Tag Archives: Pete F. Spittler

Pete Spittler Discusses Art and Architecture

It’s often been noted that the creative class is what keeps the cultures of cities alive and vibrant.  How exactly, does that play out, asks Pete Spittler? He has seen the creative class’ input in a direct way; Pete Spittler has helped realize some of those dreams as a creative force of his own. It was through the efforts of Pete Spittler and his firm that an important landmark in downtown Cleveland got a new lease on life.

Cleveland’s Allen Theater was built as a movie palace in the 1920s, but by the 1970s it had seen better days. The declining theater building was destined for demolition. According to Pete Spittler, the city at that time was operating under a urban removal program, but a local activist named Ray Sherardson saw the future potential of the old theaters In 1998 Pete Spittler and his firm faced challenges in the redevelopment and restoration of the Allen Theater, however; things like a new dressing room, loading docks and stagehouse all had to be built, and the dense downtown of Cleveland presented its own logistical problems.

There was much detailed cleaning and restoration work to be done, Pete Spittler notes, including illusionistic windows, figurated panels, and replacement of the building’s ornate original plaster work. The final result from Pete Spittler and his firm, however, is an urban showplace that seats up to 2500 people. Pete Spittler notes that in the most recent renovation and expansion of the Allen Theater, the complex is now the home to the theater program at Cleveland State University, and the centerpiece of the city’s Playhouse Square district.


Pete Spittler has a lengthy resume in architecture, urban planning and design. Pete Spittler served at Figgie International and The Austin Company as senior project manager. At The Austin Company, Pete Spittler spent time in Eastern Europe, studying industries that might be good candidates for privatization after the fall of communism. Pete Spittler has also traveled to Brazil in a consultancy role; today, Pete Spittler is president of GSI Architects.


Peter F. Spittler Discusses Urban Redevelopment

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.