Designed by the architectural firm of Kober/Belluschi Associates, The Galleria was created by the Cleveland-based development firm of Jacobs Visconsi Jacobs (later to become The Richard E. Jacobs Group, which still thrives as a locally-based national retail developer).
The Galleria was built to occupy the formerly fiercely-windswept open plaza that was a relic of the architect I. M. Pei’s urban renewal plan of 1960. It is connected to several stories of the 40-story Modernist slab of Erieview Tower (or, more correctly, 100 Erieview) to its east. The Galleria’s soaring glazed triple-barrel vaults draw that Tower’s occupants and activities to East Ninth Street, through two levels of shops, restaurants, galleries and food court, culminating in a grand and imposing arched portal of polished stone and glass.
For better than a decade after its opening, The Galleria brought renewed vitality to the often cold and blustery northern reaches of East Ninth Street, paving the way for such developments as One Cleveland Center to its immediate south, and the North Point complex to its north, as well as additional infill structures in the old Erieview footprint. It served its customer base well, offering downtown workers convenient shopping and greater food choices in a controlled and attractive environment. Along with the grand concourse of Tower City Center, The Galleria at Erieview offered Clevelanders their must-see holiday destination.
The Galleria’s architectural style is that of a crisp and contemporary crystalline ‘boutique’ mall, though in recent years it has gone decidedly down-market as its prime clientele of affluent office workers has shrunk or fled downtown. Competition among restaurants and the consolidation of retailers have not helped either. As a result former retail spaces have given way to banks, galleries and other transitional uses, and The Galleria has been taken under new ownership and management.