Originally Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2012, 4:39 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 31, 2012, 4:47 pm

Two-casino proposal draws top score by Davenport evaluation panel

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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

A Minnesota firm has received the highest score from a 15-member panel evaluating proposals for aland-based, city-owned casino in Davenport.

Ingenus Management and Consulting, LLC, of Brainerd, Minn., received 1,498.70 total points, or an average of 99.91 points from the evaluating thatincluded members of the Davenport City Council, the Riverboat Development Authority, the Davenport Community Improvement Corporation, city officials and paid consultants.

Restoration St. Louis, of St. Louis, Mo., received 1,345.75 points, or an average of 89.78 points per panelist. Atrium Holding Company, of Alpharetta, Ga., received 943.60 points or an average of 62.91 points per panelist.

Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin said public interviews with the three developers will be conducted Jan. 7.Any proposal will need approval from the RDA, the nonprofit board which holds Rhythm City's gaming license, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

Members of both groups have questioned Davenport's planto buy the Rhythm City Casino from Isle of Capri for $46 million and move it from the Mississippi River to a site yet to be determined. The three development proposals were submitted to the city by Dec. 20.

Ingenus' proposals noted the company's past work has included the Empress Queen in Joliet and casino properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and "Indian Country."

The company proposed a bifurcated, or split, casino license for one in downtown Davenport and another built along the interstate that would "provide the city an opportunity to reinvigorate its downtown, while at the same time maximizing revenue through its location at the intersection of Interstates I-80 and I-280."

Ingenus estimates a $100 million investment in the project. Company officials plan to financethe project with Financial District Properties, which owns and manages 2,000,000 square feet of office, retail and medical space in the Quad-Cities, including the Wells Fargo and Union Arcade buildings in downtown Davenport.

Rodney Blackwell, Financial District Properties managing principal, called Ingenus' score "obviously great news."

"I think that it will be good for everyone on Jan. 7 to be able to verbally answer questions and go over some things that they (developers) didn't score well in," Mr. Blackwell said. "I think the real test will come during the interview process.

"I thought the way we went about it was to maximize the value of the license and doing it for the state (of Iowa) and the RDA.," Mr. Blackwell said."The way this is being done is good business for the people of Davenport."

Under Ingenus' proposal, the "Davenport Casino" would be built along the interstate. It would include 174,000 square feet of casino, hotel, restaurants, conference and back-of-house space. It would feature 1,000 gaming machines, more than a dozen table games, a 100-room hotel, three restaurants, a lounge, 100 stalls of covered parking andan 800-space parking lot.

Ingenus' proposal also includes adowntown "boutique" restaurant and casino next to the River Center on an undeveloped parcel along Second Street. The much smaller 14,500-square-foot casino would include a restaurant and a terrace dining area.

Restoration St. Louis proposed revitalizing two historic downtown buildings while adding two more buildings and parking. The City Square Project would feature a 34,500-square-foot main casino, a 100-seat restaurant, a deli and three bars/lounges. The company alsois proposing a 120-room four-star hotel as part of its $155 million development proposal.

Atrium has proposed building a 20,000-square-foot casino in the downtown Radisson Quad-City Plaza's hotel lobby, atrium area and ballroom.

RDA treasurer Don Decker, an evaluation panelist gave zero scores to both Atrium and RSL, and a score of 95 to Ingenus. Christine Frederick, a member of both the RDA and the DCIC, gave scores of 19 to Atrium and RSL, and a score of 113 to Ingenus.

Evaluation criteria included the cost efficiency of a proposal and a return on the city's investment, how long it will take to open a casino, expansion capacity to the Quad-Cities gaming market, ease of access and proximity to a Quad-Cities' population center.

Mr. Malin has said the evaluations will be part of the process to pick a project developer. He also gave Ingenus his highest score, 88.70, compared to 88 for RSL and 65.10 for Atrium. Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba gaveIngenus his lowest score, 76, compared to 97 points for RSL and 82 points for Atrium.