Urban Neighborhoods: Cleveland's University Circle

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

Published July 16, 2013 in Cities - MetroJacksonville.com

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.

Murray Hill (Little Italy)

With a population of 3,544, this 0.3 mile enclave is known throughout the region for its strong cultural heritage and sense of place. Within walking distance of University Circle, Little Italy is characterized by one-of-a-kind, locally owned businesses, restaurants and art galleries.

Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is a private research university anchoring the heart of University Circle. The university was created in 1967 by the federation of Case Institute of Technology (founded in 1881 by Leonard Case Jr.) and Western Reserve University (founded in 1826 in the area that was once the Connecticut Western Reserve).

In U.S. News & World Report's 2013 rankings, Case Western Reserve's undergraduate program ranked 37th among national universities. The University is associated with 16 Nobel Laureates. Other notable alumni include Paul Buchheit, creator and lead developer of Gmail; Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org; and Peter Tippett, who developed the first anti-virus software, Vaccine, which Symantec purchased and turned into the popular Norton AntiVirus.

The university is contained within a 550-acre area containing numerous educational, medical, and cultural institutions. Case Western Reserve has a number of programs taught in conjunction with nearby institutions, including the Cleveland Clinic, the University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Cleveland Play House.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_Western_Reserve_University

Uptown Entertainment District

Uptown is a project being developed by Cleveland's MRN Ltd. at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road. The multi-phase, $150 million infill development includes retail, entertainment, dining and cultural uses.  Intended to create a true center for University Circle, the project is being sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and University Circle Inc. Its location will create a true center to University Circle.

Designed by London architect Farshid Moussavi, the $32 million new home for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) anchors the development. Later phases will include a hotel, more apartments, condos, more retail, and a new Euclid – East 120th (RTA Rapid Transit station).
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_Circle

The RTA's Red Line and Health Line BRT both provide quick and reliable transit service between downtown Cleveland and University Circle.

Article by Ennis Davis

This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-jul-urban-neighborhoods-clevelands-university-circle

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