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A rendering of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City is shown. The project, which earned state regulatory approval Thursday, is scheduled to open in summer 2014. 

ALTOONA, Iowa | Backers of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino just finished presenting their plans to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The presentation included five slickly-produced videos, a PowerPoint, a scale model of what the sprawling casino and entertainment complex would look like and remarks from lead developer Bill Warner.

Warner said the global appeal of the Hard Rock brand sets the project apart from the competition. The world-famous brand would draw guests from a wider geographical area than a typical casino, leading to increased local tourism. Interstate 29 carries more than 40,000 thousands of vehicles daily, he noted.

"We believe the Hard Rock brand gives them a reason to stop," Warner told the commission.

The casino would be built on a 16-acre site that would incorporate the historic Battery Building, a century-old warehouse at 323 Water St. in downtown Sioux City.

"When you take an iconic brand like the Hard Rock and marry it with an iconic landmark, I think you create a true destination," Warner said.

The complex would include a 60-room boutique hotel, and feature 11 different amenities, which include a buffet, an upscale casual restaurant  a beer garden, a sports-themed brew pub and grill, retail shops and an 800-seat theater.  The latter would open up to two-acre park behing the Battery that would hold up to 3,000.

Warner said the Hard Rock complex would help "energize" the downtown's existing entertainment district.

The 30,000 square-foot gaming floor would have 800 slot machines and 32 table games, which Warner said would generate first-year gaming revenues of $90 million, the highest of the four land-based proposals.

The Hard Rock project would create 500 permanent jobs, 388 construction jobs, and pump millions of dollars annually into the local economy.

In the video presentations, a number of local business and community leaders offered their support for the project. The speakers included Mark Monson, president of Missouri River Historical Development, the local nonprofit group that jointly applied with the developer, Sioux City Entertainment, for the state gaming license.

The video cited the more than $20 million in contributions MRHD has made to local projects and charitable groups in more than 20 years, as well as testimonials from leaders of some of the recipients.

One video ended with local businessman Irving F. Jensen, Jr. saying into the camera, "Go Hard Rock!"

Warner emphasized his background in the gaming industry. At Station Casinos, he said he helped develop nine projects from the ground up. He is currently CEO of Las Vegas-based Warner Gaming, which manages properties that include the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

In the videos, Hard Rock and Warner casino employees offered testimonials about their experience working for the company.


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