Rakauskas Architecture

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Columbia Building Demolition Opposition

On June 9, 2011 the Cleveland Landmarks Commission voted 4-3 to allow the demolition of the downtown Cleveland landmark Columbia Building, 112 Prospect Avenue (Columbia Building Case 11-031). The site is to be used as part of the Rock Ohio Caesars Casino welcome center and parking garage.

An alternative scheme was submitted by Rakauskas Architecture and was in the hands of the Commission before the hearing. John Rakauskas was the last to present his opposition to the demolition but the Commission did not want to hear about an alternate scheme even though that was the purported reason for the rescheduling of the hearing. The Rakauskas scheme was primarily intended to show that there still were possibilities to consider that did not involve demolition of the Columbia Building. Rakauskas, based on an assessment of information presented, did present the “tough love” viewpoint that the Stanley Building, which is not contributing to Lower Prospect, should be demolished in lieu of the Columbia. That might result, through further study, to allow all significant automobile ingress and egress to be off Ontario, which is not pedestrian oriented, in lieu of Prospect.

Opposition and alternative scheme submitted by Rakauskas Architecture:

Letter to the Landmarks Commission
Alternate Casino Valet Parking
Valet Garage and Bridge from South
Valet Garage and Bridge from Southeast

Other coverage and opposition:

Save Lower Prospect Avenue page on Facebook.

"Gambling With Cleveland’s History," by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"With the Columbia, something more than a landmark lost," by Marc Lefkowitz, Green City Blue Lake.

"Despite Protests, Cleveland Plows Ahead with Senseless Demolition Plan," by Richey Piiparinen, Rust Wire.

"After a second look, KA Architects redoubles the case for demolishing the Columbia Building to make way for a casino visitor center," by Steven Litt, Plain Dealer.

"As demolition vote nears, casino’s alliance with mayor becomes clear," Erick Trickey, Cleveland Magazine.

"$$$$$$$$$ vs. history...guess who wins this one every time," by Craig B, Preservation Sans Politics.

"Rock Gaming changes course on Cleveland casino by asking for an overhead walkway and demolition of the Columbia Building," by Steven Litt, Plain Dealer.

"Threatened: The Columbia Building," by Christopher Busta-Peck, Cleveland Area History.

"Downtown Cleveland Sites Among Most Endangered," PreserveOhio.