When pandemic crowd restrictions were lifted in Ohio earlier this year, Crocker Park, the apartment-office-retail center that first rocked West Cleveland’s world 20 years ago, threw a block party—and 6,000 people showed up.
“The property was never closed, because it’s still a 24/7, open-air environment. We had reduced hours, but we continued drawing people through the pandemic because they’d come here for a reprieve,” said COO Ezra Stark of Stark Enterprises, whose father Bob Stark patterned Crocker Park after lively Manhattan neighborhoods.
A high percentage of Cleveland weddings took place last year at the center’s spacey Market Square event center—a real-town type of venue not found at many modern mixed-use centers.
Ezra, who’s elevated the company’s holdings to 8 million sq. ft. of property, has this year been busy making more additions to Crocker. American Greetings moved its headquarters to Crocker Park in 2014, and he is developing a space beneath the company’s building into an entertainment zone. Urban Air signed to be the first tenant and Stark expects to welcome as many as 10 more.
“Our residential occupancy is 100% with waiting lists. Retail leasing activity is greater than it was before the pandemic,” Stark said. “Retailers know that if they want to make an impact on the west side, they need to come to Crocker Park.”