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Kehl gets go-ahead from RDA for land-based casino

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Iowa casino developer Dan Kehl is getting unanimous approval from the Riverboat Development Authority for plans to build a $110-million complex along Veterans Memorial Parkway in Davenport.

Monday's vote is the next step to finalizing the deal. Kehl says he's close to wrapping up the purchase of Rhythm City Casino. He must also get approval from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

"We think it's great," he said. "We think it's going to create a new front door for Davenport."

Kehl plans to turn a 123-acre site into Davenport's first land-based casino. It's the proposed site for an eventual three-phase development. In the future, that could lead to retail, restaurant, office and residential components.

RDA's vote appears to dash hopes for an 11th-hour bid by Toronto-based Clairvest Group to build a casino complex at the opposite end of the road.

Davenport aldermen are poised to consider both proposals during a study session on Monday evening.

"Anybody can put in a proposal, but the reality is the Isle and the RDA have chosen us," Kehl said.

The Riverboat Development Authority, which holds the gaming license for Scott County, remained focused on its role despite recent distractions.

"We each have a different piece of this to negotiate," said RDA Chairman Gary Mohr. "We've now concluded our piece. I think this is a win-win for the people of Scott County."

Kehl says he wants to ease the contentious process but adds that he doesn't need the city's blessing to proceed.

"We're putting our best foot forward," Kehl concluded. "Hopefully everybody will see that this is a great development for the Quad Cities."

It's a major development that now is one step closer to reality in Davenport.

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