Casino groundbreaking opens new downtown chapter
Today marks the symbolic beginning of what we are confident will be a dynamic chapter in the history of downtown Sioux City.
In a ceremony this morning, Sioux City Entertainment will break ground on its Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a $128 million gaming-and-entertainment complex planned in and near the historic Battery Building at Third and Water streets. On Thursday, the developer told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission it’s on schedule to open the complex for business next summer.
This project not only will transform the 16 acres of land on which it will be built, but it will positively impact the entire core of our community. In our view, a stronger, more-vibrant downtown is key to this city’s future.
For many years, the city – both public and private sectors – has worked to transition downtown from its retail-based roots to a destination for arts, entertainment and, more recently, urban living. Many important pieces are in place. (For example, the Tyson Events Center, Orpheum Theatre, Convention Center, movie theaters, popular Historic Fourth Street and Historic Pearl Street districts, Art Center and the new Public Museum.) Cone Park may be built downtown. Interstate 29 reconstruction will improve entrance and exit points.
The new casino complex will tie everything we have together and open the door to a wealth of future opportunities, we believe.
From the beginning of the new, land-based casino process, we pushed for a downtown location. (A poll commissioned by the Journal and conducted by Public Policy Polling earlier this year showed 69 percent of Woodbury County respondents wanted the new casino located downtown.) In an April 14 editorial just prior to the IRGC decision, we did not advocate for one specific land-based casino proposal; we simply repeated our support for downtown.
As we have said before in this space, we are downtown boosters. We wish to see continued downtown momentum.
To those ends, we look forward to watching construction of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complex proceed over the next year and to enjoying, along with the rest of our community and county, the fruits of its impact on all of downtown.