For some time now, Cleveland’s elites have had a casino obsession.

Steve Litt provides a good summary of how Cleveland’s casino will create the capsule they need guide gamblers to and from the casino floor.

In order to speed the flow of gamblers to slot machines and gaming tables, Rock Gaming wants to connect the Higbee Building to a new parking garage and valet staging area on the opposite side of Ontario Street with a 170-foot-long overhead walkway.

The glass-enclosed pedestrian bridge would slice diagonally over the major downtown intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue, partially obstructing views to and from Public Square, the New England-style civic commons in the heart of downtown.

To enable construction of the new garage, Rock Gaming wants to demolish the beautiful, eight-story Columbia Building at 112 Prospect Ave., designated an official Cleveland landmark and located just east of the intersection.

Rock Gaming changes course on Cleveland casino by asking for an overhead walkway and demolition of the Columbia Building

The Columbia Building

Cleveland Area History gives some additional background on this historic building from the Chicago school. Daniel DeAngelo comments:

If one of the stated goals of building the casino is to revitalize our downtown, then we should not be allowing the historic building fabric of the city to be demolished. The historic Columbia Building has great potential to be redeveloped into loft apartments or some other use. If we continue on a path of incremental destruction of our architectural heritage, we will one day wake up and find that there is nothing left to protect, and that the price that we paid for this economic development was too great.

True. There are alternatives (but these require some imagination).

In revitalizing Oklahoma City, we leveraged the historic districts of the city. The prime example: Bricktown. When we started in 1994, Bricktown was a district with abandoned warehouses and only one (not so good) restaurant. Today, Bricktown is a vibrant component of Oklahoma City’s live-work downtown. The buildings provide a character you can find nowhere else.

This is only one reason people are looking at Oklahoma City as a model for economic diversification. Learn more.

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