UPDATE: Owners of Sioux City's Hilton Garden Inn want casino on property
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
Exterior of Sioux City's Hilton Garden Inn.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
With Woodbury County getting a new gambling license, everybody wants to know where the new land-based casino will go. Will it be downtown? Will it be Prospect Hill? A local corporation says they have just the spot… their property.
If you know Sioux City, you probably know the 24 acre stretch of land where both Bev's on the River and The Hilton Garden Inn are located. Their owners say, why not a casino too?
"We offer favorable characteristics not found elsewhere," said Midwest Franchise COO Jesse Miller.
Miller, with Midwest Franchise, says their corporation is in talks with prospective casino investors, asking them to build and operate on their riverside real estate. Miller says it has the infrastructure needed for a successful casino, not to mention the land is owned by the city... Midwest just leases. He calls other sites an "unnecessary" expense "of public dollars."
"Why reinvent the wheel? We feel our site could easily become the ‘destination' site that City Council, MRHD, and the public in general have requested, with gaming, dining, lodging, and a convention center," said Miller.
But, there is an issue with the land. It's near Hamilton Boulevard and the city's current zoning district for casinos doesn't extend past Wesley Parkway.
The Sioux City City Council has zoning officials looking into expanding the zone.
"Go out eight blocks from the existing overlay district, which was approved by council, and look at those area's that lie within eight blocks of the current district," said Community Development Operations Manager Jeff Hanson.
That would be enough to capture the Bev's/Hilton area. Miller is optimistic it'll happen. He says his spot is full of opportunity.
"We're excited. We think it would be a great location. It would obviously help our business, but we think it would help the city and community as well," said Miller.
Midwest Franchise says they've invested more than $30 million into the area. They employ more than 130 people among MLR TYM Landing, The Hilton, and Bev's.
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