After comprehensive design and investment analysis, Horseshoe Casino Cleveland is expected to be the first casino in Ohio, with a grand opening expected in early 2012. Dan Gilbert, Rock Gaming CEO, and Gary Loveman, chairman, CEO and President of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, yesterday announced to the media, top City, County and State officials, as well as community and business leaders their decision to move forward with plans for a Phase I gaming development in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Rock Ohio Caesars LLC was formed in December 2010 by Rock Gaming and Caesars Entertainment to develop and operate casinos in the downtowns of both Cleveland and Cincinnati. The joint venture, which is majority owned by Rock Gaming, has entered into long-term management agreements with Caesars for management and operation of each of the venture's facilities.
Cleveland's new casino will be located in the Historic Higbee Building on Public Square near the city's entertainment district. Construction bid packages will be issued over the next several weeks, and work will begin soon after. After successfully leading the November 2009 constitutional amendment approving full-service gaming in the state's four largest cities, Rock Gaming selected the world's preeminent gaming company, Caesars Entertainment, as its partner.
"I am bullish on Cleveland's future," said Gilbert, who also is majority owner of the city's NBA franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and founder of Quicken Loans Inc., which operates one of its lending centers in downtown Cleveland with 300 full-time employees. "This tremendous opportunity for economic development grew out of our passion to help revitalize this great city. We are confident that the economic activity our project will generate will make a strong impact on Cleveland, the region and the entire state of Ohio."
The Mayor of Cleveland, Frank G. Jackson, thanked Rock Ohio Caesars for its commitment to the casino and the investment in Cleveland. "With the announcement that Horseshoe Casino Cleveland will be the first casino to open in Ohio, Cleveland is well on its way to becoming a 24-hour city. By locating in the Historic Higbee Building at Public Square, we will be attracting visitors to the heart of downtown Cleveland and putting thousands of people to work.”
Gilbert and Loveman said their teams carefully selected the Horseshoe brand for the development based on similarities between the namesake's history and Cleveland's culture. Loveman said that a classic, dedicated and comfortable experience will await visitors to Horseshoe Cleveland. Horseshoe is the brand-leader in all markets where it operates.
Loveman said, "Horseshoe Cleveland represents an important opportunity for Caesars Entertainment. More importantly, this development, combined with the other exciting revitalization efforts downtown, will bring needed jobs and entrepreneurial business opportunities for Ohioans.” He added, "Horseshoe Cleveland will also generate new tourism for Ohio by adding an additional attraction to the city's entertainment offerings."
Rock Ohio Caesars expects to invest more than $350 million to transform approximately 300,000 sq. ft. of space over four floors of the Higbee Building into a first-class gaming destination. It is expected that more than 2,000 slot machines, 65 table games, a high-limits area, an action-packed World Series of Poker room, and a VIP player's lounge will occupy the 96,000 sq. ft. of gaming. Loveman introduced the new general manager for the casino. Marcus Glover, most recently assistant general manager and vice president of operations at Harrah's St. Louis, will have overall management responsibilities for Horseshoe Cleveland.
Nearly 2,000 construction workers will work on the Horseshoe Cleveland development over the coming months. Later this year, Horseshoe Cleveland will hire and train approximately 1,600 new employees to work in the casino. Rock Ohio Caesars has committed to hire at least 90 percent of casino employees from the Cleveland metropolitan area. Economic inclusion will be a priority in all aspects of the project. (E-02.04.11)
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