Now, that vacant land is being filled with new residential construction. The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO), a nonprofit community advocacy group that has helped preserve many of the area’s historic buildings since its founding in 1973, reports that about 1,000 new residential condominiums and apartments are under construction here.
If Clevelanders are returning to the neighborhood, the DSCDO and area artistic nonprofits helped forge the magnet. Together they raised $30 million between 2006 and 2014 to fund new streetscaping in Gordon Square, including planting trees, and purchase the Capitol Theater, a 20s-era silent movie house, turning it into a three-screen complex exhibiting a mix of blockbuster and art films with children’s programming on summer mornings.
The campaign helped the Cleveland Public Theater, a champion of new and local plays, turn a Romanian Orthodox church into a rehearsal and classroom space. It also built the Near West Theater, a community theater, contributing to Gordon Square’s reputation as an entertainment district.
When the producers of “Cleveland Hustles” came knocking, Gordon Square was already humming with the new Superelectric Pinball Parlor, home to more than 20 vintage pinball games; a poutine-focused restaurant and beverage shop called Banter; and longtime tenants like Happy Dog, a bar that looks unchanged since the 1940s and is renowned for its myriad hot dog varieties and occasional polka parties.