Illinois - Harrah's
Entertainment says construction of a $62 million hotel
and entertainment center should resume within a month
and be finished by next spring, now that the project has
been approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.
five-member board met Wednesday in Chicago and voted unanimously
for the seven-story, 258-room development to complement
Metropolis Casino. The hotel will be accompanied by
a 12,000-square-foot multipurpose center with 1,200 concert
seats and up to 800 banquet-style seats. A 75-seat restaurant
and bar area will also be part of the complex.
"We are extremely pleased that the gaming board chose
to take swift action to approve our project," said
Mike Crider, casino senior vice president and general
had had been delayed since September by the lack of a
board quorum. Harrah's stopped construction in January
with much of the foundation work completed.
Rod Blagojevich appointed three new board members two
weeks ago. The new board approved the project with few
questions and little discussion, said Metropolis Mayor
Beth Clanahan. She and Crider spoke at the meeting about
the importance of the hotel project. It was their third
gaming board presentation since Harrah's announced the
project. They also testified last month before the Illinois
House Gaming Committee on the importance of resuming the
"The city bought $1.3 million in land to develop
an RV park and marina," she said. "This is certainly
exciting for that development because hopefully it and
the hotel complex will complement each other."
also told the new board the city is investing a little
more than $4 million for a new electric substation to
serve the area.
hotel is expected to increase the number of annual gaming
tourists from 1.3 million to 1.6 million and generate
$1.5 million more annually in tax revenue for Metropolis
and $11.7 million for Illinois. About 250 construction
workers will be needed, followed by 100 hotel staffers.
is already one of the region's largest employers with
a payroll of 930. Its most recent capital expansion was
the opening of a $65 million entertainment pavilion and
floating casino in 2001.
Inc. of Calvert City, Ky., is ready to resume hotel foundation
work as soon as a new general contractor is named, marketing
director Brian Sayner said. Harrah's and former lead contractor
Smoot Construction of Indianapolis parted ways in January
amid disagreement over billing issues.
been an excellent project for us because it's enabled
us to keep people working," Sayner said. "We've
always felt the hotel will be a boon to the economy. In
the not-too-distant future, that's going to be a swinging