The development process of a project of this magnitude involves a collaborative effort between the city administration, council, businesses, and the general public.

The project is broken out into three phases to ensure a productive and successful end product that our city will enjoy for years to come.


Stage I: Planning

In February of 2016, Mayor Don Walters announced plans to reopen the Downtown Pedestrian Mall to vehicular traffic. The initial planning process has been one of significant collaboration between the city, local businesses, and the community at large.

The following steps have helped to pave the way towards a planned 215,000 square feet of space for retail and restaurant establishments.

  1. Contracted with MKSK to study the feasibility of opening the mall to traffic and to present various design options
  2. Held meetings with residents and retailers to garner input on how best to transform the area
  3. Transferred ownership of Falls Theater to the Community Improvement Corporation of Cuyahoga Falls (CIC) to facilitate redevelopment and allow for possible tax credits
  4. Falls Theater developer, Coming Attractions LLC, plans to renovate the structure into a mixed-use space for a restaurant, retail space, and apartments
  5. City council approved theater structure as local landmark
  6. Lot 107 in planning phase for boutique hotel
  7. Designation of downtown area as local and national historic district
  8. Seek alternative financial sources including grant dollars and private and public partnership monies

The opening of the Downtown Pedestrian Mall is a critical component to the realization of both the theater and boutique hotel projects. Market analysis has consistently stated that retail growth cannot occur if the Pedestrian Mall remains closed to vehicular traffic.

Milestones
  • March 28, 2016: Cuyahoga Falls City Council approves Falls Theater's historic designation
  • August 26 & 27, 2016: Better Block provides vision | Survey Results | Survey Summary

Stage II: Engineering & Refinement

The results of the extensive efforts of stage one, including the market analysis and community input, has prepared the city to move into the Engineering and Refinement phase of the Front Street Project. In July of 2016, City Council authorized a contract for the design and engineering of approximately 40% of the Downtown Circulation Project. The contract was awarded to Osborn Engineering and their sub-consultant team of City Architecture and DLZ.

A design-build methodology is being utilized to complete the remaining 60% of the project. Design-build is where one entity, the design-builder, enters into a single contract with the project owner (city) to provide both design and construction services. In all other project delivery systems there are separate contracts for design and construction. There are numerous advantages to the design-build method. First and foremost the project is streamlined and the construction period is shortened. This is particularly important to prevent hardships for existing businesses. Design-build has the added appeal of being able to tailor the project design and apply innovations to the project within a shorter time frame. This creates a much more collaborative effort between public officials, stakeholders, designers, and contractors.

Redevelopment efforts also include a rebranding initiative, historic preservation and fa├žade improvements, and retail recruitment.

Milestones
  • December 11, 18 & 25, 2016: City advertises the project in the Falls News Press
  • January 20, 2017: City leaders visit three cities to envision new Front Street | Trip Video Summary
  • January 27, 2017: Pre-bid meeting takes place
  • January 31, 2017: Public meeting is held | Presentation Slides | Presentation Video
  • March 1, 2017: Technical proposals & bids due
  • March 7, 2017: Public announcement of the design-build team (project award subject to city council approval)

Stage III: Construction

Pending approval by city council, work will begin in the spring of 2017.

Landscaping and finishing touches will be completed by the summer of 2018.

Stay tuned for further details on this phase.