The Campus District Master Plan is a product of the Capstone Project undertaken in the spring


The Campus District Master Plan is a product of the Capstone Project undertaken in the spring semester of 2013 by Urban Studies 611, a class required for completion of the Masters Degree in Urban Planning, Design, and Development, or MUPDD, of the Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs. The class has been led by Professors Robert A. Simons and James Kastelic and included 23 students whose names are listed in this report. As with other capstone projects, a client has partnered with the class to provide the impetus for a realistic exercise in planning. In this case, the client is the Campus District Inc., (CDI) a non-profit Community Development Corporation created to manage the future of an important neighborhood on the eastern flank of downtown Cleveland.

Established as the Quadrangle District in 1983 by Cleveland State University, St. Vincent Charity Hospital and Cuyahoga Community College, the organization and the neighborhood were renamed the Campus District in 2010. It has a 22-person board representing member institutions and businesses, and serves a 500-acre swath of land bounded by Lakeside Avenue on the north, Broadway Avenue on the south, East 18th Street on the west and East 30th Street on the east. In 2012, veteran community development practitioner Bobbi Reichtell succeeded Rockette Richardson as the organization’s director. The Mission of the Campus District, according to its website, is to “connect Cleveland’s downtown campuses by leading, providing, and promoting community development services.” Its vision is that “by connecting people and ideas, CDI promotes and strengthens the business, education, healthcare, religious, research, and service activities of its member institutions. CDI creates places and not just facilities by working to improve the quality of life for those who live, work, visit, and study in this growing district.”

The Campus District faces many challenges, including the lack of a clear identity, a history of having been carved into various parts by the construction of the Innerbelt in the late 1950s and 1960s, perceptions that it is unsafe, and a lack of parks and green space. Yet the potential for additional development and vitality is clear. Demand for rental apartments in nearby areas of downtown has risen sharply in recent years and has outstripped supply. Cleveland State University has contributed to the residential renaissance with the recent construction of approximately 1,000 units of housing in its new and renovated dorms and in the new North Campus Village. The completion of the Euclid Avenue HealthLine bus rapid transit system provides another strong impetus for a fresh look at the Campus District, as do ongoing efforts to improve public spaces and amenities in the PlayhouseSquare area, Public Square and the downtown Group Plan District. Consequently, Campus District Inc has asked Studio 611 to develop a Campus District Master Plan, with specific recommendations in four specific areas that involved:

  1. Market demand for additional student housing in the blocks around Cleveland State University.
  2. The advisability of creating an Entertainment District in proximity to the campus.
  3. Recommendations on redevelopment options for the Third District Police Station, Mather Hall and the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Building
  4. Potential locations for parks, vest pocket parks, greenways, bike paths and other improvements to the public realm in the District.

As a major stakeholder in the district, Cleveland State University took a keen interest in the project. Research included an extensive series of presentations to the class by community leaders including, among others, CSU President Ronald Berkman; Stephanie McHenry, CSU’s chief finance officer; Bobbi Reichtell, director of the Campus District Inc., Theresa Schwarz, director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative of Kent State University; Chris Ronayne, director of University Circle, Inc.; James Kastelic, senior park planner for Cleveland Metroparks; developer Ari Maron, co-owner of MRN Ltd.; Cleveland City Planning Director Robert Brown; and property owner and developer Karen Perkowski.

To conduct the project, the class branded itself as Studio 611. Research included investigations of existing conditions, history, land use, zoning, infrastructure and other aspects of the Campus District. Additionally, the class conducted a detailed survey of potential market demand among more than 800 randomly selected CSU students from classes selected to provide a representative cross section of the university’s population of 17,500 students. Studio 611 also conducted nearly 50 detailed interviews with community stakeholders selected to represent major institutions, businesses, property owners, and public agencies with interest in or oversight over the district, along with residents, employees and leaders of services for the homeless. All research questions and protocols were reviewed and approved by the CSU Institutional Review Board to ensure ethical compliance with rules governing research with human subjects.

The members of Studio 611 strongly believe that the Campus District has the opportunity to become a far greater asset to Cleveland in ways that build upon its proximity to downtown, its immediate access to the interstate highway system and the presence of its three powerful institutions – CSU, Tri-C and St. Vincent Charity Hospital. Studio 611 respectfully submits this document for community consideration in the hope that it will stimulate further discussion about the hidden treasures and enormous future potential of a neighborhood that lies just outside the spotlight often focused on Cleveland’s downtown. Changing demographics and an influx of new residents, combined with a national revival of interest in legacy cities and their challenges, make this the perfect moment to begin a new discussion over a vitally important, if somewhat neglected area on the doorstep of downtown Cleveland.

Special Thanks to Cleveland State University and Campus District, Inc.

Cleveland State University Poop