Urban Neighborhoods: Cleveland's University Circle

July 16, 2013 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville takes a look at one of the Midwest's most rapidly growing urban employment centers: Cleveland's University Circle.

About University Circle

University Circle is a neighborhood of 10,000 residents located on the east side of Cleveland, roughly six miles from downtown.  Home to more than 30,000 jobs, it is best known for its cluster of cultural, educational, and medical institutions.  

University Circle dates back to the late 19th century and after new colleges in the area were constructed around a circular street intersection and trolley turnaround.

By the 1930's the district had become the home of 19 educational and cultural institutions. In addition, the opening of the Cleveland Clinic in 1921 and University Hospitals in 1931, led to health care being a major area employer as well.

The neighborhood is also home to Cleveland's historic ethnic enclave Murray Hill, which is also known as Little Italy.  Established in 1895, the community's major thoroughfare, Mayfield Road, is lined with restaurants, bakeries, pizzerias, art galleries, and boutique shops.

Between 2005 and 2010, over 4,540 full-time jobs were created in the Greater University Circle area. Many of these jobs have been fueled by major expansions at long time institutions within the district, such as Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and Case Western Reserve University.

In the last couple of years, this cluster of employment anchors have created a strong market for in-fill housing catering to medical residents, graduate students, specialists, and researchers.

University Circle is served by multiple forms of transportation, most noticeably Cleveland's Red Line, a 19-mile rapid transit system tying Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with the district and the city's east side.

In 2008, accessibility to the district was bolstered by the opening of a $197 million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project now known as the HealthLine.  The result of this project was a complete streets makeover of University Circle's major arterial roadway, Euclid Avenue.  Not only does Euclid feature dedicated bus lanes, it also includes wide tree-lined sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

University Circle is a good example of what an area like Sugar Hill could become in Jacksonville, with proper vision and coordinated implementation. Like University Circle, a number of medical anchors are already in place, including UF Health Jacksonville, the Jacksonville VA Outpatient Clinic, and the Duval County Health Department.  Furthermore, educational institutions such as Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and Edward Waters College are located in the vicinity and the area formerly known as Springfield Park, is a cultural breeding ground in its own right.

University Hospitals of Cleveland (also called Case Medical Center) is a major not-for-profit medical center in University Circle. Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate hospital of Case Western Reserve University - a relationship that was first established in 1896. In biomedical research, Case Medical Center ranks among top 15 centers in the United States with approximately $75 million in annual extramural research funding and a further $10 million in various clinical trials. Other major medical anchors in the area include the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

University Circle is a major cultural center for Northeast Ohio.  Cultural institutions and entities calling the neighborhood home include the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Botanical Garden, The Cleveland Institute of Art and The Cleveland Institute of Music.

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