Riverfront Redefined: Bedrock and the City of Cleveland Unveil the Cuyahoga Riverfront Master Plan

December 2, 2022

Aligned with the Vision for the Valley, and anchored by the redevelopment of Tower City Center, Sir David Adjaye OM OBE offers a bold plan with shore-to-core access, sustainable infrastructure, and a world-class riverfront experience


December 2, 2022 [CLEVELAND] — Bedrock, in partnership with the city of Cleveland and world-renowned architect David Adjaye, today unveiled its comprehensive Cuyahoga Riverfront master plan. The 15-to-20-year vision will reimagine 35 acres of the riverfront, transform Tower City Center, and prioritize accessibility, equity, sustainability, and resilience with the development of an 18-hour, 15-minute downtown.

“We are incredibly excited to present our interpretation of the groundbreaking work accomplished in the City’s Vision for the Valley. The opportunity to provide unparalleled access to the Cuyahoga Riverfront while connecting the area to the downtown core is realized through David Adjaye’s bold strokes,” says Kofi Bonner, chief executive officer at Bedrock. “David’s vision not only embraces downtown Cleveland’s rich history and connection to nature, but also addresses the demands of a world-class city by leveraging sustainable infrastructure and emphasizing pedestrian and transit modes to large activated open spaces.”

During the last several months, Adjaye spent time in Cleveland to devise a multi-faceted, future-state blueprint for the Cuyahoga Riverfront. The site under master planning features more than 35 acres of public and private land, primed for over 3.5 million square feet of new development and adaptive reuse projects. This includes the addition of 2,000 residential units, 850,000 square feet of office space, new parking, 12+ acres of public space and opportunities for future hospitality, retail and entertainment venues.

“Our redevelopment strategy for the downtown Cleveland Riverfront taps into the lost heritage of the city, establishing a new relationship between the urban core and the shore,” states Adjaye. “As I became more deeply immersed, the need to build a more tempered flow of movement through the city became immensely clear.”

Tower City Center: Linking Shore to Core

A signature move connects Public Square to the riverfront through the creation of a new Tower City Center marketplace. Envisioned as an activated and unifying hub, this central spine will elevate the experience of daily commuters and spur opportunities for commerce and connection. The grand space will mirror the architectural presence of boulevards and covered markets around the globe.

Adjaye continues, “We’ll stratify the inclining site through layers of use and activation, advancing from commercial and transactional function, toward the more public, recreational uses at the water’s edge.”

In the years to come, Tower City will undergo interior and structural updates to maximize flow, eliminating obstructions at the Huron Road level and scaling down to the riverfront. In the near term, the downtown destination will remain home to a mix of retail, dining and programming for everyone to experience.

Bonner notes, “As the crown jewel of downtown Cleveland, Tower City will serve as the seamless pedestrian connection between the riverfront and Public Square, forging new and enhanced paths for commerce, activations and transit.”

With mobility in focus, Bedrock, in collaboration with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), and select civic partners, including the City of Cleveland, will explore plans for an advanced mobility hub, comprised of a multi-modal pathway, stronger connection points between rail and bus, and enhanced ADA access.  

Complementary to the existing, highly trafficked Tower City and Public Square stops, the hub could include a new Prospect Plaza, Huron Plaza, Superior bus station, and an Ontario bus facility - all servicing the Central Business District, riverfront, and surrounding neighborhoods. 

Riverfront Neighborhoods

The west side of the Cuyahoga Riverfront development site is woven together by accessible green space, tapping into the heritage of the “Forest City” as a connection to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system. Textured, cultured, and curated paths will encourage walkability, accessibility, and equitable spaces. This new neighborhood will feature office and retail spaces near Huron Road and will transition to smaller scale residential blocks closer to a new Canal Road.

To the east of Tower City, the Adjaye plan introduces enclaves of recreation, congregation, and culture, including an amphitheater, and more activities for all interests and ages. Rounding out the bend, a water-side belvedere gives way to a neighborhood park, with public green space and landscaping.

As key components of the master plan evolve, collaboration with public, private and non-profit stakeholders will remain critical. One of these partners is The Sherwin-Williams Company with whom Bedrock has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the Landmark Office Towers (101 West Prospect Avenue) and the Breen Technology Center (601 Canal Road).

Sustainability in Focus

Looking ahead, the Cuyahoga Riverfront master plan will leverage the most advanced and modern sustainable practices to ensure that it is at the forefront of smart city development.

This allows for the introduction of new estuaries and irrigation options vital for vibrant public parks, trees, and greenery. Green roofs, permeable pavement and treatment of stormwater flows will also provide enhanced water efficiency throughout the area.

LEED certification standards will also be pursued, and the conscious use of environmentally friendly materials such as mass timber will be incorporated where possible. Additionally, EV charging stations and the use of district energy systems will help improve efficiency and reduce impact on regional grid infrastructure.

Community Engagement & Impact

A master plan that contributes to a downtown center and is accessible to all through multi-modal transportation is at the vanguard of Bedrock’s Cuyahoga Riverfront master plan.

Bonner underscores, “We look forward to engaging with the Mayor, the City Council and the broader community to better refine this plan and define appropriate community benefits. We intend to engage key community, private and non-profit partners to execute and deliver a vibrant, accessible riverfront community to the City of Cleveland.”

Bedrock has enlisted the expertise and experience of Cleveland’s Osborn Engineering and MKSK as consultants to strategize and ultimately, help execute phases of the Cuyahoga Riverfront master plan. These industry leading teams deliver hyper-local knowledge that has and will continue to nurture the development process as it moves forward. As Bedrock significantly invests in downtown as a vibrant destination at the height of industry, commerce and tourism, it will emerge bold enough to underscore Cleveland’s designation as a world-class city well into the future.

“Today’s announcement is a prime example of what can be accomplished when the private and public sectors align on equitable initiatives in support of all Clevelanders,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “Bedrock’s vision for the redevelopment of the Cuyahoga Riverfront is one of the major projects that will help us realize Cleveland’s goal of becoming the 18-hour, 15-minute city we know it can be.”

About Bedrock

Bedrock is a full-service real estate firm specializing in innovative city-building strategies, reaching far beyond the boundaries of bricks and mortar. Since its founding in 2011, Bedrock and its affiliates have invested and committed more than $5.6 billion to acquiring and developing more than 100 properties in Detroit and Cleveland, including landmark developments at the Hudson’s Site, the Book Tower restoration, City Modern and the May Company Building.

Bedrock’s portfolio totals more than 19 million square feet of office, retail and residential space within new construction and adaptive reuse projects. 

For more information on Bedrock’s projects, visit bedrockdetroit.com or engage with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn. Click here to view a complete timeline of Bedrock and the Rock Family of Companies’ engagement within the Detroit community.

About David Adjaye

Sir David Adjaye OM OBE is a Ghanaian-British architect who has received international acclaim for his impact on the field. In 2000, he founded Adjaye Associates, which today operates globally with studios in Accra, London, and New York with projects spanning the globe. Adjaye’s most well-known project to date, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, opened in 2016 in Washington DC. Adjaye was awarded the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal and, most recently, was named an inaugural recipient of the 2022 TIME100 Impact Awards.

To view the Adjaye Associates portfolio, please visit adjaye.com.