CLEVELAND — CentroVilla25, hopes to become the heart of the Clark-Fulton neighborhood with restaurants, businesses and places to celebrate Latino culture.
The project is entering a new phase with gained support from partners to transform a community into a destination within Cleveland.
“This is really creating a transformation for our city to really have a destination place for the Latino community,” said Jenice Contreras the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development.
No longer just drawings on paper, CentroVilla25 will soon become a bustling construction site. Transforming a vacant warehouse in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood into retail space, a commercial kitchen, and a business innovation center.
Moving from fundraising to building, the groundbreaking is coming soon.
“It still seems a little surreal to me that we are finally at the closing stage for the project,” commented Contreras.
For Contreras, this project has meant a decade of work. But for the neighborhood, it has been even longer.
“It's been over four decades for the Latino community where they've dreamed of having a place where we could celebrate our culture, where we could grow businesses,” said Contreras.
A space for new businesses, events and community celebrations, the neighborhood has rallied around the project, and corporate and non-profit partners have joined in.
Like JumpStart, which provides services, capital, and connections to tech start-ups, they have helped create learning centers, like the one in the Union-Miles neighborhood. JumpStart has committed $750,000 over the next 3 years, to create on-site services at CentroVilla.
“A dedicated resource focused on assisting Latino Hispanic tech entrepreneurs as they launch their startups,” said Lorne Novick, the Chief Services Officer for JumpStart.
That's a very unique resource that doesn't necessarily exist anywhere else in the Cleveland community at this point.”
The Sherwin-Williams Foundation is also proving funding for construction as well as training support and technical assistance to Latino contractors.
“We know that there's a lot of construction projects happening in the city, yet we don't have the subcontractors to do all this work,” said Contreras.
Due to rising construction costs, CentroVilla25 will now be a $12 million project. A large undertaking for a small non-profit, but a vital one to make the Latino community visible.
“It was important that we own the project,” stated Contreras. “It was important that we developed it around the needs of the business owners of the communities intended to serve.”
“That's what success looks like growth and impact within the Northeast Ohio community,” said Novick.
In April, the warehouse becomes a construction site, with a grand opening in the summer of 2024.
“Our project is small in the scale of other projects that are being built in our city,” said Contreras. “Yet the impact that it has is going to surpass generations.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on March 5, 2023.