Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Museum of Art present plans for interim public green space on jointly owned development site
Property would be open for community use until long-term plans determined
Nearly two years after Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art launched their collaboration on the Nord Family Greenway, the institutions are partnering on another public landscape effort—this one just across the street from the greenway.
Representatives of both organizations will present plans to a city design review committee this morning, April 19, for a 4.2-acre parcel previously part of the campus of the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). Dubbed East Bell Commons, the project represents an interim measure to be in place while the two organizations continue to consider the property’s best long-term use.
Located at the corner of East Boulevard and Bellflower Road, the project is just north of the greenway. It also has the same designer, Sasaki Associates.
“We recognize that this space has exceptional potential for a creative, collaborative effort that significantly advances our decades-long academic partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art,” said Barbara R. Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University. “We want to take the time necessary to consider the many exciting possibilities, and also give the site a positive public purpose while we explore long-term options.”
Sasaki’s proposal envisions an “outdoor living room or public patio” that appeals to a broad audience including students, faculty, staff, museum patrons and staff, visitors to University Circle institutions and businesses and residents of nearby neighborhoods. It will include amenities such as walking paths, lighting, seating and patio areas intended to create an inviting space for socializing, as well as staging areas for one-time and recurring events and public programs.
“East Bell Commons will provide a locus for collaborative programming and community enjoyment as we make plans for the long term. The location of the property and its proximity to both the museum and the university present unique opportunities for deepening and expanding our multifaceted partnership,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
The university and museum purchased the property in 2015, as the art institute was completing its consolidation into a single location on the eastern end of Uptown. Since then, the two institutions determined that the CIA building now on the site is not suitable for reuse; early this year, they convened a joint task force to explore other possibilities.
If the Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee endorses the proposal today, the Cleveland Planning Commission will consider the project at its meeting Friday, April 20. Once the proposal completes the approval process, the project would be put out to bid. Its first step will be demolition of the vacant CIA building.
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