Cedar Rapids Development Group unveils plans for $250m casino

Cedar Rapids casino advocates released plans for $250m proposal.
Cedar Rapids casino advocates released plans for $250m proposal.

Developers and supporters of a casino proposal in Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa, have presented details and plans for their project.

US.- The Linn County Gaming Association, Cedar Rapids Development Group, and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) released the $250m plan for Cedar Crossing, the new gaming facility they hope to develop in Linn County, Iowa. 

The project was unveiled just a few days after the Iowa Legislature approved a moratorium on issuing any new approvals for casinos for two years. If it’s signed by governor Kim Reynolds, the bill would block P2E’s Cedar Rapids casino project.

The facility would occupy the old Cooper’s Mill site along the Cedar River in the northwest quadrant of downtown, where the hotel was demolished several years ago. The proposal replaces the previous site at 1st Ave and 1st Street NW, which will not feature a large entertainment complex anchored by Backpocket Brewery, as reported by CBS Iowa.

The proposed casino, named Cedar Crossing, would be a 160,000 square-foot complex. The proposed facility would have bars, restaurants, a 1,500 capacity center for events, and other centers named after famous Cedar Rapids natives like pro-golfer Zach Johnson. The gaming facility project includes between 800 and 1,100 gaming machines and 40 to 60 table games.

“Cedar Crossing is going to be a cornerstone of revitalization efforts in Cedar Rapids,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell in a statement. “This team has set the vision and has been leading the charge longer than anyone else – they live here and know our community, and they have been thoughtful in their approach to build the partnerships they need to build a world-class gaming and entertainment destination. Cedar Rapidians deserve that.”

Casino supporters pledged to commit 8 per cent of net gaming revenue in funding toward local nonprofits, which they said would contribute an estimated $5 to $7m per year.

“From the beginning, we’ve said a Linn County casino will help our communities be more vibrant places to live,” said Anne Parmley, president of the Linn County Gaming Association, in a statement. “We believe we can do more and be more – and the $5 to $7 million dollars in annual net gaming revenue that we can commit to funding local nonprofits is our way to show our commitment to lifting Linn County as a better place to live, work and visit.”

“We know the time is now for Cedar Crossing. Linn County residents want gaming, and we’re the ones who will bring it to them,” P2E president Jonathan Swain said. “Linn County has been patient. The moratorium only changes when we can break ground – it does not change our commitment to building the world-class destination that we have promised and is worthy of their expectations.”

In March, the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission opened the licence application process for a new casino in Cedar Rapids, Linn County, after around 55 per cent of voters in Linn County, Iowa, said yes to a casino last November, however the regulator could still deny a gaming licence.

Attempts to bring a casino to Cedar Rapids failed in 2014 and 2017. On both occasions, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said a casino would take away from other nearby casinos.

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