The Davenport City Council is moving forward with its plans to buy Rhythm City Casino and build a land-based casino, but where should it go?
During a City Council Meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013, Davenport's Casino Consultant - Gary Buettner - said the list of possible developers is now down to two, Restoration St. Louis and Ingenus Management. The third was Atrium Holdings Company, which built the Radisson Quad City Plaza in Downtown, Davenport.
Buettner presented his analysis of the remaining two proposals to City Council. The one from Restoration St. Louis - which renovated the Hotel Blackhawk - includes renovating several historic downtown buildings. The other - from Ingenus Management - includes a plan to build a casino on the Interstate 280/Interstate 80 Corridor.
Buettner - who has nearly 30 years in the industry including 10 years at Jumer's Casino when it went from Downtown, Rock Island to Interstate 280 - says the interstate location is ideal.
"You have the opportunity to have a casino on the most desirable highway available to most - Interstate 80," said Buettner.
He says the interstate location provides slightly higher revenue than the downtown one, plus better opportunities for growth in northwest Davenport.
"The traffic that goes by that respective property is so attractive to a casino industry executive such as myself," said Buettner.
Following his presentation, City Council spent nearly an hour and a half discussing the two proposals. Most agree that they're closer than ever to making a decision, but some still want to make sure it's the best decision for the city.
"I think anything less than being the #1 casino in the Quad Cities is not going to be worth it," said Alderman at Large, Gene Meeker.
"We want the revenue to hopefully lower property taxes and do a lot of other good things for the city of Davenport," said Mayor Bill Gluba.
Other says they're ready to make a decision and move onto the negotiating process with one of the developers.
"We could crunch numbers for another six months," said Second Ward Alderman, Bill Edmond. "They don't change. All we're going to do is wear the ink off this paper. It's time we do something."
Alderman Edmond wanted to hold a vote tonight, which would recommend that the City Council's Negotiating Committee start talking with Ingenus Marketing, but others said they wanted to spend a little more time going over Beuttner's report.
They do not have much time, though. City Administrator, Craig Malin, says February 21st is the last day to add an item onto the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission's March 7th agenda, which is when the City is hoping to present its entire plan for approval.