December 20, 2011
Rock Ohio Caesers exceeding minority inclusion goals
The owner and developer of urban casinos in downtown Cleveland and downtown Cincinnati today announced through the initial nine months of project construction the company has awarded more than 41 percent of contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses. Those contracts total more than $65 million to companies with Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) or Women Business Enterprises (WBE) certifications.
“The concept of an urban casino involves contracting urban-based businesses, including women and minorities. We are committed to hiring firms that reflect Cleveland’s and Cincinnati’s rich and diverse environment,” said Jeff Cohen, principal, Rock Gaming.
Ongoing renovations inside the Historic Higbee Building, where Horseshoe Casino Cleveland is being developed, have generated contracts valued at $75 million, with 49 percent awarded to MBE and WBE companies primarily in the Cleveland area. The total Phase I casino construction spend in Cleveland is estimated at $107 million. Horseshoe Cleveland is expected to open in March 2012.
In Cincinnati, ROC has awarded contracts valued at $82 million, with more than 35 percent awarded to MBE and WBE certified companies. ROC anticipates a total construction spend of $150 million to complete the facility for its spring 2013 opening.
“Achieving an inclusive construction project starts at the top,” said Steve Rosenthal, also a principal of Rock Gaming. ROC established a voluntary MBE/WBE inclusion goal of 20 percent for each construction project, and contracted with local diversity consultants in each city to assist with outreach, training and monitoring to achieve that goal.
Cleveland-based Minority Business Solutions and the Greater Cleveland Partnership Commission on Economic Inclusion, as well as the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky African-American Chamber, have assisted ROC in exceeding its goals.
Rosenthal said that the diversity consultants worked with construction managers Whiting-Turner in Cleveland, and Messer-Pendelton in Cincinnati, to conduct outreach events for local sub-contractors and established inclusion requirements for all bids. They also worked together to reduce the size of some bids to allow smaller companies to compete and build capacity for future work.
“A key element of our urban casino philosophy is that local economic development benefits from these casinos starts long before the doors open,” Cohen said.