23 Developments Named Finalists for the Urban Land Institute's Americas Awards for Excellence
Twenty-three impressive developments from across North America have been selected as finalists for
The Van Aken District is the product of a long-term planning effort to transform the auto-oriented environment around the Cleveland RTA terminal to a pedestrian-centric, transit-oriented retail development. The development sits at the intersection of Chagrin Boulevard and Warrensville Center Road – previously a six-point intersection that was considered for decades to be one of the most dangerous in the region.
With changes to the traffic configuration and lane reductions along the two corridors, the development replaces a 40s-era 100,000-square-foot strip shopping center with a 7-acre vibrant, walkable ‘downtown’ for the Shaker Heights community. The project primarily serves a population of over 200,000 people and is a destination for nearly half a million people living in greater Cleveland.
The concept for the new Van Aken District development goes back to the early 20th Century vision for the City of Shaker Heights planned as a “Garden City” suburban oasis that could easily be reached by rail from bustling downtown Cleveland. The area’s natural features and vegetation were leveraged in planning the residential community with only necessary commercial amenities.
The Van Aken District reflects this original concept with lush landscaping and tree lined boulevards throughout the district in a small scale, walkable neighborhood setting with a central public gathering space. The new development provides a true ‘downtown’ for Shaker Heights where there was none before and attracts people of all ages to experience the unique center with a “best of local” retail strategy.