Richard “Dick” Jacobs, the Cleveland developer who with his brother bought and saved the major league baseball franchise for the city of Cleveland, died on Friday. He was 83.

Jacobs and his son, Jeffrey, formed and operated Jacobs Entertainment, owner of several casinos in Nevada and Colorado, and Colonial Downs in Providence Forge, Virginia.

Jacobs, a pioneer shopping-mall developer, was chairman and chief executive officer of what is now called the Richard E. Jacobs Group. He founded the firm with his late brother, David, and Dominic Visconsi in 1955.

The company developed the 57-story Key Center on Public Square in Cleveland, the tallest building between New York and Chicago. In 1987, Jacobs’ firm developed the first retail shopping mall in downtown Cleveland: the Galleria at Erieview, East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue.

Although Jacobs made his fortune in real estate, he became more widely known when he and his brother, David, bought the Indians from the Steve O’Neill estate in late 1986. The price was $40 million.

The Indians had been one of the weakest teams in baseball over the previous 30 years.
The team was restored during the Jacobs regime, winning two American League pennants, in 1995 and 1997. They were the first Cleveland pennants since 1954.
(Photo courtesy of Cleveland Plain-Dealer)