Cleveland: PlayhouseSquare’s $16 million “Neighborhood Transformation Plan,” announced in April, is now partially complete and will continue to bring changes to the look of downtown Cleveland through the beginning of 2014.
The redone Star Plaza, an urban park at Euclid Avenue and 14th Street, opened at the end of September.
The new space includes a large fire pit, which has been designed to emit heat to warm visitors well into the colder months. There is also a permanent stage built with plug-and-play digital technology to make musical performances quick and easy to provide for visitors’ enjoyment.
Bands such as the eclectic ensemble Mo Mojo have played at the plaza and more performances are planned into the colder months.
The lighting has been amped up to create an inviting atmosphere and sense of the theatrical.
The redone plaza also features a gourmet burger stand called Dynomite, run by restaurateur Zack Bruell, who owns several other area restaurants including Parallax, L’Albatros Brasserie, Chinato, and Cowell & Hubbard, which is near PlayhouseSquare. Dynomite’s burgers start at $6.
“Star Plaza has long been a popular spot for lunches and events during the summer, but with the upgrades we’ve recently completed, neighborhood residents, workers and visitors will be able to enjoy this urban park for a greater part of the year,” said Cindi Szymanski, PlayhouseSquare’s communications manager.
The concept of the transformation plan was created by experiential design firm the Barnycz Group, which has completed similar projects in Chicago, Las Vegas and Dubai. The plan seeks to establish an iconic vista in Cleveland that brings a bit of the magic of theater out to the streets to attract visitors.
In keeping with the theme of bringing theatrical elements outside and creating iconic imagery, a large faux-crystal chandelier will be suspend above the middle of Euclid Avenue. Other planned enhancements include a giant LED sign, a retro PlayhouseSquare sign and large scale neighborhood gateway arches, all of which are currently being fabricated and are scheduled to be installed by 2014.
Correspondent Daryl Rowland covers Cleveland for the Beacon Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.