CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Developers and occupants of the development on the East Flats are confident that the project will thrive due to one thing: diversification.
"I think it was a huge risk, it's a big reach and it's worked out great," said Scott Wolstein, a principal in the Wolstein Group which developed the Flats. "A lot of people probably doubted us as they doubt a lot of Cleveland projects, but Cleveland is on the rebound and a lot of things people never thought would happen are happening."
Wolstein went on to say that he thinks Cleveland's revitalization taking some time is actually working to the benefit of the city.
"I think that we're sort of late to the party in terms of urbanization and we still have relatively modest downtown population. We have the advantage of seeing what's worked in other cities, and now we can take the best of what other people have done and make it work here," said Wolstein. "I don't even think we've scratched the surface. We have about 13,000 downtown residents; there's no reason we should not have 100,000 living downtown."
A study done by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance found that the downtown population has gone up by about 70 percent over the past 15 years, and the salaries of the people who live downtown are up, as are the rents downtown.
Wolstein said this iteration of the Flats is going to survive for one very specific reason.
"The reason the Flats didn't make it the first time is because it was purely entertainment. Purely entertainment, you don't have stakeholders in the district who really care about their neighborhood, now you have people working here and living here. It's a completely different equation," said Wolstein,
Cleveland 19 spoke to a representative at the area's newest restaurant, Coastal Taco, about why the eatery decided to set up shop in the Flats.
Executive chef George Matos said Coastal Taco wanted to "be a part of the revitalization."
"This is something that's been in the works for a while and we wanted to execute at a high level, so why not strike when the iron's hot," said Matos.
"We're in the second inning of a nine-inning game. This has just begun now that other people in the city have seen what we've been able to accomplish. Everybody's announced plans to announce something similar and my response is, bring it on -- the more the merrier," said Wolstein,
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