The developer says he has found a nearly 100-acre site for Davenport’s new casino.
Dan Kehl, CEO of Kehl Development, said his company has optioned a site along Interstate 80 and east of Brady Street that is accessible from Veterans Memorial Parkway and other major thoroughfares in that area.
"That area of Davenport has good visibility from the Interstate and there are some great parcels of raw land, so we're looking at trying to do a planned development for the area that will ultimately change the front door of Davenport," Kehl said during a phone interview with News 8's Angie Sharp on Thursday, July 25th, 2013.
The site would house a casino complex that will include a casino with a minimum of 30,000 square feet of space; a hotel with at least 95 rooms; a performance theatre with seating for 1,500 and dining venues that include a show lounge/bar, a sports bar and grille, a buffet, a steak house and a 24-hour deli.
Kehl said previously he expected the casino to generate about 400 jobs.
Kehl said they are looking at other land along Veterans Memorial Parkway to “maximize the impact of the casino development” with other amenities that might complement the casino.
There is already some development going on at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Brady Street, including a new Menards that is expected to open in 2014.
"Increasing a lot of the traffic and the economy in the area, growing Davenport outside of the main city limits is really what we're looking forward to," Matt Chrisinske with nearby Thunder Bay Grill said Thursday. "Hopefully a lot of people stop and get directions and eat when they're getting their directions!"
Others are not as excited. Just south of the site, a new neighborhood is being built. Luana Stoltenberg, who was one of the first to move in, says she was shocked when News 8 told her about the announcement.
"The first thing out of my mind is I want to sell because I don't want a casino in my backyard and everything else that comes with it. I think casinos are very destructive. I think they destroy people's lives and I'm not for gambling to begin with, much less wanting it in my backyard."
Kehl says he understands the concern, but has a plan.
"Our intention is to create a large buffer between the residential and possibly have some condominiums or some other development then push the project further to the west."
However, nothing moves forward until the city approves a development agreement with Kehl Development Corp. Kehl submitted a development agreement proposal to the city Wednesday, July 24th, 2013. He said he would be meeting with the city council during a work session on August 5th, 2013 to review the proposal.
Once everything is agreed upon, construction is expected to start in late 2014 with the casino opening sometime in 2016.
“Now that we have adequate land under option to begin development discussions with the City, we are excited to get started on the blueprint for the new development,” Kehl said.
His development agreement with the City of Davenport says Kehl must complete the casino complex within five years of getting state approval to operate a casino in Davenport.