Cleveland Casino Still a Work in Progress

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With just a little more than three months to opening day, transforming the old Higbee building into Cleveland's new casino is still very much a work in progress.

"Our entire team is focused on making Horseshoe Cleveland the first casino to open in the state of Ohio," said Nate Forbes, who is in charge of design and architecture for Rock Gaming.

His colleague, Jeff Cohen, oversees construction and admits the project is a daunting one.

"We've got about 550 people working the first shift, we've got about 125 to 150 the second shift and both of those will continue to ramp up as we get closer to opening," said Cohen.

Nearly 2,000 people will be employed at the construction site. Close to 50% of the total construction contracts have been awarded to companies owned by minorities and women.

Most of the demolition is done, the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work is also complete. The installation of the elevators and escalator is finished.

"This is all starting to come together and as you can imagine, we're running things on parallel tracks which just means there could be some demolition that's still taking place in some areas and we're putting on the finishing touches in others," said Cohen.

Fixtures, drywall, and carpentry are going in at the present time. Yet to be finished is the installation of more than 2,000 slot machines and other equipment. The casino will also offer 63 table games.

The second level, which patrons will enter from the street level, will feature slot machines, table games and a bar. The third level will also feature slots and table games, plus a food court.

The fourth level of Horseshoe Casino Cleveland will be home to the World Series of Poker Room where patrons will find 30 tables waiting.

Visitors will have access to a 400 seat restaurant on the first floor or basement level of the facility, but the casino's General Manager told Fox 8 that won't be the only dining opportunity they'll have.

"We deliberately designed this casino to have fewer amenities than most traditional casino developments would have," said General Manager Marcus Glover, "And so thereby we're going to ask our customers when they come to visit us also go out and have dinner at one of the restaurants in the surrounding district."

Renovations inside the building will cost Rock Gaming close to $100 million, total cost for the Horseshoe Cleveland will come to more than $350 million.

A parking garage will be available directly across Ontario Street with other parking facilities located nearby. A pedestrian walkway connecting the parking garage to the casino has not begun. A spokesperson for Rock Gaming said the company is reviewing its options after a decision from the U.S. National Parks Service inhibited the walkway.