Lakefront Development press conference 4-20-11
Mayor Frank Jackson
(Opening statement)- “Good morning. The other day I was looking at some pictures, old pictures of the city of Cleveland - neighborhoods and even the lakefront. It was interesting how things looked then and how they look now. I began to really appreciate where Cleveland is today and the opportunities that we have before us. When I looked at the lakefront, even in my lifetime, I could see the changes. We have developed numerous plans around the development of the lakefront. Those plans serve as a general blueprint of how to proceed, how to develop. The port control has its plan that deals with Burke Lakefront Airport, the harbor. The Port Authority has a plan that deals with the port authority, the property that they are operating. Then we had just recently the Flats East Bank, which was a combination of public-private partnership. All of these developments, when you look at the museums, all of the development and the stadium, have been based on public financing – public dollars. If we are to move the agenda forward and really begin to get into the doing phase of all of these plans, we are going to have to have significant private investment. I want to say to the Browns and to Coach (Mike) Holmgren how much we and the city appreciate his stepping forward to be the catalyst, kind of the dot connector, that will be able to bring the private sector to the table. Because with that, I believe that just like with the Flats East Bank, where we had a partnership with the public and private investment, we will be able to move the plan forward. The only good plan is the one that you do. This will help us get done those things that we have been talking about for decades. Coach and the Browns, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your effort and your leadership on this. Thank you very much.”
(Opening statement)- “First of all that you Mr. Mayor for the very kind comments. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our owner Randy Lerner. I was on the phone with him all day yesterday. Fred (Nance) has been on the phone with him this morning. He cares deeply about this. It’s an interesting thing, I’ve been here about a year right now, as with most professional football teams, there is a certain ebb and flow during the season, not only regarding the team but regarding management, ownership, this and that depending on how the team is doing. It’s kind of the way it is. I will tell you this, first of all I am here because of Randy Lerner. He has given me the opportunity of a lifetime in the latter stages of my career, it’s a very special job. He cares deeply about this city. He cares deeply about his football team. As we were piecing together the ideas that you are going to hear today and of course in talking with him about it, he said, ‘Full speed ahead. Let’s go. This is a great idea.’ He’s onboard and he is a part of this and has been a part of this since day one. He encouraged me to do this. Of course he had special feelings for the mayor, the Cleveland Clinic who you are going to hear a little bit about today. Fred Nance who he introduced me to originally when I first came and he kind of got us all together and we kind of started the ball rolling that way.
“How did we get here? First of all briefly, when I came to Cleveland the mayor was kind enough to reach out to me and offer me a position on the group planning commission. I was excited about the opportunity. I was a coach, you have to understand, the only thing I had really planned on was how to get into the end zone. I really didn’t have any idea what that meant. I’m not sure I felt qualified to be on that committee with the Tony Coyne’s and the different people that really know this city and have really known it for years. Because of what I was trying to do with the Browns, Fred was our representative at those meetings. When he’d come back we would debrief. The one things that struck me immediately was all the hard work people were doing, what had been done already and what our mayor was attempting to do for this city and the people of Cleveland. I remember coming home after one of those meetings with Fred and it kind of triggered something. We have this wonderful asset, this stadium. As I travel around in my job, every city, every stadium in the NFL that I have been a part of or played in, it’s hard not to notice what goes on around the city, around the stadium and in talking to other executives around the league on what that has meant to their city. Those conversations have been very normal and they have taken place often. I asked Fred in one of our meetings after the planning commission, ‘What about this land out here by our stadium?’ It just seems like there’s not much out here. There’s of course the Rock (& Roll Hall of Fame), the Science Center, the Port Authority, there are things but it seemed to be a lot of land that’s just available. As he began to explain to me a little bit of the history, I kind of stopped him. There’s a lot of history and a lot of reasons why something doesn’t get done. I said, okay, I kind of get it, let’s see what we can do. Let’s see if we can do something. I challenged Fred, Bryan Wiedmeier, Mark Schiefelbein, my management team with the Browns to come up with some things in conjunction with the group planning. The great things that have been done downtown but we were challenged by the mayor, we have to connect it. Let’s try and connect things here so we can really maximize what we could possibly have downtown and in the lakefront. That was kind of the genesis of how we got here. These guys came back with some ideas.
“The very next thing we had to do was actually reach out to our neighbors, the people sitting here at the front table. We are a part of an area and every one of these people here has a vested interest in that area as well. To be able to get anything done that would involve all of us, we reached out. We had individual meetings with all of the people at the front table in an effort to build a feeling of unity. The Browns, and I want to make this very clear, we are not developers. We are in the football business. That’s what we are supposed to do, but we are a neighbor. We are a partner with these people in this area. The mayor made it clear and it’s crystal clear, to really get this thing the way we would all like it, to benefit the city, private inverters must be a part of this. We saw our role as much as anything as a catalyst as maybe the person in the group that can bring people together and maybe encourage other investors in the like. Like I said, we are in the football business, when I accepted this role and Terry Stewart reminded me of it when we first met when I came to town, I had been a football coach for 40 years. That was really what I did. That was my focus even though whatever city Kathy and I lived in, we became a part of that city. We moved to Cleveland, Cleveland is our city. This is my city. In my role as President, it is my obligation to not only put a good product on the field, but to get involved in helping Cleveland, doing what we can as an organization to make this better. It’s a very, very exciting thing for me. Fortunately, I have some great help who kind of steer me along the path as we are going forward. One of the best is Fred Nance and what I’ve asked Fred to do today is to give you the nuts and bolts of what we’ve done, kind of our vision for where we could go. After that I’ll say a couple things and then we’ll open it up for questions.”
(Opening statement)- “Good morning. We are here this morning to answer that question. ‘What’s next?’ We aren’t here in a vacuum. We are here in the context of a development boom, a renaissance in Cleveland. We are in the midst of it. We are all aware of individual projects but when you piece it all together you realize there is something very special going on in Cleveland, Ohio. Many of the people up on the dais have had various roles in the projects that you’ve scene, portrayed in that video. We are here today to say, instead of studying our lakefront once again, instead of getting into conversations over why we haven’t gotten it developed, we are here to start the process. To get it started, to get our lakefront to where it should be and to start that process now. We are very proud to be able to do that. If there is a topic sentence for today’s event from the Cleveland Browns is that the Browns are here to serve as a catalyst for private investment and development, to promote the year round use of our lakefront for recreational and commercial purposes. That is what we intend to do.
“Let’s start with just a little bit of history about our lakefront. We aren’t the first to realize the value of Cleveland’s lakefront. Going all the way back to the Great Lakes Exposition in the 30’s, our lakefront literally drew millions of visitors from all over the country. We know that based on studies that have been done in our community already that the lakefront is truly a valuable asset. I’m going to take just a moment with this thought because it’s important. It’s important for us all to recognize that we aren’t starting from scratch. We aren’t starting over. In 2004, the Cleveland Planning Commission adapted a comprehensive lakefront plan. The plan was approved after two years of public engagement with literally dozens of community meetings that led to the ultimate outcome of the study. In 2009, our Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority commissioned a development study. That’s one of the things that study concluded, is that there should be a creation of a Harbor District from the waterfront north of the stadium to East 9th street. That study included the concept that we should bring private investment to our lakefront to bring it to life. That plan was adopted by the city of Cleveland’s Planning Commission. In 2010 the city of Cleveland itself launched a companion study to consider development options that would go east of the stadium towards the airport. That study was not finalized yet but its vision is consistent with the 2009 plan by the Port Authority. In 2010, we began thinking about the possibility of the Browns perhaps being a catalyst and today we have shared our concepts with the city of Cleveland. The city has concluded that the Browns’ vision is compatible with the previous studies indeed. One way to look at this is that Coach Holmgren is accepting the handoff from Mayor Jackson to be a catalyst to bring private development to the forefront to help make these visions a reality.
“Here is our executive summary, the Cleveland Browns working in partnership with the city of Cleveland and our lakefront neighbors in order capitalize on the major projects that are underway – the momentum. Those of that who have been around Cleveland for some time know that the appetite for development, the momentum, the impetus comes and goes. We are in one of the strongest upsurges for development in our community in a long, long time. Our way of looking at this at the lakefront is that it is time to finish the job. We all recall what led to the construction of our new stadium on the lakefront, what happened in 1995 and 1996 and we built this stadium. We are very proud of this stadium. This is the time to finish the job because we have come to learn that NFL stadiums in other communities have been a catalyst for economical development, a catalyst for creating activity that will lend its self to year round use and access, not only of a commercial nature but just as importantly of a public and community use nature. As we unveil the concepts that you are going to see that both are very high priorities for the Browns. I’d like to say that it’s not an accident, it’s not a casual matter that we have each of these representatives up here on the stage. We all know as coach mentioned that each of these entities that are represented here is important, have individual development plans, have a role to play in moving our community forward. One of the first orders of business, apart of the initiative that the Browns are launching here today, is to keep the dialog open and engender cooperation between each one of these entities both between each other and the Browns in this project. We are not going to get hung up on turf. We are not going to get hung up on, my plan goes 50 yards this way, you’re plan goes 50 yards into my plan. The idea is that we are all in this together. We want this community developed. We want this lakefront developed and we are going to go out and we are going to determine what is the appetite in the private sector to invest in this lakefront. We will work out any differences any issues that might exist with any of our neighbors because there is no reason why this beautiful lakefront can’t be an asset that makes us all successful. That’s what we are about here today and I dare say to you the fact that each one of these individuals is willing to sit up here representing their organizations on this stage with us says that they agree that we are in this together and collectively we are going to make it work.
“The individual identities have been identified. We are really proud to have them here with us today. This is our strategic vision. Obviously, with development comes job creation. We think that the public sector has been doing its job in positioning this opportunity for private development. It’s time for the private sector to accept the handoff and move forward. A big part of what we are going to propose, I am going to talk more about connections in a minute, is that the connection of our downtown assets, including the lakefront both what’s down here now and what’s to come is a critical key to leveraging the value of the investments we have already made in this community in terms of different venues that have been developed, different venues that really make Cleveland an attractive destination. We lose sight sometimes because we’ve been around as each one was developed individually, 4th Street, East Bank of the Flats, the Rock Hall of Fame, Foundation Room at the House of Blues, the House of Blues itself, the idea is that the Browns through emphasizing connections through the lakefront will also be an impetus with our team here. You'll note that the RTA's Joe Calabrese is here. Again, there is significance to that since he is in the business of transportation and connecting things downtown, we are going to talk more about that in a second. It's a big part of what we are trying to push forward here. Then, the community use piece, when we show you a map you are going to see areas that have been dedicated to community use. We want to emphasize, yet again, that we understand, indeed our building, the stadium that we are in, is owned by the people of the city of Cleveland. It is owned by Cleveland. Much of the land on this lakefront is owned by Cleveland, it has been dedicated to different uses and we believe that whatever we do to develop this lakefront has to continue to provide public access, attractive public spaces and the opportunities for our community, as well as visitors, to finally access the lakefront in an exciting and user friendly way.
“This is a great slide, I think we've got a blow up of this one in the back of the room. This isn't everything, but when you look at the different amenities that Cleveland has within a relatively short space, you realize that if there was an easy way for someone who knew nothing about Cleveland and was a visitor for the first time or even some of our residents who never come downtown, to be aware of these individual venues and easily access them. To promote them in a consolidated way, we would have quite a package to sell. Joe Roman, from the Greater Cleveland Partnership knows, that when we were looking at the feasibility of a convention center, where to locate a convention center, we went all over the country and talked to meeting planners, conference planners and convention planners and we asked them questions about what makes them pick a city. Very high up on that list was: What are your other amenities besides the convention center? How accessible are they? How user friendly are they? We found that we have a compelling package to sell, we already have invested in each of them, we just have to make them connected and we believe that the combination of those connections can be an attractive lakefront for all the reasons waterfront property is popular in any major city that has it. It is time for Cleveland to finally access and take advantage of this asset.
“Here is the concept. The concept is, again, in partnership with our existing lakefront neighbors, we have a substantial area to the west of the stadium where our Maritime District will prosper. The Port Authority has its own strategic planning process that I think is going to be unveiled and made public sometime in the not too distant future, that continues to the west. Our development that we are proposing is completely compatible with, will operate side-by-side with and allow the Port Authority plan to continue with its strategic objectives. Our thinking is that we should have these uses on our waterfront and we'll give you a little more detail with the next slide. One of the things I want to emphasize, you see the word at the top is concept, this is a concept. Meaning, what eventually is built may not be this. It may look something like this, it may look nothing like this. We don't know. We are going to let the combination of the marketplace in terms of developers and/or different property owners and businesses that want to invest, as well as our consultation with the city of Cleveland, with the Planning Commission to make sure there are appropriate public spaces and public uses together and combine the final configuration. We don't know what the final configuration is going to be. The point is, we believe we can be a catalyst to finally bring that private investment to the table that will permit these objectives, in whatever final format they ultimately take, to become a reality. I would note that we have a youth sports field, that's about public use, that's about letting our Cleveland school kids take advantage of this lakefront venue in good weather and to be able to have sporting activities on the lakefront. You see a field house, which is of course an enclosed sports facility, which will promote, again, public access and public use during bad weather, so that there would be year round public use and year round opportunities for the public to use our facility.
“Indeed, we think that there is a variety of mixed uses that can take place in these other areas. One particular use that can take place, that we are excited about the possibility of occurring, but it's a very exciting possibility, is to have our partner, the Cleveland Clinic, to put some type of sports medicine/wellness facility related to their nationally and internationally leading position in healthcare down on the lakefront, this exciting venue. Let's remember, how did we get the convention center? Instead of doing what some other cold weather cities have done to build an iconic convention center and then hope they come, Cleveland studied this. We figured out what is it that we are best at, what are we known for and right now, healthcare is one of the primary drivers of our regional economy. Our two largest healthcare institutions are the number one and number two employers in Northeast Ohio. That's why we came up with the concept of a medical mart, that would be the first in the country, to be contiguous to a convention center that is going to drive medical conferences and business to Cleveland.
“As I'm talking to Coach (Holmgren) and we are working with our teammates and thinking about this, we said let's we said, 'Well let's take that concept to the lakefront.' The Browns already have a longstanding relationship with the Cleveland Clinic. We have talked to the Cleveland Clinic and we have said that we would love to see you involved and we are hopeful that we will get the response that we are looking for from them. The bottom line is that you see what we are talking about is taking the land around the stadium and finally making something happen that works both the purposes of commercial activity and community use.
“This is an aerial concept of what things could potentially look like. The point is to not focus the exact position of any given building, but to say we have this kind of potential if we continue down this path and we are successful, as we certainly expect to be, in attracting investment and development opportunities to our lakefront. The goal, and you are going to hear more later about what some other NFL cities have done, is to use the popularity of sports and the celebrity of those involved in professional football to create economic value for our region. We have this underutilized lakefront where we have tremendous potential to make exactly that happen. This is about the relationship between the Browns and the Cleveland Clinic. It was a natural for us to reach out to the clinic because of our pre-existing partnership, including being partners in the ‘Let's Move It’ wellness initiative, as well as a number of other quality of life improvement initiatives that the clinic is involved in and are a natural complement to us in the sports business. Let's not forget as well that part of this initiative to develop downtown Cleveland and to make it, as the mayor has said many times, a 24/7 city, is to have downtown residents. What is one of the things downtown residents want? They want amenities. They want access to the quality of life components that exist out in some of our suburban locations. That means some green space, some access to nice areas as well as the opportunity to exercise. Health and wellness is becoming a much clearer priority throughout our society and if you think about it, you can see the intersection between sports, health and wellness, medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Browns, it is a natural. We believe that if we can get the clinic on board, these two iconic brands together, the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Clinic, saying to the development community, saying to businesses around the country that we are in and we are going to make this happen, we believe that we will have options presented that will truly give us the outcome that we are looking for and we are very excited in getting that ball down the field. Assisting us in that process is going to be the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Again, most of you have been covering economic development activities in this community for a long time and you know the role that GCP plays behind the scenes in making connections and utilizing its own development capabilities and bringing reality to concepts. We are very happy to report that the Greater Cleveland Partnership is going to assist the Cleveland Browns in this outreach effort.”
“Now, let's talk a second more about that connectivity piece. This is pretty cool. We got these maps, of course, from Joe Calabrese at RTA and it is a combination of our existing waterfront line, infrastructure we have already paid for, and rubber wheel trolleys. If you are like me and you've been downtown, you have noticed the rubber wheel trolleys going around and you've never gave it that much thought. Until I sat down with Joe I didn't realize that A. they are free and B. they already connect most of our downtown assets. He has a proposal for a new trolley line, which is on the right, that would come directly to the waterfront and to the Rock Hall and the Science Center. Something else that I didn't fully appreciate until we sat down to have these discussions is that the existing West 3rd Street stop that's on the waterfront line is underground and close enough to the stadium that we should figure out a way to have a weather proof connection to get to the stadium from that station. Whether we tunnel underground and connect to the stadium or whether we build some sort of covered connection between the station and the stadium. Just think about it, Mr. and Mrs. Tourist can get off the airplane at Hopkins, you can take a train or a taxi, however you wanted to get to downtown Cleveland, but you get to Terminal Tower and you can take a train that will take you into the flats, if that's where you want to go, come down to Browns stadium, connect into what we believe will be seven day a week assets that will be at our lakefront. Possibly some of them connected into Browns stadium itself, it's just a clear, compelling priority to figure out how to create weather proof connections, whether above or below ground between the stadium and its assets and Science and Rock. Those lines can, if you want to see the other venues downtown, you can come to the medical mart, come to the convention center, reach numerous hotels. Not only get to Public Square but get all the way up to Playhouse Square, Fourth Street, Casinos, back to hotels, restaurants, entertainment. This is the type of compelling package that convention planners are looking for. I know there are more expense involved, but adding some additional cars and changing the routes of the existing trolley is much less expensive than laying down new tracks or coming up with a whole new transportation system. Again, this is within our grasp, if we just collectively decide this is something we want to do and obviously from the Browns standpoint, finally connecting and making an easy connection to the lakefront is critical.
“One of the ways that we would do that, I should show you this (shows slide), this is a list of the things that could be could be connected by the existing and proposed trolley lines in conjunction with the waterfront lines. You put all of these venues on some type of promotional card and everybody who comes to Cleveland for a convention or who visits the casino gets the card. It tells you how they can get on the train or the trolley to get to these things. I know, for some of us who have been here for a long time, it may be hard to believe, Cleveland will be a booming tourist destination and the weatherproof connections will help make that true 12 months out of the year.
“Now, we are also proposing, if you recall the pictures that we showed with different districts, there was an area that was denominated as a Transportation District. What we are talking about is possibly putting a parking garage right here (shows slide). This is city hall and this is the old courthouse. Again, it's a concept, I don't know if it would go exactly here or if the concept is something that would work right here (shows slide).
“What we are thinking, to kick off the conversation, to get developers and potential investors to start thinking is that this garage would be the height of the bluff so that the surface of the garage could be a green space, another downtown pedestrian and eco-friendly space that would be attractive. It would obviously have great views of the lakefront on the roof of this garage. I don't know exactly how many stories it would be but several stories down would be this connection to Browns stadium (shows slide). You can see it would be a shorter pedestrian connection than the one that exists and it would be weather protected and again another route in addition to the West 3rd Street station and another route into the stadium neighborhood. Again, is this concept exactly what is going to happen? Can't say, but the idea is that we should be thinking about these kinds of things. That parking garage would obviously not only serve both the existing and future utilization of the lakefront, but guess what we have right over here? (shows slide). A brand new convention center and medical mart which probably once they really start kicking into gear would benefit from additional parking. This is part of our concept as well.
“In anticipation of questions about how much is all of this going to cost and who is going to pay for it? Let me say, we don't know and we don't know. That is the honest to goodness truth, but we know that if we kick off this process and attract private investments. That can be, coach used the word, the catalyst for other investors and the rest of the community to come together and say this is something we’ve got to do. Because we don't exactly know what will be built or how much it will cost, of course we do not have a plan of finance yet. We decided to not let that stop us from getting started in a very public way that we believe is going to attract investment to our lakefront in a way that has never happened before. I particularly would like to introduce, I think he is down at the end of the podium, a gentleman named Rob Robinson. He is one of our consultants. He is from an outfit called the Hammes Company. Hammes is a national development and construction management consultant that has worked on NFL stadium economic development projects around the company, including the one at Lambeau Field. Take a look before and after what happened at Lambeau Field. We all know the Packers are very dear to the Wisconsin community and that they are a very important asset in that state. The field is located, with no offense to anyone, in the middle of nowhere. It got developed in a way that created substantial tourism, substantial utilization by the public seven days a week. Hammes was involved in making that happen and when we brought them to Cleveland, they looked at our lakefront and looked at the stadium and said you have got to be kidding me. Do you know how much potential this has? Oftentimes their work involves stadiums that are out in relatively isolated areas and they are trying to create a destination. We already have a destination without the development. That's the certainly less challenging scenario. It's simply a question of focusing our attention, attracting development investment potential, working with the city to identify what is going to realize its mission and being a part of making all of our stadium neighbors feel this is a good thing for all of us. We can make this happen.
“For additional information about our proposals, the deck or information about Hammes and some of the other projects they have worked on, indeed they involved in the $1.3 billion dollar new stadium for the Jets and the Giants, we have established a website. It is http://thelakefrontdistrict.com/ It is up and running. There is a link to it on http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/. We will provide updates and we will receive community input and reactions to what we are proposing on that website. There will be updated information there.
“Finally, on a personal note, I'd like to say that throughout my career I've been the beneficiary of having the opportunity to work on economic development, high impact projects in the city of Cleveland over the course of many years. During that period of time, based on what happened with the Browns and the ownership of the Browns, I've gotten to know the Lerner family. I've become friends with Randy Lerner, I had the privilege of knowing and working with his dad and the opportunity of working with Coach Holmgren has obviously, despite all the exciting things I've gotten to do in my career, has been the opportunity of a lifetime. When he came to Cleveland, got pulled into the group planning process and said, ‘Fred, what about our lakefront, what is going on here?’ I said coach, with some leadership out of the private sector there is no reason why this can't happen. Coach said, 'Fred, let's make it happen.' That is why we are here ladies and gentlemen, and I say to you, stay tuned because it is going to happen. Thank you.”
“I trust you could feel his excitement and enthusiasm from someone who has been through a number of things in this city. I want to reemphasize three points. First of all, as far as the Browns are concerned, we are going to work with the city, work with the group planning commission to do the things in conjunction with them, their vision, our vision, a blend of private and public to make this work. Two, our partners, our neighbors here sitting at the front table, we are all involved in this together. As Fred pointed out, even though there might be, and there are, different ways of viewing this based on who they are. We are committed to make this work. Three, to actually utilize this valuable piece of property to the best of our abilities, for the city, for the people, for the kids, any number of reasons, for this great area and this great city. When I came in, and some of you may know I coached in Green Bay and I coached in Seattle, and when I came to those teams they had struggled. In Green Bay's case it was for 24 years and in Seattle's case 15 years and there was a culture and a feeling, after I got up and told them all the things I'd like to do that, 'Here we go again.' Listen, we've heard this before. I felt that, but I said you know what, we are going to do this anyway and we did. I'm talking from a football perspective. Now we are coming to you with these ideas and I know people who have been here for a long time have heard similar things before. There might be, in the back of someone's mind, I've heard it before, nice speech, thank you. I'm here to tell you that we are pushing forward with this, with the people sitting right up here. Let's all approach it that way. Why not? Why not do this now? It makes all the sense in the world. As long as we continue to work together, right here, this can happen. Thank you very, very much for being a part of this today. We have some time that we have left over for questions. I know you probably have questions for the people up front.”
(On how the concept lays out with the port’s previous plan)- "I think that is a fair statement Jay and first, let me commend Coach Holmgren and Mr. Nance. This is an exciting day. I especially appreciate the can do and will do attitude. That's great. Yes, Jay, I would agree to that, I think there is a large consistency with delineation of the future port that we laid out last week."
(On what the Hammes Company was able to do with Lambeau Field)- "Lambeau Field is an interesting example as Coach Holmgren said there is a great tradition there and a great association between the community and its team there. The stadium itself was a bit isolated and not very well tied into the community physically. When we started working on that project in 1999-20000, annual visitation to the stadium was about 700,000 people really just for football games. Today, when you go to Lambeau Field it is a real address in Green Bay. They have annual visitation over three million. In fact, we are now planning with the Packers our next phase of development, which we believe will increase that visitation by at least two fold. As Fred Nance very correctly pointed out, these types of facilities, the magic of NFL football and peoples interest in it really does work as an agent to catalase different community assets and bring things together in a way that many other things can't. I think Green Bay is a great example of that and we think that you have really in many ways a greater opportunity here because of all the assets you have along the waterfront, the close connections you already have to downtown. I'm looking out of the window here and seeing how close downtown is to where we are sitting right now. We just need to do a better job of tying all those pieces together with our partners."
(On some of the other events Lambeau Field holds in conjunction with football)- "Lambeau Field, when we started the project was a great football stadium, but that's all it was. It was surrounded by parking, as many NFL stadiums are today. As you visit Lambeau Field today there is a very significant public component that has been added. A large atrium, which accommodates about 300,000 square feet of ancillary development, including a very large Hall of Fame dedicated to Packer history and tradition. A very large team store that is focused on Packers memorabilia and history and really is a very popular element. The atrium space and meeting spaces that are part of the project are utilized for over 700 events per year. Some of the events are small, but some are large. Some are medium size like weddings, they do a lot of wedding business there. It's an important part of the community. It's a gathering place for the community for large and small events."
(On if there would be any restrictions because of the proximity to the airport)- “No, we don’t think so. The plans that I know we’ve discussed with the Browns and other plans for the lakefront are all pretty much complaisant with any FAA height restrictions that would come into play.”
(On being enthusiastic and what is going to happen next)- “The first thing that is going to happen is we are going to peruse in earnest our discussions with the Cleveland Clinic. I’ll also say that we’ve got a couple of nibbles. I am not able to identify who they are but we have people from outside of the state of Ohio who operate businesses around the country who want to come and take a look at our lakefront to see if there is potentially an investment opportunity for them. In addition, when you mention the enthusiasm, again those of us that have been around Cleveland for some time know that we don’t always sign out of the same hymnal. The fact that we have been able to assemble this group, speak with each one, have them go back and evaluate the potential to cooperate with us and to come back with a positive message in it of itself is news. We are going to continue the lines of communication to make that partnership that exists amongst all of us work for each of us with our respective plans. That is an immediate part of what we are doing, is keeping those communication lines open. Then the guy that is next to me who is the CEO of one of the largest Chambers of Commerce in the United State of America is going to sit down and huddle with us. His key lieutenant Deb Janik is here. They are going to work with us. We are going to figure out which businesses in the region might be a good fit. Again, the Browns aren’t decision makers here. The decision maker is sitting to my left. We will work with the City of Cleveland as well as our neighbors to figure out what works for all of us.”
(On why it’s important to do this now)- “It’s kind of what I said before, that when you are challenging someone to come up with ideas, my coaching staff as an example. Don’t tell me why we can’t do this. I don’t want to hear that. Tell me what will work and why you think we can do this. Then quite honestly, you’ve got to try. The beauty of it and I can’t emphasize it enough and it might be appropriate to let the gentlemen up here in the front say a couple words before we leave here today is that it is my feeling that we’ve drawn up a play and as long as everyone understands what the rules are and we are kind of going by what our coach tells us to do, there’s no reason to think it doesn’t have a chance of working. That’s kind of my approach to it. Like I said, the ladies and gentleman at the front here have been great to work with and I look forward to continue to working with them in this process. The excitement is there, but the proof is in the pudding. Now we have to roll up our sleeves.”
Mayor Frank Jackson
(On how prepared the city is for this concept)- “We are prepared to do what we have to do to be successful. That’s why ideas come and you talk about them and you reach some level of comfort where everybody is involved and then we can do what we need to do. Again, the plan that you are doing is the best plan. I don’t think any of us are trying to figure it all out now because if we wait until we figure it out before we do anything then we won’t do anything because we’ll never figure it out. We are not going to create rationales and reasons as to make an impediment to getting it done. We agree that something needs to get done, it should get done and that we are the player’s to get it done. We’ll deal with things as they come.”
(Closing statement)- “As coach said earlier, when I first met him and his team, almost the first words out of his mouth were that they were going to make a difference in this town. Their involvement with the museum has already made a difference. We are incredibly excited about this plan. For those who don’t know, when the feasibility studies were done for the museum almost 20 years ago, it envisioned a development along the lakefront that would complement us and the Science Museum, in fact it was said that both institutions would never really reach their potential without that development down here. The chance of that accruing now and to work with the Browns and the Clinic, as we also have a partnership with the Clinic, it’s sort of the perfect storm for us. To see this get kick started and complemented by a plan that the Mayor knows I’ve been working with his folks on the general lakefront which fits into our needs and the science needs. We need to be connected and this all centers on connectivity both on the lakefront and back of the city. I really can’t compliment you people enough for getting it started and jumping in. Coach you are the only other person who will understand this probably because you are almost as old as me, is the fact when I grew up in Alabama we had a guy named Bear Bryant. On every car in Alabama there was a bumper sticker and that bumper sticker said, ‘I believe.’ That’s what I’ve come out of this whole process with is I believe. I know this can happen now. I think we’ve got this will do attitude and I’m excited about it.”
(Closing statement)- “I never thought I would be quoting Meat Loaf next to Terry Stewart, I think that’s his job (joking). We’ve all heard the song ‘Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad’ but this is three out of three and it’s a hell of a lot better because for the first time we’ve got real private sector brand leadership that is committed to the lakefront. We’ve got land that’s available with the public owners of that land willing to put it on the table. Lastly as we’ve been speaking about all day is we’ve got the momentum. There is more private and public sector investment taking place in this city right now than probably since the 1920’s and more than any other Midwestern city I know for sure, maybe ever any city right now in this community. When you put those three things together with this address behind us, we’ve got an opportunity that’s just not going to come again. It’s so exciting because it is the private sector brand leadership that helps attract other private sector investment which is the mayor’s main goal.”