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Issue Date: April 2008


The Influentials: Iris Wolstein

President, Heritage Development Co.

Iris Wolstein softens, holding back tears, when talking about her late husband, Bart Wolstein. But, for her, grief is not a condition so much as it is a motivation. “That’s what keeps me going every day,” she says, “carrying on his business.” Bart’s biggest vision? To transform the rotting east bank of the Flats into a swanky neighborhood of homes, stores and offices. Iris, who has partnered with her son Scott, says there is “no question” that the project will be built. In downtown Cleveland, the Wolsteins’ influence is literally carved in stone — on buildings named after them from University Circle to Cleveland State University. Even now, Bart comes first. When Iris announced a gift of $6.25 million to the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, she deflected applause. “This gift is from Bart,” she told the crowd. “He was working on this project when he passed away. I am just picking up the threads.”

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