Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock ‘evaluating’ relationship with architect David Adjaye on major downtown Cleveland project

Bedrock ‘evaluating’ relationship with architect David Adjaye | Crain’s Detroit Business

MICHELLE JARBOE, Crain’s Cleveland Business

David Adjaye Cleveland_i.jpg

Credit: Courtesy of Bedrock

Sir David Adjaye, left, stands with Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, center, and Kofi Bonner, the CEO of Bedrock.

Bedrock, the Detroit-based developer with ambitious plans for Cleveland’s downtown riverfront, is assessing its relationship with the prominent architect behind that vision.

The Financial Times reported this week that three former employees have accused Sir David Adjaye of sexual misconduct. The newspaper’s investigation, published Tuesday, July 4, also describes a “toxic” work environment at his design firm’s office in Ghana.

Adjaye is disputing the claims. “These allegations are untrue, distressing for me and my family and run counter to everything I stand for,” he said in a statement to the Financial Times.

But the British-Ghananian architect, who designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., has resigned from advisory roles and ceremonial positions in the wake of the reporting. And at least one U.S. client, the Multnomah County Library in Oregon, has parted ways with Adjaye’s eponymous firm this week.

Bedrock, the real estate arm of billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Rock family of companies, hired Adjaye Associates last year to develop a master plan for the ailing Tower City shopping mall and a sweep of riverfront property behind it. The developer released that plan, a blueprint for $3.5 billion in development, in December and recently secured preliminary approval for the concept from the Cleveland City Planning Commission.

By email, a Bedrock spokeswoman acknowledged the controversy around Adjaye.

“Bedrock has been made aware of the very serious allegations and in light of this, we are evaluating the business association as we continue to move the project forward,” she wrote.

Adjaye and Bedrock’s CEO, Kofi Bonner, previously worked together on a master plan for the San Francisco Shipyard, a large project in California. In Cleveland, the Adjaye Associates plan spans approximately 35 acres of waterfront land and reimagines Tower City as the link between Public Square and the east bank of the Cuyahoga River.

Adjaye has not worked on projects for Bedrock in Detroit, but he and Michael Van Valkenburgh won a competition to transform the west riverfront.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park broke ground in May 2022 after having been in the works for several years. By 2024, the 22-acre, $75 million park on the west Detroit riverfront is slated to feature water access, slides, swings, trails, a treehouse, a replica of Fort Wayne and an outdoor classroom.

Adjaye’s portion of the project for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is a series of themed open-air pavilions, including the William Davidson Sport House, which will feature two basketball courts and a permanent raised canopy with skylights to provide flexible space for year-round use. It will be designed to accommodate activities like rollerskating, soccer and kickball games and host other structures during the winter for programs, said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy said in September 2021. 

“It’s going to be an iconic element of the park,” Wallace said at the time. 

The RiverFront Conservancy did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. 

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site