Can downtown streets be crowded again?

Can downtown streets be crowded again?

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - As summer vacation for school kids winds down, Downtown Cleveland is bustling with people.

But can it ever return to it's stature as a downtown shopping destination?

There is no doubt that downtown Cleveland is in a transition phase. In some ways that means out the with old like Downtown Records, Volks, and The Mad Hatter and in with the new like Red The Steakhouse which will take over the space.

But when was the last time you saw someone downtown with a sightseeing map?

At Positively Cleveland, they put a positive spin on everything Cleveland, but their tourism projects are impressive.

"We are looking at visitor numbers that will almost double what we're seeing downtown and that equates to hosting the Super Bowl not once but 30 times in one year," said Lexi Hotchkiss with Positively Cleveland.

Lloyd Wood from Buffalo says, "It's nice and clean. I like it, it's our first trip to Cleveland."

And that is the real bottom line, what do visitors think.

"We know it's an old industrial city and my son and I we're interested in that," said Tony Cautela from Boston.

Cautela and his family are on a cross country trip and might have passed on Cleveland in the past.  A friend said 'try it out, you'll like it.'

Chris and Jen Halopy are visiting Cleveland... from our own suburbs.

There are plenty of places to eat here, to hear music, chill out, gamble or even bowl.  But is something missing?  Shopping.  Upscale clothier Dredgers Union is closing. Can downtown streets ever get crowded again?

Not likely soon.  Experts say all that apartment space above all the entertainment spots as to get a lot more tenants before retail can succeed.

Go Fourth guy Mike Wheeler agrees, "No I don't think so it's more of a wining and dining type atmosphere people aren't coming down here wanting to carry shopping bags afterwards."

There are no easy answers for a downtown trying to re-invent itself. Certainly there will be a lot of trial and error as the city adapts to an economy focused on the service industry rather than heavy industry.

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