CLEVELAND — Two buildings that once housed two of Cleveland's biggest retailers, Higbees and May Company could soon be connected. Jack Casino Cleveland will present to the Downtown/Flats Design Review Advisory Committee on Thursday for schematic design approval of their plans for a new pedestrian bridge over Ontario Street.
The bridge would be located north of the current walkway over Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue, which was built in 2013 to connect the casino to its parking garage and welcome center. The bridge would enter the casino a level above it, which would be 33 feet above the street.
In their project summary, those behind it say it would be to "leverage the prime, central location of the parking garage to revitalize the street-level retail frontage on Ontario and Prospect."
The May Company building and garage has been undergoing a $140 million mixed-use transformation by Dan Gilbert's real estate arm Bedrock.
The walkway would provide covered access to those casino guests who park at the May garage, as well as to those office workers in the floors above the casino.
In addition, the current garage elevators, which have an 11-story solid wall backing up to Ontario, would be replaced with open glass to create a "safe, welcoming entry focal point for the garage."
The May Company Building project is slated for completion in 2020, with the completed around the end of that year.
“Together, JACK Entertainment and the Rock Family of Companies have never been more committed to downtown Cleveland as evidenced by our key civic initiatives which include the re-purposing of the Avenue Shops at Tower City, the renovation of Ritz Carlton Hotel, the transformation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and the complete renovation of the May Company Building and the May Company Garage.
In a statement to News 5 Mark Dunkeson, CEO of JACK Entertainment said "the walkway, which is a critical piece to our larger downtown plan, will allow us to better serve our guests, providing a convenient crosswalk from the May Company Garage directly into JACK Cleveland Casino. It will also serve as an access point into the Higbee Building which will significantly enhance the attractiveness of the office space by adding connected, adjacent parking. In addition, the walkway will support downtown retail by giving visitors and those located within the Higbee Building an easier way to access the street level retail."