. Grant project, the buildings on Fourth Street right at Euclid, the Windsor Block, working your way down Fourth, the commercial building, the Frederick Grays McCrory Building, the Buckeye Building at Fourth and Prospect, most of the renovations near East Ninth, Prospect, and Huron, the pointed Gateway, the Osborne, the Huron Square Building, and then the Statler Building back on Euclid. All used the historic tax credits, all are in the Historic Gateway service boundary. And then some of them also use the tool we use called the historic conservation easement, which even raises more equity dollars to help make these projects happen. The most significant commercial project we helped trigger with those tools is the renovation of the Woolworth Building into what is now the House of Blues on Euclid Avenue.
Mike O'Toole [00:06:56] And now, was it because you wanted to keep the historic feel or was it just more economically feasible?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:07:02] Both. Actually, historic preservation is the most economically feasible way to do urban development, and it takes an education process to help the community understand that there's a lot of forces out there, I would say sometimes uninformed, don't realize what a good economic strategy historic preservation is. But in truth, downtown development for all of downtown Cleveland over the last 15 years, maybe as high as 90% of the private investment done downtown has been done on historic projects. In Historic Gateway and Warehouse District combined, that's $800 million worth of projects.
Mike O'Toole [00:07:36] Wow.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:07:36] And it is the force of downtown housing. There's been... There's now... There's now over three, you know, 8500 people living downtown, there's 3,000-plus market rate units. And 90% of those units are in these historic districts and are triggered through these historic financing sources. So when there was the idea of how do you redevelop Euclid Avenue the idea was these empty upper floors could be turned into housing or quasi-housing uses. That's why I also mentioned the three hotels that have been done. Those uses are very similar to housing in a design layout. And we also have now, oh, what, about seven buildings on Euclid that are targeted as housing projects.
Mike O'Toole [00:08:12] Oh, they are going to be...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:08:13] Well, they already are. The Windsor Building was done in 1996. Sometimes the reality of what's done doesn't catch up in the public's consciousness till a good 7 to 10 years later. But on lower Euclid, which is still thought to be a dead zone in some ways, is still in its preliminary phases and so the public's aware of it, you already have housing in the W.T. Grant Building. It's actually three buildings along Euclid. You have housing in the Windsor Block, which is another three buildings along Euclid. You have housing... The type of housing in the Colonial Marketplace, the two buildings on Euclid are like loft apartments, but they operate as a hotel. You have housing in the Statler conversion and also on Euclid, and we have four buildings on Euclid between the Huntington Building and the Statler Building that were in pre-development and also to convert those upper floors to housing.
Mike O'Toole [00:09:01] Because I know the lower end by Public Square just looks...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:09:05] It still looks a little bit desolate. But realize the W.T. Grant right near there has housing very close to the Square. One of those buildings is a Civil War-era apartment building where the fake front was pulled off. And you see a very ornate Victorian 1860s brick building right there, right adjacent to the May Company building.
Mike O'Toole [00:09:24] And now as far as the proposal for Jacobs Field and Gund Arena, when did those come up?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:09:31] Well, when those when the bill was passed in 1990, the local referendum, there was a development, kind of a fight to what was the best way to renovate the area nearby. Some people thought there should be a demolition and clearance and redevelopment, new development strategy. If you check around the country, although that's been done, it almost stimulates no new development. So at the grassroots level, folks like ourselves argued the appropriate response to Gateway would be similar to what happened in the Warehouse District. Let's take a look at adaptive reuse, build a neighborhood, put new uses in these empty upper floors and give the buildings a second chance. So Historic Gateway Neighborhood and the parts of Euclid Avenue that are part of that really build off two key development issues. One is the success of the Warehouse District laid the table and so did the building of the Gateway complex. Set the table for these types of projects.
Mike O'Toole [00:10:18] And that would be why the city chose the Gateway Neighborhood?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:10:22] They chose that way. Some of the choosing fell out of no better alternatives. The original Gateway premise was there was going to be a development pool of money to stimulate new construction. By the time the stadium and arena were built, they no longer had that extra pool. So it almost forced... Even our opponents to this process really had no ammunition left. And the best approach was clearly the historic equity approach.
Mike O'Toole [00:10:49] Oh. And now there's that flower bed by the Arena, the market flower...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:10:53] The public art piece? Yeah, there's a public art piece between the Arena and the east parking garage.
Mike O'Toole [00:10:59] That has all the vegetables on it to signify that the site was once the Central Market?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:11:03] The... Yeah. The site was really both the Central Market and a number of other markets. It was very much the entering point for downtown from the earliest days. And you had enormous neighborhoods of entry at that southern tier of downtown that are almost all wiped out today by any visual memory, by the building of the freeway system. But the Central Market area, the Haymarket area, that public art piece really called—I think it's called Meeting Place or Marketplace—shows the history of all that. In fact, it has the all the original plots and what pictures of what it used to look like and then has the current plat and the way the stadium and the arena cover the site now. So it still is a meeting place. It's just a different type of market and meeting place.
Mike O'Toole [00:11:47] And now, is there any other historical markers and monuments in the area?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:11:51] Well, the buildings themselves. I mean, there's some, you know, the, the earliest buildings still standing in this district date back to just after the Civil War. Actually, the area between Public Square and Ninth Street or Sixth Street, even up until the early 20th century, was a residential neighborhood. There were still large mansions on that part of Euclid. The city's central business district was west of the Square. Today's Warehouse District was the downtown of the 19th century. So even on lower Euclid, which is considered historic from a longer term perspective, you know, think of the theater district as historic. And in the 14th, the 18th block, those theaters were built in the twenties. They replaced residential buildings. So the street very much, the Millionaires' Row that people recall really our mansions that stood from... There were big buildings at East Sixth Street that were mansions, but in that era of classification, it's more from East 12th Street to East 40th Street. And I think there's only three of them still standing today.
Mike O'Toole [00:12:52] Do you know when the change came from when they tore down the mansions to...?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:12:56] Well, the beginning of the automobiles coming into focus really shifted all the development dynamic. There was an effort, maybe probably too late in I think it was 1905 to create lower Euclid and lower Prospect to be a park district and to still hold on to that swath of green that was the elite part of the city of Cleveland. Euclid Avenue was called the most beautiful city in the world as a residential street. And that's what it looked like post-Civil War. By the... By the late, early 1900s, because of the rise of the automobile and other developmental pressures, it never could overcome that change. And then there was the heyday of making it the premier commercial street, which probably ran from, again that 1905, 1910 period highlighted by everything that got built in the Roaring Twenties after the First World War, you know, period of building all the theaters, although some of the early department stores, for example, the Taylor's department store, which is still standing—it's a Six Six Eight Building, it's just been mutilated so many times—was built in 1905 with an immense, ornate terra-cotta front. It was added on to three times. One of our proposals as Historic Gateway is to restore that facade entirely, which is doable and make it a historic building again. And that's... That, that proposal's right now in play.
Mike O'Toole [00:14:12] And, now, the way the Fourth Street is really bricked and like...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:14:17] That's a recall... That's an adaptation of think... Helping bring it into a 21st century era by recalling its earlier history. Fourth Street was actually a street of Brooklyn brownstones until the Civil War. Then it got covered with commercial buildings, starting from the early 1870s through the twenties. And it, you know, had its whole, whole life and history. It was its own unique street. And that's why it was so important to save it. It was threatened with demolition. And that really is the anchor of the lower Euclid Avenue redevelopment now. But it was pressured to, and there were still proposals to demolish much of it in the early eighties. In fact, there was... That's why the Warehouse District assisted a single entrepreneurial shop owner there, Bob Zimmer, that helped create what was called the East Fourth Street National Register Historic District. And actually the East Fourth Local Historic District Development Corporation is the forerunner of what's now Historic Gateway, and we're operating on their original charter.
Mike O'Toole [00:15:12] Are there any other...
Mark Souther [00:15:13] Excuse me. One second. I need to... [equipment adjustment]
Mike O'Toole [00:15:15] Oh, okay.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:15:17] Okay. Go ahead.
Mike O'Toole [00:15:22] And now are there any other plans to, like, change some other streets to make them more like the brick and more, I guess, cozy would be...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:15:33] In the downtown neighborhood?
Mike O'Toole [00:15:34] Yes, in that area.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:15:35] We are working now on some ideas that the area around Erie Street Cemetery with the two brick streets flank the cemetery and some of the alleyways near there that still have cobble standing, hopefully, we could create a historic district that would respect, protect, and enhance that environment. It's a... It's, it's hard to do. I mean, it's a... It's a design idea right now. There's no defined project. What we're looking to do is to expand the historic district boundaries to have the private incentives for the buildings that are on those streets, have rehab incentives, which they don't today. If that happens, it helps set the context for also maybe looking at the public realm of the brick streets.
Mike O'Toole [00:16:16] And now back to the department stores on Euclid Avenue...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:16:19] Mm hmm.
Mike O'Toole [00:16:20] Was, when you said Sterling Lindner, that is further down?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:16:24] Sterling Lindner is right... It was mostly demolished. There's a there's a Lindner Building there today that's been altered with a new, with a different front. But the actual Sterling and Welch store, which was part of the Sterling-Lindner-Davis department store, stood where there's a parking lot next to the Union Club right now. It was a very ornate store. It probably was the most... From the standpoint of coming down for Christmas. Most Clevelanders, you know, from maybe even slightly younger than me and clearly all the way back till, you know, the twenties, it was known to have the largest live tree display in the world in its atrium. And in fact, when the Galleria opened in, on Ninth Street in the, in '87 for a number of years they put a big tree up and just said it evokes the memories of the Sterling Lindner tree because of the amount... Because they had some of the original decorations.
Mike O'Toole [00:17:11] Oh, they did?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:17:11] Yes.
Mike O'Toole [00:17:13] And now, the May Comany and Halle's were also right in your area, correct?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:17:18] No. No. May's, May, Higbee's always was, was part, part of the Union Terminal complex and attached, but once you crossed Ontario Street, the May Company was the big department store right near the Square. There was a Bailey's store just south of Mays at Prospect-Ontario that was demolished in the early sixties for where the May Company garage is now. That was also a large department store. In its heyday, there were six large department stores. My personal memory is of only four of them. The Taylor's and the Bailey's store were both gone by the early sixties. The Halle's store closed in '82. Sterling Lindeer closed, I believe, in '68. And the May's closed in '92 and I'm, and I think that Higbee's then Dillard's I think closed, you know, in the last few years.
Mike O'Toole [00:18:16] You know, I know the Taylor's is now kind of mixed use.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:18:19] Mm hmm.
Mike O'Toole [00:18:19] Are there any plans to try to bring back some of the...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:18:21] The retail that will come back won't... You know, department stores are a dinosaur everywhere in the country. So although they do exist, they're having to reconfigure themselves. What's likely for downtown is what we're working on is the right way to do it is to redo upper floors and to use in there creating a mixed use with residential. And that will create, in my view, some neighborhood-based retail opportunities for the residential neighborhood. And then because of the uniqueness of the space, there's probably some niche type of shopping that can get attracted back into the central business district. And we're looking at some of the some of those options through some design studies right now.
Mike O'Toole [00:18:54] And now it's again where is now in the residential with a lot of entertainment in there and...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:19:01] It's also a visitor because there are five hotels that have been triggered in the Gateway District.
Mike O'Toole [00:19:06] And now what is the... What do you see as the future of the area?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:19:11] I see a growth in the residential to be a companion and similar neighborhood idea to the what's going on in the Warehouse District. So although we have ten residential buildings now, I'd hope that would double. Secondly, we have some new construction sites. Hopefully they would be mixed use. And I think because we also have a fair amount of office building space and a much, a lot of diversity in this part of downtown. It really has a chance to attract some unique employment opportunities back. We see some of that in the Caxton Building, for example, in the Gateway District, which really is an eclectic mix of a lot of entrepreneurs.
Mike O'Toole [00:19:44] Okay. So downtown is getting more and more...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:19:47] There's an artistic element of a certain type of what I call boutique office space of people who want to be a part of a creative, entrepreneurial mix. In the early area, the Warehouse District that was highlighted, headquartered in the Bradley Building. In the Gateway District, the Caxton Building is really the center of that.
Mike O'Toole [00:20:03] Now, is there anything else that I haven't touched on you would like to add?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:20:07] Well, I mean, one of the big opportunities that's more recent is the potential conversion of the May Company building into a mixed, large mixed-use project. There is a out of town group who has an option on the building today. They're trying to put that idea together. It's a possibility. I mean, development is complex. Nothing's a certainty until it's done. But I think that can be a great historic opportunity. It's one of the largest buildings in downtown, it's all just under a million square feet, the building as a, as a mixed-use building.
Mike O'Toole [00:20:34] So that should help the Euclid Corridor.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:20:36] I think I think it'll be a good companion piece to it. One of the tricks with Euclid Corridor is because of all the physical construction it takes to build the actual transportation project, there's a give and take with the operations of existing businesses while that's going on. That's really one of the more difficult things to coordinate.
Mike O'Toole [00:20:53] I see a lot of boarded buildings down...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:20:55] Well. You also don't want to open a business now and have it open when it's access and construction's going on. So people really have to time and plan out what's gonna happen. And there's some real good things that are gonna happen but they... [abrupt pause]
Mike O'Toole [00:21:11] Now the Gateway and the Warehouse are both sort of under the same umbrella, you said?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:21:16] Well, the staffing is the same for both. These are two unique efforts to have, have on the street responses to development opportunities. So in some ways there are some efforts that can be merged, but in other ways you really need to maintain effort at that level. In my view, that's how development happens. It happens building by building, project by project incrementally. And the philosophy of doing that is actually part of a national movement with the National Trust for Historic Preservation that's known as the Main Street approach. And we're, we're an organization that operates under that philosophy. So that's consistent even with the redoing of the transit project, that's a redoing of the city's main street. And this is the complementary development approach to it, in our opinion.
Mike O'Toole [00:21:56] So there is like no plans to combine them and do something to Public Square?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:22:01] Well, that could be... No, no, that, actually, there is a momentum from both sides to say if we're successful with what we're doing, we both, we, both districts kind of meet at Public Square. The challenge of redoing Public Square is it's right now, it's really more of a transportation storage location, for lack of a better term. So although it's a ten-acre public park, so much of that is impacted by the way the current RTA system interacts with the Square. You'd have to rethink that system and have alternatives. I think that's very doable, especially the pressure for doing it might be more obvious once the Euclid Corridor project's done, once the full buildout of what's being working on residentially is done. And then we have a unique, in my view almost like Boston Commons type opportunity there.
Mike O'Toole [00:22:41] That was going to be what I was going to say, like trying to get rid of the four streets and...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:22:45] That's been thought of before. In the past, it was fought based upon the traffic counts and the transit counts, but some of those pressures have lessened, so the opportunity may be there in the future.
Mike O'Toole [00:22:59] Again, is there anything else? Because I...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:23:03] No, I think that Euclid Coridor, it's really a stay tuned. Once the project is done up and operating, I think some of the building opportunities... You respond to what's doable at the time. I think there's still maybe for downtown a couple other hotel opportunities down the road. Housing is booming. It's growing. It's a growth sector in the downtown economy. There are some properties that have struggled, but I think that's individually based. I think the market overall is strong.
Mike O'Toole [00:23:28] And speaking of housing, there are more people moving downtown?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:23:31] Oh, yeah. Downtown was a growth area of Cleveland or even of the region in the last census. So it's sometimes if you look at things from too much of a macro perspective, you miss the kind of microeconomic opportunities that are going on. Downtown's clearly from a residential standpoint one of the growth areas in the community. You have questions?
Mark Souther [00:23:50] I have a couple of follow-up questions.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:23:51] Sure.
Mark Souther [00:23:52] One thing you said that really interesting me was in particular when you mentioned that 8,500 people live downtown. I found that...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:23:59] Yes.
Mark Souther [00:23:59] An astoundingly high number. I didn't realize that...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:24:01] That's the census count for downtown Cleveland.
Mark Souther [00:24:04] For 2000?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:24:07] Mm hmm.
Mark Souther [00:24:07] That leads me to the question, is there, in your profession, a recognized tipping point at which, population wise, at which the downtown population in a city suddenly generates a...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:24:23] An economic impact?
Mark Souther [00:24:23] An economic impact?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:24:25] Yeah, I would say we are looking... Our goal is to double the downtown population. The downtowns, and there's not that many in this country that would be typified as being healthy. I think the one time there was a, I forget which group did it, but so there really were five downtowns, at most six, that were independently their own economic engine based upon the population. And other than New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, I think those were the six. Minneapolis was sometimes in there, too, but they have a very large University of Minnesota just off the edge of the downtown that creates that number. But if we think if we had 15,000 in downtown population, we will have its own base for spreading an economic spinoff. We get a spinoff already. But I think it's, it's not as big a multiplier. If we can double this, which I think is our goal, it's very doable. We have hit some multipliers, though, in the Warehouse District by getting to the couple of thousand units, and then we, you know, we have landed a junior-level grocery store in the Bingham Building. And that was doable once we hit that amount. We had made some efforts at food stores in the late eighties, and we were told candidly when we got to 500, you'll get a just convenience store. And that did happen. We a small market on West Sixth. When you get to a couple thousand that you probably can start talking about a more full-service food store and that also happened. So I mean, there is some rules of thumb that seem to come into being with laws of economics and they have happened. I think you can anticipate Gateway's getting close to a thousand residents. I think we're going to start to see some additional stores there just serving the residential population.
Mark Souther [00:26:00] Where is the Euclid Corridor project at the current moment? I've tried to, you know we're involved with the oral history project, I haven't heard any news lately about that.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:26:10] Well, it's under construction. They're in the utility construction phase. So when you see these pipelines and different things, that's what's going on. I'm not fully versed on their actual timetables, but I mean, I think the goal is to have everything done 2008, 2009, from what I know. As far as I know, it's on schedule. Much of the work that's currently being done is being done in the areas just east of the downtown, not in the downtown.
Mike O'Toole [00:26:36] Over toward like...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:26:37] Cleveland Clinic.
Mike O'Toole [00:26:37] Yeah.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:26:37] Yeah.
Mark Souther [00:26:39] And then another question unrelated to this was something you mentioned earlier in the interview. You mentioned you have very fond memories of coming downtown. You mentioned a few places of business such as the Mills Cafeteria, for instance. I wonder if you could say anything about any particular memorable visit, something that stands out in your mind about either particular...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:27:01] Well, I remember the other thing that was downtown on Euclid Avenue was the old Cleveland Arena. And so my memory of the last time we went to, went to Mills that I can quantify and remember, was we went there the night of the... Cleveland Press used to host the city basketball championship between the East Senate and the West Senate as they were called back then. And went to the 1970 title game, which I think was between the East High School and Saint Ignatius. And we went to Mills Cafeteria at a time which, you know, we had gone there when I was a child in the sixties also. And so it might have closed somewhere a little bit after that, I don't recall. But I remember being there that night and it was very, you know, a memorable game for a number of reasons and a memorable evening. And also the old Boucair's ice cream parlor, which later on became the Parthenon Restaurant, which used to exist in the theater district, I remember going to the Parthenon many times late at night after a show or after being in the downtown.
Mark Souther [00:28:03] And then my final question goes back to the, I think it's the Taylor Building you mentoned.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:28:08] Mm hmm.
Mark Souther [00:28:09] What is the likelihood that will be... You mentioned the restoring the facade. Does that mean that there actually is a facade underneath?
Thomas Yablonsky [00:28:19] Well, if you would go there today, you would see the metal the fake metal facade that was on top of that building for maybe 20 years has been stripped off underneath. If you look very closely, the terra-cotta paneling is still intact. The patterning is still there. That facade can be recrafted in new terra cotta and some micro cotta. And it's actually been fully researched and designed that the facade can be restored. So we need to trigger the economic project that will do that restoration. It's potentially just a fantastic project. And my hope is that it is done and we have... Historic Gateway has laid the groundwork for that by doing all the research to make the whole building eligible for all the historic resources that raise dollars to make the renovation doable.
Mark Souther [00:29:08] And actually, two more questions come to mind.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:09] Sure.
Mark Souther [00:29:11] I apologize. One is... The new parking garage at 515 Euclid...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:15] Yes.
Mark Souther [00:29:16] I've noticed that, you know, that's gone up and it looks great and it's, it's empty so far. What are the prospects for...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:24] What's empty? Do you mean the retail is empty?
Mark Souther [00:29:25] The retail...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:25] I think the retail is really tied more to... Nobody... The newer retail stores that may come in are not gonna locate there until the transit project's done. I mean, somebody may come in temporarily, but the reality is long-term success, you really need the street to be up and operating and not interrupted by a construction project. But I do think that space has good long-term potential.
Mark Souther [00:29:49] And I forget the other question I was going to ask unfortunately. Maybe I'll just ask you off the record. That's all I have.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:55] Okay.
Mike O'Toole [00:29:56] Well, thank you very much for...
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:57] You're welcome.
Mike O'Toole [00:29:58] Your time.
Thomas Yablonsky [00:29:59] If you any follow-up or need something, let me know.