$400M Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati construction continuing at rapid pace

While city leaders would prefer to have the construction of the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati further along, many are pleased with its current breakneck pace of work.

The development is beginning to fill up the notorious 22-acre Broadway Commons site that Jim Tarbell (D) had once envisioned to become the home of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds eventually landed on the riverfront at the Great American Ball Park, and Broadway Commons continued to sit underutilized as a crumbling surface parking lot.

Developers of the new casino have thus far exceeded minority inclusion goals, and appear to be satisfying the desires of the surrounding community. Some of those efforts include not building a hotel on-site for the time being, and facing restaurants out towards the street instead of inward towards the casino floor.

The City of Cincinnati has been working with Bridging Broadway to ensure that the development leverages the best possible outcome for historic Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton and central business district. Recent efforts by city leaders include the approval of $27 million for streetscape enhancements in the immediate vicinity of the new casino.

Published author and UrbanCincy photographer Jake Mecklenborg visited the site in recent weeks in order to provide readers with an exclusive look at the progress taking place to transform one of the urban core’s most beleaguered sites into a vibrant destination expected to attract six million visitors annually.

  • ross w.

    This massive garage will be all you see from 71. Not going to be pretty.

  • Yeah, that garage won’t be pretty. It would be nice if they were to dress it up somehow, but I just don’t see that happening. Maybe in the future the hotel they will eventually build will help dress up that view of the site.

  • Looking at the plans I was amazed, but shouldn’t have been that the garage is bigger than the casino.

  • Aaron Watkins

    That parking garage is disgusting.

  • Aaron Watkins

    Seriously, I was pretty excited for this Casino, but that parking garage makes me hate it. Its twice the size of the damn casino, an enormous eyesore. Two steps forward, one step back. At the least they could have put some walls on it, maybe a roof. Now instead of a surface parking lot, we have a giant 3 story parking lot, wonderful.

  • Joe

    Traffic is already terrible on Reading near the I-471 exit and this will only compound the problem. Is there any traffic circulation improvements proposed for the area around the casino?

    And now the giant parking garage, why couldn’t they have put it under the Casino and not off to the side?

  • Schmiez

    1) I thought the goal of the casino was to incorporate it with the surrounding infrastructure and business potential. If you build an underground garage, who wants to park under the casino, take an elevator in the the casino, then walk outside to go to nearby shops? The garage can and may be used by more than casino visitors. Besides, its always been laid out that way. Relax folks.

    2) traffic at reading and 471 is not terrible. traffic around the Labor day fireworks is terrible. Reading and 471 is inconvenient. Im looking out my window right now and there is 1 car on the half mile of Reading that I can see. No need to further promote the tri-state areas favorite hobby: beating traffic. Reds tied in the 8th? gotta beat traffic. Bengals ball down by 2 with 1:30 to play? Gotta beat traffic.

  • Paul

    How short the people’s memory!! Why is the garage getting everyone’s panties in a bunch? Virtually *anything* built-up is better than the sprawling, busted-up concrete mess that was there!

  • Aaron Watkins

    @ Schmiez and Paul.
    Thanks for the reminder, and Schmiez your first point makes a lot of sense, I think I will be more positive about this now. Hopefully the garage will have some sort of interesting exterior designs that aren’t obvious in the render. I also feel that the trees will be nice there, making a sort of park and blocking the view of the parking garage from Reading.

  • Aaron Watkins

    Also does anyone have any information in regards to “hiding” the jail buildings by the courthouse? I remember reading that there was plans to obscure them with landscaping or something, but I feel that even if they plant trees it would take about 40 years before they would be big enough to block anything. Is there still going to be a park there?

  • Dennis

    Where can one go and look at the detailed renderings and plans for the casino ?

  • The architectural plans and renderings for the casino never looked great, and given the city’s current zoning code and cultural mindset I’m not surprised (though I am of course disappointed) that so much of the site will go to parking.

    I’m just hoping the casino succeeds in creating new commerce in the area, and that the tax and development benefits outweigh the pitfalls of the current design.

  • Schmiez

    I would hope that if people are so drawn to drive 35 mins to Indiana to gamble, then being able to do so AND get a good meal AND see a Reds game AND have hotel options outside the casino, would be a no brainer.

  • Joe

    Major streetscape improvements are needed along Reading,Broadway, Court, and possibly Gilbert if we really want to promote pedestrian movements outside of the casino compound. Possibly a few pedestrian bridges over Reading? Currently the area is visually unattractive and a little intimidating especially for people who don’t live downtown. Wayfinding signage is despretely needed as well as appearance enhancement projects. Image is everthing and we need somthing that we could market as safe like Fountain Square or Findley Market to outsiders.

  • adam.

    don’t have any of the work in front of me, but reading will undergo a huge streetscape improvement program, i think the funding is joint city/casino but don’t know that for sure. it’ll be a lot of ‘material’ upgrades but reading will remain a thoroughfare so it is suspect to me just how TRULY pedestrian they can make it. i’m nearly never a fan of overpasses btw. they can be justified at hong kong density, that’s about it.

  • Joe

    Possibly they could do something similar to what Cleveland Public Square charretes have envisioned as a possible option to improve pedestrian connectivity. See third picture down in linked article for the greenspace bridge.


  • Anthony Castelli

    Still no word on how the deck of the casino collapsed in the construction accident. Wonder who has the most to lose here. http://blog.castellilaw.com for more casino commentary about the contruction accident