By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
On Friday, Dec. 9, Rock Ohio Caesars L.L.C., the developers of Cleveland’s first casino, announced plans to expand its presence in downtown Cleveland with the purchase of the Ritz-Carlton hotel for $36.5 million. Rock Ohio Caesars also took control of the 250 Huron offices beneath the Ritz. Both properties have been owned by Cleveland real estate developer Forest City Enterprises.
The Ritz-Carlton opened in 1990. It will continue to operate the city’s only Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond rated hotel through its long-term management contract. The 206-room hotel offers scenic guestroom views of the city, spacious meeting and function space, 12 well-appointed meeting rooms, a spa, a fine-dining restaurant, an indoor pool, fitness and massage center and a lounge. The $36.5 million price tag is high for Cleveland, in a time when the historic Arcade sold at a foreclosure auction for $7.7 million. Cuyahoga County records place the market value of the property just above $27 million.
250 Huron is directly below the Ritz-Carlton. The five-story, 119,000-square-foot office tower has provided commercial office space for local and national tenants since 1991. 250 Huron will be used for casino administration and employee training. The offices have been empty since 2008, when J.P. Morgan Chase, the sole tenant, left the building. 250 Huron was sold in a mortgage default auction for approximately $3.5 million. The hotel and office tower are part of the Tower City Center mixed-use complex and adjacent to Horseshoe Casino Cleveland.
Rock Ohio Caesars is a joint venture between Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Rock Gaming L.L.C. It is developing and will operate Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Horseshoe Casino Cleveland is currently under construction in the former Higbee Building and is expected to open next March.