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Monday, September 25, 2006

Downtown connections - Northeast Ohio Supporters

Blog entry: September 25, 2006, 11:17 am

Developer Ari Maron is encouraging officials in Greensboro, N.C., to look to Cleveland as an inspiration for bringing new life to that city’s downtown, according to this story in The Business Journal of North Carolina.Mr. Maron, a partner in Cleveland-based MRN Limited Partnership, was a guest speaker last week at Downtown Greensboro Inc.’s annual “Report to the Community” meeting. (The story doesn’t make clear if Mr. Maron has business interests in Greensboro.) He “urged his counterparts in Greensboro to work on connecting the different pieces of downtown to continue and improve redevelopment efforts,” according to the story.

“Maron said there are many similarities between Cleveland, which lost nearly a half-million residents during the ‘flight to the suburbs’ during much of the 20th century, and Greensboro, but said the Gate City was on the right track in its downtown redevelopment efforts,” the newspaper reports.“ ‘You need to provide an alternative and become more urban,’ he said of the struggle of downtowns across the country,” according to the story. “In Cleveland, developers did that by creating or attracting businesses and entertainment destinations that weren't available in the suburbs, such as a bowling alley/martini bar and a comedy club.” He told the group that Greensboro “has an advantage over Cleveland with its existing neighborhoods on the edge of downtown. You need to take those and engage them in downtown, and that takes connectivity."

According to the paper, Mr. Maron “encouraged the public sector to stay involved by investing in infrastructure improvements on things such as sidewalks and roads, and to support the private development that is taking place. In Cleveland, he said, historic buildings were the first to be renovated, because developers could take advantage of tax credits. The same has been true in Greensboro. The next step, he said, is finding innovative ways of funding, such as tax-increment financing.”


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