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Flats East Bank Project Suspended

An artist's rendering of the aerial view of the Flats East Bank Project.
An artist's rendering of the aerial view of the Flats East Bank Project.

The half-billion-dollar Flats East Bank project was announced with great hoopla three years ago by developer Scott Wolstein.

WOLSTEIN: This project is a big dream, but make no mistake about it. This is a big dream that can and will become a reality.

But, that dream of apartments, restaurants and night clubs lining the Cuyahoga river was put on hold yesterday. In a news release, Wolstein noted that the project still faced considerable infrastructure and environmental remediation costs --- expenses he couldn't cover in the current credit market.

Downtown councilman Joe Cimperman, who attended the Flats East Bank Project announcement in 2005 says there is now a big chill on any new development downtown.

CIMPERMAN: It's clear that we're in a time of winter, not only in our seasons, but in terms of our economy. The markets are cold, the city of Cleveland couldn't sell a municipal bond right now if it wanted to. I think that what's being reflected in the Flats project is that financing is difficult to come by.

Cimperman says he believes the Flats project will be up and running in the Spring, after the markets settle down. Two of the projects biggest tenants --- the Ernst & Young accounting company and the law firm of Tucker Ellis and West --- also expressed confidence that the project would go forward.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.