Here is What "nuCLEus" Actually Means

click to enlarge Architect's rendering of the nuCLEus project. - NBBJ
Architect's rendering of the nuCLEus project.
Developer Bob Stark appeared on WCPN yesterday morning to discuss the proposed $540 million nuCLEus project, a massive mixed-use skyscraper slotted for construction next to the Quicken Loans Arena.

The financing of the project remains a complicated jumble of eyebrow-raising "creative" maneuvers (about which readers should consult Plain Dealer reporter Michelle Jarboe's work for details).

We'll look into those details as well. There are a series of meetings beginning next Saturday where residents of the school district can learn about the financing proposal and provide feedback in the lead-up to a School Board work session on August 8. (The Jackson administration, tellingly, wouldn't discuss the plan with the PD.)

But for our immediate purposes:

Bob Stark's first comment yesterday (~40:45) concerned the project's punny name: nuCLEus. Stark wanted to underscore the fact that the name was supposed to connote: "New Cleveland Us."


"That's not just a coincidence," Stark said. "It operates that way in terms of its position relative to everything else around it. But it also metaphorically represents what this project, we hope, will be for the 21st Century in Cleveland."

Go on...

"Our goal is no less than to have the catalytic effect that the Tower City project had on Cleveland at the beginning of the 20th Century."

Stark said that he'd noted that at the turn of every century cultures, attitudes and economies tend to shift too — nuCLEus is intended to be a "catalytic event" that reflects current shifts. It will be a "connector of all existing assets" and an "iconic statement that carries Cleveland into the future."

For Stark, the future is a global economy, and nuCLEus will carry Cleveland there. The only way to compete in the global economy, he hinted, was to create an urban lifestyle or urban atmosphere that would attract top talent to Cleveland (I think.)

"You can do global economic work from anywhere in the world," Stark said, "and the choice is where you want to live, and where the community has what represents the culture of the new generation. That's what nuCLEus is about as a mixed-used development and an iconically stated architectural wonder."

But residents should pay closer attention to the financing than to the urban lifestyle rhetoric — when it comes to downtown development, every project is pegged as The Answer (and tend to be enthusiastically supported by Frank Jackson, recent campaign-trail comments notwithstanding.)

But as Jarboe has reported: "nuCLEus could be Cleveland's first real estate project in a decade to reallocate tax revenues otherwise earmarked for public schools."
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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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