After popular bar closes, leaders insist downtown Cleveland is thriving

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 10:34 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When the Nauti Mermaid announced last week it would be closing its doors, people on social media were quick to express sadness and disappointment.

According to the bar’s Facebook post, the business is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing impacts on the service industry.

But leaders insist downtown is still the heart of the city and will continue to thrive; suggesting closures have been far more rare than new openings.

“It’s always disappointing to see any business in downtown close,” said Michael Deemer, president and CEO of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, calling it “particular disappointing” when a longtime business closes its doors.

The Nauti Mermaid opened in 2004.

In its Facebook post, the bar cited the pandemic and the after-effects as a primary reason.

“Believe it or not, we’ve had more storefront business open than close over the course of the pandemic. So we’ve had a net increase of storefront business. Foot traffic is returning, residential demand is still strong, visitors are coming back so downtown is still very much the heart of the city,” Deemer told 19 News.

The business also pointed to safety concerns and losing their primary parking lot, seemingly referring to construction of the new Sherwin-Williams headquarters across the street.

“We’re delighted to have Sherwin-Williams making that recommitment and reinvestment in downtown. There’s no substitute for injecting thousands of workers into a neighborhood,” Deemer said. “Its going to transform the neighborhood, we’re already seeing more interest in more development in the Warehouse District.”

He also addressed safety concerns.

“Everything good that happens in downtown Cleveland begins with a clean, safe and welcoming environment,” Deemer said, before bringing up the downtown ambassadors who roam the streets. “They’re out there to enhance the perception of safety, to make sure people feel comfortable to de-escalate situations as they arise... they provide a visible, uniformed, unarmed presence that’s there to make people feel safe and welcomed downtown.”