Sunday, May 29, 2011


This post is about a project that has been highly publicized.  Perhaps everything you will read here you will have already read elsewhere [definitely see the multiple posts about this on the Cleveland Area History blog (look for the link to this blog near the top of our blog), which has done an exhaustingly thorough job on reporting much of this building's early history, culled from several accounts written at/near the time of its initial construction].  A big casino is coming to Cleveland, Ohio, and before the new structure that is planned can be built, somewhere on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in the downtown area, they have selected a temporary location to operate during construction, in what had been a department store.  Additionally, they decided they needed a "Welcome Center", obviously nearby the temporary casino, which will primarily be a place for the gamblers, or "valets", to park their cars.  The site they purchased for this is, logically, diagonally across the street, a small
'logistic' that is to be overcome by an elevated walkway bridging the parking with the casino.  This site just happens to already be occupied by several buildings, none of which the casino wishes to use for the project.  One of the apparently doomed structures is the one pictured in this post, the Columbia Building, constructed in 1908 and designed by Cleveland architect Marion Wells.  Many local residents will remember this building as the home of Dyke College in the late-'80s and the '90s [note: this institution may have "morphed" into Myers University -- does anyone out there know??].  It has been a designated Local Landmark for a number of years.  Part of the project involves the construction of a building planned for retail use.  Why can't the Columbia Building be the building planned for retail use??   Or, perhaps a better idea would be to simply transfer one of the 'ground' dimensions of the planned 4-story parking-garage into more height, doubling it to eight stories, thereby cutting the 'footprint' in half, ultimately eliminating the need for the ground that the Columbia Building occupies.  But perhaps the most important question to be answered is, what will happen to the "Welcome Center" when the casino moves from across the street to its planned permanent location on the river??  Will they build a new elevated walkway a half-mile long to the new casino??  The answer to that should be obvious.  They will essentially 'abandon' this site -- put the 'for-sale' sign out.  No doubt they'll get a taker for a parking-garage.  But -- why must we lose an important and still very useful historic structure for a project that is essentially temporary??


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