Davenport Receives Three Casino Proposals, Creative Developments

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Leaders in Davenport have a better idea of what a land-based casino may look like in their city about three interested companies turned in proposals on Friday, December 20th.

The first, one the Quad Cities is already familiar with, is Restoration St. Louis, which renovated the Hotel Blackhawk. Their proposal is a downtown location called City Square. Restoration St. Louis would use historic property, such as the Putnam and Parker Buildings located within 2nd and 3rd Street & Brady and Main Streets, to create a casino, hotel, restaurants, office space, a parking garage, and more.

"We would put in a three-screen, first-class movie theater as well," says Amrit Gill, President and C.O.O. of Restoration St. Louis. "There will also be a night club on the roof overlooking the Mississippi."

Restoration St. Louis' plan also includes three financial options for the city to consider. The first would be a joint venture between the city and Restoration St. Louis. The city would not have to invest anything or issue any bonds, yet would still have 75% of the return. Restoration St. Louis, on the other hand, would make a $155 million investment - which includes the $46 million the city estimates will be needed to buy the Rhythm City Casino - and provide the financing for the entire project, taking on all the debt.

The second option includes Restoration St. Louis building and operating the casino development, but the city would not own it. The third option would have Restoration St. Louis building the casino development, but not operating it. Instead, the city would operate it and Restoration St. Louis would act as landlord.

The second group to make their presentation was Ingenus Management, from Brainerd, Minnesota. Ken Mimmack, President and CEO, said instead of choosing either a downtown location or an interstate location, his team developed a plan for both.

"We love the market," says Mimmack. "We love Iowa. We really like Davenport. There are plenty of folks here and gaming has been here for quite some time and so there is an opportunity for some new energy."

A 40-acre interstate casino and hotel would be located in the I-280/I-80 Corridor. It would be located on a 300-acre piece of land, which Mimmack says opens the door to further developments.

Then, if the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approves a bifurcated license, Ingenus Management would also build a downtown location. It would be connected to the RiverCenter at 2nd and Perry Streets and include a brew/pub-type restaurant and less machines, known as a "boutique" casino.

"It's going to be very fun, very high energy and will be a nice element for the entertainment district," says Mimmack.

Both plans equal a more than $100 million dollar investment each in a market that both Gill and Mimmack says is undervalued, under-performing, but ready to go above and beyond.

"We've got an opportunity to really expand and grow the market and maximize that gaming license," says Mimmack.

"We've thought outside the box," says Gill. "We put together a proposal that we feel maximizes the value of the casino license."

The third developer was not able to make today's presentation press conference due to weather. It is Atrium Holding Company, which is out of Alpharetta, Georgia. Atrium Holding Company built the Radisson Quad City Plaza in downtown, Davenport and their idea is to renovate that hotel into a new casino and hotel.

The next step is for each proposal to be scored. More than 12 people will be scorers. They include the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council's Negotiation Committee (Alderman Bill Boom, Alderman Gene Meeker, and Mayor Bill Gluba), the Davenport Community Improvement Commission - which is the non-profit Board of Directors that will either contract with an operator or create its own brand and hire a General Manager for the casino - and finally the city's casino consultant.

After the scoring is complete, interviews will take place in early January. Following interviews, the City Council will vote on which company they want to enter into a development agreement with. The city hopes to present the entire plan to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission at the Commission's meeting in either March or April.

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