Submitted by Roldo on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 14:25.

I was watching an Indians game recently when the sports announcers went a bit agog about the stadium restaurant as the TV cameras panned the Terrace Club where people were happily enjoying food treats with a view of the baseball game.

Happy people enjoying The Good Life.

Too bad you had to pay for it.

When the Terrace Club opened at Jacobs Field it cost $800 annually to buy a membership to eat there on game days. Now you can join the exclusive club for $500 a year or have an extra special membership at $900 a year. Only members can eat there on game days. Regular folk are allowed in at other times as long as they can pay.

The Terrace Club’s 900 seat restaurant, the larges downtown, has been paid largely by public funds. The Terrace Club, as with all construction on Gateway land, pays no property taxes, some 60 percent of which would go to Cleveland schools. I guess that’s why it gripes me so to see charities holding fund-raising parties at the subsidized spot that avoids paying its fair share to help Cleveland school kids. Something wrong with that. It also hurts other restaurants that do pay their property taxes.

(Even when the team wasn't playing the lights would be on for such special events so such important people would be able to see the empty baseball field.)

Most people don’t know that this 900-seat restaurant, including the bar, with its huge glass window looking out at the field, was built primarily on the public’s dime.

The Terrace Club cost us $5,155,893. Gateway also built a $2.3 million restaurant in the arena and it is operated by a former Gateway board member.

The two upscale restaurants at Gateway cost a total of $7,526,027 thanks to our County Commissioners, although only Tim Hagan remains from that gang that included Mary Boyle and Jim Petro. The team may have changed but the public screwing continues unabated.

Sammy’s, the 323 seat arena restaurant went to the former Gateway board member Denise Fugo, who quit the board, then got the prize. It cost $1.8 million to build plus furnishings of $178,750 and kitchen equipment of some $350,000 for a grand total, according to Gateway, of $2,370,134. Nice work if you can get it.

Concession profits go to the team owners, of course. Maybe the Dolans can buy - instead of sell - a star player if you chow down enough.

The restaurants not only represent unfair competition to other restaurants, especially downtown, but really are a tribute to segregation by income, especially the Terrace at its annual entrance fee.

This is the way the Terrace Club advertised its exclusivity: “Perfectly situated above the left field lower deck seating, the Terrace Club overlooks the playing field. The upper level, bar and two-tiered dining rooms are completely surrounded by seamless glass.”

Nothing was too good for Dick Jacobs, especially when he wasn’t paying the tab.


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