Greater Cleveland RTA: Saving Time and Money

It’s a horrible feeling to think you are going to miss the last direct flight home. This was me, a Sunday evening last month, as I sat in traffic in Atlanta on I-85 attempting to travel 30 miles to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Google Maps informed me that due to an accident, my originally scheduled 45-minute drive would now take 2 hours and 15 minutes. That extra hour and half added to my commute was the time allocated to return a rental car, get through security and tram it to my gate. As I crept along, all I could think about was how much I wished I’d taken the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority).
Usually when I travel to the greater Atlanta area, my transportation preference is the MARTA. During the week, MARTA trains leave a station every 10 minutes and on the weekend every 20 minutes. On top of that, my ride from the last stop on the red line to the airport takes about 45 minutes and costs me $2.50. Quite a savings in time and money.

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The Mall – Still the Best Place to Buy a Gift.

Yes, the mall is still the best place to buy an anniversary gift, especially if your wedding anniversary is the day that you are doing the shopping.  I recently celebrated my wedding anniversary.  And as I have every year, I purchased my wife’s anniversary gift just in time.

BeachwoodPlaceThis year, I found myself traveling to three very different malls – Beachwood Place, an enclosed shopping mall; Legacy Village, an open-air lifestyle center and Eton Chagrin Boulevard, a mixed use boutique retail, dining and office space; all of which were no more than 4 miles apart.

Despite the rise in online purchases, shopping centers still account for over half of retail sales in the U.S.  However, the shopping mall experience has changed a lot in the last 25 years.  Today, there are roughly 1,000 enclosed malls and approximately 400 upscale lifestyle centers. These lifestyle centers are often serving as a suburban downtown providing retail, entertainment and community.

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I Pick Planes.

I just got back from visiting a subject property in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Over 10+ hours, I drove a total of 600+ miles to go from FRG’s northeast Ohio office to the subject and back to our office.

CESSNA172If I would have flown, I could have left after breakfast and would have been back at the office in time for a lunch meeting.   It would have cost me about $285 more to rent a Cessna 172 and fly myself roundtrip to Grand Rapids. For me, flying – just makes good business sense.

There are 5,300 general aviation airports in the United States with 550 servicing commercial airline travel.  In Ohio, there are 104 public-owned, public use airports.  In northeast Ohio, Burke Lakefront airport is the country’s first downtown and first municipally owned and operated airport.  And even with dwindling air traffic it is still amongst the busiest airports in Ohio due to executive travel, professional sports team travel and flight school use.

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Autonomous Cars and Real Estate

Yes, I love my car.  My car is fully paid for.  No car payments for me.

2007 malibu

I am the proud owner of a 2006 Chevy sedan with over 115,000 miles.  Now I will note that I am starting to see small rust spots on the hood and trunk of my car.  And I have always had some sort of electronic gremlin that causes the doors to lock and unlock at will, whether I am in the car of not.  And I think the CD changer stopped working about 4 years into my ownership experience.  But despite all of this I love my Chevy.  And the reason why I love this car is it is 100% paid for – no monthly car payments.

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When People Stop Going to Church …

Church Transform

There are 350,000 religious congregations in the US and according to the Yellow Pages there are 1,433 religious institutions in the greater Cleveland area.  In Cleveland, as well as, across the nation church membership and attendance is declining.  This decline is not discriminating amongst denomination.  There has been a lot written and a lot of research conducted to uncover the reasons for the decline.  The findings range from – the cultural disappearance of guilt to too many online social options to the thought that occasional attendance is the same as regular attendance.  For whatever the reasons, in five years the percentage of people unaffiliated with religion has increased from 15% to nearly 20% and continues to rise.

So what does this mean for houses of worship?

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A Perfect Match: Organic Kale Chips and Downtown Cleveland

Last week I had a job interview.  I arrived late.  Not five minutes late, but more like twenty minutes late.   Oh, I guess I should mention, I was not interviewing for a job, but was instead interviewing candidates for a position with FRG.  Anyway, I was late.  It wasn’t my fault, glad I wasn’t interviewing for a job because that’s a lame excuse.  I could not find parking.  The interview was in the Playhouse Square area.  Every lot within 5 blocks in all directions was full.  I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and found street parking by the Wolstein Center.

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Big Opportunity in University Heights, Ohio

I have always been intrigued by the intersection of Warrensville Center and Cedar Roads that brings together South Euclid and University Heights on the east side of Cleveland.  When I first encountered the area in the Spring of 1998, it was a bustling with a mixture of local shops and restaurants, and a mere sprinkling of national retailers.  I quickly learned from my in-laws that the area had a rich cultural history.

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