NYT Spotlights University Circle—But Gives It a New Name



Art Museum Lagoon at University Circle — or Uptown?
  • Art Museum Lagoon at University Circle — or "Uptown"?

Last week the New York Times shone the spotlight on the development boom going on in Cleveland’s University Circle area.

Keith Schneider’s article is titled “Cleveland Turns Uptown into a New Downtown.” It focuses primarily on the new-mixed use development called Uptown that’s going up at the junction of Euclid, Mayfield, and Ford. It will include residential and retail, as well as the new $27 million MOCA building.

But the way Schneider’s article is written, it implies that all of University Circle — which isn’t mentioned until the ninth paragraph — is synonymous with Uptown. It isn't.

The article says,

“One of the first major projects for Uptown, completed in 2008, was the $200 million reconstruction of Euclid Avenue, which included installing a dedicated lane for an unusual bus rapid transit line. The three-year-old line has attracted 12 million riders and connects the city’s central Public Square to University Circle.”

Uptown the development didn’t break ground until 2009, so this suggests that at some point, “Uptown” swallowed up University Circle. The piece also implies that various developments on the Case Western Reserve campus, including the Frank Gehry-designed Weatherhead School of Management building, are part of this new — or newly renamed — neighborhood.

Actually, it’s neither. University Circle Inc. president Chris Ronayne says that the term “Uptown” for University Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods is not new, even if it’s no longer widely used, and no, they’re not re-naming University Circle

“The actual nomenclature of Uptown historically is not inaccurate as it relates to the area around East 105th,” he says. “We’ve used it from time to time — I wouldn’t say interchangeably — to reflect back at an era when University Circle and the surrounding neighborhoods were teeming with jazz clubs, vaudevillian theater and hot-spot restaurants. This place historically in the vernacular of locals was Uptown, which was larger than University Circle — Little Italy, Glenville, Fairfax, Hough.”

But he adds, “We never stray from the notion that University Circle is this area’s distinct brand. We are not fashioning the brand as Uptown. We are supporting a project called Uptown.” — Anastasia Pantsios

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