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Heinen's is moving to downtown Cleveland Ameritrust building
Other noon headlines: Cleveland pedestrian bridge begins; university enrollment drops; judge upholds lifetime driving ban

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
  • Heinen's is moving to downtown Cleveland Ameritrust building
  • Construction of controversial pedestrian walkway to old Higbee's begins
  • U of A, KSU and YSU see enrollment drops
  • Judge upholds lifetime driving ban in 2005 case 
  • Heinen's is moving to downtown
    The Ameritrust complex in Cleveland is getting a new tenant. Heinen’s announced a 15-year lease today for a store in the rotunda at the corner of Euclid and E. 9th Street. It will be the suburban chain’s first downtown location, and one of just three supermarkets within a one-mile radius – the others are Constantino's on W. 9th, and a Dave's in Asia Town. The move comes as downtown’s population continues to rise, with the residential occupancy rate holding steady around 96 percent.

    Cuyahoga County bought the Ameritrust complex in 2005 with plans to convert it into a new administration building. But that plan failed, and the buildings remained empty until being sold to developer Greg Geis earlier this year. So far, two buildings have been demolished for Cuyahoga County’s new government headquarters. The rest is slated for retail, entertainment and residential space to open late next year.

    Construction of controversial pedestrian walkway to old Higbee's begins
    Another historic Cleveland building is going through changes as well. Construction begins today on an elevated pedestrian walkway from the Horseshoe Casino parking garage to the casino itself in the Higbee Building.

    The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, bringing with it tax credits for maintaining the building’s original design. Casino owner Rock Ohio Caesars had wanted to add the walkway and keep the tax credits, but the government said no. So the company has decided to buy the Higbee building from Forest City Enterprises for about $79 million. The company argued the skywalk would increase business by shielding gamblers from the cold, while opponents said it would kill street-level retail.Plain Dealer Art & Architecture critic Steve Litt famously likened the project to – quote -- “poking the Mona Lisa in the nose with a straw.” The walkway will be about 16 feet above the intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue, and is slated to open next year.

    U of A, KSU and YSU see enrollment drops
    The University of Akron is seeing a drop in enrollment for the second year in a row.The Beacon Journal reports that a 5.9 percent decline appears to be the largest drop in northeast Ohio. The school's trustees plan to meet in October to revamp the budget to reflect the enrollment dip. The university has been grappling with budget problems and recently eliminated 100 positions, though some slots were vacant. It also took additional steps this year to close a $27.6 million budget gap. The school's financial officer says the university may need to make other cuts. Early reports from area universities show Kent State enrollment dropped by about 1 percent, while Youngstown State is down about 3 percent.

    Judge upholds lifetime driving ban in 2005 case
    An Ohio judge has refused to restore the driving privileges of a drunken driver involved in a fatal 2005 crash. Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones in Akron ruled Thursday against the request by Molly Wagner Farmer. She pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and drunken driving in a crash that killed 21-year-old Jacqueline Bryan of Akron. John Bryan, father of the victim, told the Akron Beacon Journal that his family was relieved by the decision. Defense attorney Carmen Roberto plans to ask the judge to reconsider her ruling. The defendant, then 22, avoided a possible prison sentence when prosecutors learned that blood samples showing alcohol and cocaine in her system were improperly obtained because the hospital was not certified for such testing.
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