Issue 248
June 13 - June 19, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Hotel planned at I-5 exit
Project for the Stanwood offramp depends on county zoning changes
As Reported by the

STANWOOD, Washington - The I-5 exit for Stanwood and Camano Island could get a three-story, 50-room hotel and two restaurants, including one with gambling, as well as a gas station, a convenience store and espresso and produce stands.

The project depends on a zoning change that is being considered by the Snohomish County hearing examiner. A decision is expected in the next few days.

David Toyer, vice president of Barclays North of Lake Stevens, the project's developer, said the hotel and the restaurant with the gaming room are more likely to be built in a second phase later.

"We don't have any specific development plans or tenants, so actual uses in the plan may change slightly," Toyer said. "What we've done is submitted on a maximum-use basis" to avoid having to resubmit plans. Folks get a chance to look at what the cumulative development would look like."

Without a specific tenant, Toyer said, it is too early to say when the hotel would be built or whether it would target a budget or upscale clientele.

The news Tuesday that the Tulalip Tribes are planning a 380-room hotel several miles to the south at Quil Ceda Village could also factor in.

The project at the Stanwood exit would go up on 6.6 acres on the interchange's southeast corner between I-5 and Dahl Road. The zoning there is rural and would need to be changed to rural freeway service to allow the urban amenities.

Unlike a rejected rezone request a few miles away in Stanwood that would have allowed commercial development as big as a Wal-Mart store, the Barclays project has drawn little concern. One neighbor on Dahl Road told county planners of concerns about traffic, and Stanwood asked for traffic mitigation fees.
The interchange is on unincorporated county land. Planners recommended approving the rezone because it is consistent with the county's growth management plans.

Efforts to expand the freeway service area at the I-5 interchange at Island Crossing to allow commercial development have run afoul of growth management rules that protect agricultural zones. Because the Stanwood interchange is zoned rural, and not agricultural, it could be more easily converted.




New, bigger Blue Chip nears completion
As reported by

MICHIGAN CITY, Indiana - A new Blue Chip Casino boat that is more than twice the size of the current vessel is afloat and should be ready for gamblers by the end of the year.

Crews lifted the boat off the bottom of a man-made channel beside Trail Creek on Sunday. Since then, 3,000 gallons of creek water has been pumped per minute into the basin just off Lake Michigan.

The centerpiece of a $163 million expansion and renovation project at the site should rise to the desired level above the 16-foot-deep basin bottom by week's end, said Bob Marra, projects director for Boyd Gaming, the casino's Las Vegas-based owner.
Marra and other officials of Boyd and Blue Chip took visitors inside the new vessel, which is 402 feet by 208 feet, for the first time on Wednesday.

Despite setbacks during the winter, Marra said construction is close to being on schedule.

Upon completion, the vessel will be four stories, weigh close to 10,000 tons, and its square footage will be more than two times that of the existing boat, which opened in 1997, Marra said.

All of the gambling will be on the third floor of the vessel, docked about 25 miles east of Gary. The bottom two levels will contain the engine room and other features related to the boat's operation.

The existing boat that is still in operation and its three floors of gambling space will be emptied, officials said. It will remain docked behind the Blue Chip Hotel until a decision is made on its use.

The new boat was floated to meet a June deadline under permits overseen by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Marra said.

Included in the expansion is a four-story parking garage that will open in July along with an expanded pavilion that will contain more restaurants, a coffee house and much wider opening into the casino, Marra said.

Groundbreaking set for Emmetsburg casino resort
As reported by

EMMETSBURG, Iowa - Wild Rose Entertainment LLC officially breaks ground on its $35.4 million casino and hotel resort at 3 p.m. today. The ceremony takes place at the construction site on Highway 18 East, just east of Ken Krause Motors.

A county-wide community picnic follows from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. under the shelter at Soper Park. Among those turning spades of dirt will be Wild Rose officials, Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corp. board members, representatives of the construction team and city and county officials.

"Our journey together continues toward our common destination -- a destination casino and resort, that is," said Gary Kirke, chairman of Wild Rose. "This marks the first step in the construction process and, more important, solidifies our long-term partnership with the community. We're excited to be here and we look forward to next summer when we can all celebrate the grand opening of the casino resort."
The Wild Rose Casino & Resort, scheduled to open in July 2006, will generate 250 new jobs for Palo Alto County. The project includes a 28,000-square-foot casino; a 65-room hotel with seven suites, meeting rooms, a ballroom, a pool and health club; an authentic Irish pub and a 100-space RV park.

Kelly Clarkson

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood: The winner of America's first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson will perform songs like 'Breakaway' and 'Behind these Hazel Eyes' in the Hard Rock Live Arena.

Date: June 10-11

Time: 7:00 pm

Price: $39.50

For more information please call:1-954-523-3309
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