SIOUX CITY | The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is on track to open in mid-summer of 2014, the developer of the $128.5 million downtown Sioux City project told state regulators Thursday.
"I'm pleased to say our project is moving along according to plan," Sioux City Entertainment President Bill Warner told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Warner said the design is almost complete, and nearly all financing is secured. The remaining funding piece, $15 million in loans, for slots and other casino equipment, will be finalized closer to the opening of the gaming and entertainment complex, which is still scheduled for late July or early August next year, officials said.
None of the five commissioners had questions for Warner during his brief presentation during Thursday's meeting at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, near Iowa City. The progress report was a condition of the state gaming license IRGC awarded to Sioux City Entertainment and its nonprofit sponsor, Missouri River Historical Development, in April.
In a written report to the IRGC in advance of Thursday's meeting, Sioux City Entertainment placed the total project costs at $128.5 million, up from $118.5 million and $120 million previously. In an interview, Warner attributed the higher costs to a function of refining the design of the project.
In separate action Thursday, the IRGC ratified Sioux City Entertainment's contract with general contractor Conlon Construction, which will have 12 months to complete the work.
Though Dubuque, Iowa-based Conlon will lead the project, the bulk of construction will be completed by local subcontractors, Warner said. That's expected to create hundreds of new construction jobs, providing a temporary jolt to the metro area economy.
Conlon previously served as general contractor for the Diamond Job Casino in downtown Dubuque and the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kan. Both venues were built by Dubuque-based Peninsula Gaming. Former Peninsula executive M. Brent Stevens is an equity investor in the Sioux City Hard Rock project.
A ground breaking ceremony for the Hard Rock project is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday.
The 100,000-square-foot gaming and entertainment complex will be built on a 16-acre downtown site that incorporates the historic Battery Building at Third and Water streets. One older structure, the former Dalton's Pub, was recently demolished. In the next week or so, the former Bomgaars store at 333 Douglas St. also will be razed, Warner said.
Three other structures, a former video store, a former flea market, and the Milwaukee Wiener House also will be torn down in the near future to clear the site for a new building that will house the casino floor and a number of the amenities. The iconic wiener shop will eventually move to Third and Douglas streets.
Warner said work on the foundation for the new building can begin before all the demolition is complete.
The Hard Rock complex is scheduled to replace the Argosy floating riverboat casino, docked on the Missouri River.