According to a new report released Wednesday by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the economic development of downtown, 2013 was a record-breaking year for growth in the heart of the city.
"This was an exciting year for downtown Cleveland. We're in the midst of over $4.5 billion of development taking place downtown," explained Michael Deemer, vice president of development for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. "We've had businesses moving in in record numbers, and we're experiencing record growth in our downtown residential population with more people than ever before living downtown."
The 5th Street Arcades is also just one of many examples of the revitalization taking place.
Just two years ago the historic space was nearly half empty, now it's nearly 100 percent full of locally owned retail shops and entrepreneurs.
"We wanted to bring that vibrancy back," said Richard Pace, CEO of Cumberland Development LLC, who oversees the 5th Street Arcades. "I spent a lot of time in these arcades and it was a shame to see such beautiful architecture not being utilized and not being full and vibrant."
The new report also highlights the city's core daily population, which has risen to nearly 125,000 people, more than ever in the city's history.
"We know we have a great place to live and work, but even we're surprised by how much pent-up demand there is for living downtown," said Deemer. "We have tremendous momentum in downtown Cleveland. We see things beginning to happen on the waterfront with the Flats East Bank development. ... We need to continue to convert older office buildings into housing, and we need to build new housing to meet all that pent-up demand."
Deemer says nearly $2.5 billion worth of investments were announced in downtown Cleveland in 2013 alone.
Forbes Magazine also ranked Cleveland among the nation's top 15 emerging downtown areas.