Ingenus Management and Consulting submitted two new designs for a proposed interstate casino, with one evoking downtown bridge designs and the second taking on retro 1960s cool.
The new designs were received late last week for the site at Interstates 80 and 280. They were requested after the original design was criticized for being too barn-like. The designs are part of negotiations for developing a land-based casino with Ingenus and Financial District Properties.
“We heard those comments, too,” said Ken Mimmack, president and CEO of Ingenus. “We also heard comments that people loved that one.
“It might be a combination (of designs). You can dress a lot of things up with lighting or features and point of entries, sight lines. There is a lot you can do.”
Mayor Bill Gluba said the city is pleased to be presented with options for a design.
“That is open for discussion,” he said. “We have to look at what makes the most sense from a site standpoint and attracts the most people off the highway. It is one of the many issues we have to look at. Nothing is cast in concrete.”
The city is proposing to acquire the Rhythm City Casino for at least $46 million from Isle of Capri and bring a casino on land. An update on the progress of the acquisition and negotiations are scheduled for aldermen at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting.
City Administrator Craig Malin is expected to provide updates on five areas: examining a more cost-effective downtown location, a cost-benefit study of the proposed I-80 and I-280 site and other I-80 sites, the recently submitted casino designs, due diligence of Ingenus and Financial District Properties and financing options.
Malin hopes to have the city’s tasks completed by March 7 in order to prepare an asset purchase application to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission in time for its April 18 meeting in Council Bluffs.
The new designs, one called a “contemporary river industrial scheme,” and the second called a “retro I-80 scheme,” were done by the architectural firm that submitted the first design, Worth Group of Denver, Colo.
“It should give them an idea of a range of capabilities,” Mimmack said of Worth Group. “They’ve worked for some pretty big names in the gaming industry and done some real modern thing and things that fit into nature.”
The river industrial design mimics some of the design of a proposed downtown satellite casino Ingenus also would develop. It includes elements of the skybridge, the first railroad bridge over the Mississippi River and the Government Bridge.
The retro design takes on some of the glamour of Las Vegas in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the same time as Interstate 80 was under construction. It also uses colors and forms that create a retro atmosphere.
Mimmack warned that the downtown design might not translate to the interstate site because of costs.
“The downtown concept is more expensive per square foot,” the Ingenus CEO said. “Expand it and you have to spend some time figuring out those costs.”