Van Aken On Track 10 SHAKERONLINE.COM | WINTER 2017 With the crack of a wrecking ball, the “new” began on November 12. The New Starts Now Demolition Ceremony was filled with great anticipation as residents, City leaders, and representatives from RMS watched the first bricks in the old Van Aken Center fall. The ceremony marked an end and a beginning as the project pivots from the old to the new. The countdown to construction of Shaker’s new downtown is on. After the ceremony outside, stilt walkers and the Shaker Heights High School choir led the celebration inside to the large storefront at the west end of Shaker Plaza, where residents browsed a pop-up shop of future Van Aken District retailers and relaxed in the beer lounge. Music from the band By Light We Loom made the event festive, and an interactive treasure hunt called “Be An Original” enticed guests to explore the many current retailers in Shaker Plaza and the Shops on Chagrin. Le Chaperon Rouge, a premier infant care facility and preschool, now constructing its newest location on Warrensville Center Road, sponsored face painting by Suzanne. Attendees were also invited to paint and draw on a 16-footlong canvas to create a community art piece that will inspire a display on the construction fencing. The celebration continued into the evening at Juma Gallery, where partygoers enjoyed the music of Shaker resident Jim Carr while sipping wine and browsing the gallery. The event was a glimpse of what is to come: a lively new downtown filled with unique stores and restaurants where people want to gather, shop, eat, and work. Construction begins spring 2017; shops open early summer 2018. For more information on the Van Aken District, please visit thevanakendistrict.com and follow on Instagram @thevanakendistrict, Twitter @vanakendistrict, and Facebook @thevanakendistrict.
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