Not only is LeBron James back in the game…and back to #23, but the entire city of Cleveland is on the rise


CLEVELAND -- Not only is LeBron James back in the game…and back to #23, but the entire city of Cleveland is on the rise.

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance says that, with $5.5 billion in downtown development being planned or coming online between 2010 and today, James only adds to the existing momentum of this vibrant downtown.

The Alliance says here are 23 reasons why downtown Cleveland is "back."

1. Cost of living in Cleveland vs. Miami*

Rent prices in Cleveland are 50.49 percent lower than in Miami, FL.`

2. Residential Growth

With more than 12,500 residents, downtown Cleveland is at its highest downtown residential population in more than 60 years.

3. Accessibility

Cleveland is considered one of the Top 10 most walkable downtowns in the United States.

4. Walnut Wednesdays

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance celebrates summer each week at Perk Plaza. Downtown workers and residents unwind with friends and co-workers while enjoying delicious food from local food trucks and live entertainment.

5. Pop Up Party at the Plaza

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance invites Downtown workers and residents to enjoy food trucks, a beer garden and live music entertainment on the third Thursday of summer months. This year, the last Pop Up Party will take place on the pier at North Coast Harbor to connect the city with the lake.

6. SPARX City Hop

Now in its 12th year, SPARX City Hop celebrates the connectivity of Cleveland's communities. Free trolley service "hops" patrons to core Cleveland districts and connects them to more than 70 galleries and artist studios, 100 restaurants, several markets and dozens of retail shops.

7. Award-Winning Public Transit Line

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has been named the best public transit system in North America by the American Public Transportation Authority for "demonstrating achievement in efficiency and effectiveness."

8. Public Square Transformation

The Group Plan, working with nationally recognized landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, has developed plans for a dramatic $30 million transformation of Public Square that will make it a world-class public space in the heart of Cleveland. The Cleveland Foundation announced an $8 million grant for the project, and the foundation's Public Square Preservation has awarded more than $1.3 million to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance for the upkeep and maintenance of the square.

9. North Coast Namaste

Instructors from Cleveland area yoga studios have joined forces with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance to bring a lakefront yoga series to North Coast Harbor during the summer and fall months. More than 100 yogis attend the event each week.

10. North Coast Harbor Transient Marina

The new marina at North Coast Harbor occupies a seven-acre section of the harbor, just north of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is only the first of many initiatives scheduled for Downtown Lakefront's plan.

11. Flats East Bank

With a beautiful office tower, trendy hotel, amenity filled fitness club, three great restaurants and a café up and running, you'd think the Flats East Bank was complete; however, spring 2015 will bring even more life to this growing riverfront area that was once known for heavy industry.

12. Destination Culinary Scene

Mabel's BBQ: Michael Symon's new restaurant will bring a "Cleveland-style" take on barbecue traditions to East 4th street downtown. Butcher and Brewer: This new communal brewpub takes a modern approach to classic brewing techniques and rustic farmhouse fare.

13. Convention Center Hotel

The Convention Center Hotel, Hilton Cleveland/Downtown, will connect the new Cleveland Convention Center, the Global Center for Health Innovation, and downtown mall in a way that has never been done before. The Northeast Ohio region is in a stronger position than ever to compete on a national and international stage.

14. Johnny Football

The excitement surrounding 2014 first round draft pick Johnny "Johnny Football" Manziel is helping to connect a new generation of fans with our Cleveland Browns.

15. New Convention Center

Located in the heart of a vibrant downtown on the shores of Lake Erie, the new Cleveland Convention Center includes 225,000 gross square feet of Class A exhibit space divisible into three exhibition halls, 35 state-of-the-art meeting rooms, an expansive truck loading dock, and a 32,000-square-foot, column-free ballroom with spectacular views of Cleveland's lakefront.

16. Free Downtown Trolleys

Greater Cleveland's RTA trolleys are the quick, easy and free way to get around downtown Cleveland. All you need is a sense of adventure and a smile to hop on and ride to major civic and business centers, world-class restaurants, hotels and entertainment destinations.

17. PlayhouseSquare

On May 2nd, about 25,000 people gathered at PlayhouseSquare to watch the inspiring performance as the face of our neighborhood changed forever, and the beauty of our historic theaters was brought outdoors. Dramatic changes to our neighborhood include a spectacular design plan that includes lights and video signage, elegant gateways, a "retro" sign inspired by our 1920s-era roots and the world's largest outdoor chandelier – the GE Chandelier.

18. Lakefront Development

The Cleveland City Council has approved legislation for $700 million development in the long-anticipated lakefront development project. The agreement anticipates the building of about 1,000 residential apartments, 80,000 square feet of commercial office space, 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on 21 acres of the lakefront, and a school to serve children from Kindergarten through 8th grade.

19. Record investment $5.5 billion

Cleveland is manufacturing its own destiny once again. Between 2010 and today, more than $5.5 billion worth of public and private investment in Downtown is planned or online. Our city center is experiencing a renaissance unlike any other.

20. First Energy Stadium Upgrade

While the Browns are busy practicing, construction workers downtown are busy completing First Energy Stadium's $120 million improvement project. Improvements will include high-definition scoreboards, LED video boards and a new audio system.

21. Class B Building Conversions

Downtown Cleveland's skyline is changing on the inside, as more office buildings become used for residential and hotel use. The shift is already apparent at the Hanna Building, owned by the PlayhouseSquare Foundation. The conversion of the adjoining Hanna Annex to the Residences at Hanna allowed the foundation to move 20 tenants to the Hanna and increase its occupancy 10% to make it 87% leased, according to Allen Wiant, strategic development director for the foundation's PlayhouseSquare Real Estate Services unit.

22. DCA Ambassadors – The Friendly Face of Downtown Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland Alliance's Clean and Safe Ambassadors are hard at work seven days a week, nearly 24 hours a day, providing a wide range of supplemental services to our Downtown. From power washing and graffiti removal to assisting stranded motorists, to helping visitors with directions, the Ambassadors are on the job.

23. RNC convention

Cleveland will host the 2016 Republican National Convention after beating out Dallas for the final nod, putting the party's nomination festivities in a key presidential battleground.

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