BUSINESSES ARE ALMOST NECESSARILY ATTRACTED TO
WHERE PEOPLE ARE, AND WHAT WE HAVE GOING FOR
US DOWNTOWN RIGHT NOW IS CONCENTRATIONS OF
RESIDENTS, VISITORS AND EMPLOYERS.
— MICHAEL DEEMER, DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ALLIANCE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOBY SHINGLETON
You can feel the buzz and see the action from the Terminal Tower offices of Hennes Paynter Communications. With casino development underway, “There’s a new energy going on
downtown and certainly in this building,”
says Bruce Hennes, managing partner in
one of the only firms in the country focused
exclusively on crisis communications.
“You can feel the energy in the corri-
dors and hear it when you talk to people,”
Hennes says, that the 1927 building where
Hennes Paynter Communications set up
shop is in impeccable condition. “It would
be hard for me to believe that is it not in as
good, if not better, shape [than it was back
then],” he says, calling the common spaces
But it’s the view that really wows
Hennes, partner Barbara Paynter and the
clients that visit their third-floor Public
Square offices. “People come here, and
they can’t get over the views,” Hennes says.
“They are glued to our windows.”
The arched windows on three sides of
their offices offer a birds-eye perspective
of Lake Erie, Cleveland Browns Stadium
and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum. On a clear day, they can spot the
new buildings Eaton Corporation is build-
ing in Beachwood.
The views and contagious energy are a
perk for Hennes Paynter Communications.
The motivation for moving was more practical: Downtown is closer to clients, and
it cuts down on daily commutes. “I’d find
myself in a breakfast meeting downtown,
I’d return to Cleveland Heights, then go
back downtown for a lunch meeting, then
back downtown for a 3 p.m. meeting,”
Plus, when Hennes Paynter added staff,
the firm needed room to grow. “We also
wanted to have a nice training room,” says
Barb Paynter. Downtown was a logical fit.
“It’s a central location, and we do a lot of
business with attorneys who are located
here,” she says.
Their migration downtown is one story
in a new chapter for the city’s properties—
call it revival. Layers of development and
economic activity are beginning to form
a solid case for residents and businesses to
move downtown. There’s the Horseshoe
Casino development and medical mart
and convention center project underway.
And there are wait lists at hot residential
properties that are hundreds of hopeful
tenants long. The Downtown Cleveland
Alliance reports residential occupancy has
been at least 95 percent for the last four
quarters. There are 10,500 people living
downtown now, a 53-percent population
increase from 2000 to 2010 (census years).
Half of the crowd—49 percent—is young
college-educated adults between the ages of
25 and 34.
“Businesses are almost necessarily attracted to where people are, and what we
have going for us downtown right now
is concentrations of residents and visitors
and employers,” says Michael Deemer, vice
president of business development for the
Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “That is
creating a virtuous circle where more and
more businesses are making the move.”
Calling Downtown Home
The joke used to be that downtown’s
sidewalks rolled up after 5 p.m. when
commuters went home to the suburbs.
Entire sections of the city could feasibly be
shut down for filming movies like
SpiderMan and The Avengers. But the landscape
is changing, says Alec Pacella, director of
investment sales at NAI Daus.
“This is an exciting time for downtown,” Pacella says, noting that population
critical mass is growing. “The first wave
of businesses that will feel that benefit are
retailers, restaurants, convenient stores—
and sooner or later, there will be enough
people to support another grocery store,”
More people living downtown means a
ready customer base for businesses. And not
just retailers benefit. Downtown’s visibility
counts for companies like Quez Media,
which relocated from Midtown to Prospect
Avenue. With ground-floor offices with
two sides of windows, passersby will notice