Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) formally presented to the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) a new location for the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort in a meeting Thursday.
Presenting the New Location
At the IGC meeting, the land-based casino and horse racing operator was represented by its SVP of Corporate Development Jason Sauer and SVP of Real Estate Development Ryan Jordan. CDI does not need formal approval from the state’s gaming regulator for the new casino location.
Under the new proposal, CDI intends to build the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort on two parcels of land off of E. Margaret Dr. in Terre Haute, an aggregate of approximately 50 acres. There will be no changes to the scope or scale of the initial project the IGC approved in a competitive bid in 2021.
CDI has already moved to secure both parcels of land that make up the proposed location by entering into definitive agreements but the land still needs to be zoned from an agricultural property to a regional commerce district to enable the company to build its casino.
CDI applied for the rezoning in February and received a favorable recommendation from the Terre Haute Planning Department last week on both the new location and rezoning. The recommendation from the planning department was approved by a unanimous vote at the Terre Haute City Council.
Minor Height Issue
CDI will still need the two parcels to be merged into one subdivision plot and to gain the approval for the proposed height of 150 feet for the casino as the city’s limit is 125 feet. That subject will be up for discussion at the meeting on March 17.
The change of location was a result of internal discussions and planning, following the feedback CDI had received from the community which prompted the company to shift the attention of its new casino resort to the city’s east side.
Under the original proposal CDI presented to the IGC in 2021, the casino resort location was on the city’s south west side near Haute City Center. The proposal was endorsed by Vigo County Commissioners and Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett in written letters CDI presented to the IGC.
The close proximity of the new location to the Terre Haute Regional Airport means CDI will also need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the outside range of which will be May 9 according to the information presented at the IGC meeting. Overall, the company does not expect any pushback on the pending approvals.
According to the $240 million project, the 400,000-square-foot Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort will comprise of a luxury hotel with 125 rooms, a casino featuring 1,000 slot machines and 50 table games, TwinSpires Sportsbook, as well as food and beverage offerings. CDI is planning on breaking ground on the casino resort as early as May with an opening date in late 2023.