The Van Aken District: a historic city in search of a historic downtown. A hundred years ago, Shaker Heights was conceived as a residential community like no other—a model for other cities to emulate for generations. Our vision is to turn the Van Aken District into a “place”—honoring the historic community and architecture of Shaker Heights through the mixed-use development Ohio needs. In the heart of established vibrant neighborhoods, we hope to create a walkable environment on streets scaled to humans, not automobiles. Filled with local niche businesses, independent restaurants, offices and luxury apartments, Van Aken District will be a new public hub for the city, allowing residents and visitors to interact with their friends, be active, and have a unique experience every time they visit.
Located at the confluence of Van Aken Boulevard, Chagrin Boulevard (US 422) and Warrensville Center Road, the Van Aken District is the literal and figurative crossroads for Shaker Heights. As one of the most dangerous intersections in the state, the six converging roads will be reconfigured to a standard four-way intersection to calm and streamline traffic—creating safer routes for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Currently, the district includes two large shopping centers surrounding the rail and bus transit station along with a mix of underutilized parcels along the surrounding roadways. The center of the district is occupied by a mid-20th century shopping plaza that was entirely oriented towards the automobile. Once cleared away, this 6 acre parcel affords the ideal amount of space to introduce new mixed-use, multi-story buildings focused around a prominent green space, encouraging more people to walk and linger within the District. Lush tree-lined streets continue the Shaker Heights tradition of seamlessly integrating the natural landscape with the built environment.