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Cleveland's Erieview Tower

Updated on February 9, 2011
Erieview Tower
Erieview Tower

Whether you call it Erieview Tower, or the Tower at Erieview, or Erieview Plaza Tower or simply 100 Erieview, this 40-story modernist slab, designed by the architectural firm of Harrison & Abramovitz, dominated Cleveland’s financial district for more than 20 years.

The dark green window-gridded tower was to be the first and greatest structure to anchor the 160-acre+ urban renewal project of 1960 helmed by architect I. M. Pei, and known as Erieview (for its commanding presence on a level bluff overlooking Lake Erie). Unfortunately, it was to become the sole signature structure of Erieview, with its stark modernity derided, and with the massive plaza with fountains and pool at it base becoming a raging windswept glacier during the city’s fierce winters. Many citizens braved that plaza, however, to dine at the Top of the Town restaurant on the Tower’s upper level, which continued operation until 1995.

Developed by a partnership of Peter Ruffin and John Galbreath, Erieview Tower was completed in 1964, along with a 450-space underground parking garage, and grade-level plaza stretching all the way to East Ninth Street. In 1987, that plaza was subsumed by The Galleria at Erieview, a glittering triple-barrel-vaulted and skylit shopping mall, developed by The Richard E. Jacobs Group of Westlake, and designed by the architects Kober & Belluschi.

On its two levels, The Galleria at Erieview housed several popular restaurants, a variety of upper-end retailers and galleries, and a food court connected to an outdoor dining plaza. A local holiday treat: the grand Christmas Tree at center court under The Galleria's massive glass roof. For the next several decades, The Galleria at Erieview provided one of only two prime retail destinations in downtown Cleveland, the other being Tower City Center.

Over the past 20+ years, the remainder of the original Erieview urban renewal district has been built out, occupied by such structures as the Ameritech office building (now AT&T); One Cleveland Center, just south across St. Clair Avenue from The Galleria; and a variety of other lower structures. North Point, an office development that lies north of The Galleria and establishes a more extreme beachhead toward Lake Erie, further fleshed out the East Ninth Street business/financial corridor.

In recent years, Erieview Tower and The Galleria have passed to new ownership. The Galleria has since been renovated to incorporate a commercial bank in its southwestern corner, and its retail tenancies have shifted to include more galleries and varied local establishments. In 2007, work began on The Avenue District, local developer Zaremba Inc.’s multi-block residential complex east of Erieview Tower that promises to return residents to the downtown area.          

A marker100 Erieview Plaza, Cleveland, Ohio -
100 Erieview Plaza, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
get directions

A nice way to enter Erieview Tower is by way of The Galleria at its base, through the grand portal on East Ninth Street.


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