Shaker Square- A Transit Rich, Walkable, and Diverse Cleveland Community

Shaker Square is technically in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood but I carved out what is more considered the Shaker Square/Larchmere district. This includes the most stable portion of the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood and even a sliver of Shaker Heights. It is the area between the western border of Shaker Heights and Moreland Blvd (in the southern half) and the area between Shaker Square-Fairfield Hill Drive and MLK Dr and Coventry Rd in the northern half. Shaker Square has lived on the edge of some of Cleveland’s most impoverished and blighted communities (i.e. Buckeye, Mt. Pleasant and Woodland Homes) since the 1960s. What has kept it stable is the success of the Larchmere and Shaker Square biz districts and the stability of the Shaker School district present in the eastern half of the neighborhood.

Development of Shaker Square as a American Colonial-Georgian Shopping Center began 1927. At completion, it was the second planned shopping Center in the US after the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Many attractive restaurants, shops, bars, art galleries, and unique shops line Shaker Square and Larchmere. The neighborhood is also anchored by a cinema & Dave’s Supermarket. Other urban amenities include great transit access, stable but affordable housing, a high level of walkability, great tree canopy, and attractive architecture especially the 1920s Tudor Apartment buildings. Shaker Square still suffers from perceived crime problems and this has really held the neighborhood back and kept it highly undervalued from a real estate perceptive. Most of this concern is mis-placed due to Shaker Square’s close proximity to poorer parts of Cleveland. The neighborhood also needs better park amenities, bike infrastructure, and better performing schools in the Cleveland School District portion of the community. There is certainly also room for more density which would increase neighborhood vibrancy and amenities.

Click here to view my Shaker Square Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent transit access thanks to many bus lines and a dedicated rail line. This helps give Shaker Square solid access to Dwtn and University Circle.
* Great diversity across racial, economic, and generational lines. Over 50% of households are family households.
* Housing is generally affordable or moderately priced. Some 1-bedroom condos available mainly around Shaker Square selling in the low-mid 100Ks. 2-bedrooms condos, homes and townhouses sell from anywhere btwn 50K- low 200KS deepening on size and condition. Single Family 3-5 bedrooms sell anywhere between 50K-200K.
* Rentals are also very affordable. 1-beds lease for anywhere btwn 600K- the low 1Ks, 2-beds around $1,000s,  and 3 beds in the low $1,000s.
* There is also a decent amount of dedicated affordable housing.
* Great Tree canopy.
* Shaker Square hosts some good cultural amenities including many diverse restaurants, plenty of bars, cafes, and several art galleries. There is also a Cinema and dance studio.
* Retail amenities include a Dave’s Supermarket, Drug Store, a wonderful book store, nice array of boutiques, antiques, creative stores, and home good stores. There are also several dessert spots, a local post office & library, several gym, a specialty hospital, and indoor ice rink.
* Quality historic architecture, especially considering the Tudor apartments. Modern in-fill is generally quality too.
* Urban massing and streetscape is generally quite good other than a couple auto centric spots on Larchmere.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Decent but not great density. A bit surprising considering all the apartment buildings in the neighborhood.
* Bike infrastructure is limited to only the dedicated bike lanes on MLK Boulevard.
* If anything there is not enough higher end luxury product in Shaker Square since the market is so soft.
* Schools are a mix of well performing schools in Shaker that some residents have access to and the poor performing schools in Cleveland. Fortunately in Cleveland there are a couple well performing charter schools and a good Catholic High School and Grade School.
* The neighborhood is generally safe, especially the areas next to Shaker Heights, Larchmere, and Shaker Square itself. Areas around Moreland and MLK Blvds can be a bit dodgy.
* Other than Ambler and Rockefeller park on the north edge, park space is pretty limited.
* Shaker Square sadly still suffers from perspective issue. This is mostly unjustified due to its close proximity to rougher parts of Cleveland. This largely holds the neighborhood’s potential back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s