Bordered by Front Avenue, Superior Avenue, West 3rd Street, and West 10th Street, the Warehouse District is a neighborhood in downtown Cleveland. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the history of the area includes both residential and industrial uses.
Despite the moniker "Warehouse District'', this portion of the downtown area was, in the early 19th century, originally the city's residential district. However, by the end of that century, it had become a wholesale commercial area, home to numerous warehousing and distribution terminals. It remained that way for nearly a century.
Throughout the late 60s, 70s, and early 80s, the district fell into disrepair and became crime ridden. However, by the late 1980s, an urban renaissance program prompted by the city and some concerned citizens turned the Warehouse District into one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. Old warehouses became spacious restaurants and lively nightclubs and the area quickly became a hang-out for the young adult generation.
Also in the 1980s, the Warehouse District began earning a reputation as an artists' enclave. Many well-known regional artists and musicians began buying inexpensive housing in old warehouses and converting them to impressive living quarters. The first artists credited with "settling'' the district were poet Stephen B. Smith and sculptor S. Judson Wilcox. Many other artists followed as did art galleries and other venues that would showcase their work. As restaurants and nightclubs moved in, however, prices in the neighborhood went up and most of the artists left the vicinity and moved to other less pricey areas.
Rejuvenation of the area continued through the 90s and into the new millennium. Many of the warehouses were torn down and replaced with parking lots to provide room for the onslaught on traffic that was now making its way into the area.
Today, the heart of the Warehouse District is West Sixth Street. This is where one will find the largest crowds on weekend evenings and the most well-known nightlife establishments like the Cabaret Dada Theater, known for its improvisational comedy, and the Velvet Dog, with its rooftop patio bar. Restaurants also line the eight-block area, offering a plethora of opportunities to enjoy a variety of cuisine.
In addition to eateries and nightspots, many of the old warehouses here have been converted to office buildings and others have become residential developments. Most architects were careful to maintain the ornate exteriors of the buildings, many of which were constructed during the Victorian era. Today, real estate prices in the Warehouse District are among the most expensive in the city of Cleveland. Most owners are young, urban professionals who work in the downtown area and choose the location for its convenience to their job and its trendy atmosphere.
The most recent new development in the Warehouse District was a $1 billion project initiated by Stark Enterprises. The complex planned by Stark, when complete, will stretch from the lakefront to Public Square and include housing, retail space, offices, and a parking structure. It will be completed around 2011.