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Downtown Cleveland’s Comeback Remains Strong but Still in Infancy

CSU-Downtown Cleveland Alliance report illustrates the need for continued investment in Downtown Cleveland

The Downtown Cleveland revival remains strong yet fragile and in need of continued nurturing according to a report released today by Cleveland State University and Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Authored by Richey Piiparinen, Jim Russell and Charlie Post at CSU’s Center for Population Dynamics in the Maxine Goodman Levin College for Urban Affairs, “Downtown Cleveland: The Dynamic Engine of a Talent-Driven Economy” highlights the economic effects of the changes taking place in Downtown Cleveland over the past several years, including the increasing population size, on-going job recovery since the recession, increasing value of Downtown properties and gain of employers to the region.

“No other neighborhood in Greater Cleveland has redeveloped as quickly and noticeably around the ‘live, work, play’ model as Downtown Cleveland,” the report says. “[Our analysis] details this shift, with the intent to not only discuss what these changes mean for the future of Downtown, but what Downtown Cleveland’s evolution means for the region as a whole.”

“There is national consensus that a strong downtown core is necessary to generate strong surrounding neighborhoods and a strong region,” says Michael Deemer, DCA’s Executive Vice President of Business Development.  “The data in this report illustrates that Downtown’s growth is just scratching the surface of its full potential. We’ve seen great changes in Downtown and this report shows that these changes are having a positive effect on our region, but also that there is a need for continued growth.”

Additional report highlights include:

  • Only 7 percent of all jobs in Cuyahoga County are located in Downtown Cleveland, but those jobs generate 17.4 percent of Cuyahoga County’s total income.
  • 21 percent of downtown residents work in the healthcare industry.
  • Population growth is leading to the increased value of residential housing in Downtown Cleveland.   
  • Downtown provides a talent base that attracts employers into Downtown, while also providing talented employees to employers throughout the region.
  • The largest employment sectors in Downtown Cleveland are professional, scientific, and technical services; government; education; finance and insurance; and management.
  • Job recovery is taking place, but has not returned to pre-recession levels.
  • Economic restructuring taking place downtown with the trend toward higher paying knowledge economy jobs.
  • Downtown Cleveland’s talent base is attracting employers like IBM, New York Life and Brandmuscle, but commercial office property values still lag residential property values.

The full report can be found here. Visit for more information.