Floating casino sale fallout from downtown Davenport businesses

Davenport’s Rhythm City Casino will be staying put for now.

That’s after lengthy sales talks fell apart between Rhythm City’s parent company, Isle of Capri and a Chicago developer.

The city of Davenport wants a new owner to build a land-based casino downtown. But fruitless negotiations leave local businesses looking for solutions.

At 232 West Third Street, there’s one of Davenport’s oldest and newest businesses.

“The riverboat doesn’t bring shoppers into stores,” said Dan Pekios, owner of the Source Book Store.

A downtown landmark for 73 years, the Source was around long before the floating casino. Third generation owner Pekios isn’t surprised about Rhythm City’s stalled sale.

“After being a downtown businessman for a long time, I’m just used to everything moving this slow,” he said.

Next door, newcomer Downtown Central Perk opened in January. That’s where you’ll find staffers making delicious drinks and reflecting on a casino sale gone bad.

“It would be nice if they could get along,” said owner Lydia Erenberger. “Get something figured out because it would just benefit everybody in the end.”

Davenport has been at odds with Isle of Capri for some time. State meetings went nowhere for more than a year and finally fell through with a potential buyer.

While downtown businesses share mixed views about the casino sale stalemate, most seem to agree that it’s better to reclaim the riverfront sooner rather than later.

That’s the feeling inside the Fresh Deli by Nostalgia Farms. From a tourism perspective, casino sale delays hurt downtown Davenport. It’s a decision that could stall progress for some growing businesses.

“You wish things could be a snap decision,” said Ed Kraklio, Fresh Deli’s co-owner. “Let’s get it done. That jump in and go attitude instead of hurry up and wait.”

For the casino and city, it remains a downtown dilemma.

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