The chief executive officer of Kentucky-based Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq: CHDN) says it will be some time before construction can begin on a new casino in Terre Haute, but the company is getting started on prep work. Bill Carstanjen tells our partners at WTHI-TV now is the perfect time to get into the Indiana gaming scene.
The Indiana Gaming Commission this week selected CDI to be the operator of the new casino, though it cannot receive the open Vigo County gaming license until an appeal by Terre Haute-based Lucy Luck Gaming is resolved.
However, CDI received a “Certificate of Suitability,” which allows the company to get the ball rolling on the project.
“Permitting. Site work. Finalization of construction plans and bidding out materials…12 to 16 months we’ll be ready to go,” Carstanjen told WTHI.
CDI’s plan involves a $240 million development known as the Queen of Terre Haute. It will feature a 400,000-square-foot casino building with 56,000 square feet of gaming space that includes 1,000 slots and 50 table games, as well as a 125-room hotel.
It fits right into our community plan, from a tourism perspective. It will bring revenue into the community that we’re going to be able to spend,” Mayor Duke Bennett said.
The project is slated to be built on nearly 21 acres of land on Honey Creek Drive west of the Haute City Shopping Mall, which has been a source of contention for some residents. The property is located near the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the new Vigo County Jail, which is still under construction.
Both Mayor Bennett and Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer tell WTHI they would prefer the project be built further east, near the I-70 and State Road 46 interchange.
Carstanjen says while the company likes the site they have chosen, he is open to a potential new location.
“We’ll work on that if there’s a sense that we ought to switch sites. We’ll be happy to consider that, but we love our site, and that’s our first choice,” he said.
The company says it plans to begin securing building permits as soon as possible.