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Planning Commission Approves Stadium Plan Without Additional Development

September 20, 1996

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Designers of a new football stadium for the future Cleveland Browns said Friday they have concluded that the site would be too small to accommodate any other development.

The city Planning Commission approved the plan, allowing work on more detailed architectural plans for the stadium to be built alongside Lake Erie at the site of the current Cleveland Stadium.

``Very simply, the new stadium doesn’t have any developable parcels on the site. It’s just too tight,″ said Dennis Wellner, senior vice president of HOK Sports Facilities. The Kansas City, Mo., architectural firm also developed plans for Jacobs Field, home of baseball’s Cleveland Indians.

Some members of the City Council had complained that the initial plan lacked room for additional development on the prime lakefront property, such as a hotel.

The conceptual design that the commission approved proposes an east-west configuration of the stadium, the same as the current field. Council members thought a north-south configuration would allow room for additional commercial development of the property.

The city plans to begin demolishing Cleveland Stadium in several weeks. The new stadium is scheduled to be completed by 1999, when the Browns replacement team promised by the NFL will begin play. The old Browns were renamed the Ravens when owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore.

Council President Jay Westbrook said the site should be ``more than a 10-date-a-year facility,″ meaning eight regular-season games and two playoff games.

``The proposed design essentially eliminates development for the benefit of the public and absorbs it within the confines of the stadium for the benefit if the team owner,″ Westbrook said.

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