Historic May Co. Building Could Become Casino Parking Deck

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor As the Horseshoe Casino and many other projects in Cleveland’s downtown near completion, some hope to benefit from the traffic the new developments will bring in. The owners of the historic May Co. building plan to [...]

As the Horseshoe Casino and many other projects in Cleveland’s downtown near completion, some hope to benefit from the traffic the new developments will bring in. The owners of the historic May Co. building plan to convert the high-rise into parking.

The building was finished in 1915 and is located at 200 Euclid Ave., in Public Square. It was built by world-famous architect and city planner Daniel Burnham. The building’s original height was increased when two floors designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White  were added during the 1931 reconstruction. The gleaming white terra cotta facade, clean lines and symmetrical detailing give the building an elegant look.

It was a place where shoppers could find everything they needed. The building had a sales area of more than 1 million square feet. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The May Co. vacated the building in 1993. Now, the Cadillac Ranch restaurant and Cuyahoga Community College’s Hospitality Management Center and restaurant are the only tenants.

Over the years, developers had big plans for the eight-story high-rise.  Now the owners want to turn four floors of the historic department store into a parking garage, with plans showing 734 parking spaces on floors two through five. Retail would be located on the first floor, while housing and offices would occupy the upper floors. Two empty storefronts would be replaced by ramps, and steel guardrails would be placed on each floor. The windows could be removed to provide ventilation. The owners have already submitted plans to the city.

With the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland opening on May 14 in the Higbee Building, on Public Square, the project could turn a largely vacant building into a profitable business. But it could also hurt the property’s ability to win tax credits for historic preservation.

Update
: On Friday, February 17, the Cleveland City Planning Commission rejected the proposal. They asked the owners to come back with a new plan that addresses the entire building and won’t damage its historic character.

Image courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives