About Van Aken

The Van Aken District -

Shaker Heights' New Downtown.

Immerse yourself in a community like no other. Inspired by the Shaker Heights spirit of quality, craftsmanship and entrepreneurialism, the Van Aken District is the kind of neighborhood you dream of – offering a unique blend of urban and suburban lifestyles in a city deeply rooted in history, culture and diversity. It’s a place that inspires gathering and comes to life through the connections of residents, business owners, retailers and restaurateurs.

  • 1911
  • 1915
  • 1951
  • 2000
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2010
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

1911

Van Aken's Home

A young William Van Aken and two friends are seen posing with pavement bricks soon to be laid on Larchmere Avenue. They are standing in front of Van Aken's mother's home at 2484 E125th Street. Courtesy of Shaker Historical Society

1915

Mayor Van Aken

William J. Van Aken is elected as Mayor of Shaker Heights from 1915 until his death in 1950. His implementations rapidly turn the city from a rural area to one of the most well known and wealthy suburbs in the country. Courtesy of Shaker Historical Society

1951

The Van Aken Legacy is Born

South Moreland Boulevard is officially renamed Van Aken Boulevard shortly after the death of Mayor Van Aken. Courtesy of Shaker Historical Society

2000

A Vision of Rebirth

The City of Shaker Heights Strategic Investment Plan recommends reconfiguring the Chagrin/Warrensville/Van Aken intersection and developing a mixed-use downtown with improved pedestrian and transit connections.

2007

A Community United

The city holds public meetings to gather community input for a mixed-use district.

2008

Planning The Future

The Warrensville/Van Aken Transit-Oriented Development Plan outlines the major infrastructure and roadwork changes proposed to set the stage for new development of retail stores, offices and housing.

2010

Securing Transportation

The city council adopts the Intermodal Transit Center Program Plan, which evaluates options and alternatives for the new transit/bus station.

2012

A Fully Funded Vision

Full funding in the amount of $18.5 million is achieved for the reconfiguration of the Warrensville/Van Aken intersection.

2013

A Historic Partnership

RMS partners with the city to make the first phase of the district redevelopment a reality.

2014

Laying The Groundwork

Publicly funded roadwork begins

2015

Our First Attractions

With roadwork nearing completion, RMS announces its first tenants for the new Van Aken District: Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Rising Star and Shinola.

2016

A New Era Rises

Demolition on the Van Aken Center begins, with several of its tenants moving across the street to Shaker Plaza. RMS announces James Beard Award-winning chef Jonathon Sawyer will open a restaurant in the District.

2017

Van Aken Grows

Van Aken District retail and restaurants announced including Double Rainbow, Grooveryde and Genuine Pizza.

2018

The Future of Van Aken

More Van Aken District merchants announced including Whiskey Grade, Bonobos, SEE Eyewear, Xhibition, CLE Clothing, Co., Stump, Luster and Restore. Office tenants move in June. The first residents of Upstairs at Van Aken move in August. Retail tenants begin opening their doors to the community in August.