Ohio Casino May Expand This Year

The 2014 could be the year of decision for Rock Ohio Caesars, the year it decides on whether to go forward with Phase II (l.) of its Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and whether to move its ThistleDown Racino from North Randall to the Akron-Dayton area.

An affiliate of Rock Ohio Caesars LLC, operators of the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland agreed last week to pay 0,000 at a foreclosure auction for a 0.11-acre lot that is near to the casino.

The land was the object of a three-year legal battle between the casino owners and owners of the Stanley Block building on the property. The casino plans to reimburse the city for demolishing the building, which the city did in 2012 due to concerns over the building’s safety.

The Stanley Block, before its demolition, occupied the casino’s parking garage and welcome center.

The casino has no immediate plans for the property—it says. One might say that Rock Ohio Caesars is resting on its laurels in 2014 after a major opening effort last year, when it opened the doors to the Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati and the ThistleDown Racino in North Randall.

Last year Rock Ohio Caesars purchased the 13-story Higbee Building, which the casino occupies several floors of. This enabled the casino to build a skyway linking the Higbee building to the parking structure across the street. However, the Higbee Building was never intended to be the final version of the casino. That has always been planned for along the banks of the Cuyahoga River.

According to owner Dan Gilbert, Phase II is still in the works. Recently he told NewsNet 5 “We paid $85 million for the land we’re certainly not going to sit there and watch weeds grown on it.” Last May he repeated it, “Phase II is absolutely going to happen and we’re more excited about that than Phase I.”

However, no announcement about Phase II appears to be in the works anytime in the next few months.

At the same time the company may decide to exercise its option to move ThistleDown from North Randall to the Akron-Canton area. It must exercise that option by June. This would require paying $25 million to the state and spending $150 million for the land.