$600M Cleveland Casino Moves Forward with Land Purchase

Developed by Rock Ohio Caesars Cleveland L.L.C., the project is one of four to emerge from a constitutional amendment approved by the state's voters in 2009.

Downtown Cleveland is a big step closer to hosting a $600 million casino. Rock Ohio Caesars Cleveland L.L.C., a joint venture of Rock Gaming L.L.C. and Caesars Entertainment Corp., has closed on the $85 million purchase of a 16-acre parcel and accompanying air rights.

The casino project is one of four slated for development in Ohio. Voters authorized the projects in a Nov. 2009 referendum that amended the state constitution to permit casinos.  “Ohio was one of those states that had legalized gambling in states around it but (had no legal gaming) itself,” said a senior official with Forest City, which sold the parcel to the developers and also owns the neighboring Tower City Center, a mixed-use destination. The Rock Gaming team will also build a casino in Downtown Cincinnati. Two other casinos, planned for Toledo and Columbus, will be developed by Penn National Gaming Inc.

Preliminary plans for the Cleveland project, which will stretch from Tower City Center down to the edge of the Cuyahoga River, call for restaurant and retail space, substantial parking accommodations and extensive gaming floor space. Completion is tentatively scheduled for 2013. All four of Ohio’s planned casinos are progressing, the Forest City executive said. Given that the venues will be a novelty in the state, it is widely expected that they will attract casino patrons who typically venture elsewhere to roll the dice.