Who is Cedar Rapids Development Group and Peninsula Pacific?
The Cedar Rapids Development Group is a coalition of investors—nearly 100 community leaders who invested several million dollars to develop a casino in Iowa’s second largest city. The CRDG spearheaded the 2013 Linn County referendum to bring a casino to Cedar Rapids, spending a significant amount of time, energy and resources to promote this economic development and entertainment project.
Peninsula Pacific, founded by Brent Stevens in 1998, originally served as the holding company of Peninsula Gaming, a company led by Stevens until its sale to Boyd Gaming Corporation in 2012. After twelve years of executing on a highly-disciplined management strategy, the sale of Peninsula Gaming yielded among the best results seen in the gaming industry for Peninsula Pacific and its shareholders. Peninsula Pacific has more than 20 years of experience operating casinos in Iowa and nationally. The company has developed and successfully operated three casinos in Iowa—starting in 1997 with the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque—and seven across the country.
What will be the economic impact of this project?
Cedar Crossing on the River: This project would be an investment of more than $165 million. The casino is expected to have a household earnings impact of $26.8 million and an economic output impact of $106.6 million. Altogether, the project is anticipated to generate $142.7 million for the state, county and the community of Cedar Rapids in the first five years of operations.
Cedar Crossing Central: This project would be an investment of more than $105 million. The casino is expected to have a household earnings impact of $18.2 million and an economic output impact of $72.9 million. Altogether, the project is anticipated to generate $109.1 million for the state, county and the community of Cedar Rapids in the first five years of operations.
How many jobs do you expect this project to create?
Cedar Crossing on the River: 650 full time jobs (355 permanent, direct jobs on-site and approximately 295 additional, indirect jobs) and 1,283 short-term jobs can be anticipated during the construction/pre-opening phase of the development.
Cedar Crossing Central: 427 full time jobs (231 permanent, direct jobs on-site and approximately 196 additional, indirect jobs) and 601 short-term jobs can be anticipated during the construction/pre-opening phase of the development.
What is the difference between the two project proposals?
Both projects will have similar amenities; the difference is size and location. Cedar Crossing Central – the downtown location – is a smaller footprint, with 550 slots and 15 tables. The location creates a nice tie-in with the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and provides a viable solution to replace a dated, downtown parking garage. Cedar Crossing on the River – the original, larger development – allows for more amenities, with 840 slots and 22 tables.
Do Linn County residents support a casino? Why?
This project is Cedar Rapids-focused. Responsible gamers in Linn County should not have to drive an hour or more to enjoy a casino. Instead, Eastern Iowans could spend their leisure time and money locally. In 2013, 61 percent of Linn County residents voted in favor of bringing a casino to the community.
What’s the status of the Cedar Rapids Development Group application for a casino license with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission?
Cedar Rapids Development Group (CRDG), along with Peninsula Pacific, will submit an application for a casino license to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on February 13, 2017. The commission, after hiring a market research firm and completing a market study, is expected to make a decision in October or November of 2017.
What’s different this time given that the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission did not approve this project in 2014?
We’re giving the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) options. Our application offers two different potential project sites in Cedar Rapids: Cedar Crossing on the River, which the IRGC considered in 2014; and Cedar Crossing Central, a new, smaller venue. We firmly believe Cedar Rapids is an underserved market with plenty of untapped revenue potential. We believe that our project will grow the entertainment and gaming sector in Eastern Iowa, and all other venues will continue to be successful as well.