LAKEWOOD, Ohio — On the first day of Pride Month, 3News was given exclusive access to a large development project in Lakewood geared toward the LGBTQ+ community called Studio West 117.
"I'm on board," Phyllis Harris, executive director of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, said. "At times, I think we don't think enough about what we might need to be thriving community members in Northeast Ohio."
For the co-developers on the Studio West 117 project, the construction zone is far more than a building—it's 300,000 square feet of community building.
"Studio West is something we feel amazing about because we're actually able to do something, to provide our community that safe space," co-developer Daniel Budish told WKYC. "This is needed now more than ever."
Here are some quick statistics: The building will house a gym for sports leagues, multiple restaurants, bars, a theater, and performance practice spaces geared toward the LGBTQ+ community. It will also house Lakewood's first rooftop patio.
"We have been working on this for the past two years, almost, and we're going to be open to the public in October," co-developer Betsy Figgie said. "It's amazing to me."
For everyone involved, this project means more than the sum of it's parts. They want it to be a safe space whether people are young, retired, or even still trying to figure out their identity.
"Despite [others] politicizing our lives, we are human beings who enjoy entertainment, who enjoy gathering, who enjoy being safe, who want to be able to save our lives," Harris explained.
There are also plans for an experimental kitchen and maker spaces and even a podcast studio in the building, all to help launch people's small businesses. You can learn more at studiowest117.com.