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Queen of Terre Haute Casino expected to cost $290 Million

The Churchill Downs’ Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort is now expected to cost upward from its previously announced $260 million. The construction cost is currently estimated at $290 million after new amenities were added to the list.

In a meeting with the Indiana Gaming Commission on Thursday, Churchill Downs Inc.’s senior vice president of real estate development, Ryan Jordan, revealed that the company was excited about the new changes and looked forward to working on the project.

“We have not made any program changes nor reduced amenities, but we have added amenities…,” Jordan said. “We are excited about it and continue to move forward.”

The Indiana Gaming Commission approved the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort on Nov. 17, last year. The gaming venue will feature a state-of-the-art TwinSpires branded sportsbook, 50 table games, 1000 slot machines, and a 125-room luxury 10-story hotel equipped with a rooftop lounge and bar.

The casino will now have nine food and beverage places, one of which is a soda shop replicating the famous Coca-Cola bottle. The Queen of Terre Haute Casino is expected to begin operations in March 2024 and will “compete strongly” with other gaming venues.

The casino’s luxury hotel was previously equipped with a rooftop pool; however, with the new design, it will be moved to a different ground-level building with the ability to cover a bigger pool.

When Jordan was questioned about the pool’s redesign, he revealed that the original site on Terre Haute’s south side was 20 acres, making the idea for the pool limited due to the space. He also pointed out the disadvantages of having a rooftop pool.

“The initial idea was more space-constrained, and that added the amenity [of a pool] on the rooftop. As we got into it, a rooftop pool would be seasonally limited with wind and cold weather,” the Senior Vice President said.

The newer 50-acre property on the east side of the Terre Haute provided the casino with more space, allowing the contractors to make necessary changes.

“We felt if we moved it and have an in-ground pool … we can make it larger and improve the amenity. At the same time, it was a smaller pool on the rooftop,” Jordan said.

The absence of the pool in the hotel’s rooftop space provides more room for its bar and lounge. Jordan shed light on the features of the 10-story hotel’s rooftop space, including its “upscale bar and lounge.”

“We imagine serving small-plate, tapas-style food but also provide great cocktails. This will be a wonderful spot with great views of Terre Haute looking south, north, and west. There is an outdoor patio on the west side, so with great weather, people can sit outside with fire pits and heaters,” he continued.

The new changes will also see Churchill Downs fund the construction of a New Margaret Drive extension by the north side of its property. There will be signs put up to encourage motorists to visit the casino on the road rather than going up to East Margaret Avenue, however access will still be possible via the avenue.

As a condition for approving the building, the city of Terre Haute had reportedly asked that INDOT review the intersection. This was apparently out of concern for motorists moving onto East Margaret Avenue from U.S. 40/Indiana 46.

Jordan noted that the city aimed at directing traffic to use New Margaret Drive rather than East Margaret Avenue. He also disclosed that the company would install the INDOT-approved signage to aid with the directions.

The hotel’s entrance will be towards the southern part of the building, while the eastern side will solely be for employees as well as service deliveries. There will also be access to the ground-level pool on the right side of the hotel’s lobby area.

Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort’s hotel will have rooms equipped with floor-to-ceiling glass as well as a coffee/breakfast area and a lobby bar. Each floor will have corner suites in addition to a bar and dining area. The resort also features an event center accessible from the gaming floor as well as the hotel lobby.

The casino will include a VIP lounge as well as a high-limit gaming area. The dining options include a grab-and-go food area, a steakhouse, and a casual dining area. There will also be a Crossroad Sports Bar in the casino, with massive screens and two viewing areas for interested customers.

“Anybody on the gaming floor, whether at tables or slots, will be able to see sports content or other great content on the video screen. But if you are in the sports bar itself, a few steps up to the elevated sports bar platform, there is also a video screen on the inside as well,” Jordan said.

The Senior Vice President further revealed that slot machines would be provided in the outdoor gaming area of the casinos. Smoking would be permitted on the property, and proper ventilation would be provided for customers to game in comfort.

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