Today, the staff of Interviewing Experts had the opportunity to speak with Peter F. Spittler, a renowned architect and urban designer from Ohio. Peter F. Spittler has left a mark on many urban areas, through sustainable development and creative design.
Interviewing Experts: What does it take to execute your ideas for revitalizing an area?
Peter F. Spittler: Vision! It takes the ability to look at an urban brownfield site, a derelict factory, an abandoned railroad yard, and think about how it can be renewed, overhauled and re-purposed to respond to a market demand.
Interviewing Experts: What is it that drives you? Or, maybe another way of saying it is, what is your core conviction going into these projects?
Peter F. Spittler: I fervently believe that we can’t afford to keep expanding into suburbia. The impact of suburban sprawl on traffic, air quality, roads, taxing districts…we can’t afford it. Our future is in dense urban development where those infrastructures already exist.
Interviewing Experts: Tell us about the Pickwick and Frolic in Cleveland…
Peter F. Spittler: Sure. Working closely with Nick Kostas, we started out with a 1922 department store, gutted it, repurposed it with a 300 seat restaurant, 120 seat cabaret complex, 400 seat Hilarities comedy club and Martini Bar, while keeping the building’s exterior character and architectural details intact. Nick was a pioneer on East 4th Street in Cleveland and Pick Wick and Frolic was the flagship project. Since then there has been over 150 million dollars of investment on the street
Interviewing Experts: What were some of the special details that you included in that building?
Peter F. Spittler: We did things like refitting a giant chandelier salvaged from an old department store in Akron, built a vintage-style marquee, restored some of the building’s façade with custom-cast stonework. Most importantly, we created a unique dining and entertainment experience. The Hilarities comedy club is considered one of the finest comedy clubs in the country.
Interviewing Experts: Weren’t you involved in another urban project in Cleveland?
Peter F. Spittler: Yes, the Flats East Bank. The project is a 500 million 24 acres of mixed-use retail, office and residential development located at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Phase 1 will be completed Spring of 2013 and will include a 500,000 sf office building, a 150 room Aloft Hotel, several restaurants, a fitness center along with a 14 acre public park and a 1,200 lf riverfront boardwalk
Interviewing Experts: I recently read something about your Midtown Miami project; could you describe that for our readers?
Peter F. Spittler: Midtown Miami is a 1.4 billion dollar urban redevelopment projected located on an abandoned railroad yard. The project is located just south of Miami’s world renowned Design District and includes several thousand residential units and a variety of retail, restaurants and entertainment venues. The project filled an enormous retail void located in section of the city. The project came to fruition through a collaborative effort between the City of Miami and the developers, Midtown Equities and DDRC. You just cannot have 56 acres of urban property sitting there being underutilized…it makes no sense and everyone agreed.
Peter F. Spittler serves as manager of Forum Architects. Peter F. Spittler ’s responsibilities have included program management, planning and design as well as investor and government relations and much more at the firm. Prior to this, he was a founding principal and president of GSI Architects, Inc. Peter F. Spittler is a graduate of Kent State University’s architecture program. Peter F. Spittler also served as senior project manager at Figgie International, where he worked with teams on commercial and industrial development. At The Austin Company, Peter F. Spittler took on many of the same duties, as well as traveling to Eastern Europe to consider the privatization of government controlled industries in that region. The hands-on approach of Peter F. Spittler has given him a great insight into how to make things work successfully in the world of urban redevelopment and public/private financing.