Next week, the City Council will consider a total of three proposals for new casinos in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Documents released Friday indicate that two of the three proposals include one new plan referred to as Cedar Crossing Central, which would replace the Five Seasons Ramp parking facility located at 400 1st Ave SE in Linn County, along with a proposal now called Cedar Crossing on the River, which was rejected in 2014. Both of the proposals involve the Cedar Rapids Development Group, which was behind the 2014 bid that was rejected after an investigation determined that any new gambling venue in Linn County would likely cannibalize business from nearby casinos including the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort. Riverside is located within 38 minutes of Cedar Rapids, according to a report Friday in The Gazette.
Wild Rose Entertainment’s plan to build a $40 million boutique casino as part of an intended four-story downtown retail development across First Avenue SE from the Hilton DoubleTree is the third proposal. The West Des Moines-headquartered Wild Rose Entertainment, LLC, owns and operates casinos in the Iowa cities of Jefferson, Clinton, and Emmetsburg and is looking to include a 25,000 sq ft casino featuring 600 to 700 slots and as many as 20 gaming tables to the second floor of its planned Cedar Rapids development.
The proposals are on the heels of the February 13 filing deadline for consideration of a gambling license in Linn County, which the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission voted late last year to prepare for a request for proposal and conduct up to two independent studies of local market conditions. The commission’s decision, which could come in November, could grant one or more licenses or reject all three of the proposals.
Cedar Rapids Development Group, the initial investors, wants the City Council to approve three memorandums of understanding (MOU).
The first MOU is for Cedar Crossing on the river, which includes plans for a $165 million redevelopment of land owned by the city. If the plan is successful, the development is expected to generate $142.7 million for the city, county, and state in the first five years, with Cedar Rapids and Linn County receiving $8.8 million; local charitable causes would get $17.6 million; and the state would get the lion’s share at $116.3 million, according to the newspaper.
The Cedar Crossing Central MOU would see the city agree to a $105 million redevelopment of the Five Seasons Ramp parking facility. If successful, Cedar Rapids and Linn County are expected to receive $4.5 million; charitable causes would receive $11.6 million; and the state would see $93 million, reportedly.
The third agreement would see the understandings extended by 10 years through October 9, 2029. For each year of the agreement, the Cedar Rapids Development Group would pay $75,000. The city does not possess a termination clause, therefore, the Group would be permitted to cancel at any time, according to the news agency.