Economic Development Award
Max Upton, MidTown’s Director of Economic Development, presented Central Kitchen with the Economic Development Award. Eric and Gordon started the Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen in 2013, they couldn’t have imagined that their success working with food-based startups in a 3,600 square foot shared commercial kitchen would lead to such success. Six years later they’ve acquired a 165,000 square foot building to accommodate the rapid growth of the companies they’ve helped – over 300 food startups who have created more than 500 jobs in Cleveland. Finding that many startups who graduated from their incubator classes were outgrowing their shared kitchen space at 28th and Euclid, Eric and Gordon acquired the former Produce Packaging building at 75th and Carnegie last year and converted it into dedicated production kitchens, copacking facilities, and freezer and expansion space. Companies such as Cleveland Kraut, Cleveland Bagel, and Randy’s Pickles now operate out of the Central Kitchen. They are also serving a diverse population – of their current portfolio of 73 companies, 77% are owned by minorities or women. The Central Kitchen is part of a growing core of food production in MidTown, and is having a tremendous economic impact in the neighborhood.
Resident Volunteer Award
Midtown’s Community Engagement and Marketing Manager, Joi Carter, had the honor of presenting Carolyn Allen with the Resident Volunteer Award. Carolyn Allen is the epitome of a leader. A longtime resident of the Hough Neighborhood and former public safety director for the City of Cleveland, Carolyn has done her share of giving back to her community and advocating for positive neighborhood change. She’s vigorously engaged with MidTown and adds tremendous insight and value to our work in the neighborhood. Carolyn is an active participant of various community initiatives, including our committee of East 66th Corridor stakeholders. Carolyn’s advocacy to preserve the rich history of the community is what helps to inspire the vision of future planning and programing in Midtown. She is a core member of the Leo’s Listening Party Committee, which is a community-driven effort to celebrate the history, legacy and economic footprint of Euclid Avenue. Her passion and dedication to revitalizing her community is remarkable.
Neighborhood Vibrancy Award
Joyce Huang, Director of Planning and Placemaking had the pleasure of presenting Café Phix with the Neighborhood Vibrancy Award. When DigitalC opened up the Tech Hive last year at 69th and Euclid, a coffee shop was a critical part of the plan – after all, caffeine is essential to any successful coworking facility. Finding the right operator was not easy but fortunately for DigitalC – and for MidTown – they found Jackie Larkins, who had the knowledge and experience to take the leap into the coffee desert along Euclid Avenue. After operating out of a cart while the coffee shop was being built out, Café Phix MidTown opened up earlier this year and has been steadily picking up business thanks in part to their Hump Day Happy Hour on Wednesday afternoons. It is a great sight to see people sitting on an outdoor patio along Euclid Avenue sipping coffee and having a presence DigitalC’s front lawn. Thank you Café Phix for bringing coffee to the Town and energy to the street.
Karis Tzeng, AsiaTown Project Manager, presented The Offset Lofts with the Renovation Award.When a vacant two-story building on Euclid Avenue hit the market in 2017 – directly across from the new Children’s Museum – Sabor Group USA, a developer from Israel and Hungary, made it one of their first investments in Cleveland. Next month Sabor will complete a stunning conversion of what was originally built as a casket company into twelve units with original hardwood floors, high ceilings, exposed brick, indoor parking, and tremendous views to the Children’s Museum’s millionaires row mansion across the street. A restaurant is planned for the ground floor commercial space, adding an in-demand amenity to the neighborhood. Sabor Group USA is just getting started in MidTown, with plans for a brand new 64-unit building on East 70th adjacent to Dealer Tire in the works.
Neighborhood Vision Award
MidTown’s Economic Opportunity Coordinator through the Americorps VISTA, Tirzah Fields, presented Tru by Hilton with the Neighborhood Vision Award. Several years ago a group of local developers approached MidTown with a proposal to build a new hotel on a vacant piece of land at East 70th and Euclid. Eager to see development on land which had sat dormant for 30+ years and intrigued by the idea of adding this type of amenity to help the growth of the Health-Tech Corridor, MidTown agreed to hear the developers out. While some were skeptical about their plan to meet rising demand from both health care visitors to University Circle and the growing core of MidTown businesses along Euclid, it is clear from the Tru by Hilton’s success since it opened in June that the developers had the right idea. Brian Smith, Chris Kaczmar, and Dave Fischbach, the partners in Health-Tech Hospitality, had vision to see where MidTown was headed and how a new hotel could help advance that vision. The first in Ohio of Hilton’s new hip and affordable Tru flag, the hotel has a vibrant and playful lobby with Cleveland murals, maps of MidTown attractions, and grab-and go drinks and food – including wine from nearby Chateau Hough.
Project Of The Year Award
Executive Director, Jeff Epstein, had the honor of presenting Dave’s Market & eatery the Project Of The Year Award. This year’s project of the year truly meets the definition of catalytic, and has had as much or more of an impact on MidTown and its surrounding neighborhoods as many of the noteworthy projects which have been built in MidTown over the past decade. Dave’s Market and eatery has become a community gathering space, a place that proudly serves the full breadth of our neighborhood’s diversity, a project that changes perception about what is possible in MidTown, and a catalyst for future investment.